Vice-President- Workforce Development

Posted: 03/31/2021

Vice-President – Workforce Development
Fort Smith Regional Chamber of Commerce
In partnership with local K-12, higher education and business and industry, the Vice President – Workforce Development will lead the creation, implementation and continued enhancement of a holistic, community-based workforce development and directed career pathways model that is connected and aligned from elementary school through higher education and with business and industry.  The model will include many key actions and activities, primarily led by the individual institutions, but aligned across the institutions and the community. 
Main Accountabilities

  • Work with our strategic educational and industry partners to further develop and refine our community’s short and long-term workforce development and career and technical education strategy and vision.
  • Support the local school systems and higher education institutions in their individual workforce development and career and technical education efforts and ensure they align, where appropriate, with our overall strategy and model.
  • Build connections between employers and education and training institutions and programs to strengthen the connections that already exist, expand them where possible, develop new ones and encourage the adoption of programs already successfully developed and implemented in other communities across the United States.
  • Ensure alignment, strategies and programs ultimately increase capacity, enrollment, participation, graduation and investment in the directed career pathways and programs.
  • Conduct regular analysis of current local, regional and state workforce challenges, opportunities and needs and recommend future state models, strategies, initiatives and actions to help achieve our goals and objectives.
  • Conduct research of successful workforce development models and initiatives from around the world and drive the replication of them in our region.
  • Ensure that our workforce development efforts contribute to our local economic development efforts and ensure significant economic growth for the region.  Provide subject matter expertise to economic development leaders related to workforce during the RFP/RFI and recruitment process.
  • Serve as an active member of the Fort Smith Regional Workforce Development Board of Advisors.  Facilitate board meetings and the establishment and review of the Board’s charter, goals and objectives.
  • Confirm and strengthen existing education and industry partnerships and expand our efforts by establishing and recruiting new partnerships across both Arkansas and Eastern Oklahoma.
  • Conduct individual and group meetings with existing and future education and industry partners to understand their needs, confirm/establish and strengthen their support for our initiatives.
  • Facilitate increased investment in our workforce development efforts and directed career pathways and programs.  Work to secure addition funding, from a variety of sources and investors, to support our workforce development efforts.
  • Explore opportunities to ensure these workforce development strategies also support adult learners, displaced workers or individuals looking for a career change and will translate into meaningful jobs and careers for them.
  • Develop relationships and partner with other workforce development leaders across the state of Arkansas to move our state’s workforce development efforts forward. 
Key Challenges:
  • Balancing short and long-term strategies and results
  • Balancing the needs of employers and individual educational institutions with the broader needs of the community.
  • Leading through collaboration and influence.
  • Increasing K-12 and higher education enrollment, participation and graduation from directed career pathways and programs.
  • Increasing business and industry support, involvement and investment in the workforce development effort and directed career pathways and programs.
  • Increasing the amount of earned concurrent credit and industry certifications and participation in internships/apprenticeships and real work learning opportunities.
  • Formally retain and increase the number of education and business and industry partners.
Knowledge, skills and abilities
  • Bachelor’s degree preferred and 10+ years of experience in business, industry, economic development and/or education
  • A Master’s degree is a plus
  • Strong business and financial acumen
  • Leadership and managerial experience
  • Strong computer skills (MS Outlook, Word, Excel, and PPT).
  • Strategic and operational decision-making abilities
  • A continuous improvement mindset
  • Ability to establish strategic direction and execute the strategy
  • Strong listening, communications, collaboration and interpersonal skills
  • Strong work ethic, integrity, and commitment in the pursuit of the organizational goals and objectives
  • Self-motivated and directed and with strong influencing skills
  • Ability to effectively communicate in oral and written forms both inside and outside the organization
  • Willingness to travel