ROCK SPRINGS – On March 11, ACT welcomed President Karla Leach of Western Wyoming Community College among its seven new advisory board members to help guide its national initiative, ACT Work Ready Communities.
Established in early 2012 and gaining momentum since then, the initiative is designed to empower states, regions and counties with data, process and tools to help drive economic growth. The advisory board is charged with leading a national effort to build a common framework that links education and workforce development, aligns workforce development with industry needs and matches individual skills with employer requirements. The stated goal of the advisory board is to build partnerships for community-based workforce development solutions through the involvement of the following stakeholders:
- Industry to help identify the foundations skills they need for a productive workforce
- Individuals who can better understand the skills needed by employers
- Policy makers interested in consistent measures of our nation’s skills gaps
- Educators so they have the tools to close skill gaps
- Economic developers to have an on-demand reporting tool to help market the local workforce to industries looking to expand, locate, or relocate businesses.
“I am both honored and excited to join this dynamic group of national leaders in business, industry, education, and public policy, as we seek to align workforce education standards and processes with the needs of the businesses and industries that employ America’s college graduates,” Dr. Leach said. “As President of Western Wyoming Community College, I have seen firsthand how our strong partnerships with regional industry have better positioned us to provide relevant and high-quality workforce training and education, resulting in better outcomes for students and employers. I look forward to working with the other members of this Board to advance the ACT Work Ready Communities initiative and achieve its important workforce-development goals.”
Joining Dr. Leach as a new member of the Board are:
- Barbara A. Bichelmeyer, PhD, Interim Chancellor, Indiana University
- Jeff Finkle, President, International Economic Development Council
- Dane Linn, Vice President, Business Roundtable
- Jane Oates, Vice President for External Affairs, Apollo Group, Inc. and former U.S. Assistant Labor Secretary
- Bill Thornton, President & CEO, Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce
- David R. Williams, Vice President of Utilities Services, Northwest Natural Gas Company
They join the following existing Board members who will continue to serve:
- Lesa J. Francis, President, CEO, and Director, Staffmark
- Michael D. Garrett, retired President & CEO, Georgia Power
- Jim Gibbons, President & CEO, Goodwill Industries International
- Ronald L. Johnson, Managing Director, Tennenbaum Institute of Enterprise Transformation and Professor of Practice, Industrial and Systems Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology
- Susan S. Lanigan, retired Executive Vice President and General Counsel, Dollar General
- Laurie S. Moran, President, Danville Pittsylvania County Chamber of Commerce
- The Honorable Sonny Perdue, former Governor of Georgia and Founding Partner, Perdue Partners, and former Chairman of the Advisory Board
- Hartley Powell, Principal, Global Location and Expansion Services, KPMG LLP, and new Chairman of the Advisory Board
- Neal Wade, Chairman, Public Affairs Research Council of Alabama and Executive Director, Bay Economic Development Alliance
ACT Vice President of Community and Economic Development Debra Lyons serves as executive director for the Board.
Seventeen states are actively engaged in the initiative designed to help economic developers quantify the skill level of a community’s and state’s workforce. Site Selection magazine uses data from the ACT Work Ready Community initiative website, which is refreshed monthly, in reporting an area’s workforce talent for its “Top Ten Most Competitive States” edition and its annual “State of States” analysis.