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  • Play ball! Workforce Board, guests get down to business

    About five dozen people representing the Pima County Workforce Investment Board (WIB), Community Services, Employment and Training (CSET), One-Stop partners and service providers, and key stakeholders huddled up and tackled the job of “Building a Winning Team” at a board retreat last month at the University of Phoenix.
    WIB retreat
    Attendees donned hats and shirts representing their favorite sports clubs to get into the spirit. “Head Coach” Aric Meares, chair of the Workforce Investment Board and executive vice president, Azbil North America, BioVigilant Division, offered an opening pep talk before Mark Vitale, WIB vice chair and campus and academic director at the University of Phoenix, got the games underway.

    The WIB is authorized by the U.S Department of Labor to provide recommendations on local workforce policy and oversight of the local workforce development system, better known as the ARIZONA@WORK Pima County One-Stop system. CSET administers the One-Stop system, which includes the two comprehensive job centers, 10 affiliate job centers, and 43 additional access points. Programs, activities, and services are offered to eligible adults, dislocated workers, youth, veterans and their spouses, and homeless individuals. 

    Meares said his goal for the retreat was to “come together as a team with a vision and strategy to fully engage board members.” To do that, an event planning committee designed team-building games so staff and board members could better understand the mission and vision for local workforce efforts.

    From "getting-to-know-you" BINGO and beach balls to a Title Partners Matching Game and Workforce JeoPARODY, the half-day retreat was filled with interaction between members, staff, and other workforce stakeholders. 

    For example, one game asked board members to ID which source of funding would best aid an individual client. The scenario-based game provided an opportunity to teach Board members complex lexicon based on actual client situations. 

     “The table-based teams really interacted with one another to come up with the best answer,” Vitale said.
    Arnold Palacios
    Staff members emphasized the importance of WIB members having a clear understanding of what the One-Stop and its partners and service providers do, since members are themselves employers facing the same workforce challenges that others in the community might encounter.

    “We encourage the employers that sit on the various Boards to utilize our services and encourage other employers within their communities to actively participate,” wrote one retreat participant. Added another: “We meet clients where they are and see past barriers to employment and treat everyone with the utmost dignity, compassion, and professionalism in assisting their efforts to overcome barriers.”
    After committees broke out to a board room setting, they came back to perform a team-based chant describing the purpose and importance of their committee and how it relates to the overall WIB team. 

    “We are now energized and motivated to participate in our committees knowing what’s ahead but also, who’s beside us,” Danielle Duarte, WIB planning committee chair and the talent acquisition director at Hospitality Staffing Solutions, said CSET Director Arnold Palacios closed the retreat by telling attendees they were already a part of a winning team. The Pima County WIB has met and often exceeded performance measures required by the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act. 

    “This means we rightfully deserve to give ourselves a hand but, we’re not stopping there; we will continue to be innovators and shine nationally,” Palacios said.

    Captions: (Top) Community Services staff, workforce partners and members of the Workforce Investment Board got into the team spirit at their half-day retreat.

    (Bottom) Community Services Director Arnold Palacios (right) with his predecessor, Charles Casey.
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