Lessons From Chef Gary

Lessons From Chef Gary

Lessons from chef gary

Remembering gary williams

By JR Robinson

This article is brought to you by Krewe of DeJavu Check out their menu!

Bradley Whitford

“Infuse your life with action. Don’t wait for it to happen. Make it happen. Make your own future. Make your own hope. Make your own love. And whatever your beliefs, honor your creator, not by passively waiting for grace to come down from upon high, but by doing what you can to make grace happen yourself, right now, right down here on Earth.”

This was the Chef Gary I knew, he was a guy that never waited on God. He did the work, he gave the help, he shared a meal, he loved the Saints, he shared joy, he inspired others to act, and God followed up with blessings. Chef Gary would not want me to be writing this from a place of sadness. Instead he would want this written with the joy that was his life. So instead of writing a tribute to Chef Gary, I decided to just share with you some of what Gary taught me in our many conversations.

Joy is Always in Season

Chef Gary had struggles like we all do, but I never saw it. I knew they were there. He would share things about cash flow issues, taxes, and health. But it was never in a “woe is me” spirit. Gary always had that smile on his face that said, right now this is a season of Joy. If there was one take away that I want to carry fourth from knowing Chef Gary, this is on the top ten list. Joy is always the best choice, no matter what you are going through.

You can Always Give

Giving is one of those things that seemed like it was built into the DNA of Chef Gary. Even on his most difficult of days, his giving spirit was on display in some shape of form. Gary was cooking a meal for someone or donating to a cause. The word no when it came to giving was almost not there at all. I was had first hand experience seeing Chef Gary helping someone when I knew he could not afford to be giving on this day. But not having was never a reason for not giving. Chef Gary did not give to be seen giving, he gave because it was the right thing to do and he believed that God would help him to continue to give. So life could have been one of extravagant living for Chef Gary, but instead he lived a life of exceptional giving!

Start at Home

Gary was a big supporter of the African American Community. He personally hosted multiple events for the Heal the Hood Foundation. Over the years and over many lunches, Gary talked about the importance of the African American Community working together as a group instead of pulling each other down. This isn’t a thought that Gary just talked about, his everyday was devoted to lifting up others in his community and being a role model was important. The Gary view of being a role model was a sincere role of just living the best life you could and allowing that example to lift others. He did not wake up in the morning with an attitude of “I want people to look at me”. Instead he simply lived a life worth looking at.

Your Brothers & Sisters Come in all Colors

Gary‘s support of the African American Community did not come at the expense of any other community. There was not a racial divide with Chef Gary, Hayden Parsons a local white boxer and community supporter refers to Chef Gary as Uncle Gary. Why? Because Gary loved everyone, he wanted to help everyone and it did not matter your race, religion, or community standing. For the Chef, sharing a great meal with a smile, an exchange of ideas and a few belly laughs was an inherent right for all of us! We are all brothers and sisters. This is how he wanted everyone to see the world.

You have to Eat

One lesson Chef Gary shared was that you have to take care of yourself. He was always asking how Sky was doing? If you followed him on Facebook, you could see that he wanted to best for his grand kids and wanted to leave them with something great. He wanted me to do the same for Sky. He also wanted this for the families he served. Gary knew that I under charged for services. He knew that I let clients not pay at times if they were struggling. But he would say, Jerome you got to Eat. He was trying to tell me that if I didn’t take care of myself, I wouldn’t be able to take care of others. I think he was passionate about this with me because he had first-hand experience giving to others and helping others while putting his needs on the back burner. I haven’t completely learned this lesson yet, and I am not sure that Chef Gary ever did either.

Live a Life Worth Sharing

A friend of mine said something powerful at his grandfather‘s funeral. He said that the greatest lesson from his grandfather‘s life was that he died empty, because he accomplished everything he wanted, with no regrets. I think that, along with leaving a legacy, would be the greatest sign of success.

936 Florida Street Memphis, Tennessee 38106
Krewe Of DeJavu, and Executive Chef Gary WIlliams, bring you Culture of New Orleans. Stop by Memphis for Creole, Soulfood Vegetarian & Vegan.

HOURS

11-4 M-F
11-5 Saturday
CLOSED SUNDAY

Marvin Sapp

“It was 12:31 at night and something woke me up. I grabbed my phone like I always do and there was a message on Facebook from Kelly Price with a picture of Chef Gary. I didn’t know how to process it. I sat up and read it again. I thought, I am not reading this correctly. Once It was clear what was being said, I still thought there was something incorrect. But within minutes, I could see that this was not an error. Chef Gary Williams had died. This was a shock to my system. I talk to Gary all the time. I see him at all the big events helping the community. We had just interviewed him a couple weeks ago. But then I remembered this scripture from the bible.”

“Because time and unforeseen occurrence befall them all.”
Ecclesiastes 9:11.

Chef Gary‘s life was never going to be finished. There was never going to be a day where he was done helping others. Why? Because there was no end to the goodness and the willingness to help others. His heart just was not made with limits on love, giving, support, and joy. So death may have taken him, but his legacy will always be here. Chef Gary lived a life worth sharing. Take a look across Facebook and Instagram and you will see an out pouring of support from people who’s lives have been touched by this great man. In death, Chef Gary has reminded me to live a life worth sharing. We can’t see what will happen after we are gone. So live your greatness today!

Ecclesiastes 3: 20 – 23.

All are going to the same place. They all come from the dust, and they all are returning to the dust. 21 Who really knows whether the spirit of humans ascends upward, and whether the spirit of animals descends down to the earth? 22 And I saw that there is nothing better than for a man to find enjoyment in his work, because that is his reward; for who can enable him to see what will happen after he is gone?

A Message to His Family

The pain of your loss will not soon fade. The loss of Gary as a husband, a father, a grand father, and as a friend is a great loss. He leaves a void that simply can’t be filled. So I encourage you to embrace his example. Love life everyday, find your greatness and share it with the world, laugh everyday, smile everyday, cheer on the saints, see others for who they are capable of being and not as they appear today, give to others, love everyone, and most of all never forget all those special moments you shared with Gary. I want to leave one last thought with you. My mother died of Cancer, she hated that she could not do the things she once did. So I read this verse to her many times. It was a reminder that God never forgets the greatness of your works. Chef Gary was an amazing man who gave when he didn’t have it to give. That is the man that God remembers. I hope that is how you will remember him also!

Hebrews 6:10 King James Version:


For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have shewed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister.

S. Thornton

Always helping others, always ready to donate his time, always a friend to everyone! We will miss you next year at MMIM! One of a kind! #ChefGary

M. Elmore

Met him in the airport before he opened DeJaVu. New Orleans connected. Wonderful man. Shared what he had with others. He will be missed. #ChefGary

D. Thompson

Always smiling, such a wonderful man! #ChefGary

D. Bailey

Gonna miss that Positive Energy#ChefGary

E. Allen

You will be missed #ChefGary

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Patriot Village’s Capital Campaign Kickoff

Patriot Village’s Capital Campaign Kickoff

Patriot village

Capital Campaign Kickoff

By Madeline Phillips

This article is brought to you by Krewe of DeJavu Check out their menu!

Local Effort Underway to Build Affordable Housing for Veterans

Col. Concon has joined forces with other like-minded people who shared a desire to help homeless veterans. A group of concerned citizens, many who are veterans or their relatives, are leading an effort to build affordable housing in Shelby County.  Our group is growing, and we extend an invitation for others to join the family and help us provide the much-needed affordable housing for veterans of all eras.
“We know this is a real challenge for our group.  PVVH is advocating as stated in our mission to help housing challenged veterans. The need is so great and within the City of Memphis, PVVH is the only organization striving to create permanent veteran housing for the 50,000 eligible veterans in West Tennessee in need of affordable shelter and support services,” said Col. Darwin Concon, founder Patriot Village Veteran Housing, Inc.  
It will cost $39 million to construct the residential community and pay for the first year’s operating costs.  After that, housing vouchers and other benefits will keep the project self-sustaining. The group plans to visit government leaders, charitable foundations, businesses, civic and community groups to generate awareness and seek donations. We will seek funding for separate parts of the projects which will allow contributors to donate individual houses, buildings, even windows and doors.
“We want government leaders to realize the economic benefits of having this housing development located in our community.  The 250 veteran houses plus seven buildings with support services is a $39 million project that will create approximately 342 full-time construction jobs per year. Once opened, employees and the vendors that supply the community will certainly provide a boost the local economy.  That could be more than $7 million annually,” added Col. Concon.
Join us December 6, 2018 6-9pm at
East Tapas 6069 Park Ave
Memphis TN
for our Capital Campaign Kickoff
Please visit our website www.patriotvillagehousing.org for more information on ways to help this worthwhile cause or call Madeline Phillips at (901) 233-7673.

936 Florida Street Memphis, Tennessee 38106

Krewe Of DeJavu, and Executive Chef Gary WIlliams, bring you Culture of New Orleans. Stop by Memphis for Creole, Soulfood Vegetarian & Vegan.

HOURS

11-4 M-F
11-5 Saturday
CLOSED SUNDAY

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Memphis Grizzlies nominated for 33rd Annual Mid-South Emmy Awards

Memphis Grizzlies nominated for 33rd Annual Mid-South Emmy Awards

Memphis grizzlies

NOMINATED IN FOUR CATEGORIES for the 33rd Annual Mid-South Emmy Awards

This Article is brought to you by Absolute Moving Services. Click to request a quote!

MEMPHIS GRIZZLIES NOMINATION

Memphis, Tenn. – The Nashville/Mid-South Chapter of The National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (NATAS) have announced that the Memphis Grizzlies have been nominated in four categories for the 33rd Annual Mid-South Emmy Awards.

The Grizzlies, Grind City Media and Creative Video Lead and Senior Producer Michael Blevins along with Stef Allen, Erik Honeycutt, Samuel Edwards and Avery Franklin were nominated for their work on “Beyond Grit” in the Entertainment category and their “MLK 50: In Memphis and the NBA” for Best Historic/ Cultural Program Feature.
In addition, Blevins has been nominated in the Best Editor/Short Form category along with Best Promo Spot/Sports for his work on the “Zach Randolph Tribute Video.” This marks Blevins’ 17th Emmy nomination.
The Memphis Grizzlies have won 10 total Emmy awards, and with this year’s four honors, the Grizzlies now stand at 50 total Emmy nominations. The 33rd Mid-South Regional Emmy Awards will be held on Saturday, February 16, 2019.
Fans who want to support the Memphis Grizzlies and purchase 2018-19 Season Tickets or 10-Game Flex Packs can do so now by calling (901) 888-HOOP or going online togrizzlies.com/tickets. Single Game Tickets are also available for purchase at the FedExForum Box Office, all Ticketmaster locations, Ticketmaster.com, online atgrizzlies.com/tickets or by calling 1-800-4NBA-TIX.  For more information on the Grizzlies, visitgrizzlies.com, ‘like’ Memphis Grizzlies on Facebook or follow on Twitter and Instagram (@memgrizz).
ABOUT THE NASHVILLE/MID-SOUTH CHAPTER


The Nashville/Mid-South Region, founded in 1984, encompasses the States of North Carolina (except Asheville) and Tennessee, and the television market of Huntsville, Alabama. In addition to granting the Mid-South Regional Emmy® Awards, the chapter awards scholarships, honors quarter-century industry veterans with the Silver Circle, conducts Regional Student Television Awards of Excellence for high schools, has a free, nationwide Job Bank, provides member discounts, and participates in judging Emmy entries at the regional and national levels.

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MWBE Program Rigged?

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We believe there is an amazing story just waiting to be told inside everyone.  Stories that inspire change, ideas, and action.  Some stories are painful, some are fun, and others are life changing.  BeAmazing and share your story today on JustMy!

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MWBE Program Rigged?

MWBE Program Rigged?

MWBE Program rigged?

By Joe B. Kent

Addressing economic growth starts with black small business and workforce development in Memphis. Memphis has an abundance of governmental and nonprofit programming to address local challenges but if its rigged; it won’t work. So, is the City of Memphis’ MWBE program rigged? One anonymous local MBE contractor thinks so.

The African American contractor points to 3 primary reasons they feel the City of Memphis MWBE program is rigged against African American, smaller non-establishment players:

1. The combining of MBE and WBE contracting to satisfy local MWBE requirements. The contractor says that WBEs often serve as façade for local establishment players to exploit the MWBE provision resulting in the same establishment players getting MWBE business. The contractor advocates for separating MBE and WBE goals.

2. Bonding provision for anything over $150K on the $175M Cook Convention Center project. The contractor states that the bonding requirement is exclusionary for smaller less established African American business. The contractor provides a solution in the form of an insurance policy that acts as a bond which smaller contractors will more likely qualify. The insurance approach is used in other cities on large projects.

3. Excessively large contracting packages on the Cook Convention Center project that smaller contractors can’t handle. The contractor advocates for breaking contracting opportunities down into smaller packages so that more MBEs can participate.

The contractor also shared concerns of getting “the back and forth” between City Officials and those involved in managing the Convention Center bid process regarding contracting issues as well as the same MBE establishment players getting excessive amounts of minority business. The contractor fears other contractors may be masquerading as WBEs for continued participation in MWBE programming.

Having done work across the country, the highly qualified contractor feels embraced in other communities. Other communities need this contractor and this contractor needs them. But that feeling does not exist for this contractor in their home of Memphis which is discouraging for this contractor. The contractor knows that if current rigged trends continue, it will further decimate African American business in Memphis.

If the MWBE requirements for the largest City of Memphis project in over a decade are any indication of a desire to grow, then the local establishment probably doesn’t want to grow. Given the already concerning data trends, this won’t be good for Memphis.

 

Does Memphis Want To Grow?

Does Memphis want to grow ? It’s a question that does not need to be asked in most cities. But it’s a legitimate question given the data, the self-inflicted wounds by the establishment, the lack of course correction, the rigged state and the over-abundance of ineffective governmental and nonprofit programming to address local challenges.

In order to address Memphis economic development challenges, the city will need to be derigged. By definition, system rigging guts system vitality required for growth. Signs of a rigged system are evident in Memphis trend line declining small business vitality data and can be directly linked to the Memphis Tomorrow CEO organization largely taxpayer funded Fast Forward project.

Since the Memphis Tomorrow birthed Economic Development Growth Engine (EDGE) started their retention payment-in-lieu of taxes PILOT program that prioritizes incentives for corporate interests, small business vitality has declined to last in the country. In fact, according to data from the American City Business Journal, the Memphis MSA lost 923 small business establishments between 2012-17 which can be shown to cost 13,588 jobs, $680M in lost wages and $20M in lost Memphis / Shelby tax revenue. The price of a rigged system is high!


Economic development in Memphis starts with black small business growth and workforce development. No rigged system in the world is going to fix that. These trend lines signal a need for culture change which points to system derigging while prioritizing the needs of customer taxpayers.

 

Conclusion

A rigged system doesn’t work in a competitive global economy. Current trends indicate a Crump like culture of times gone by that leverage large sums of government funds for the small few in social elites and developers. System derigging and cultural transformation, starting at the top, appear to be the only path forward for Memphis. A closed rigged system just won’t work.

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MWBE Program Rigged?

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National Stand Beside Her Week 2018

National Stand Beside Her Week 2018

stand beside her week

By Elizabeth Roper and Molly Delaney

October 28th-November 3rd 2018 marked the fifth annual National Stand Beside Her Week, the annual nationwide celebration of this captivating movement celebrating girls and women everywhere. Created in 2014 by Girl Scouts Heart of the South, the National Stand Beside Her Movement encourages girls and women to connect and support each other; to value themselves and have the confidence to celebrate their own unique gifts and applaud the successes of others. This Memphis-born and now national movement is a call to action for women and girls to unite their voices in a divisive world and end the comparison, competition and criticism that undermines female relationships. The National Stand Beside Her Movement culminates each year during the last week in October to encourage people to commit to supporting all girls and women from the classroom to the board room!

Throughout the week, a myriad of events took place! The third annual FedEx Stand Beside Her Celebration kicked off on Sunday, October 28 at The Grove at Red Oak Lake. Over 130 girls attended the fun and free event that featured STEM and leadership activities for Girl Scouts in grades 2-8. Girl Scouts were welcomed by Melanie Schild, CEO of Girl Scouts Heart of the South and Leslie James, a marketing specialist advisor with FedEx. The girls had a big dance party before parting into groups for the day’s activities.

irls practiced their engineering skills by building small cars, testing different building structures, and creating miniature water filtration systems. The celebration also included physical activities such as 9 square, and a new favorite, Gopher Ball. Gopher Ball is a lot like basketball, lacrosse, or soccer, but the girls had to do all the work from their individual hole cut into floor. The limited range of motion meant girls had to rely on their communication and teamwork skills to succeed. The game was a great team building experience that showed girls the importance of trusting your teammates.

The day ended with a pizza party and prize giveaway. Girls won prizes such as a coding kit and a geology kit. At the end of the event, nearly all the girls said they tried something new and made a new friend at the celebration. Thank you, FedEx, for hosting this awesome event!

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On October 29th, kid advocate, Girl Scout, and author, Jordan Ashley Greene led a workshop on confidence. At only fifteen years of age, Jordan held an inspiring discussion about confidence with local Girl Scouts ranging in age from six to sixteen. This discussion went hand in hand with her second book, “The Confidence Club,” a narrative about relatable girls and their journey finding confidence. “The Confidence Club” follows Jordan’s first book, “My Gift of Difference, 7 Steps to Embracing Your Learning Difference,” an inspiring book that aims to help kids overcome discouraging feelings of having a learning difference. Each girl that attended Jordan’s workshop walked away with their very own signed copy of “The Confidence Club.” To get your very own copy, you can purchase both of Jordan’s books either on Amazon or at the Girl Scouts Heart of the South council office. To see about joining Girl Scouts please visit www.girlscoutshs.org.

The next event that occurred during Stand Beside Her week was the Stand Beside Her Memphis partner showcase. On a local level, this event allowed partners of Stand Beside Her Memphis to showcase their organizations and speak to attendees on way in which to get involved! Partners in attendance included Dress for Success, Hutchison School, NAWBO Memphis, The Orpheum, The Junior League, The Women’s Foundation for a Greater Memphis, Junior Auxiliary, and author CN Nash. This event took place at the Girl Scouts Heart of the South office in their brand new Imagine Center. Open to all women, this event was a wonderful opportunity to hear from several girl and women-serving organizations in the Memphis area!

National stand beside her week recap!

The following evening, Girl Scouts Heart of the South hosted an event at Hutchison school for Girl Scout Alumnae and volunteers. This event featured Girl Scouts Heart of the South board member, Jil Jordan Greene. Jil has partnered with the Girl Scouts Heart of the South to provide personal development workshops for volunteers. Entitled “Women Winning at Life,” this presentation kicked off Jil Greene’s “Women Winning at Life” video series, a personal and professional development series created for Girl Scout alumnae, parents, and volunteers.

This series will cover topic such as communication, teamwork, diversity and inclusion, and conflict resolution. It is designed to help women elevate their performance at work, engage in their community, and empower those they mentor and lead. This kickoff event had volunteers excited to see what else comes from Jil’s series! If you are interested in learning about ways in which you can volunteer with Girl Scouts and have access to these wonderful opportunities, please visit www.girlscoutshs.org.

Finally, the series of events ended with the Stand Beside Her Women’s networking hour held at Railgarten on November 7th. This networking event brought together women of all ages, backgrounds, and professions to spread the word about Stand Beside Her. During this networking event women enjoyed Girl Scout cookie-themed cocktails, played networking bingo, and learned about ways they can volunteer for Girl Scouts through Troop 901.

Hosted by Girl Scouts Heart of the South, Troop 901 is a young professionals’ group for women who want to work together to build a stronger Memphis. Whether you were a Girl Scout growing up or would like to get involved with the premier leadership organization for girls now, Troop 901 is a fun way to show your support and make the future brighter for Memphis-area girls. This group engages and empowers young professional women to connect with each other and support Girl Scouts Heart of the South. Focused on fun, social outings and events, Troop 901 is the perfect place to make it all happen. For more info, email: Elizabeth.roper@girlscoutshs.org or molly.delaney@girlscoutshs.org

For more information on how you can get involved in Stand Beside Her, please visit www.standbesideher.org, www.standbesidehermemphis.org, “Like” our Facebook pages, follow Stand Beside Her on Instagram, and feel free to reach out to either Molly Delaney, Leadership Manager with Girl Scouts Heart of the South at molly.delaney@girlscoutshs.org, or Elizabeth Roper, Events Specialist with Girl Scouts Heart of the South at Elizabeth.roper@girlscoutshs.org. For more information on joining Girl Scouts, please visit girlscoutshs.org.

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Time to #BeAmazing

Share Your Story Today!

We believe there is an amazing story just waiting to be told inside everyone.  Stories that inspire change, ideas, and action.  Some stories are painful, some are fun, and others are life changing.  BeAmazing and share your story today on JustMy!

Like and Share justmymemphis on Facebook Click Now!

Workforce: The Elephant in the Room!

Workforce: The Elephant in the Room!

Workforce: The elephant in the room
By Joe B. Kent

PROBLEM: WORKfORCE READINESS DISCONNECT

Following years of Memphis Corporate Community Leadership (MCCL) led fledgling and disconnected workforce development efforts, The County Workforce Ad Hoc Committee is intervening to address the local need and the MCCL elephant in the room. Disconnected MCCL efforts have helped to stifle local business and economic growth for a community in need. MCCL consists of Memphis Tomorrow, Economic Development Growth Engine (EDGE) and The Greater Memphis Chamber of Commerce. This disconnect occurs as workforce is the #1 priority in local economic development reform efforts.

MCCL has for example, strangely chose to work with a provider that lacks a track record of domestic United States experience in addressing workforce development. As these efforts fail to get results, MCCL has chosen not to course correct disconnected efforts. City Council legislative efforts over a year ago, seem to have been oddly stonewalled as well, while mysteriously ending without results. In the above video link, in the last agenda item, local educators, saddled with deficient and disconnected MCCL efforts, can be seen professionally begging for a centralized connected approach to workforce development. The lack of response to educators raising their hands for help with 2year college tuition paid for by the state is beyond baffling. 

Disconnected workforce development efforts seem to be preferred  by MCCL with the EDGE / Greater Memphis Alliance for Competitive Workforce (GMACW) Board choosing not to hold regular GMACW Board meetings. This occurs while the EDGE/GMACW Board, through inaction, leave 60,000 learners underserved while stifling workforce local solution availability and business growth needs dependent on a career ready workforce. In short, the EDGE/GMACW Board had 1 board meeting all last year, packed up and went straight to the house. 

Meanwhile, the Greater Memphis Chamber clamors for “alignment, alignment, alignment” to support workforce development efforts without articulating an alignment protocol.  And in County EDGE Ad Hoc committee, again continuing from previous City Council Committee unfinished work, calls for “soft skills” development and a connected approach to workforce readiness programming ring out.  

A connected workforce development approach to support economic development is not going to happen without – a Chamber articulated alignment protocol – projected employer demand data to define “soft skills” and knowledge requirements – and a common communication platform, at a minimum, to connect local workforce development efforts.  

So, what is the solution? A connected, data driven talent pipeline development system is consistently attempting to answer these questions: 1) What are employers demanding ? (Demand) 2) How ready is the workforce to meet employer demand ? (Supply) and 3) What are the career pathways to build workforce readiness to meet employer demand ? (Curriculum)

solution: connectivity

The solution for workforce readiness connectivity consists of fundamental non-negotiables while consistently addressing customer employer demand. Those non-negotiables include measured data  driven requirements, career pathways curriculum, professional development and marketing. These fundamental components support common language development for connecting communication across the professional community landscape which helps to facilitate implementation of countywide career readiness programming. A reputable common technology platform is desirable to increase efficiency, improve connected communication and to aggregate employment opportunities

But although a common technology platform is desirable having been locally requested in committee work by educators, presumably to decrease costs and improve communication, minimally, only a common “communication” platform is required for connecting workforce development efforts through career pathways. Effective communication is the critical element in connecting workforce development efforts. Technology increases the efficiency of mission critical communication while reducing implementation costs. 

While there are many ways to address the abovementioned non-negotiables, one way to accomplish this work is shown in the subsections below:

Data and Alignment Protocol   The Greater Memphis Chamber is the best organization to advocate on behalf of employers, specific workforce readiness requirements. Employers in a career pathways talent pipeline development system are the chief customers of the workforce development system. Employers buy the product of the system in the form of skilled labor through the payment of wages which support tax revenue and tuition to fund public and private education and workforce development initiatives.  

Given the former, a data informed return on investment (ROI) approach is needed to serve employers, learners and taxpayers based on the skills and knowledge purchased through the payment of wages by employers. While leveraging the adoption by the Strickland administration of the ACT Work Ready program, a Chamber advocated articulation of a connecting alignment protocol to the education and workforce development system could look something like the below: 

We at the Greater Memphis Chamber of Commerce, offer employers a connected, aligned, data driven and nation leading career readiness platform. On behalf of employers, the Chamber requests the local education and workforce development system to consider employer demand and provide the following: 

The above is just one of several examples of what a Greater Memphis Chamber authored workforce development alignment protocol might look like. Such a protocol, fundamentally helps the education and workforce development system align its efforts to the needs of customer employers while considering the individual futures of learners. 

Curriculum A career pathways curriculum, which can be delivered across the K-Adult spectrum, consists of a sequence of connected learning experiences to achieve career readiness for a desired vocation(s). A career destination for this audience may include work after high school, an apprenticeship, internship, postsecondary vocational credential, associates, bachelors, masters or doctorate degree. This article considers career development strategies mostly for grades 8-Adult.

Given this and to achieve implementation, data informed career content must be infused into the standards aligned academic curriculum for all learners to serve talent pipeline development and retention needs. In this way, instructors are not asked to facilitate career readiness instruction in addition to the heavy academic curriculum delivery requirement. Career readiness programming is just part of the academic experience while helping to address the career counselor caseload.   

Career/ post-secondary exploration and planning along with in-demand skill development are seamlessly integrated into the standards based academic curriculum with connections to employment opportunities. Career content is informed by defined in-demand skills and knowledge data along with a variety of interest, observational, formative, summative and standardized assessments to evaluate the career readiness of learners.  

Equipped with the data, classroom instructors deliver daily classroom instruction through the lens of projected employer skill and knowledge demand. For example, through data use and based on its importance, “customer service” is thematically integrated throughout the career pathways curriculum for all learners which fills a gap in the Common Core standards aligned academic curriculum.  

In concert with the above proposed Chamber alignment protocol, a summative assessment could result in progress against or completion of a career planning portfolio. A career portfolio consists of standards aligned academic work to include but not limited to a career plan, resume, cover letter, selected career aligned budget summary, career exploration journaling, post-secondary exploration journaling, earned certificates, presentations and assessment inventories for learner interests and workplace preferences with aligned occupations.  

An example of a standardized assessment would be the ACT National Career Readiness Certificate (NCRC) which includes measured assessment in reading workplace documents, graphic literacy (charts/graphs/diagram interpretation) and applied math. With certificate award levels of bronze, silver, gold and platinum, the NCRC can be used to determine career readiness and foundational skill proficiency for a range of occupations based on award level. This process helps to connect workforce development efforts using common language between educators, workforce development practitioners and employers. The NCRC consists of 3 of the 8 available assessments from the ACT WorkKeys  battery 

The other five assessments which can also be used to determine career readiness for various occupations include applied technology, business writing, workplace observation, fit and talent. For example, in addition to the NCRC, often used for manufacturing occupations, “workplace observation” measures observing, following, understanding and evaluating processes. Of course, all earned assessment certificates, to include the NCRC, would be a component in a learner’s career portfolio 

To learn more about the ACT NCRC / WorkKeys and common language development, please see the following Gwen Ifill video 

Marketing Plan and Professional Development  –  The previously discussed sections would inform the development of a connected workforce development marketing plan. A plan would then inform roll out and professional development which could occur in the form of “Career Content Academies” as well as other promotional activities. 

Career Content Academies are a minimum 3-day session that involves connecting participants with the student / career seeker work of career development in self-exploration, career exploration and career pathways planning. Executives/administrators participate in a ½ kickoff that precedes the in-depth career content academy. During the ½ day session participants are acquainted with regional labor market information (LMI). Regional LMI supports the common language backbone for connecting communication across professionally diverse stakeholder audiences involving academia, business and government while informing the local career pathways curriculum. Regional LMI gets everyone in the community on the same page while using a common workforce development language.  

Addressing common language development is important because language gaps naturally develop across the professional spectrum. Most educator career paths result in going to school, going to college and going to school to work. This path prevents educators from acquiring the language of careers and the traditional workplace as they develop the language of academia.  Career content academies help educators fill the workplace language and knowledge gap by helping them connect the language of careers with classroom implementation strategies. Participants outside of education develop an understanding of the education workplace while making connections with academic language.  

This collaborative approach strengthens connections, communication, common language and partnership development. Typically, career content academy participants include human resource professionals, workforce and education career counselors and instructors. The former helps to support a deep implementation of career pathways into daily instructional practice while connecting community partnerships in support of regional career pathways and economic growth.  

Measurement

Measurement would ideally occur using a common technology platform to reduce implementation costs while improving connected communication using web-based dashboard technology. A common technology platform would result in a wealth of informative centralized data to include but not limited to 1) centralized job board 2) projected occupational, skill and knowledge demand 3) career portfolio progress 4) ACT NCRCs awarded 5) employer partnerships, 6) occupations and career pathways explored 7) aggregated population interest inventory 8) individual school usage data and etc.  

This measurement along with a formal Chamber alignment protocol and marketing plan can be used as a sales tool in economic recruitment efforts to insure corporate prospects of a coherent, measured and quantifiable approach to meeting their workforce needs. In this way, during a sales presentation  to a corporate prospect, the Chamber might say:  

We in Memphis are the National leaders in career education with more education/business partnerships of record of any County in the Country. Aligned to employers  needs, our workforce development system is annually awarding 10,000 career pathways credentials and 2,000 Bronze 5,000 Silver, 2500 Gold and 500 Platinum ACT NCRC’s. And finally, customer service”  is integrated into the curriculum for all learners.  

Nationally accessible, external measurement for standardized assessment could be accomplished using the  ACT WorkKeys dashboard. While there are other reputable career readiness assessments, the ACT NCRC WorkKeys system has been locally adopted and is the most widely used career readiness system in the country while providing a portable credential to ACT NCRC holders.

conclusion

Inaction on the workforce front by Memphis Corporate Community Leadership has been scary confusing. But with a youthful population as an economic advantage –  connected workforce development solutions available and  both Memphis and Shelby County Mayors trumpeting workforce development in support of economic development – hopefully, needed change is finally on the horizon for the benefit of taxpayer justice and all concerned.  

Research based references can be provided upon request for the instructional design contained in this article.

joe b. kent
Guest Blogger
Mr. Joe B. Kent has worked throughout the country on workforce and economic development projects and is a reform activist in Memphis. Joe B. has a BBA in Finance, Masters in Instructional Technology and is a certified Global Career Development Facilitator with an emphasis on labor market information.

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