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August 31, 2016

Alex Becker is a Coordinator of Strategic Initiatives with the San Diego Workforce Partnership. Here he describes his role, discusses what he likes best about working in workforce development and shares one of his proudest professional moments. 

Tell us about your role at SDWP.

As the Coordinator of Strategic Initiatives at SDWP, my role is twofold. Primarily, I am responsible for identifying, coordinating and designing new programs opportunities from Federal, State, or local government agencies, corporations, and foundations. Innovating with new approaches to program design enables us to expand our training resources to prepare more job seekers for the workforce and serve the most in-need industries, populations and neighborhoods of San Diego.

Secondly, I work on interdepartmental projects to improve the efficiency of our internal processes, and those of our job centers. By modernizing how we invoice, contract and interact with other social service providers, SDWP can reallocate staff time away from painstaking administrative tasks and toward quality service delivery.

My auxiliary roles include: starting right-center fielder for SDWP’s softball team and part-time coffee brewer for the Adult Programs department.

What do you like best about working in workforce development?

Often when I’m looking out of our break room window or sitting in traffic, I wonder: what is everyone doing? Humans spend a significant portion of their lifetime working, and whether we like it or not, employment is a key factor in how we define each other’s roles within society and how we relate to one another. On a larger scale, national and global economic and workforce trends narrate the values and goals of our civilization – what do we spend our resources producing? Why?

What I love about workforce development is that we are at the forefront of understanding and answering these questions. It is our responsibility to help job seekers find purpose and provide them the skills to achieve it and, in so doing, shape the direction of our regional economy. Learning about the innumerable career pathways, companies, and industries and finding ways for the workforce development system to improve its service delivery is fascinating and challenging work, but ultimately, it is the task of helping others find a purpose that is very meaningful to me.

What professional moment or project are you most proud of?

I worked on a proposal this past spring that awarded SDWP one year of consulting services to prepare the organization for implementing pay-for-performance contracting, also known as Pay for Success (PFS). Under PFS contracting, service providers receiving funds from SDWP will be rewarded for meeting established performance benchmarks, thereby directing more funds to job centers that provide the most effective employment services. I am now in charge of working with the consultants over the next year to roll out a blueprint for SDWP’s first PFS contract. Implementing PFS will be a radical change in how we distribute funds and measure our impact, and I am proud to be contributing to these efforts.

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