Human Resources Committee off and Running: The Race to Address the Challenges of the 21st Century Workforce

By Boyer, Deborah K. | Corrections Today, August 2004 | Go to article overview

Human Resources Committee off and Running: The Race to Address the Challenges of the 21st Century Workforce


Boyer, Deborah K., Corrections Today


One of the most critical challenges facing criminal justice professionals today and in the future is the availability, recruitment and retention of a qualified, diverse workforce. The American Correctional Association, under the leadership of Executive Director James A. Gondles Jr. and President Charles Kehoe, recognized this challenge and took on the daunting task of addressing it by endeavoring to build a strategic workforce plan for adult and juvenile corrections.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

The Starting Point

The effort began with a $250,000 grant provided by the Bureau of Justice Assistance; the selection of project consultants Edward D. Barlow Jr., president, Creating the Future Inc., St. Joseph, Mich., Richard W. Judy, chairman, Workforce Associates Inc., Indianapolis, and Jane Lommel, president, Workforce Associates Inc.; the establishment of a Workforce Project Steering Committee chaired by Joyce Fogg, public relations manager, Virginia Employment Commission, Richmond, Va.; and the establishment of a Human Resources Committee, chaired by myself.

The Human Resources Committee comprises 20 members representing a variety of criminal justice entities as well as private corporations and other affiliate organizations. The committee's purpose is to monitor the activities of the ACA workforce initiative and advise on the integration of its results into ACA programs and service activities, develop and present human resources-related workshops for ACA conferences, and formalize a structure and scope of activities for the committee.

Committee roles have been defined as scanning, convening, facilitating, providing and evaluating. The scanning role involves monitoring employment trends, developing scenarios of future employment needs, identifying gaps between labor supply and demand, creating an annual workforce report, and establishing and maintaining and electronic clearinghouse of relevant workforce information.

The convening role includes offering human resources-related workshops and discussing information related to workforce issues, providing opportunities for electronic interaction to discuss key issues and best practices, and identifying areas of concern around which actions need to be taken.

The facilitating role focuses on promoting and coordinating collaborative efforts among criminal justice organizations, pursuing funding for collaborative efforts and incubating special workforce projects and programs.

The providing role includes identifying locations and events where human resources professionals can meet and share ideas, providing mechanisms for the ongoing exchange of ideas and information, offering technical assistance through ACA programs and services, and enhancing public relations and marketing efforts concerning the role and importance of human resources professionals in criminal justice. …

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