Learning Objectives: In 2011, the Macon-Bibb County Local Workforce Investment Board (LWIB) hired its first professional workforce development director after it had been in existence for ten years. As the new director, Kathy Thompson believed the first priority was to create a team culture in the organization, gain support for her vision that focused on addressing employers workforce needs, and to develop relationships in the community with the Macon Chamber, economic development and education (secondary and postsecondary) partners. Kathy Thompson’s ASTD discussion will focus on how she transitioned the LWIB from low-performing to a high-performing organization that has garnered the support of employers and community partners through consistent positive outcomes.
Presenter: Kathy Thompson’s team-oriented and collaborative style of management is the product of 23 years of combined experience in workforce and economic development and postsecondary education. Kathy brings an intrinsic flair for innovation, creative problem solving, and measured risk-taking to drive consistent bottom-line improvements and stakeholder return. Her higher-order thinking and “no holds barred” approach to breaking through institutional memory and resistance to change propels others to optimal performance and organizational wellness. She solves problems, exceeds expectations, and ultimately grows organizations into powerful, productive, and responsive engines that drive and deliver results.
In July 2011, Kathy became the Executive Director of the Macon-Bibb County Workforce Investment Board, Inc. (MBWIB, Inc.). Within weeks, she found herself designing a renaissance strategy to transform MBWIB, Inc. into the next generation of regional workforce development:
- Grace under fire: Spokesperson for local workforce development office during a period of intense political scrutiny and media attention.
- Catalyst for change and Sustainability: Orchestrated sweeping organizational changes, including 501(c)3 incorporation; raised organizational viability by bringing innovative programmatic solutions to the forefront of crucial Executive Committee discussions.
- Joint Ventures and Alliances: Created the Business Service Center to maximize engagement and outcomes of strategic alliances between academia, industry, and business, improving responsiveness to workforce needs with employer programs and services that include Industry Sector Job Fairs, On-the-Job Training, and specialized recruitment and prescreening of job applicants.
- Building Productive Coalitions: 1) Rolled-out the Career Coach Program with the local schools as a resource-sharing partner, resulting in the expansion of program offerings to more target youth while containing costs; 2) Partnered with Central Georgia Technical College to launch “PowerUp,” a 6-month program that, upon completion, helps unemployed and unskilled high school drop outs achieve a GED and become work-ready.
In 2008, Virginia’s workforce delivery system was consolidated with the Virginia Community College System. Recognized for high-potential, Kathy was appointed Director of Postsecondary Education and Senior Workforce Analyst and her career took a ten-fold leap in responsibility as she led the way in creating a workforce system focused on skill development and training and demand-driven occupations. Kathy aptly built partnerships with the 23 community colleges in Virginia to implement career and technical education and worked with the 15 local workforce investment boards to create a seamless workforce delivery system throughout the state. Earlier, as Executive Policy Analyst with the Virginia Governor’s Office for Workforce Development (2006-2008), Kathy was charged with reforming the Virginia workforce delivery system to focus on employers and demand-driven jobs; to increase accessibility of high-wage jobs to low-income workers; and to strengthen the workforce by improving the quality of existing jobs.
Kathy’s career includes college-level teaching experience as a professor of political science at the University of Richmond, where she taught courses in public policy, public administration, leadership and women in politics with her research focused on workforce development and the intersection with economic development and education (secondary and postsecondary).
Kathy holds a Ph.D. in Public Policy and Administration from Virginia Commonwealth University, Center for Public Policy; a Master of Public Administration Degree from Auburn University; and a Bachelor of Science degree in Social Work from the University of Alabama.
Central Georgia Technical College
3300 Macon Tech Dr.
Building – I, 1st Floor, Room 102 Professional Development Center, Macon, GA 31206
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