El Paso, Texas (October 7, 2021) – Workforce Solutions Borderplex (WSB) won Silver Rankings for two projects awarded by the International Economic Development Council. The projects included: Looking Back at 2020 in the category of Annual Report and Solutions Crew: A Jobs Toolbox on Wheels, a project in the category of Special Event. The honor was presented on October 4, 2021, at an awards ceremony in Nashville, Tenn. during the IEDC Annual Conference.
“Workforce development is economic development,” Leila Melendez, CEO of Workforce Solutions Borderplex said. “The work, the project, the initiatives we do every day are meant to improve our economy. We’re so proud that the IEDC recognized our innovative work and we look forward to remaining connected with other economic development leaders in the future.”
IEDC's Excellence in Economic Development Awards recognize the world's best economic development programs and partnerships, marketing materials, and the year's most influential leaders. 25 award categories honor organizations and individuals for their efforts in creating positive change in urban, suburban, and rural communities. Awards are judged by a diverse panel of economic and community developers, following a nomination process held earlier this year. IEDC received over 500 submissions from 4 countries.
Annual Report Award
The Annual Report project was presented to various audiences in a virtual meeting setting, with feedback consisting of praise for having developed a 'digestible' supplement of the annual report print-out. This was one of the first steps they took in coming out with new brand messaging using a new medium with custom animation. The report was impactful in demonstrating to the workforce development boards about the shift in the presence the organization was making to better communicate and relate with the general public to better serve them. It also demonstrated to stakeholders that they were invested in better aligning our reporting efforts to the general public and partners in hopes of having a more widespread impact across the board. With the pandemic limiting facetime with clients, efforts to better connect with messaging were crucial, and kicking off new branding efforts with this piece was a great launchpad that set a new standard.
The Annual Report was traditionally a printed report distributed to stakeholders, members of the Board of Directors, and businesses that evolved into a digital strategy in 2020. As part of an organization-wide branding initiative, the workforce development board chose to break down the usual data of the printed annual report into a more consumable report for the general public that centered around the WSB mission: Serving as a non-profit opportunity incubator, personalizing the career path and connecting the right people to the right positions with a customizable toolbox of resources.
Since the publication of the report, the Texas Workforce Commission accepted an application from WSB to conduct a statewide presentation on data reporting evolving around effective storytelling. From the presentation, various workforce development boards learned of the importance of brand journalism, digestible reporting formats, and thinking outside the box. They were able to introduce a new way of presenting data while still linking a call to action for both businesses and jobseekers to take advantage of their services.
Special Event Award
The new pools of talent being extracted from new locations are providing new candidate opportunities for employers and motivating job seekers to align their job searches to a more purposeful career. The project aims to educate customers about opportunities customized to their circumstances, background and potential while providing a toolbox to upgrade their marketability. Additionally, the Solutions Crew tour has invited new partners into the Workforce Solutions Borderplex (WSB) mission, further reinforcing multiple missions to serve the public with opportunity and hope.
Since its launch in February, the Solutions Crew has interacted with and educated more than 1800 job seekers about the resources and opportunities available from WSB.
WSB recently announced that the community would have even more access to services. In the past year, the unpredictability of pandemic lockdowns has shifted WSB to take more innovative approaches in serving the community in dire need of a workforce development center. Beyond converting services to the virtual realm, the organization decided to deliver the services directly to the jobseeker with a pop-up strategy. The WSB Solutions Crew began setting up their pop-up operations (known as the Job Toolbox on Wheels) throughout the area, particularly those hardest hit with job loss. Each trailer is managed by a WSB Crew Member who runs the pop-up office as if it were a headquarters center, offers program guidance for those looking for a job, skills training through workshops, childcare enrollment, and various other available services. Free access to a computer and the internet is also provided for jobseekers to be able to register for programs, job fairs, or conduct job searches through their smartphones or personal laptops. "Tour stops" are strategically chosen in looking at the unemployment claimant reports with zip codes hardest hit by job loss. Rural areas are also targeted in partnership with local municipalities, shelters, food pantries, and other partners with similar missions.
These pop-ups are bringing direct access to unemployed jobseekers and individuals looking to pivot their careers with new opportunities. They provide hope and motivation, reinforce community collaboration and charitable efforts, and connect a large population to opportunities with countless employers partnered with WSB.
Since the Solutions Crew tour began, WSB was asked to present at the National Association of Workforce Boards (NAWB) in Washington D.C. to cover the implementation of innovation in workforce development.
“The winners of IEDC’s Excellence in Economic Development awards represent the best of economic development and exemplify the leadership that our profession strives for every day,” said 2021 IEDC Board Chair and Invest Buffalo Niagara, President, and CEO Tom Kucharski. “We’re honored to recognize the more than 100 communities whose marketing submissions, projects, and partnerships have improved regional quality of life.”
We're incredibly honored to recognize the outstanding organizations that received this year's Excellence Awards. This year, more than ever has presented opportunities to innovate, impact, and progress the cities, neighborhoods, and communities around us. Each of this year's recipients represents the best of the economic development profession and exemplifies the ingenuity for fellow economic developers to aspire to in the years to come.
About the International Economic Development Council
The International Economic Development Council (IEDC) is a non-profit, non-partisan membership organization serving economic developers. With more than 5,000 members, IEDC is the largest organization of its kind. Economic developers promote economic well-being and quality of life for their communities by creating, retaining, and expanding jobs that facilitate growth, enhance wealth and provide a stable tax base. From public to private, rural to urban, and local to international, IEDC’s members engage in the full range of economic development experiences. Given the breadth of economic development work, our members are employed in various settings, including local, state, provincial, and federal governments, public-private partnerships, chambers of commerce, universities, and a variety of other institutions. When we succeed, our members create high-quality jobs, develop vibrant communities, and improve the quality of life in their regions. Learn more at iedconline.org
WORKFORCE SOLUTIONS BORDERPLEX
Workforce Solutions Borderplex (WSB) is celebrating over 20 years of serving as the leader and pacesetter in aligning and creating opportunities for skilled workers and employers. WSB advances education, employment, entrepreneurship, and economic development prospects in support of global competitiveness and regional prosperity. The organization’s service region encompasses Brewster, Culberson, El Paso, Hudspeth, Jeff Davis, and Presidio counties. For more information about Workforce Solutions Borderplex, please contact Bianca Cervantes at (915) 252-0712 or visit www.borderplexjobs.com.
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