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January 7, 2016

SDWP’s Rapid Re-Employment for Dislocated Workers project was selected as a winning proposal to be presented at the White House Learning Exchange and Celebration on February 16, 2016. Of the 80 teams who entered this challenge, SDWP is one of only 10 teams selected for this final phase.

Each proposal was evaluated by a team of workforce professionals from multiple agencies including the U.S. Department of Labor, U.S. Department of Education, and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in five categories — coursework, partnership, participation, project proposal and sustainability strategy.

“Our team is excited to have been selected to share our customer-centered design project at the White House,” says Kelley Ring, SDWP Senior Business and Research Analyst. “Through this effort, we learned a lot about designing a program based around the needs of the customer — in this case, businesses looking to hire workers. This wouldn’t be possible without the help of the employers we interviewed and observed, and our business services and communications teams at SDWP. They helped us coordinate the prototype of our ‘product,’ which helped make it a success as well.”

The three-person team started the project with a 7-week course from that taught them the process of creating customer-centered solutions. The result was the innovative Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) Expo — a response to pending layoffs at one of San Diego’s largest ICT companies. Following the Customer-Centered Design process, SDWP interviewed employers, conducted site visits, had brainstorming sessions and enlisted new partners with fresh ideas. “We originally wanted to plan a job fair, but we knew from our interviews with employers that job fairs don’t work, and that job fairs don’t serve ICT professionals well,” says Ring. “Instead, we planned the ICT Industry Expo.”

The networking event was held after business hours at a local microbrewery located in Sorrento Valley, San Diego County’s ICT hub. Employers hiring within the sector were asked to participate. The team invited ICT workers facing layoffs using an electronic RSVP and résumé collection system. The expo allowed ICT employers to assess soft skills of qualified job candidates in a casual, relaxed environment over a cold brew, creating the “not a job fair” feel the team’s customer-centered approach was going for.


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