Newsletter Story August 9, 2012
Oates from Coast to Coast
On a packed trip spanning three states in three time zones, Assistant Secretary for Employment and Training Jane Oates took to the road to meet with state and local workforce development leaders, training partners, and employers to hear about innovative strategies helping to get America back to work. The trip kicked off in South Carolina on August 6 where Oates spoke to the Southeast Economic and Workforce Development conference a gathering of local economic and workforce development professionals from across the southeast about regional strategies to maintain global competitiveness. During her remarks Oates stressed the importance of local workforce systems working side by side with employers to ensure that training funds are being used efficiently and effectively to meet local and regional needs. From East Coast to West, Oates visited Seattle on August 7, keynoting a Womens' Bureau roundtable discussion on how workforce investment programs can better serve low-income women through training, encourage women to enter non-traditional jobs, and help women start a business of their own. From there it was on to FareStart, a federally funded program that helps homeless clients get trained for jobs in culinary fields. The on-site restaurant provides the perfect training facility, amazing food, and real results. The center has had more than 750 students in 2012, and 84 percent of those who complete the training are now employed. Oates ended the day at North Seattle Community College, taking a look at the Opportunity Center for Employment and Education, a new building on campus that brings together educational, vocational, employment and supportive services through a partnership of multiple community-based agencies and community colleges. Combining multiple services under one roof allows for a much more seamless customer experience. The following day Oates returned to the college to participate in a discussion with national workforce development leaders about creating pathways to a skilled workforce, focusing on the accomplishments of Registered Apprenticeship programs in the last 75 years. Oates whirlwind trip took her next to Minnesota, where she visited local workforce centers in Duluth, Little Falls, and St. Cloud. The Duluth center houses state and local agencies that provide job counseling and help people connect with employers, while the Little Falls center was recently relocated into the heart of the manufacturing district to make it easier for employers and job seekers to have easy access to employment and training programs. In St. Cloud, a partnership with St. Cloud Technical and Community College brings job seekers on campus to see training programs in action. At each stop the partners were different, but their commitment to innovative thinking to help get America back to work remained the same.