SET Region Hires Work-Based Learning Coordinator

Written by Theresa Rose on June 22, 2017

MOUNT PLEASANT – The SET Region (Jefferson, Washington, Henry County) recently completed a strategic plan for this three-county region. One of the primary goals in that plan is to increase our future workforce and more specifically to address the skills gap in our region. Participants in the planning process believed that goal could be accomplished through a more efficient alignment of workforce efforts between K-12 and the business community to address our workforce gaps.

The SET Region Steering Committee is pleased to announce that Sarah Johnson has been hired to serve as a Work-Based Learning Coordinator through this process. Thanks to her extensive background in both education and the business community, we believe she is the ideal candidate to work directly with the schools as well as with business community to best identify the region’s needs and assist in developing a strong workforce pipeline.

The planning effort will include a research phase where Johnson will meet with area economic development organizations to research their level of commitment to workforce development. She will meet with Work-Based Learning coordinators, guidance counselors, Career & Technical Education instructors and other personnel to research all current programs offered in our schools. Johnson will be busy meeting with community college personnel charged with high school relations to research their current programs. Finally, she will spend time with parents and students to discuss their interest level in internships, job shadowing and future employment goals. Key throughout this entire process, Johnson will be meeting with area business leaders and human resource personnel to discuss their future workforce needs.

Once this research is complete, we hope to identify what structures are currently in place and what strengths we can be shared among the SET region. This plan will identify what barriers or challenges the region will face in recruiting a future workforce and will make specific recommendations to the SET region about how to proceed with future workforce initiatives.

The Work-Based Learning Coordinator position was made possible by $5,000 seed grant from the USDA. She will be hosted by the Fairfield Economic Development Association, the Mount Pleasant Area Chamber Alliance, and Washington Economic Development Group. The facilitator will be guided by a steering committee composed of members representing economic development organizations and educational institutions in the SE Iowa region.