The U.S. Department of Labor’s Workforce Innovation 2002 conference in Nashville, Tennessee gathered workforce development professionals from the public, private and educational sectors to introduce a new Demand Driven concept for creating the 21st Century Workforce. The objective of the conference was to foster a new atmosphere of teamwork and commitment between the various local, state and federal agencies, business community, educational institutions, civic groups and organizations, faith-based institutions and worker representatives. Previous conferences had discovered a growing chasm between the people of the front lines of the publicly funded Workforce Investment System and policy makers. In the interest of fostering a more productive working environment for the efficient implementation of this new federal policy for workforce investment, a creative decision was made to first celebrate the achievements of the various state and local front line professionals and agencies by sharing their success stories with this new Demand Driven System.
The 3-day event included plenary session and a 4,000-sq. ft. exhibit centerpiece to roll out the new policy. Multiple plasma monitors were used to present a complex choreographed video presentation inside several environments in the centerpiece exhibit area. Agency leaders, workforce professionals and business leaders spoke to the successful implementation of this new policy from their perspective often frank and blunt but the message was very well-received by attendees. In addition to the video content, print media and exhibit design space were used to present additional Success Stories from the front lines of workforce development.
The impact of the event was a newfound enthusiasm, both within the Department of Labor and across the Workforce Investment System. Instead of imposing a new federal mandate on the people who would have to implement this new policy, the event was a natural progression of what those same people are already accomplishing on the job everyday across America. As a follow up to the conference, 5,000 enhanced CD-ROM sets containing the events Success Story media were distributed by the Department of Labor to Workforce Development professional across the country.
The use of story overcame not only a challenging dynamic amongst the attendees, but also successfully introduced a new policy that completely changed the orientation and focus of the Workforce Development System. The success of this event led the client to request additional creative and media support from IDEAS to produce and operate the entire conference for 2003 and portions of 2004.
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