Innovations & Awards

Recognizing Excellence in Our Industry

Laurie S. Moran Partnership Award
WIOA Trailblazer Award
W.O. Lawton Business Leadership Award

The Laurie Moran Partnership Award

This year, NAWB introduced a new award, the Laurie Moran Partnership Award, given jointly to a workforce development board and chamber of commerce that have formed a significant partnership to advance the workforce and economic development of their local region. The Partnership Award is named in honor of Laurie Moran, who served on the West Piedmont Workforce Investment Board from 2001 to 2016, and was President of the Danville Pittsylvania County Chamber of Commerce from 2002 until her passing.  She was a member of the Board of the National Association of Workforce Boards from 2004 to 2015, serving as Chair from 2011 to 2013.

South Central Tennessee Workforce Alliance
Maury County Chamber & Economic Alliance

The first Laurie Moran Partnership Award Winner is South Central Tennessee Workforce Alliance and Maury County Chamber & Economic Alliance. Although separate entities, the South Central Tennessee Workforce Board and Maury Alliance (the chamber of commerce for the county) have been close and strategic partners since both organizations began in the early 2000s. Shared board and committee membership, including members of the private and public sector, has paved the way for common mission and goals - ensuring the region produces a world class workforce, capable of meeting the needs of existing business and industry, and exceeding the expectations of new industry. The partnership has made tremendous strides in aligning education with workforce needs through streamlining the pathway to post-secondary training in fields such as engineering systems technology, industrial maintenance, and machining/PLC technology.

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Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) Trailblazer Award

The WIOA Trailblazer Award recognizes a workforce development board that has been a leader in adopting the system changes envisioned in the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) and expanding its ability to develop comprehensive workforce solutions for its community. WIOA provides the workforce system with the opportunity to make changes that will significantly improve its ability to meet the needs of residents and employers through partnerships with government agencies, business and industry, economic development, training and education, and community-based organizations.

San Diego Workforce Partnership

The 2017 WIOA Trailblazer Award Winner is San Diego Workforce Partnership. SDWP has worked with education, economic development, non-profits, and other partners to develop its strategic plan. The board leads all WIOA consortium meetings to further align the partners, focusing on strengthening infrastructure, aligning performance metrics, and creating a unified career readiness tool. SDWP’s board is engaged in key decision making, driving significant changes to ETPL policy, AJCC operations, and youth contracting structure, as well as diversifying revenue with local and philanthropic opportunities.

SDWP actively coordinates industry engagement, developing a single-entry point for business customers. The board is exploring a streamlined approach to business services focused on meeting the needs of the business customer quickly and effectively through rapid employer assessment. SDWP has a priority sector strategy and has leveraged deep relationships with community colleges, state colleges, and universities to identify existing courses and programs that provide low barrier to entry and high level of growth in the field through stackable credentials and certifications.

SDWP serves thousands of young people in San Diego County through WIOA-funded providers and locally-funded CONNECT2Careers programs. The board is committed to making monitoring more holistic, leveraging synergies across programs, and increasing the feedback loops from customers into the process to drive improvements.

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W.O. Lawton Business Leadership Award

The W.O. Lawton Business Leadership Award honors businesses or business organizations that commit time, money, and leadership to make their community’s workforce and economy more vibrant and go above and beyond to be a full partner in their local Workforce Development Board’s endeavors. This year, NAWB selected two winners: one small business and one large business.

Samuel Garcia State Farm Insurance
Workforce Solutions of West Central Texas

Samuel Garcia State Farm Insurance in Abilene, TX, is the 2018 winner of the W.O. Lawton Business Leadership Award for a small business. Samuel Garcia State Farm Insurance recognizes the importance of connecting business, education, and workforce. As a member of the board of Workforce Solutions of West Central Texas, Mr. Garcia led the creation and launch of the Workforce Investment Fund, designed to help small businesses train current workers. Through a short, on-line application, employers can apply for up to $50,000 with a 25 percent cash match. Mr. Garcia also persuaded the workforce board and local school district to pilot a career pathways initiative that would bring local employers to high school campuses to promote awareness of local career opportunities. What started as a pilot project in 2007 to introduce students and teachers to career opportunities with local employers became the launch for the board’s career pathways initiative. Samuel Garcia State Farm Insurance was nominated by Workforce Solutions of West Central Texas.

Build My Future
Ozark Region Workforce Development Board

Build My Future Collaborative in Springfield, MO, is the 2018 winner of the W.O. Lawton Business Leadership Award for a large business. The Local Laborers Council, the Home Builders Association, the Springfield Chamber of Commerce, and various employers make up the Build My Future Consortium, which supports the Ozark Workforce Development Board through financial and in-kind contributions and has resulted in Pre-Apprenticeship Academies that have prepared individuals for jobs in the trades. The Collaborative also led the establishment of the Build My Future expo, which hosted over 1,000 students, 200 business volunteers, area school districts, and universities to highlight good jobs in the construction trades. Direct impacts to the Ozark Region Workforce Development Board have been the development of a valuable pre-apprenticeship model, enhanced partnerships with the industry and education partners, and sustainable relationship with industry partners. Build My Future Collaborative was nominated by Ozark Region Workforce Development Board.

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NAWB congratulates all of these winners and looks forward to honoring them during The Forum 2018.

NAWB Awards Committee Members

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