Delaware Goal Team Kick To Refine Workforce System

DWDB Chair Gary Stockbridge works with goal team members.

Bill Potter trudged into the Crowne Plaza Hotel, Naamans Rd. in Claymont, Del. on a gray Friday morning to meet facilitators from Maher & Maher, a New Jersey-based outfit specializing in workforce development.


After laying months of groundwork with senior Delaware workforce system leaders to develop a mission statement, a vision statement, and several guiding principles, Friday was show time and Bill was there to coordinate last minute stuff, before the hard work began with goal teams diving in to develop Delaware’s new workforce plan.

Bill and Beth Brinly (a VP at Maher & Maher) and two other Maher& Maher facilitators Todd Coen and Libby Livings-Eassa ordered breakfast and ironed out last minute details before 60 other workforce professionals arrived.

There were only a handful of issues.

The four moved, a little after 8:15 a.m., to the main ballroom set up with round tables and a coffee service along the back wall for everyone as they trickled in. The room, predominantly yellow, was bright and people walking in from the gray morning mist seemed to have their enthusiasm amped as they found a seat.

The Delaware Workforce Development Board (DWDB) management analyst, Wanda Holifield, and the DWDB deputy director, Robing McKinney-Newman distributed supporting documents, name tags, packets, and deconflicted last minute room assignments.

At about 9 a.m. it was off to the races as DWDB Chair Gary Stockbridge and Delaware Department of Labor Secretary Patrice Gillam-Johnson welcomed everyone and reinforce the importance of their undertaking.

Mr. Stockbridge said the people in the room were change agents and empowered to make the workforce system as dynamic and effective as they possibly could. Sec. Gilliam-Johnson said the gathering was truly reflective of the workforce system because providers, employers, One Stop Staff, education reps, and thought leaders from throughout Delaware government were ready to roll up their sleeves and make the workforce system better for employers and citizens.

After the introductions and the obligatory PowerPoint review, people moved to one of five goal teams to begin the work of developing plans in five areas:

  • Pathways
  • Process Redesign
  • Cultural Transformation
  • Resource Alignment
  • RFP Redesign

The goal teams went to separate room and for about two hours the diverse groups met, talked, analyzed, and developed detailed workplans to ensure completion of the big state plan No Later Than 1 April 2017.

At about 11 a.m. the goal teams reconvened in the larger ballroom and presented their next steps. The enormity of the task ahead and the optimism of the completing the project were universal.

When it was all over Bill Potter sat in along a side wall. He stretched his legs, stood up, and then stretched his back and thought of the old Army adage, “All of us know more, than one us.”

This is not an official publication of the Delaware Workforce Development Board.

Delaware Goal Team Kick To Refine Workforce System


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:                                                                                                                                       Contact: Gwen Jones

302-761-8161 or


The Delaware Workforce Investment Board, Youth Council identified a need for scholarships for youth with limited educational funding needs. In some cases, youth need as little assistance as a semester of tuition, a seminar, or even just one class.

As a result, the Delaware Workforce Development Board, Career Development Scholarship Award was born and recently made its inaugural award of $2,000 to three young people throughout the state of Delaware.

Darian Corcer of Greenwood was awarded $1,000, Madeline McGrath of Ocean View $500, and Kasey Mitchell of Milford received $500. The three youth competed against 15 other Delaware youth for the awards based on an essay and application review.

“This is an excellent demonstration of the importance of business leaders coming together to work with young people to help craft the workforce of the futures,” said Youth Council Chairman, George Krupanski. “In the Years to come, we hope to grow the fund with contributions from business leaders so we can serve more young people.”

The Youth Council depends on the generosity of local businesses to provide scholarships to Delaware’s young people. In addition, Delaware business leaders judged the applications and plan to do so annually going forward.

“We hope this will be an annual event, with the continued support and generosity of local businesses,” said Mr. Krupanski.

To learn more about the scholarship and how to apply, go to:

The Delaware Workforce Development Board ensures the citizens of Delaware are provided with occupational training and employment service opportunities to help them achieve employment sustaining them and their families. We also seek to communicate with our business industry partners to provide them with qualified workers to meet their employment needs. The DWIB also has a very active Youth Council that has oversight for programs designed specifically to help Delaware’s at-risk and neediest youth prepare for the workforce.


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East Rising Leads Way On SNAP Grant

People From throughout Delaware attend the SNAP Grant Ceremony yesterday at Central Baptist church
People From throughout Delaware attend the SNAP Grant Ceremony yesterday at Central Baptist Church

Yesterday morning a who’s who of political leaders met at the Central Baptist Church on Wilmington’s hardscrabble East-Side to celebrate the awarding of an $18 million, three-year grant from the US Department of Agriculture to help Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP), recipients prepare for jobs.

Delaware Gov. Jack Markell, U.S. Senators Chris Coons and Thomas Carper, U.S. Congressman John Carney, and Delaware Department of Health and Social Service Sec. Rita Landgraf were just a few of the dignitaries who spoke about Delaware being a model for cooperation and partnerships.

Delaware Gov. Jack Markell speaks at Central Baptist church yesterday
Delaware Gov. Jack Markell speaks at Central Baptist Church yesterday

And although everyone talked about the partnerships needed to pull the grant together, the star of the day was undoubtedly Rev. T.S. Keeling whose tenacity and vision for the East Side was in a lot of ways the driving force behind the scenes.

Speaker after speaker were effusive in their praise of Rev. Keeling for his ability to envision a future for the East-Side where violence is replaced by hope and unemployment replaced by construction jobs. The construction jobs he envisions are one of four tracks the grant will embrace to get people back to work.

The four tracks are:

Construction trades focused primarily on training local labor in a pre-apprenticeship format to rehabilitate old or abandoned homes on the East Side,

Culinary Arts training taught by The Food Bank of Delaware,

Manufacturing – Dover’s Kraft Foods will hire entry level production workers whom complete a certified production technician program with Delaware Technical & Community College, and

Broad-based Job Placement – The Delaware Department of Labor, Division of Employment and Training will work with SNAP recipients and provide intensive case management services.

The USDA Grant, billed as an innovative approach, will serve about 1,700 Delawareans a year for three years, Sec. Landgraf said.

East Rising Leads Way On SNAP Grant

Pathways To Prosperity Takes First Steps Forward

Educators, business leaders, and workforce developers join forces at Pathways to Prosperity event Friday at Delmarva Power
Educators, business leaders, and workforce developers join forces at Pathways to Prosperity event Friday at Delmarva Power

About 200 people came together Friday, February 12, 2015, at the Delmarva Power Conference Center in Newark Delaware, to take the first steps in developing an integrated “Pathways to Prosperity” education and training system to prepare young people for high paying careers that may not require a college degree.

The attendees of the morning-long event were from Delaware education, business (primarily manufacturing), and government (primarily the Delaware Department of Labor, and the Delaware Workforce Development Board).

Delaware Governor Jack Markell opened the session with comments reflective of his recently completed State-of-the State Address.

Delaware Governor Jack Markell Comments on a recent Pathways to Prosperity workshop, Friday February 12, 2015
Delaware Governor Jack Markell Comments on a recent Pathways to Prosperity workshop, Friday February 12, 2015

“We need to recognize that jobs will be created where entrepreneurs can find a workforce with the abilities they need to grow and succeed,” he said. “Pathways to Prosperity program will develop career pathways that prepare students with skills in high-growth, high demand fields.”

Gov. Markell said the concept of pathways is where there is a partnership between employers, colleges, and school districts.

He likened the business environment to a second industrial revolution because the role of human labor has changed with the advent of new high-tech inventions.

One of the challenges facing an initiative like Pathways to Prosperity is the scale, because there are small groups doing many things, but none big enough to have an overall impact, the governor said.

“Nobody has figured this out in a big way,” he said. “But we have to.”

Professor Bob Schwartz, a nationally recognized Pathways expert from Harvard University, echoed the governor’s remarks, but first gave the audience some sobering data.

“As a minimum, every student must have a high school diploma,” Prof. Schwartz said, “In 1960 the U.S. led the world in high school graduation, but the rest of the world has caught up.”

The U.S. is now 13th in high school diplomas, he said.

Jobs of the future don’t necessarily need a college degree, he said, but to get a good high paying middle job will require sine kind of combination of education and certificate training.

Prof. Schwartz said the big problem was almost one-third of all Americans have neither a high school diploma nor an advanced certificate.

“The big question is,” he said. “What is the strategy for people with no certificate.”

That question permeated the rest of the day as members of the conference moved to different breakout groups to get a better understanding about pathways as they related to:

  • Manufacturing Logistics
  • Computer Science
  • Engineering and Biomedical Programs
  • Culinary and Hospitality

Even though there was no single solution to the massive question proposed by the professor, the group made inroads to developing a system that could help preparing students.

And even though this was the first time the Pathways to Prosperity had gotten such a large airing, it was not the first time Delaware, business, educators, and workforce developers had worked together.

“Delaware is the state that broke the record for moving from discussion to action,” Prof. Schwartz said.

Pathways To Prosperity Takes First Steps Forward