Southwest Partnership

Workforce Development Committee

May 3rd 2017

7pm 1138 Hollins St

Meeting Minutes


Gabe Auteri

Kristine Balasz

Chris Spark

Ellen Craven

Khandra Sears

Lou Packett

Ebony Nicholson

Dan Morrison

Elizabeth Weber


Committee Background

This was the first meeting of the Committee, which had been formed by the Board out of the Education and Workforce Development Committee. There is currently a Workforce Roundtable of providers who meet the third Friday of the month at 3pm at Bon Secours Community Works 26 N Fulton Ave.


According to the Southwest Partnership bylaws, a Chair, who will represent the Committee on the SWP Board of Directors, must be elected by Committee members who have attended three Committee meetings, which means that Chair elections can be held at the fourth meeting at the earliest. The current plan is to hold elections at the fifth meeting (in September) so that there is some leeway for Committee members to miss a meeting.


Previous/Current Workforce Development Projects

Elizabeth reviewed the Workforce Development projects that the SWP has worked on in the past. These include:

  • Southwest Works, a partnership between the Mayor’s Office of Employment Development and the SWP which provides a full time Career Navigator who works in various locations throughout the neighborhoods to connect area residents to jobs and workforce resources.
  • Collecting free job training programs and other workforce resources into a workforce development resource guide
  • A relatively small survey of employers
  • Building partnerships between workforce development programs and providers so that they can better connect to provide services to area residents.


Areas that the Workforce Development Committee can focus on include: setting higher level priorities for Workforce Development projects in the area, doing grass roots level outreach around workforce development programs and jobs, advocating for and bringing in job creation opportunities and industries. Gabe added that the Committee, and especially the Chair, could have a role in advocating for and representing the Southwest Partnership in workforce development settings around the city.


Goals and Vision Brainstorming

Committee members discussed how they saw the Committee progressing moving forward. They identified three constituents: community job seekers, workforce providers, and employers. There is a need to collect data: we have it from workforce providers through the Roundtable, and Elizabeth can pull together employer data. Information about job seekers will be more difficult to gather, as we need to know not only information about education and skill level but also individual contact information to connect them to opportunities.


The Committee discussed topics and areas of focus including:

  • Developing entrepreneurship opportunities in conjunction with the Commercial Development Committee to fill vacant buildings and provide work opportunities for community members.
  • Ensuring that pathways to promotion are built into job opportunities and that community members have the skills and experience they need to advance in their careers, especially beyond manual labor jobs.
  • Partnering with other organizations that can bring concrete resources, such as personal finance education and expungement clinics to the community, or figuring out a way to develop transportation for community members to these resources.
  • Making it easier for community members to find and navigate services. (Similar to the Ngoma Foundation’s youth Connect app)
  • Visioning industries that can bring jobs to the community and connecting community members to development projects in the community
  • Attracting training providers and figuring out ways to guarantee community members spots in training programs that connect to positions at area employers


The Committee discussed ways to collect information about job seekers in the community including mailings, holding a fun job seekers event with free food, connecting with smaller sub-communities in the area, and neighborhood associations. They will come to the next meetings with ideas around this project and outreach.


Dan suggested reaching out to the SoWeBo Merchant’s Association and the Commercial Development Committee for their input.


Committee Structure and Next Steps

The Committee discussed how they would like meetings to run in the future, and the Committee’s representation on the SWP Board of Directors. They agreed that 7pm at 1138 Hollins St works for a meeting time and location, and that Elizabeth will continue to chair the June meeting. At the end of that meeting a temporary Chair will be elected, who will chair the committee and make reports to the SWP Board of Directors.