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Erik Hensley

Managing Director, Workforce & Government

Erik is a well-respected workforce development professional, thought leader and innovator with over 19 years experience dedicated to solve for national skill gaps and unemployment by connecting, competencies, skills and talent to employers and the labor market. Erik works at the federal, state and local levels in both public and private sectors to create sustained career opportunity and economic mobility for the nation’s workforce. For the past ten years Erik has been overseeing all Penn Foster Workforce and Government partnerships including Job Corps, YouthBuild, National Guard Youth Challenge, TANF, DVR, TAA, FSET and many other education and training focused programs and initiatives which serve in excess of 300 partners nationwide.

Erik’s main passion is focused on building opportunity for underserved populations through education.

10 Results for Author Erik Hensley

Take a moment to picture a "traditional education." What does it consist of in your mind? Maybe you imagine it in terms of a timeline, with a student progressing from middle school to high school, and onto an apprenticeship or college, and then right into a career. While this is an idealized concept for receiving and education and beginning a career, there is a growing percentage of the population, particularly with youth ages 16-24, approaching education and career training in a more practical format. This new format is the stackable credentials approach.
Last week I had the pleasure of attending and presenting at the 2016 NJCA Leadership Summit in Arlington, Virginia.  This annual conference brings together the Job Corps community comprised of workforce development experts, education practitioners, corporate partners, U.S. Department of Labor officials, Office of Job Corps leadership and staff, as well as members of Congress to discuss and develop strategies for enhancing Job Corps services.­
Penn Foster is excited to be sponsoring the NJCA Leadership Summit next week (September 19-20) in Arlington, Virginia. And, on behalf of the rest of the Penn Foster team that will be joining me, we're thrilled to have the opportunity to connect with Job Corps leaders and students from across the country.
Your workforce board has a website, of course, but does it have a blog? Blogs can be used to post job hunting tips, job postings and internship opportunities. They can also be used to publicize your workforce board - for example, you could post articles that showcase services your center offers and your personnel. A well-maintained blog offers a number of compelling benefits to your workforce board; here are four of them:
The responsibilities of a workforce investment board are vast, and chief among them is to oversee local career centers where job seekers can find employment information and connect to career development and training opportunities in the area. To do this well, WIBs need a clear understanding of the needs of the community they serve. Launch a proactive effort to unearth the needs of the people in your community with these four tips:
Non-English speakers face a dilemma in leveraging the opportunities your workforce board provides; they may be some of the people most in need of your services, but the least likely to take advantage of them due to language barriers. Serve those who speak Spanish, French, Portuguese, Chinese or any other language spoken in your community by hiring bilingual employees. Let's look at how hiring bilingual employees benefits your clients and your career center:
For workforce boards seeking to draw youth to your career centers, social media is one of the best recruitment tools you have. A whopping 92 percent of teens go online daily, a Pew Research Center found.1 Fifty-six percent go online more than once a day and 24 percent are online "almost constantly." Among teens who go online, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter are the most popular social media networks; 71 percent of teens use Facebook, 52 percent use Instagram, 41 percent use Snapchat and 33 percent use Twitter. For your social media marketing strategy to be effective, you need to target these channels.
There are a number of factors contributing to the need for workforce boards to expand the reach of their programs: economic conditions, an oversupply of job seekers, underemployment, the need for skilled workers and growing expectations of funders and stakeholders. To meet this challenge, it falls upon workforce center directors to drive recruitment outreach. Here are seven strategies workforce center directors can implement to help their case managers recruit more clients.
I recently attended the National Association of Workforce Boards (NAWB) Forum. It was four valuable days focused on addressing the needs of businesses, career seekers, workforce boards, and local economies.  Due to Penn Foster's sponsorship of the event I was able to attend a variety of sessions and had the opportunity to meet with several Workforce Investment Boards and NAWB board members. Everyone I met was committed to sharing their challenges, tools, and strategies so they could learn from one another's ideas. With so many diverse topics covered I realized it could be challenging for workforce boards to decide where to focus. Therefore, after listening and participating in these discussion, I identified the three key areas I believe will have the biggest impact on outcomes for WIBs.  
Administered by the U.S. Department of Labor, Job Corps is a federally funded job training and educational program, and serves as an alternative for youth who are unable to learn in a traditional academic environment.  Job Corps runs 125 centers serving roughly 60,000 young people across the country each year who are between the ages of 16 and 24 and meet certain criteria. Job Corps functions as a full-service school which educates and trains individuals to embark on educational and professional pursuits, such as:

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