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Lesa Francis Joins National Workforce Solutions Advisory Board

02/28/2012

CINCINNATI, OH – February 28, 2012 – Lesa Francis, President and CEO of Staffmark, has joined the National Workforce Solutions Advisory Board as a founding member.

Accompanied by other leaders from economic development, education, industry, nonprofit, public policy and workforce development, Francis participated in the board’s inaugural meeting in Washington on January 23 to discuss the state of the U.S. workforce and solutions for economic growth and competitiveness in the 21st Century.

Sponsored by ACT, Inc., the National Workforce Solutions Advisory Board is charged with leading a national effort to build a common framework for workforce development that links education and workforce development, aligns workforce development with industry needs, and matches individual skills with employer requirements. Francis will be responsible for working with other board members to build partnerships for community-based workforce development solutions where:

  • Business and industry can identify the foundational skills they need for a productive workforce and can easily communicate their needs;
  • Individuals understand what skills are required by employers and what they need to do to prepare themselves for success;
  • Policy makers can consistently measure the skills gap at the national, state and local levels;
  • Educators have the tools to close the skills gap, and their tools are integrated into career pathways with stackable industry-recognized credentials; and
  • Economic developers have an on-demand reporting tool to market the quality of their workforce.
“I am honored to be a founding member of this board,” said Francis. “As business leaders and educators, it is our responsibility to work together to ensure we are creating a strong, skilled workforce positioned for success.”

The Board’s inaugural chairman is the Honorable Sonny Perdue, Governor of Georgia from 2003 to 2011, whose vision to link education and workforce development together at the state and community level led to the creation of Georgia Work Ready, which included Georgia’s innovative Certified Work Ready Communities model. As chairman, Governor Perdue will moderate a series of discussions and presentations which will focus on the question: How do we take the national need for a common platform and maximize the use of the Certified Work Ready Communities initiative to address this challenge?

“We sought to create this independent advisory board based on our research, which shows the need to intensify national efforts to improve and validate the skills of our current and prospective workforce in order to close the gap between skill demand and supply,” said Martin Scaglione, president of ACT’s Workforce Development Division. “Through our sponsorship of this board, we are able to impact the skills gap by providing guidance and oversight to the ACT Certified Work Ready Communities initiative.”

Additional board members include:

Alex Belous
Education and Health Strategy Manager, Cisco
Laurie Moran
Chair, National Association of Workforce Boards
Ronald Bullock
Chairman, Bison Gear & Engineering Corp.
Cheryl Oldham Vice President, Institute for a Competitive Workforce, U.S. Chamber of Commerce
Mike Garrett
Retired CEO, Georgia Power
Hartley Powell
National Practice Leader for Site Selection, KPMG
Jim Gibbons
CEO, Goodwill Industries International, Inc.
Martin L. Scaglione
President, Workforce Development Division, ACT
Major General Ronald L. Johnson (retired)
Senior Vice President, Referee Operations, NBA
Tom Snyder President, Ivy Tech Community College
Susan S. Lanigan
Executive Vice President and General Counsel, Dollar General
Neal Wade
Senior Vice President of Economic Development, The St. Joe Company
Dr. Joseph May, Chancellor
Louisiana Technical College System
 


In January, ACT announced the selection of four states—Kentucky, Missouri, Oregon and South Carolina—to participate in ACT Certified Work Ready Communities, a workforce development initiative designed to assist states with a community-based approach in developing their workforce pipeline to provide skilled workers for employers. As part of the program, key leaders from each state will participate in ACT’s Certified Work Ready Communities Academy, a twelve-month executive training program designed to guide state leadership teams through successful start-up and deployment of a statewide Certified Work Ready Communities initiative. The Academy consists of four three-day, on-site meetings with monthly conference calls in between. The Academy kicks off in Atlanta, Georgia in February. As states ramps up their involvement in 2012, individual communities will have the opportunity to earn Certified Work Ready Community status by implementing these key components:
  • Encouraging individuals to earn a National Career Readiness Certificate;
  • Improving or maintaining high school graduation rates, and;
  • Building business recognition and support in the initiative.
About Staffmark
Staffmark is one of the top ten commercial staffing companies in the United States, and has been in business over 40 years. Headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio, Staffmark operates over 280 locations, providing staffing solutions across a comprehensive range of disciplines. In 2011, Staffmark became a part of Recruit Co., Ltd. To find out more about Staffmark, please go to www.staffmark.com.

About ACT
Founded in 1959, ACT is a not-for-profit public trust headquartered in Iowa City, Iowa, and dedicated to helping people achieve education and workplace success. ACT provides a broad array of assessment, research, information and program management solutions in the areas of education and workforce development. Each year, ACT serves millions of people — nationally and internationally — in middle and high schools, colleges, professional associations, businesses and government agencies. Find out more at www.act.org.

For more information on the Certified Work Ready Communities initiative, please visit http://workreadycommunities.org. For more information on all of ACT’s workforce solutions, please visit http://act.org/workforce.

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Staffmark Contact
Andrea Edwards
501.235.1220 office
501.258.4042 cell
andrea.edwards@staffmark.com

ACT Contacts
Katie Wacker, ACT Media Relations
katie.wacker@act.org
319.337.1013

Chris Baucom, Community and Economic Development, ACT Workforce Development Division
chris.baucom@act.org
319-333-8647