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April 4, 2014

SDWP colleagues joined more than 1,300 members and staff of local workforce boards at NAWB Forum 2014, March 29–April 1, in Washington, D.C. The annual conference of the National Association of Workforce Boards (NAWB) brings together leaders in workforce development, economic development, education, business and industry. 

Mark Nanzer, director of the Adult Programs Team at SDWP, explained the event’s benefit to workforce professionals. “The Forum offered opportunities to gain the tools needed to lead our communities with cutting-edge workforce trends, and to collaborate with other professionals in order to better serve the needs of our customers,” he said.

Arianna Huffington—chair, president and editor-in-chief of Huffington Post Media Group—and Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin gave the event’s two keynote addresses. Huffington highlighted the exciting work being done by WIBs and underscored the importance of creating a manageable work/life balance that values employees. In her keynote, Gov. Fallin challenged other governors to get involved in state and local workforce boards. 

During a general session luncheon, Thomas Perez, Secretary of Labor for the U.S. Department of Labor, said he is optimistic for the U.S. workforce, but that workforce development professionals need to do a better job sharing the success stories of the American Job Centers, as they are “the emergency rooms for job seekers.” Nanzer said it was inspiring to hear Perez’s passionate advocacy for the value of workforce development systems, as SDWP’s adult team oversees San Diego’s 12 America’s Job Centers of California (AJCC), which serve 12,000-plus job seekers every year.

Another important forum highlight was the presentation of the W.O. Lawton Business Leadership Award to San Diego-based Qualcomm, which was nominated by SDWP President and CEO Peter Callstrom and represented at the event by Ed Hidalgo, Tyler Moore, Christi Cline and Vance Anderson. The award honors businesses that make the commitment of time, money and leadership to build their community’s workforce and economy and that goes above and beyond to be a full partner in their local WIB’s endeavors. Click here to learn more about the award.

This year’s event featured more than 80 sessions and workshops. Nanzer attended two sessions that he found particularly meaningful to SDWP’s local special populations. In one, he said, representatives from the Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration presented on the future of veterans’ service delivery. “I learned more about efforts to better support both transitioning service members and veterans,” he said. “It was encouraging to see the enhancements being made at the federal level that will better support the workforce development needs of transitioning veterans.”

The other session dealt with the successful connection of formerly incarcerated citizens to the workforce. “Panelists from the U.S Bureau of Prisons, and the Departments of Education and Health & Human Services discussed how this effort requires collaborative preparation from multiple agencies,” he said. “They discussed how they have collaborated at the federal level to provide occupational training, industry recognized credentials in demand industries, and supportive services to prepare returning citizens to compete in today’s workforce.”

For more about NAWB Forum 2014, visit

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