The Waubonsee Workforce and Solutions Council (Council) has a goal of providing individuals and organizations assistance necessary to solve complex problems. Through strategic partnerships, skill, and knowledge enhancement, this Council aims to be a resource for and a think tank to catapult economic, professional, and personal development.
The Council has representation from the City of Aurora, Kane and Kendall counties, the Illinois Department of Employment Security, the Aurora Regional Chamber of Commerce, the Valley Industrial Association, and Invest Aurora. In all of my various community endeavors and responsibilities, two things came to mind that inspired me to form this group. First, at Waubonsee Community College, as one of the largest employers and strongest educational providers in the area, we want to continue to provide solutions for people and businesses in need. In addition to our vast array of educational offerings, at both the degree and certificate levels, we wanted more assistance to identify ways that we can meet new demands based on information being shared and gathered in various environments. We are a community partner and seek to collaborate, provide support, and really leverage our rich history and strong brand to continue to elevate our communities. Second, I am always involved in several conversations and constantly hearing challenges on various initiatives or projects that need help with execution. My thought was that if we can bring these groups and organizations together, there is strength in numbers. Now, more than ever, given the circumstances surrounding the pandemic, it is imperative that communities, businesses, and organizations work together to solve issues. The unexpected nature of this health crisis has necessitated that many businesses change how they operate and if we can help businesses to survive and continue to grow and build for their future, we will have met our goal.
In our first meeting, already we realized some opportunities for collaboration and ways that we can help to solve some key problems that our communities are facing. We have access to key data from the Illinois Department of Employment Security that can help to point us in the right direction and strategically drive some of our conversations and thoughts. Like any innovation, there will be opportunities to improve and get better as we work together. However, that’s where innovation stems from and this is the true definition of a prototype. A prototype indicates that there’s a need but that the long-term solution will still need some work. You begin a prototype with the understanding and acceptance that there will be things that need improvement. Truly innovative organizations are comfortable with that and that’s where we stand with our Council. Organizations that struggle with innovation point out flaws and problems and constantly point out why things will not work or succeed. Our approach is different, we understand the need for productivity and effectiveness but realize that those things happen through continuous improvement initiatives, data collection, and iterative steps to improvement. Those are the same kinds of skills that we hope to help the individuals and organizations within our community.
As we look to the future of our own organization, supporting our strategic pillars of Student Equity and Success, Community Connections, and Employee and Organizational Excellence remain our focus. We want our students to be engaged, productive, and reaching their stated goals. We want to continue being an employer of choice and know that we need our people to make these things happen. The future of Waubonsee Community College is bright and we are excited to grow and change with our district, now and in the future.
Dr. Jamal Scott is the vice president of Strategic Development at Waubonsee Community College.