Conversations that dive deep into the ever-changing world of talent and economic development from the perspectives of those designing, working in, and experiencing these systems.
Workforce Development: Educating Future Developers
Joe Bonora is the founder and president of Catalyst Asset Management and Catalyst Community Capital, Inc. The nonprofit works to provide investment for small businesses and project development with a concentration on multifamily properties. This includes mentorship, coaching, and technical assistance for developers to operate independently. He explains how he acquired knowledge through his entrepreneurial upbringing as a self-learner, despite not receiving a formal education beyond high school. Joe also elaborates on educating more people of color to the development business. He emphasizes that people living within communities are more aware of their residents and neighbors than an outside developer. Joe dives into skill development for prospective job applicants. He explains how valuable earning a credential is in comparison to traditional college education.
Workforce Development: Scaling Talent
In this episode we hear from Dakota Pawlicki, the Director of Talent Hubs at Civic Lab. He was also our guest in Season 2. Dakota believes that the greatest change happens at the local and regional level. This is significant when it comes to systems change for students who are disadvantaged. He discusses the launch of Talent Hubs at Civic Lab as a way of expanding civic collaboration with support to regions and cross-sector partnerships. The Talent Hub designation continues to strengthen collective work that is focused on educational attainment beyond high school. Dakota also shares his perspective on the value of local collaboratives in producing community change. Dakota takes us through the adversity he faced growing up. He talks about his experience as a recipient of a caring network of individuals, which motivates his continued work today.
Workforce Development: Strengthening Rural Communities
Michael Swindle was our first guest in the first season of Talent Talk. He discusses his vision as the current Superintendent of Hendry County Schools with a workforce-oriented approach. Mike started his position during the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, which presented several unique challenges going forward. He shares the focus of closing the achievement gaps, building capacity, and creating sustainable efforts for educational attainment within Hendry County. This includes increasing third grade reading proficiency and working to increase graduation rates. It’s somewhat of a challenge working within a rural community with limited resources. He also shares progress from workforce initiatives to increase credentialed workers between the cities of LaBelle and Clewiston. Michael was previously a County Commissioner and Workforce Development Director for Hendry County Schools. This work involved initiating training programs to tackle the unemployment rates across the county. Looking ahead, he is shifting focus towards equity initiatives as a driving force to improving the education system.
Workforce Development: Translating Liberal Arts Education
Dr. Glenn Whitehouse is the Associate Dean of College of Arts & Sciences at Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU) and Director of the PAGES program. Glenn earned his Philosophy degree at the New College of Florida. He worked over the summer at a tech firm and completed a research report for the company to receive grant funding. He explains how his experience as a liberal arts student offered skills that translated into an entry level job. As Liberal Arts majors, students have many choices when it comes to choosing career pathways. The PAGES program at FGCU is designed to help students translate the skills they gain in their programs to start a career.
Adult learners: Stopping Out Is Not Dropping Out
In this episode of Talent Talk, we hear from Jason Powella on his experience as an adult learner that returned to the classroom after stopping out. Many students in his situation were only a few credits short of earning their credential but faced uncontrollable life circumstances. Jason is the Senior Special Event Planner for the Lee Health Foundation and a member of Southwest Florida’s Talent Hub Advisory Board. He has worked in the healthcare industry for 15 years and is working currently working in fundraising. Jason earned his bachelor’s degree through the FGCU Complete program, which caters to students who previously earned college credits. He takes us through the unique factors that adult learners face, how they compare to traditional students, and the benefit of maintaining communication with students who stop out. He also keys in on the different funding opportunities available to students instead of taking on debt.
Higher Education: Prioritizing Returning Students
Shasta College is a community college that serves the three counties of Shasta, Tehama, and Trinity in Northern California. In this episode of Talent Talk, Kate Mahar discusses the significant role the college has had on the surrounding rural community it serves. Kate is the Dean of Innovation and Strategic Initiatives and explains her role in scaling best practices for degree seeking students. As a Talent Hub, Shasta College provides a notable example of the benefits of long-standing efforts to better-serve adults learners. Kate explains the piloting of the ACE (Accelerated College Education) and Credit for Prior Learning as two programs in their shift in accommodating returning adult learners.
Any town USA
Talent Talk provides a glimpse into what most communities in the US struggle with when it comes to workforce development. The lessons from SWFL can be applied anywhere.
Tessa brings interesting conversations focused on talent development. Her guests range from experts in workforce development and higher education to adult students. Together, they explore the ways our training and education system is and is not working for today’s students. Wonderful to listen to, insightful voices, and valuable content.