Whether you’re in the market for a job for the first time, hoping to prepare for advancement, or even thinking about a complete career change, you’ve probably heard the term workforce development. But what exactly is it, and how does it affect you? What key clues can you look for to see if the company you’re interested in offers this kind of investment? Read on to find out!
What is workforce development?
Workforce development is probably a term you’ve heard floating around at The Classic Center and on our social media platforms, but what exactly is it? In an online article for the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, Lyn E. Haralson quotes Dr. Robert Jacobs and Joshua D. Hawley: “Workforce development is the coordination of public and private-sector policies and programs that provides individuals with the opportunity for a sustainable livelihood and helps organizations achieve exemplary goals, consistent with the societal context.”1 So, essentially, it’s a beneficial approach to the professional sector for both employees and employers. As an employee, workforce development means that your company is willing to invest in growing your professional skills. This benefits you because you’re learning and growing. Still, it benefits the company as well because they are producing qualified employees who are more likely to be comfortable and satisfied within the organization. It’s a win-win!
Types of workforce development?
For high school students:
Workforce development may be offered under several different forms. For high schoolers preparing to enter the next level of their education or a career, workforce development may come in the form of an industry-based camp or internship. What better way to understand the job field than to get a real look into it?
The Classic Center hosts an annual Hospitality Careers Academy, a week-long summer camp for students interested in a career in hospitality and tourism. With industry speakers, job shadowing, and the ability to produce on an actual event in the building, this camp offers an authentic look into the hospitality field before students even have to pick a career path. This type of workforce development is excellent for those looking to understand the different careers available to them and get a head start on skills that future employers will be looking for.
If you’re a student, workforce development opportunities might be even closer than you think – a.k.a. offered at your school! Don’t wait until college to look for specialized career electives. The partnership between Athens Community Career Academy (ACCA) and The Classic Center is a great example of this. The Classic Center is a learning lab for students involved in the ACCA’s Hotel and Hospitality Management Pathway and their soon to be, Entertainment, Sports, and Events Management Pathway. Ask a counselor or advisor how your school is plugged into the local community. After all, it’s never too early to start networking.
Looking for a fresh start on a new career?
Workforce development can also come in the form of on-the-job training for adults. These may be open to everyone or those in specific circumstances, so cast a wide net when you first start looking for opportunities. Bread for Life at The Classic Center is an excellent example of a hands-on learning opportunity for those who meet certain application qualifications. Participants must be currently unemployed, 18+ years old, and a resident of Clarke County. Applicants seeking a second chance, including those with a criminal history, addiction history, victims of domestic violence, and anyone receiving SNAP benefits, are encouraged to apply. This is an 8-week, paid experience that combines classroom curriculum with on-the-job training, and it is an excellent opportunity for anyone seeking a second chance.
Looking for a role to grow in?
If you are already in a professional setting, workforce development may come in the form of continued education offerings. By enhancing your skills and creating employees well-versed in the industry, continuing education benefits both employee and employer. This may look like quarterly training or something outside of standard work hours like taking tuition-reimbursed college classes.
The Classic Center offers a variety of scholarships:
-The Cultural Foundation Grant Program: Awards grant funding up to $5,000 to support performing, visual, or culinary arts efforts, as well as workforce development initiatives aligning with the hospitality industry in Athens-Clarke County.
-The Paul T. Martin Hospitality Education Fund: Provides up to $25,000 to individuals interested in pursuing a career in hospitality, event management, music, or the sports management industry.
-Paul M. Cramer Hospitality Scholarship Fund: Exclusively reserved for employees of The Classic Center, this scholarship is a prime example of workforce development. This fund provides the opportunity for employees to start or continue their education in the areas of hospitality, music, sports, or event management.
What should I look for in a job?
Whether preparing to start a career, looking for a change, or seeking growth, there are some key things you can look for to see if your current or potential employer offers workforce development opportunities. Look on the company website or ask Human Resource Department during an interview what growth opportunities the company offers. Keywords like “workforce development,” “scholarships,” and “continuing education” are all helpful to look for. Remember, enthusiastic employees who are well-trained benefit the company, too, so don’t be afraid to express your interest!
Special thanks to all of The Classic Center’s partners in education: Chick-fil-A, The Georgia Club, Levy, Athens Community Career Academy, Athens Technical College, and UGA, who make these incredible initiatives possible.
Blog written by Destiny Cornelison