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February 24, 2022

Meet data analyst Melinda Jackson. As a data analyst, Melinda uses information collected about our participants and programs to gain insight on the impact, success and gaps of our program designs. Melinda told us about some of the pros and cons of working remotely, her favorite part of working in workforce development and how she spends her free time.

How has your work changed during the pandemic? 

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As a data analyst, telecommuting is not a whole lot different than being in the office. Quick internet speeds and enough screen real-estate to have all of your applications visible is really the foundation of a good work space. The biggest shift in my work due to the pandemic is related to meetings. I’m a person who really enjoys the opportunity to whiteboard an idea, or use post-it notes to layout logic or priorities. I used to share an office space with a co-worker that I have so much respect for, and he and I would debate ideas and use whiteboards in our office space to think through complex calculations and scenarios. While some of that functionality does still exist in our virtual meeting spaces, there’s just something so satisfying about using dry-erase board markers, and erasing ideas and rewriting wording, or moving a post-it physically from column to column that’s not quite the same online. But, I will say this for online meetings, I believe there’s been an additional value added from being able to interact both verbally and by written communication in chats. For those of us that can feel intermittent anxiety when about to speak in a group setting, having the option to share an idea by typing it out has really allowed us to feel more included in meetings.

What do you like best about working in workforce development? 

After working in workforce development for almost 14 years now, I would say my favorite part is knowing that we are having a positive impact throughout our community through the programs that we offer. Assisting people to find employment, access training or get connected to education helps families find stability, individuals find purpose, and instill hope into the community. While my position as a data analyst doesn’t involve me directly providing services to people, I’m fulfilled knowing that our data analytics allows for more strategic programming and better stewardship of our resources for those in need.

What do you enjoy doing when you’re not working? Any new hobbies since we started working from home? 

I love spending time with my kids. If I’m not working, I’m with them at their soccer games, basketball games, baseball games, you name it! Working from home inspired us to be more intentional about adventuring around our beautiful city. In the last couple of years we’ve taken up hiking all around the county, and I finally had the opportunity to teach my kids how to ride a bike! We had our first successful camping trip last summer and look to repeat the experience sometime this year.

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