The Changing Face of the Public Workforce System

I learned a new word yesterday: Rubicon.

Rubicon is a river in northeastern Italy and holds historical significance as the river crossed by Julius Caesar in 49 BC, a forbidden act at the time that led to civil war within the Roman Empire. It also means point of no return, and it’s that definition that makes the word relevant to this post.

The public workforce system is in the middle of a redefinition; one might even say at its Rubicon. The system as a whole is quickly approaching the critical point where it either re-invents itself or risks becoming irrelevant and/or redundant to employers and job seekers. And specific to that Rubicon, I was fortunate earlier this week to sit in on a presentation given by two Texas workforce boards who excitedly talked about how they’re reinventing themselves in ways that matter to their customers.

Workforce Solutions Southeast Texas (@SETWorks) and Workforce Solutions Lower Rio Grande (@WFSolutions) talked passionately about implementing things like Live Chat, mobile applications, social media, job mapping, customer service tools, push notifications, and more. And even more exciting than the presentation was the electricity the conversation generated in the room. All the things discussed were low or no cost solutions, and in most cases easy to implement: Real solutions that solve real problems in realistic and tangible ways, at a time when, now maybe more than ever, is exactly what the public workforce system needs.

There are far too many good things being done by workforce boards across Texas, and the nation, to relate here. I encourage you to reach out to your nearest office or board and tell them what you need, or let us know via a comment to this blog. As we approach our Rubicon, what do we have to get right to ensure the public workforce system is providing real solutions that matter to and benefit you? We’d love to hear your thoughts.

2 thoughts on “The Changing Face of the Public Workforce System

  1. Gerry Fluharty May 7, 2013 / 7:19 pm

    Crossing the Rubicon – an apt description of the workforce system’s place in today’s wired world. However, upon looking at the list of implemented tools, I could not help but think that Greg Newton has had his hand in the mix with his current workshop topics since item by item they compare with the topics he discussed at Central Texas. I’m not being dismissive – I’ve been a Newtonion for many years.

    I’m also always impressed with the tools available through the Internet and know that some of those mentioned add value to our operations. However, I would like to caution, from experience, that merely adding the tools does not create miracles, but they must constantly be tendered, adjusted, and evaluated – taking a lot of dedicated staff time (which is in short supply) and effort.

    Just looking at Facebook statistics alone, (including TWC’s) show some not so promising results. Unless dedicated, knowledgeable staff (which usually come with a hefty price tag) is utilized, results will never be what is hoped for and anticipated. Too many organizations will depend on staff that tend to come and go for these procedures – increasing needed training time and losing accumulated company wisdom. While tools are fine and (admittedly) fun, a concerted Customer Relationship Management system would add more worth to our customer’s service experience.

    But, as my co-workers will be glad to attest to, I’ve been wrong before. The real test will come after these tools have been in place for 6 months or so. Do the cutomers utilize them? Do the customers even know they are there? Yes – I know – time will tell !


  2. Scott Eychner May 7, 2013 / 7:57 pm

    Thank you for your comments.


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