Engaging with workforce development and education
February 23, 2022
Program Development and Engagement Specialist
Nevada Governor's Office of Workforce Innovation (GOWINN)
"Matchmaker, matchmaker, make me a match…" Maybe it's because I just saw Fiddler on the Roof or because Valentine's Day has just passed, but I wanted to take a moment to bring together two very special audiences – entrepreneurs and workforce development – to make the case for why this marriage should be a no-brainer and provide ideas for how to make a move.
For those that aren't familiar, the Governor's Office of Workforce Innovation (GOWINN) promotes extreme cooperation and collaboration, working horizontally across the state's workforce and education verticals. Specifically, my role is to strengthen mechanisms for employer feedback, expand solutions for pipeline alignment, and prepare Nevada for the future of work.
Why does this matter to you, the entrepreneurially minded community? We want the same thing. We want a vibrant and resilient community where we can blissfully work, live, and play. My office pursues positive change across systems to make it easier for Nevadans to follow their dreams. We play a role in sourcing funding for education and workforce training and we want to meet your needs!
We desperately want to hear from you! You are essential to moving the community toward a more competitive and resilient economy. You are the creators, the innovators, the thinkers, the do-ers, the problem solvers. You are what it’s going to take to bring our community to the next level. Your innovative and technical contributions supporting our region’s mature and emerging industries – and beyond – are key. Yes, a diversified economy is a resilient economy – AND an elevated economy is a competitive economy. How incredible will it be when Reno is truly on the map as an exporter of ideas – knowledge, innovation, technology?
Sold and wondering how you can contribute?
- Participate – Engage with the Ozmen Center and other community initiatives.
- Network and be curious – genuinely curious – about what others are doing.
- Represent your community – whatever that means to you. Whether it’s start-ups, tech companies, women- or minority-owned businesses, relocating companies, multi-generational Nevada companies. Each one of you owns an experience and perspective that is invaluable to progress in the state overall.
We hear a lot from large establishments because they have the resources to speak up – this engagement is worth your investment.
Engage with education – they want to meet your current and future workforce and ecosystem needs. Check out Nepris for Nevada, a platform designed to connect industry with education. Nevada has invested heavily in this initiative to help middle and high school students understand how what they are learning can be applied to real jobs, particularly those near them. Join the 8,000 Nevada educators and 80+ industry professionals already engaged to inspire the next generation of innovators!
Work-based learning – like internships and apprenticeships – can feel like a heavy lift for small companies. You may be able to quantify what that mentorship means to your bottom line because time is money, right? Well, it’s impossible to quantify the positive impact to that student or the strength of the ecosystem and community of tomorrow.
Support collaborative initiatives and provide constructive feedback. Projects like ACT Work-Ready Communities bring stakeholders together to support tracking and improvement of fundamental work-ready skills like applied math, workplace documents and graphic literacy, and connect the dots between these skills and the jobs that require them.
Attend formal forums and events. EDAWN events, Start-Up NV, Tech Alley, and 1 Million Cups are just a few examples of places to learn and share. Our office is relaunching the state’s industry sector councils – a formal mechanism for employers in technology, manufacturing, logistics and health care to provide feedback to state workforce agencies and systems. We want to hear from companies of all sized on their workforce-related needs, challenges and solutions.
And, finally, be patient but persistent. Systematic change takes longer than anyone should be comfortable with. But, if you give up, you let the “that’s-the-way-it’s-always-been-done” people win.