Insights from the AWS Public Sector Summit on Workforce Development

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July 17, 2019

Insights from the AWS Public Sector Summit on Workforce Development

Qlarion had the privilege of speaking at the 2019 AWS Public Sector Summit at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in D.C. The day was filled with invaluable workshops, inspiring speakers and vast networking opportunities. Our CEO, Jake Bittner, was invited to speak on a panel, “Workforce Development: A Conversation with Leaders on Strategies and Opportunities.” Other panelists included Amazon Web Services Vice President of Public Policy, Michael Punke and President of the University of Louisiana System, Dr. Jim Henderson. Here are our three biggest takeaways from the discussion.

When it comes to finding talent, look for potential.

In other words, a can-do attitude can be more important than the precise skill set you’re looking for. College graduates are entering the workforce missing the fundamental problem-solving skills that may have been previously taught. This is because college culture is focused on training students to become graduates as opposed to training students to become lifelong adaptable learners. When recruiting, don’t only focus on the skills the job seeker may or may not possess. Instead, take note of their willingness and ability to adapt and how they react to challenges. If they are ready and eager to learn, the skills will follow naturally. If you want a reliable workforce with experienced employees, think about the long-term benefits of an adaptable worker as opposed to the short-term reality of a learning curve.

The future of work is remote.

Innovative technology is making it increasingly possible for a wide variety of work to be completed remotely. Over the years, a consistent pattern occurs: someone from a rural community feels pressure to move to the city to find a job, meets someone, has a few kids, and then wants to move back to their hometown to raise the children closer to their grandparents.  Many rural communities have invested heavily in their school systems and the quality of education is top notch. Many of the locals would prefer to stay in the area if given the chance. By offering remote positions to let people stay where they’re happiest, companies can take advantage of the existing investments and help rural communities thrive. That is why Qlarion has partnered with REDI (Rural Economic Development Institute) to build a sustainable remote work model by creating innovation centers in rural Virginia. We can grow our workforce at a lower cost and our employees will have the tools, skills, and abilities to work wherever is best for them. Now we need to work on broadband access to ensure these folks are able to participate in the digital economy.

Diversity is your greatest asset.

Diverse backgrounds bring new perspectives. It is easy to fall into the trap of hiring and working with those who are like-minded. It’s convenient and it feels good to reach an easy consensus. However, is this the workforce you want? A room full of people who blindly say yes? The more diverse your workforce is the more space there is for creativity and innovation to happen. True leaders are those who are open-minded and are not afraid of tackling hard problems. Successful companies aren’t deterred by challenges and are often excited to develop new solutions.

In summary, the future of workforce development lies in our ability to be open, to innovate, and to challenge the status quo. We hope you can utilize these three takeaways to recruit adaptable, diligent employees to carry your company into the digital age.