Ahead of the Curve?

A year ago, my life was filled with uncertainty. The nonprofit where I’d been for six years laid me off—not for performance issues or anything related to not doing my job—but because they no longer had the money to support someone who was really good at business development, partnership-building, and managing multiple projects. Continue reading

Art, not Science

I’m not a scientist. In fact, science and exactitude aren’t my strong suits.

I love ideas, and embrace the artistic side of things. Much of my life (even during this last decade of reinvention, since I began figuring things out) has been about simultaneously flying the plane while building it. That’s how books get published. Continue reading

Raging against the machine (not so much)

Corporations have become easy targets for criticism and even outrage. Railing against them has actually spawned a chic cottage industry with multiple offshoots and subsidiaries.

Corporations are first and foremost a business entity or construct. Possibly the most important aspect of this business structure is that corporations exist separate and apart from their owners.  We think of corporations as giant, impersonal behemoths; uncaring and unfeeling. Surprisingly, many corporations are quite small. Continue reading

Disability Mentoring Day 2012

Denise Smith delivers “Social Media & Your Job Search” at DMD 2012.

Readers following my blogging for the past few years know that I’m a passionate advocate for workforce development. That passion was kindled back in August, 2006. That’s when I accepted a position with the Central/Western Maine Workforce Investment Board.

A lot of water has gone under the bridge since then. At the end of June, I was laid off. I wasn’t sure where I’d end up and whether I’d be able to continue in the realm of workforce development or in some other capacity where I could leverage what I’d learned over the past six years. Continue reading

The aging workforce and disability

My background in workforce development makes me take the larger or holistic (a term I like to use) view about our workforce. Last week’s USBLN conference in Orlando was informative and I came away with a better understanding of the specifics of employment and other initiatives for people with disabilities. However, it was still important for me to come away with some “big picture” takeaways from the conference.

The issue of an aging workforce in America is a significant one. Interestingly, this doesn’t get talked about by the two candidates for president. Workforce issues have been airbrushed from the national debate, like many other important topics. Continue reading

Conferences come to an end

It’s hard to believe four days have gone by so fast. USBLN 2012 is now officially in the books.

As a BLN rookie, I didn’t know what to expect. My first thought when I found out shortly after being hired in August that I was going to a national conference was, “why Orlando?” I should have known not to be overly critical before arriving. Continue reading

Open to new ideas (USBLN2012)

[a “snapshot” of first full day at USBLN national conference–jb]

What happens when you are open to possibilities and selecting a pathway less traveled? You continue to learn new things, meet new people, and connect with others infused with passion.

I’m at USBLN’s 15th annual conference in Orlando. This year’s theme is “Disability Inclusion: Driving Success in a Competitive Business Environment.” As a new director for a brand new BLN affiliate up in Maine, I’m overwhelmed by everything there is to know and do.  This being my first conference related to disability issues, there are also so many new faces and interesting people that I want to have time to talk with and tap into their knowledge and expertise. I worry that I’ll run out of time. Continue reading

The state of Maine’s workforce

Tomorrow morning, I’m delivering a presentation to the Kennebec Valley Human Resources Association—in essence, my own “state of the state” on workforce development; it’s titled, “The State of Maine’s Workforce: An Update from the Trenches.”

For the past six years, I’ve been employed by the Central/Western Maine Workforce Investment Board. The Local Workforce Investment Boards, or LWIBs as they’re often referred to, channel the federal Workforce Investment Act (WIA) funds, appropriating them for training and aligning them where each regional LWIB thinks they will be the most effective. A large percentage of those funds support Maine’s One-Stop Career Centers, the bricks and mortar centers where job seekers and the unemployed access employment and career resources. There are 12 One-Stop Career Centers scattered across the state. Continue reading

Going with the flow

Too many people are fighting a battle they’re doomed to come out losers in—resisting change. Change is becoming like breathing—it’s automatic and we don’t even notice we’re doing it. We don’t fight breathing, yet we resist any sign that things are going to change.

There was a time when I hated change. I fought it, hoping things would return to “better” days. Now, I’m more selective in the battles I choose to wage.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m a sucker for nostalgia and “the good ‘ole days” like most people of a certain age. I like history, appreciate what life was like growing up in a small town, and I even drink Moxie. I even have a new book out about it. Yet, I’m trying to adapt, and get better at staying ahead of the curve, or at least not becoming an anachronism. I will also say, I’m not a fan of change for change sake, or always following the latest flavor of the month; just wanted to get that out there. Continue reading

Final wrap/PCNC 2012

As promised in an earlier post, I’m putting together a final wrap-up post from last week’s Project Compass National Convening, which took place at the Sheraton National, in Arlington, Virginia. The purpose of the two-day event, which gathered library professionals from all 50 states, was to continue the work begun in 2009, helping to shift mindsets and help build necessary skills and help libraries increase capacity in order to be key catalysts in America’s workforce recovery. Continue reading