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:
- 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.