This is it, the final Workforce Developments post from the CWA 2008 Spring Conference. As usual, we heard from great speakers, learned good new ideas and new approaches, and connected with all the terrific people doing workforce development in California (and elsewhere). I had a great time in my workshop - hope you all enjoyed the conference too.
This year, CWA members voted to set aside half the funds raised by the end-of-conference raffle, for workforce development lobbying efforts. While that's great news - and I wasn't surprised to learn my workforce development colleagues had done it - I was a little underwhelmed by the amount: $300 for the raffle, of which $150 will go to lobbying. It reminded me of the old bumper sticker: It will be a great day when our schools get all the money they need and the Air Force has to hold a bake sale to buy a bomber.
Just the day before, Deputy Secretary at the California Labor and Workforce Development Agency, Jaime Fall, told us one of our biggest problems is that not a single member of Congress makes workforce development a priority. They might like the work we do and love their local one-stop, but workforce development comes along number three or four at best. That's why we're underfunded.
We've got to do a better job of promoting ourselves, whether it's online, in print or face-to-face. We may not have tons of money for PR, but we are good advocates for our clients - employers and job seekers alike. Problem is, we can't provide them the services they need if our coffers are drained. It's like when flight attendants say "Put on your own mask before helping the person next to you." If recent events are any indication, we're losing altitude and the oxygen masks have dropped. Advocating for our programs is advocating for our clients, so let's get out there and do it.
Even with two of us blogging, we still couldn't cover all the workshops. The good news is CWA has spiffied up its wiki, and you can find links to the powerpoint presentations, photos and other cool stuff from the conference. You can even add your own text, documents and links. Just click here.