Thank you for your membership in NAWDP! I’m excited to share video that talks a bit more about my vision for NAWDP and our field. Please take a look. For more information about me, you can follow me on Twitter at @rkkusner or check out my firm’s website at www.R4workforce.com. This video won’t win any Academy Awards, but I do hope it’ll win your vote.
Nominee Bio- I am a consultant with experience as a practitioner, researcher, and advocate. In 2017, I launched R4 Workforce; I have managed national projects, researched state policy, and led WIA funded programs. I have been an Aspen Institute Job Quality Fellow and Marano Fellow and my work has been recognized by Crain's, OEDA, and TeamNEO. I am a current NAWDP Rep. I have a BA from Ohio Wesleyan and MPA from Cleveland State with a Certificate in Economic Development. Full bio at www.r4workforce.com.
What is your vision for the workforce development profession? Even before Covid-19 the nature of work was changing. Our field should grow to include multiple systems and evolve to offer innovations in programming. We have opportunities to innovate and ensure our systems work for everyone—mitigating racial disparities in education, employment, and earnings is critical to our collective progress. We must come together to tackle these and other pressing issues. I am eager to be a part of charting that course.
Do you have a particular interest area or passion in workforce development? Three priority areas: 1) public policy—using practitioner expertise to inform public officials so they set policy and build systems that equip our practitioners with the tools and resources they need; 2) job quality—good jobs matter as much as good job-seekers and it’s time to balance discussions about the nature of work and reward good companies; 3) equity—across Ohio, different people see different outcomes by race, geography etc. and I want to work towards equitable access to opportunity.
Why do you want to serve on the Board? I joined the NAWDP Board in 2017 to build capacity in the field, inform the future of workforce development, and infuse new ideas and energy into the profession. I have spent the past three years building my knowledge of NAWDP and watching the organization grow and evolve. I’m energized by the election of our new Board Chair and I’m excited about new members. We have new momentum with a great team in place and I’d like to continue contributing to it.
What do you think is the biggest challenge facing the profession today and how can NAWDP address that challenge? Covid-19 has caused unemployment to skyrocket and shifted how practitioners can respond to the needs of businesses and job-seekers. How we recruit, train, match, and coach has changed overnight. It has also highlighted disparities and
holes in our safety net. NAWDP can address these issues by 1) supporting front-line staff with networking and best practices; 2) pushing new ideas and innovation; and 3) building bridges to national partners so we can join forces to
grow new workforce solutions.