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Thursday, February 29, 2024

State of the Workforce virtual conference flips the script on ‘business as usual’

Rusty Skinner

Registration is now open for CareerSource Citrus Levy Marion’s 2021 State of Workforce Conference: Recover, Redesign, Rework.

The virtual conference is held in partnership with the Ocala Human Resource Management Association and takes place April 22 from 8 a.m. to noon.

Bringing together businesses, community and public partners, education leaders and HR professionals, the conference identifies ways the region’s businesses may begin to recover from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the workforce, redesign how the workplace may function moving forward, and rework ways to build the talent pipeline to meet in-demand and emerging needs.

In addition, the annual Bridging the Gap award will be presented to area businesses that have gone above and beyond to build the regional workforce by closing gaps in skills, training and opportunity.

Individual tickets are $25 and available at bit.ly/2021SOTW. Limited sponsorship opportunities are also available. For information, call (352) 840-5771 or 800-746-9950, ext. 2204.

The first workforce conference took place in 2019 and focused on helping businesses overcome tough and complex challenges in cultivating their talent pipeline. Workforce retention was the vision for the 2020 conference, which had to be sidelined due to the pandemic.

Rusty Skinner, CEO of CareerSource CLM, said that in working with OHRMA, it became clear that the conference should concentrate on ways businesses can emerge from the pandemic stronger than ever.

“In dealing with COVID-19, businesses were forced into a so-called new normal which today, for better or worse, requires companies of every size and every industry sector to rethink ‘business as usual,’” Skinner said. “Our goal with Recover, Redesign, Rework is to help the region meet our most pressing workforce development needs.”

Donna Healy Strickland, OHRMA board president, added that “it is incredible how we can adapt and make things work (even) as COVID-19 threw us into a new dimension … forcing many to pivot and juggle, becoming parent, teacher and star coworker.”

“As we advance, we do need the tools to handle our current workforce best,” Strickland continued. “I am looking forward to learning everything I can to make our employees better at their job and their home life.”

Conference speakers feature Matt Havens, nationally renowned generational and leadership expert; Adrienne Johnston, director of Workforce Services for the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity; Dr. William Beach, commissioner of Labor Statistics for the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics; and Chad Sorenson, president and founder of Adaptive HR Solutions, president of the HR Florida State Council and two-time past president of the Jacksonville chapter of the Society of Human Resource Management.

In addition to an overview of the State of the Workforce in Florida moving into 2021, the conference will cover:

  • Leveraging technology and new thinking to more efficiently conduct business;
  • Insight into who is telecommuting and how Working from Home impacts productivity;
  • How the economic collapse/recovery has affected different industry sectors unevenly and what that portends moving forward in the post-pandemic world;
  • Recommended training to manage and support teams that continue to work remotely or in hybrid workplace; and
  • Strategies to deal with emerging employee relations concerns.

The conference culminates with the Bridging the Gap awards. The inaugural recipients were Capris Furniture, Raney’s Truck Center, R+L Global Logistics and the Marion County Board of County Commissioners Fleet Management Department. They were honored for helping drive the success of the region’s locally based Commercial Driving Program offered by Marion Technical College.

Presenting sponsors for the 2021 virtual conference are Benefit Advisors and the Ocala/Marion County Chamber & Economic Partnership.

As the region’s recognized workforce leader, CareerSource Citrus Levy Marion collaborates with local economic development, education and community partners to develop world-class education/training and employment services to meet regional workforce needs.