By: Ellie Giles, Ed.D

The core or backbone of any positive workforce development program is the strong connections to employers, training organizations, supportive services and, of course, the job seeker. The connections can be complex, and they require strategic coordination and enhanced collaboration. Typically, this is achieved through multiple case management meetings that referred job seekers to multiple agencies for supportive services, training, and job placement strategies. This is extremely time consuming and labor intensive. The COVID pandemic has increased the need for virtual meetings and communication approaches to ensure social distancing. However, technology has many other advantages within the workforce system to promote connections. This goes beyond communication tools enhancing workforce development practices.

With the current unemployment dilemma and the understanding that opportunities in retail, hospitality and other service occupations will be shrinking, the utilization of technology is critical to provide accurate databases that:

  1. Identify the current occupational demand,
  2. Recruit qualified job seekers, and
  3. Identify the training needs for successful employment.

Technological solutions that connect workforce Boards and their strategic partners is essential to monitor and present performance data. This is accomplished through real-time data sourcing and collection, data compilation and interpretation, and the development and presentation of accurate data dashboards.

A data dashboard, as used specifically in the public realm, is a tool that helps transform data and information into an easily digestible and interpretive format to improve decision making, strategic management, performance improvement, and internal/external communication. Dashboard systems help organizations track, analyze, and improve community-level aspirational results, indicators of wellbeing, and performance metrics. The best dashboard systems for workforce development will be customizable to meet the specific needs of an organization, and yet they offer a way to connect with and communication with external partners and stakeholders.

Performance data not only demonstrates occupational placement successes, but also identifies the challenges brought on by our rapidly changing society that may need added resources or innovative ideas. Dashboards promote proactive responses rather than lagging reactions that cause performance ruts and ineffective approaches.

In today’s society, both employers and job seekers are already embedded in the digital era, however workforce development practices have remained in a rigid case management approach that is ineffective and inefficient. Now more than ever, workforce boards and their partner organizations must implement technology to enhance practices.

About the author:

Ellie GilesDr. Ellie Giles served as the first CEO of WorkSource Montgomery, Inc. (WSM) WSM is a talent development non-profit connecting employers and job seekers.  WSM works with current employers and new employers to support their talent needs.  Additionally, WSM creates strong talent pipelines for jobs of the future by establishing career pathways through collaboration with strong and relevant training and community resources. Prior to this position, Dr. Giles was the Director of Operations for Montgomery Business Development Corporation (MBDC), the first public/private economic development agency in Montgomery County.