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Workforce Central

Archived Episodes: Listen Now!

Episode 25: Recap of Workforce Central 2015-2016

This episode features a recap of major themes from 2015-2016 with examples from episodes covering topics including youth employment, the human cost of disruption and innovation and the need to build partnerships.

Ron Painter


Takeaways From The Episode:

  • Youth employment emerged as a major trend in 2015-2016
  • There is an increasing need for workforce boards to build partnerships
  • Innovation and disruption create a human toll on job creation and growth
  • We encourage you to let us know what topics you want to see covered in future episodes

Episode 24: How Technology Benefits Workforce and Literacy

This episode features an interview with Mitch Rosin of Aztec Software as he discusses the impact that technology is having on workforce and literacy efforts. Discover how technology plays a key role in WIOA and the lessons for workforce.

Mitch Rosen


Takeaways From The Episode:

  • The U.S. lags behind many developed countries in literacy
  • Literacy challenges are correlated with higher health care costs
  • The use of technology is embedded throughout WIOA
  • Familiarity with technology is becoming more of a requirement to get a good job 

Episode 23: How Futurists Analyze Workforce Trends

This episode features an interview with Dr. Richard Lum of Vision Foresight Strategy, LLC as he discusses what a futurist is, what their role is with regards to workforce, and how futurists analyze workforce trends. The episode was recorded live at NAWB Forum 2016.

Dr. Richard Lum


Takeaways From The Episode:

  • Futurists analyze but do not predict trends
  • You can do a historical analysis of an industry to understand patterns
  • Workforceis a system that sits between other systems
  • A good futurist always questions their data and assumptions

Episode 22: Creating An Engaging and Inspiring Workplace

This episode features an interview with Jacob Morgan, bestselling author and futurist, as he discusses the changing nature of work and how to create work environments that are inspiring and engaging, as well as the lessons for workforce. The interview was recorded at NAWB Forum 2016.


Jacob Morgan

Takeaways From The Episode:

  • ​There is a mindset shift from people needing to be in a job to wanting to be there
  • Organizations need to do a better job at creating modern, relevant training programs
  • You want to be able to spot organizations that empower and encourage employees
  • Even low skilled workers will have more choices of how to earn income

Episode 21: How Walmart Is Supporting Workforce

This episode was recorded at the NAWB Forum 2016 and features an interview with Kathleen McLaughlin, president of the Walmart Foundation. Discover the various ways that Walmart is investing in developing the workforce of the future and how they are supporting the workforce system overall.


Kathleen McLaughlin

Takeaways From The Episode:

  • 75% of Walmart store managers started as hourly employees
  • Walmart was named #4 on Fortune's "Change the World" list
  • Walmart's purchase order is a powerful tool to create social change
  • Companies are recognizing that they need to invest in the systems they rely on

Episode 20: Building Business and Workforce Partnerships

This episode was recorded live at the NAWB Forum 2016 and features interviews with W.O. Lawton Business Leadership Award Winners Will Davis and Kristin Dailey. Discover how BayCare Health System and CareerSource Pinellas County have partnered to create better outcomes for employees and the takeaways and lessons learned.


Award Winners

Takeaways From The Episode:

  • BayCare has a strategic goal to be the happiest place to work
  • Employers of choice need to drive the education experience of their area
  • The health care industry has a clearly defined career ladder
  • Private industry and workforce can partner to create better outcomes for all 

Episode 19: Workforce Lessons From California

This episode features an interview with Bob Lanter, Executive Director of the California Workforce Association. Bob discusses the "slingshot" initiative in California and the lessons for other states, as well as the important role that workforce boards can play in breaking down the silos of various systems and creating better outcomes for their region.


Bob Lanter

Takeaways From The Episode:

  • California has focused a lot of effort on filling career pipelines
  • The "slingshot" initiative has helped break down silos among various systems
  • Workforce boards need to focus on building partnership at local and regional levels
  • Businesses are looking for a more streamlined pathway to the labor force

Episode 18: How Workforce Can Partner with Adult Education

This episode features an interview with Jeff Carter, the executive director of The National Council of State Directors of Adult Education. Jeff discusses the biggest misconceptions about literacy and adult learning, how workforce can partner with the literacy system to achieve better outcomes, and the top things for workforce directors to keep in mind when it comes to literacy and adult education.


Jeff Carter

Takeaways From The Episode:

  • People with low literacy levels can improve their skills
  • Contextualizing literacy skills achieves better results
  • There is more room to grow in using technology to assist adult learners
  • Workforce directors can partner with community resources to assist with literacy efforts

Episode 17: How NAWDP Helps Workforce Professionals

This episode features an interview with Bridget Brown, executive director of NAWDP, the National Association of Workforce Development Professionals. Discover how NAWDP helps develop high quality workforce professionals, and the various training and assessment resources that NAWDP makes available for workforce professionals. You'll also learn about the most recent trends in workforce and thoughts about balancing technology with a human-centric approach to delivering workforce services.


Bridget Brown

Takeaways From The Episode:

  • The CWDP designation is based on strict research protocols
  • Many NAWDP members are program manager level and above
  • Both employee and employer pools have become more diverse
  • NAWDP has a self-assessment tool to help workforce professionals maximize their training

Episode 16: How SNAP Can Partner With The Workforce System

This episode features an interview with Dr. Rachel Gragg from the office of Employment and Training at the USDA as she explains what SNAP E&T benefits are, who is eligible for them, and how SNAP can partner with the workforce system to best serve consumers. This episode features an interview with Dr. Rachel Gragg from the office of Employment and Training at the USDA as she explains what SNAP E&T benefits are, who is eligible for them, and how SNAP can partner with the workforce system to best serve consumers.


Rachel Gragg

Takeaways From The Episode:

  • SNAP benefits come from the USDA
  • SNAP E&T is an employment and training program for those receiving SNAP benefits
  • As long as a person is eligible for SNAP, they are eligible for SNAP E&T
  • SNAP E&T can fill holes and gaps in funding that may not be covered through workforce funds

Episode 15: Workforce Trends for 2016

The first part of this episode features Ron Painter, CEO of NAWB and host of Workforce Central, reflecting on key takeaways from the recent SOTU address and lessons for workforce. The second part of the episode features an interview with Steve Voytek, Government Relations Manager for the National Association of State Directors of Career and Technical Education as he shares his tips and trends about career readiness, the future of Perkins funding, and more.


Steve Voytek

Takeaways From The Episode:

  • Some regions in the US are experiencing worker shortages
  • There was a focus in the SOTU address on preparing students for real world experiences
  • Incumbent worker training will need more focus and attention
  • There is a lot of interest from Congress in reauthorizing the Higher Education Act

Episode 14: Holiday Edition - Reflections From NAWB Staff

This episode features an interview with the NAWB staff; Josh Copus, Yenory Garcia, Bridgette Washington and of course, Ron Painter. The staff discuss their challenges and celebrations for 2015 as well as workforce trends for 2016.


Takeaways From The Episode:

  • NAWB has worked hard to give its members more of a voice
  • There is a vibrant conversation about workforce issues happening in Washington DC
  • The new NAWB member database is helping facilitate networking between members
  • The NAWB Forum is a powerful place to share innovative ideas for workforce excellence and change 

Episode 13: Creating Opportunity for Youth With Disabilities

This episode features an interview with the CEO of RespectAbility, Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi, as she discusses the importance of connecting youth with disabilities to meaningful work, and the benefits of doing so to employers and the economy.


Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi

Takeaways From The Episode:

  • People with disabilities have a lot to offer in the workforce
  • Only 30% of people with disabilities are competitively employed
  • Project Search has a 70% success rate for helping youth enter the workforce
  • The workforce system needs to be more proactive in reaching out to youth

Episode 12: The 21st Century Model of Work

This episode features part two of a conversation with Barbara Dyer, President and CEO of the Hitachi Foundation, as she discusses the 21st century model of work and the challenges and opportunities that arise from it. Barbara discusses the need to embrace innovation and disruption while not losing the social safety net, and the roles that government, business and workforce play in maintaining that balance.


Takeaways From The Episode:

  • Work is essential to an overall sense of well-being and identity
  • Disruption and innovation drive growth, but erode the social safety net
  • We need to do a better job of training people for the jobs of the future
  • The ownership of risk has shifted from the employer to the employee 

Episode 11: The Intersection of People and Profit

This episode features an interview with Barbara Dyer, president and CEO of the Hitachi Foundation as she discusses the mission of the Hitachi Foundation, what it means to be a "good" company in the 21st Century and the lessons for workforce and business.


Takeaways From The Episode:

  • Successful companies focus first on customer acquisition and retention
  • Ongoing success in a company requires a top notch workforce
  • The best business choices create positive economic, social and environmental values
  • The Hitachi foundation has focused on the intersection of people and profit

Episode 10: Building a Workforce System That Works

This episode features an interview with Luann Dunsford, CEO of Michigan Works! as she discusses what's working well in Michigan when it comes to Workforce Development. Luann shares insights about how Michigan has created a workforce system that serves employers and job seekers, as well as key mindset shifts that have been helpful in her state.


Takeaways From The Episode:

  • If you know what the employment demand is you can move job seekers towards that demand
  • You want to focus on the best, highest use of your time when it comes to workforce efforts
  • Workforce, at its core, is not only a system, it is people working with people
  • Focusing on the employer as the primary customer will also serve the job seeker as well

Episode 9: Lessons From Texas

This episode was recorded live in Forth Worth Texas at a meeting of workforce directors. Ron sits down with directors Frank Almaraz, Mike Temple and Mary Ross. You'll discover the Texas model of workforce, how they integrate their services and the lessons for business, education and workforce development.


Takeaways From The Episode:

  • In Texas, services are integrated including TANF, childcare and workforce 
  • In a rural area it is often easier to get stakeholders together
  • Online activities and services can help customers who may have difficulties getting to an office in person
  • Work based learning can be very powerful, particularly for young people

Episode 8: What Youth Employment Trends Tell Us About The Economy

In this episode Dr. Paul Harrington from Drexel University returns to discuss the challenges in the labor market for young people and the connection to the labor market as a whole. Discover the latest trends in employment, the fastest growing segment of the population entering the labor market, and what it means for business and the economy.


Takeaways from the Episode:

  • Over the last 15 years the percentage of employed youth has drastically declined
  • The only group with growing labor force participation in the US is older adults
  • School systems have generally pulled back from helping their students obtain employment
  • Many employers rated traits associated with young people as negative compared to traits associated with older workers

Episode 7: What You Need to Know About Immigration, Education and Jobs

This episode features an interview with Dr. Paul Harrington from Drexel University as he discusses his thoughts on immigration, education and jobs. You'll discover how to go past the headlines to understand what to look for in jobs reports, key issues in immigration and education, and the fastest growing industries and employment opportunities.


Takeaways from the Episode:

  • The U.S. immigration policy is not connected to the labor market
  • Young people with less education have been shut out generally of the job market
  • There is a lot of growth in home health care and personal care attendants
  • South Dakota has developed a very effective technical education system

Episode 6: The Future of Work

This episode features an interview with Dr. Jerry Paytas from Fourth Economy Consulting as he discusses the future of work, the disconnect between the economy and job development, as well as surprising trends that will impact the future of work. Discover how developments in 3D printing and other technological advancements will drastically shift the landscape of job and economic development in the future.


Dr. Jerry Paytas

Takeaways from the Episode:

  • There's an accelerating gap between the economy and the jobs that the economy is creating
  • As droughts and floods increase the pressures and demands on water will impact economic development
  • 3D printing may change the supply chain in manufacturing regions
  • The internet of things will allow for more extensive data collection and analysis, which will change the way we work

Episode 5: How to Connect Youth To Employment

This episode features an interview with Maureen Conway, Vice President at The Aspen Institute and Executive Director of the Institute's Economic Opportunities Program, as she discusses lessons learned from a recent survey about connecting youth to employment. Discover surprising insights and takeaways about how to locate and create economic opportunities for youth. You’ll learn what youth identified as the most important elements when it comes to employment, as well as future questions that still need to be answered.


Maureen Conway

Takeaways from the episode:  

  • Youth identified the ability to access a job via public transportation as a key element of employment
  • It is important to combine data analysis and relationship building
  • We can overlook the importance of establishing trust and human relationships in youth employment
  • Think strategically about the kinds of employers that will be a good fit for the youth you work with.

Episode 4: Why Workforce Development Matters

This episode features an interview with Steve Hendrickson, Director of Government Operations at The Boeing Company. Discover why workforce development matters for business and the biggest misconceptions about the workforce development system. Steve also shares key takeaways about how to ensure that companies have access to the right talent in a competitive global marketplace.


Steve Hendrickson

Takeaways from the episode:

  • The workforce is currently very competitive
  • There is often a mismatch between the skills needed and the surrounding population
  • There is a misconception that the workforce development system is a social service system
  • Employers generally don’t consider geography when looking for talent.

Episode 3: How To Transform Underserved Communities

This episode features an interview with Monte Perez, President of Los Angeles Mission College, as he discusses how to support and transform underserved and economically challenged communities. Discover the important role that community colleges play in workforce development and some of the biggest challenges that community colleges face when it comes to preparing students for the workforce. You'll learn how workforce development personnel and community colleges can work together to achieve the best outcomes for students, employers and the community.


Monte Perez

Takeaways from the episode:

  • Workforce development is one part of three roles that community colleges have to fulfill
  • Community colleges are an instrument of transformation of communities
  • The Affordable Care Act will create new opportunities for training and job
  • In California, community colleges are co-locating workforce centers inside their facilities
  • There is a need to be flexible and rapidly change direction as needed 

Episode 2: A Key Mindset Shift For Creating Better Outcomes

This episode features an interview with Laurie Moran, the past chair of the NAWB Board of Directors and current president of The Danville Pittsylvania County Chamber of Commerce. Discover some of the most pressing current issues in workforce development and possible solutions. Laurie also discusses the key role that Chambers of Commerce play in workforce development. Discover a mindset shift you need to make to help create stronger partnerships and achieve better outcomes.


Laurie Moran

Takeaways from the episode:

  • There is a pressing need to match skills of the workforce with employers
  •  We have to be more creative in getting young people valuable work experience
  •  Workforce development is judged by its weakest link
  • Collaborative work is challenging, but worthwhile
  •  You have to have a strong shared vision to create collaboration

Episode 1: Welcome To Workforce Central

This first episode of the new version of Workforce Central features a welcome from Ron Painter, President and CEO of the National Association of Workforce Boards. Discover what this podcast is about and how you can benefit. You'll also learn how you can provide feedback, as well as input as to what topics you'd like to see covered in future episodes.


Takeaways from this episode:

  • Workforce development is a system
  • We welcome your input on topics of interest
  • The podcast will feature economists, politicians, educators and more
  • The podcast will explore the good combinations of education and practice