At the VCCS, I serve as the Administrator of the Federal Workforce Development programs under the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) Title I. Title I governs the federally funded workforce development system, including services under the Youth, Adult, and Dislocated Worker Programs. In Virginia, the VCCS provides workforce development funding to 15 local workforce development areas under WIOA.
At NGA, I serve as the Chair of the National Association of State Liaisons for Workforce Development Partnerships. The purpose of the Association is to bring together workforce leaders from across the nation to provide a forum for the exchange of ideas and open discussion of challenges and opportunities in the public workforce development system. The Association informs the nation’s Governors, Congress, and other appropriate groups on matters related to workforce development. This is done through development and issuance of white papers and meetings. The Mantra of the Association is ‘building economic opportunity for people and communities.’
2. What ideas/policies/practices will the National Association of State Liaisons for Workforce Development Partnerships be focusing on this year, and how does this impact Virginia?
The Association will focus on three key areas; the future of workforce, technology, and communications. Simply put, we understand that the field of workforce is changing rapidly. We must develop a clear understanding of the future of workforce, and form policy positions that leverage technology and communication to lead the public workforce system to serve the workforce of the future.
3. What do you think are Virginia’s areas of greatest strength and areas for improvement within workforce development?
I believe that Virginia has made great progress in developing partnerships across key organizations through the efforts to implement WIOA. I believe the partnerships in workforce development are greater today than at any time in the past. Our community colleges are a great strength for Virginia and are well positioned to make significant contributions in the workforce development field –just look at the results we have achieved in a very short time in the Fast Forward program. We now have to use the talent and financial resources of these partnerships to advance workforce development through service integration and focus on the customer of tomorrow. The culture in the public workforce system must also evolve in order to serve the workforce of the future.
4. How can your NGA leadership role help disseminate new ideas and practices in Virginia?
My leadership role at NGA allows me an opportunity to set the agenda to focus on areas that are not only of interest to my NGA colleagues but also of specific interest to Virginia. My position allows me to identify areas of opportunities to strengthen workforce development in Virginia through policy and practice.
5. Please tell us something about yourself (e.g., hobbies, personal interests, etc.) that our readers would be interested in knowing about you.
I love to travel and spend time with my family and friends, especially my family and friends in Greece. But the following words from President Obama speak to me personally: “We recognize our own mortality, and we are reminded that in the fleeting time we have on this Earth, what matters is not wealth, or status, or power, or fame – but rather, how well we have loved, and what small part we have played in making the lives of other people better.”
I am fortunate to have an opportunity through my work to make peoples’ lives better.
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