Steve Corwin

Oregon Employment Department

Operations and Policy Analyst



President Elect President Immediate Past President

President Waldport High School Boosters Club Budget Committee Chairman, SW Lincoln People’s Water District Board Member, Waldport Foursquare Church Chair, Diversity Council, Oregon Employment Department

Lincoln County School District cut bus transportation for extra-curricular activities. Boosters Clubs throughout the county had to create their own transport options for sports and other activities. We embarked on a fundraising drive with many varied events. We doubled our year over year fundraising total and our bank account in one year. We purchased two activity busses and arranged for classes and certification for member volunteers to qualify to drive them.

The OED Diversity Council rejected an article I had written for their monthly newsletter. It decried violence against gays and promoted the idea that gays should be included in protected populations and diversity efforts. This was in the early 1990’s and being gay was interpreted by many to be a behavior choice, including many members of the Council. I respected their decision even though I disagreed with it. I spoke with the Director of the Department about it. I agreed to serve out my term as Chair and helped the Council achieve many of its goals. Time on the Council was limited to three years and this was my third year, so I rotated off the Council wishing them well.

Direct, open, and honest. All modes are ok with me: in person, telephone, and video conference. Email is okay, too, but can be prone to mistakes and unintended messages. One must be careful with that mode. I like people of all kinds and enjoy encouraging and motivating them to achieving more than they believed they could.

In 2016 I was assigned the task of resurrecting quality assurance reviews of Oregon’s public labor exchange. It required a rapid startup to meet WIOA requirements for service provision feedback systems. It has been a statewide effort that has impacted both managers and line staff. As the statewide coordinator I developed new tools for reviewers to use. I collaborated with a labor market economist on more efficient data collection and report generating tools. I also created the training materials to begin the effort.

After 18 months of data collection I am now leading a diverse group of stakeholders to gather feedback and to design solutions for a second iteration of tools and review criteria. All along this journey I have encountered managers and staff who are concerned about the details of review criteria, performance standards, and methods. I hear them out and adopt the suggestions they have made whenever possible. In some instances their concerns or suggestions cannot be accommodated due to conflict with rules or the practical limits of technology. In these situations I always respect the messenger, even though I must explain why a suggestion cannot be implemented. I respect their right to disagree, but communicate the facts and requirements directly and tactfully.

There are several problems that need to be overcome and I believe the best way to overcome them is by involving the stakeholders in the team that I am leading to modernize the quality review program. I purposely included individuals who have been critical of aspects of the program. They need to know that valid criticism is encouraged and will be incorporated into the final report and execution of improvement initiatives. They will also be exposed to competing ideas or negative feedback from the group regarding their own views. My goal has been to focus on the end product and how it can help everyone who is impacted by it.

So far, this plan seems to be working. It is still early in the process, but I can see the beginnings of an amicable agreement about the most critical elements of a redesign. So far, I have seen the strategies listed above proving their worth in the outcome of meetings and progress towards our goals.

I have shared the knowledge and networking contacts I have gained from International and District events with colleagues in Oregon. I have also shared Oregon contacts with peers from other states. I have shared articles from The Flash newsletter with our local Oregon Chapter. I have written messages to our membership and entire agency email list to promote IAWP events. I visited the Trade Act unit to sign up new members with the approval of their managers, who are all IAWP members. I have worked with Department leadership to promote IAWP and garner support for our educational events. I have represented IAWP at community fund raising events to share our mission and interest in their success as well as our own.