A team from The North Shore Workforce Investment Board, the North Shore Career Center, North Shore Community Action Program, and North Shore Community College, was honored in Washington DC on February 16th by the Obama administration for developing a pilot program aimed at helping companies solve their need for talented workers.
The North Shore WIB led this team in a Customer-Centered Design Project sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor aimed at determining how companies successfully find employees that best fit their workforce needs. The North Shore WIB, North Shore Career Center, North Shore Community College, North Shore Community Action Programs, and the state Department of Career Services worked together to devise new processes that foster a faster match between the employer and job seeker.
The team, dubbed the North Shore Workforce Innovent, used a customer-centered design research technique that focuses on carefully listening to those involved in an issue to develop appropriate and efficient responses.
The team from the North Shore was picked as one of 11 winners out of more than 70 workforce boards that participated in the Customer-Centered Design Project. The group headed to Washington, D.C. on Feb. 16 for an event at the White House.
“We are so honored to have been chosen for this opportunity,” said Eastern Bank’s Nancy Stager, North Shore WIB chair and member of the team. “We look forward to sharing our project with the other 10 teams and learning what other innovations we might implement here on the North Shore.”
Salem Mayor Kimberley Driscoll, who serves as chief elected official of the North Shore WIB, expressed enthusiasm about the honor. “We are so fortunate to be part of this elite group of workforce professionals working to serve companies and job seekers in a very complex and ever-changing environment,” Mayor Driscoll said. “I know our North Shore Workforce Innovent group will come back from D.C. ready to build an even better workforce system, and I look forward, along with my municipal elected leaders across our 19 cities and towns, to being part of this effort.”
The team implemented both short-term and long-term processes to better meet employers’ need for workers. The new systems reflect companies’ priorities, skill needs and overall culture, enabling Career Center staff to quickly forward job applicants that are an appropriate match.
Over the next year, the Career Center will also work with Salem State University to develop efficient LEAN techniques – a management tool used in manufacturing sectors that improves efficiency and accuracy. LEAN techniques set daily goals, track errors, and find ways to improve processes.
“At our Career Centers, we like to think we are efficient and smooth at handling both job seekers and companies. But we have never analyzed it like a manufacturing company would analyze their processes,” North Shore WIB Director Mary Sarris said.