With the launch of the newly titled WORKCON 2017 conference at the Hyatt Regency Orange County, CA partnerships and unified capacity was in the air for the three-day workforce conference. Conference attendees would all agree that we were truly at the Epicenter of California’s workforce movement.

One of the conference technology highlights was the new walk up and check in system by Active Events, this system quickly and efficiently checked in just over 510 conference attendees. Attendees walked up to a free-standing check in kiosk and with their cell phones called a number, this generated a quickly printed badge, and sent out a text link to the conference app by G*STARS. (The G*STARS app conference surveys close Tuesday, May 23rd http://workcon2017.gstars.net be sure to let us know how we did and what we can change) Gone are the days of long lines at the registration desk thanks to this new innovative check in technology.

With the quick and efficient check in conference attendees could quickly head off and attend the three diverse pre-con session that were being held. Next Generation Sector Strategies, What Workforce Staff and Employers Should Know about the ADA & California’s FEHA, and Apprenticeships: We Have Liftoff. You could see on the happy faces of those who attended the pre-cons sessions as they were heading into the Opening Session of WORKCON, that this conference was offering the capacity building components that all of California’s workforce partnerships are craving.
WORKCON 2017 offered partnership plenaries that spoke to all attendees from the first day of the conference to the closing plenary, California’s workforce call to action was heard loud and clear – Partnerships is key component to the success and survival of the workforce system as a whole.

The conference kicked off with the keynote address by Joe Xavier, Director, California Department of Rehabilitation – “Why It Matters”; Andrea C. Wade, Provost and Vice President for Academic Services, Monroe Community College, Rochester, New York – “Unlocking Social Mobility through Career Pathways”; Futurist Walter Di Mantova, Vice President, Powerminds Inc. – “The Six Words That We Should Use Again”; Friday mornings amazing plenary panel, Tim Rainey, Executive Director, California Workforce Development Board, Stewart Knox, Executive Director, Employment Training Panel, Bob Lanter, Executive Director, CWA, Anette Smith-Dohring, Workforce Development Manager, Sutter Health SSR Member, California Workforce Development Board; SETA Workforce Board; and Golden Sierra Workforce Board Session Moderator: John D. Baker, President, Core Factors; Principal Consultant, CWA; and the closing plenary by Larry Robbin, Robbin & Associates – “Moving Beyond the Status Quo” All of the plenary sessions were packed, each with a message of how partnerships as we know it must move beyond just acknowledging that they exist, to now go deeper into this relationship building to move all of California’s workforce systems to the next level of excellence.

CWA 1st Annual Meeting Meeting was held Thursday morning. Executive Director Bob Lanter shared what the California Workforce Association has been developing and coordinating this past year. CWA Members received the Annual Membership Report, as well as a copy of the Economic Prosperity Report. If you did not attend the conference and would like electronic copies of these documents please email us at info@calworkforce.org Subject Line: “Request for 1st Annual Membership Meeting Doc’s”.

The Charlie Brown Awards Luncheon mid-day the 2nd day of the conference, was hosted by our wonderful Master of Ceremonies Teresa Hitchcock, Chair of CWA Capacity Building Committee and the Executive Director of the Kern, Inyo Mono Counties Workforce Development Board. The luncheon was broken into three sections; Workforce Professional of the Year, Lifetime Achievement Award, and a Workforce Memorial.

The Charlie Brown Award was co-presented by Nick Schultz, Executive Director of Pacific Gateway Workforce Board and the award winner’s nominator Erick Serrato of Pacific Gateway. The 2017 Charlie Brown Workforce Professional of the Year was Ms. Alice Pitts, Program Specialist, from the Pacific Gateway Workforce Investment Network.

The California Workforce Association leadership comes together to review possible candidates to receive the Lifetime Achievement Award. For the first time ever, the prestigious award went to two individuals. The two individuals awarded have demonstrated extraordinary leadership in this profession and have impacted the State of California in extraordinary ways. Kathy Kossick, Executive Director of SETA, the Sacramento Employment and Training Agency announced Robin Purdy, Chief Deputy Director California Workforce Development Board (retired).

The second award winner was announced by Patrick Henning, the Director of the Employment Development Department, he announced Jose Luis Marquez, Chief, Workforce Services Division Employment Development (retired) as the second Lifetime Achievement Award winner.

The focus of the Conference was on the collaborations and partnerships at the Epicenter of these important collective efforts. These partnerships will provide pathways to prosperity for both workers and communities. WORKCON 2017 provided a vehicle for work, skills, innovations and competitiveness to collide. It acknowledged that we share a common purpose, though our roles and expertise vary. For all those who were at and supported the Epicenter we appreciate and value your partnership, we hope that you share your experiences and training with all staff who could not attend the conference – and strive to achieve deeper partnerships with all of California’s workforce in the year to come.

PowerPoint slides of the conference workshops / plenaries will be posted to the WORKCON 2017 webpage accessible from 05/22/2017 thru 07/07/2017 as well as some candid photos throughout the conference will be available.

The next CWA conference registration is open, Meeting of the Minds (MMM) will be celebrating its 20th Anniversary this conference, September 5th – 7th at the Monterey Marriott, Monterey, CA. Early Bird registration is now through COB July 21st. CLICK HERE FOR MMM INFO & REGISTRATION

Thank you to all our WORKCON 2017 conference attendees, presenters, sponsors, exhibitors and consultants!

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