A vision continues for CareerSource Suncoast

June 9, 2014 

Mary Helen Kress, column sig photo

My career in Florida's workforce system for nearly 50 years has been both exciting and rewarding. Thinking back, many changes have taken place over the years for regional workforce boards, and the way we do business today is different from years ago. In my early years as a state employee, our focus was on-the job and classroom training. Our performance was not based on the number of people we placed in employment, rather it was built upon job seekers who had skills training and the opportunity to be hired first. If they met the employer's need, they had a job.

If I were to fast forward my career to the present, I am now an Executive Consultant for CareerSource Suncoast after retiring from the organization June 1 as President and CEO. My vision for the organization has focused on innovative ways to streamline operations, reduce costs and better serve customers.

In 2008, that vision became reality when the Florida Legislature enacted law that allowed regional workforce boards the option to move from being a fiscal and administrative agency to a direct provider of services. By doing so, CareerSource Suncoast realized $300,000 in savings per year. That savings was used to form a new team of workforce professionals to connect businesses to workforce solutions. The organization developed into a business-driven, collaborative entity that aligned itself with the strategies of local economic development organizations and the state's workforce agency, CareerSource Florida. Those partnerships, among others, strengthened the ability to leverage resources and synergies to serve area businesses and training opportunities for productive employment.

It is envisioned that the good work being done today will carry on. CareerSource Suncoast Board of Directors, community partners and staff have every confidence that they will continue to be recognized for best practices considered the best among the regional workforce boards in the state of Florida.

Mary Helen Kress, an executive consultant for CareerSource Suncoast, wrote her last column this week. Ted Ehrlichman, current President and CEO of CareerSource Suncoast, was appointed to his position on June 1, 2014.

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