Happy New Year! I hope you enjoyed the holiday season.
I serve at Oakland University for its community outreach and engagement initiative: Oakland University Pontiac Initiative (Partnership). The Partnership is administered through Oakland University's President’s Office and is essentially a collaboration between the City of Pontiac and Oakland University. My focus area of the project is Workforce Development, and the majority of my time is spent at our community sponsor site, Michigan Works! JobLink Service Center in Pontiac. I engage in activities that provide support and/or facilitate access to workforce development resources and services intended to improve employability and, ultimately lead to employment.
Thus far, I have implemented multiple workforce-related strategic partnerships such as Michigan Works! and Career Dress Boutique for the purpose of equipping women in need of professional attire with quality professional attire, free of charge and to build capacity for both groups. Career Dress Boutique and Oakland University School of Nursing Continuing Education and Pontiac School District (PSD) for the purpose of establishing relationships and dressing students in the health care job-training programs for success. Furthermore, students will also receive vouchers for free medical scrubs once they are hired in the healthcare field. By connecting Pontiac nonprofit organization Career Dress Boutique with Oakland University, Michigan Works! and PSD fosters positive working relationships amongst the collective and allows people in need equal access to professional attire who would not otherwise have the opportunity to purchase such clothing. Likewise, silos are dismantled, and everyone can start to embrace opportunities to work together on workforce-related projects which align with Oakland University and Michigan Works! mission.
As a Global Career Development Facilitator (GCDF), I always share workforce information. Moreover, I have accomplished some of my VISTA Assignment Description (VAD) goals including presenting Employability workshops such as Elevator Speeches/ Professional Small Talk for Career Success at Oakland University and Michigan Nonprofit Association (MNA). Similarly, I have created and updated marketing materials at Michigan Works! and shared workforce resources and services information with over ten local employers and tons of job seekers. I continue to share resources including landscape scans and community assessments of Education and Training programs, Skilled Trades programs, Networking and Career Fairs, Veteran and Out-of-School Youth (OSY) workforce programs, and companies who are looking for talent. Going forward, some areas of opportunity include reaching more job seekers (especially Veterans and OSY per my VAD), an Oakland University Career Services partnership, Michigan Works! and Oakland University partnership renewal, Career Pathways exploration for the City of Pontiac and other entities. Overall, my VISTA service experience has been incredibly rewarding and challenging in every sense of the words, both personally and professionally. I look forward to continuing to build capacity, create sustainable solutions, empower Pontiac and Oakland University communities, and serving with an open heart and mind. Go MNA AmeriCorps VISTAs!
Thanks for reading,
Shakita Billy, MBA, GCDF
Each blog post was written by one of our VISTAs!