Amber Drake – Vice President
State of Oregon, Oregon Employment Department
WSO Training Coordinator
Conference Coordinator (2013-2014), Oregon Chapter Vice President (2014-2015), Oregon Chapter President-Elect (2015-2016), Oregon Chapter President (2016-2017), Oregon Chapter Immediate Past President (2017-2018), Oregon Chapter Philanthropic Chair (2018-2019), Oregon Chapter Bylaws and Resolution Chair, (2018-2019), International Board Conference Program Chair, (2018-2019), International Board
Associate Conductress (2013-2014), Colonial Court #5 (OR), Order of the Amaranth Conductress (2014-2015), Colonial Court #5 (OR), Order of the Amaranth Associate Matron (2015-2016), Colonial Court #5 (OR), Order of the Amaranth Royal Matron (2016-2017), Colonial Court #5 (OR), Order of the Amaranth Grand Standard Bearer (2017-2018), Oregon Grand Court, Order of the Amaranth Grand Marshal in the West (2018-2019), Oregon Grant Court, Order of the Amaranth
As the WorkSource Oregon (WSO) Training Coordinator for the Oregon Employment Department, I lead groups towards a common goal or outcome on a daily basis. For example, from June 2015 – December 2017, I coordinated and led the WSO Training Team, which consisted of nine Trainers, five Operation and Policy Analysts, one Program Analyst, and three Title 1 Providers. During my tenure in this role, I coordinated and led bi-weekly virtual meetings and quarterly in-person meetings. In collaborating with these staffs’ managers, I also assigned and reviewed their training work assignments. One particular assignment from Spring 2017 was the development and execution of a training program related to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). This program was new to the Oregon Employment Department and was developed in partnership with another state agency, the Department of Human Services. In coordinating the work of several Trainers, I led this group to create and implement a training program that included in-person and self-guided activities for staff, as well a training toolkit specific for managers. I also led group meetings between Program Analysts and IT staff with the purpose of identifying and creating technology-based changes for the state’s labor exchange system iMatchSkills®. This work started in March 2017 and was implemented in June 2017.
In the Fall 2018, a WSO Trainer designed an online training program regarding the Workforce Operations (WO) division’s Complaint Process. During a team meeting, the Trainer provided the group information about the newly designed eLearning, as well as information regarding how the Training Team (as a whole) could support this effort. I am a former Complaint Systems Specialist for a local WSO Center and I have assisted the last three of the four Complaint System Coordinators with training efforts regarding this program; both roles have afforded me opportunities to become well versed in this program. The Trainer was new to the Agency and this was their first time working with this program. In listening to the Trainer discuss the direction they took, I became curious and started asking questions. My goal was to confirm if changes to the program had occurred. In hearing there weren’t any changes, coupled with the fact the Trainer was unsure on how to answer several of my questions, I explained the reason for my questions and stated my disagreement with launching training at this time. I recommended we table the conversation, delay the launch of training and overall program support until answers could be found. The group and the Trainer, although hesitant, agreed to this plan. After the meeting, I met one-on-one with the Trainer so we could have a more detailed discussion. In the end, although the eLearning had a delayed release date, the questions and concerns I asked were resolved and the training was updated to reflect this corrected information.
My preferred method of communication is in-person, followed by phone and written text. In considering communication practices, approximately 7% of what you say is retained by the receiver; the other 93% is made up of non-verbal cues such as diction and body language. When your non-verbal cues are incongruent with your verbal, the receiver tends to believe your non-verbal communication. Understanding that in-person communication isn’t always feasible, I then rely on phone communication. Although telephone communication between individuals doesn’t always include an opportunity for visual connection, it does however, provide person-to-person interaction. Finally, written text whether it’s in memo, text, email or other format. Ultimately, regardless of how one chooses to communicate, it is the responsibility of all parties to lean in, ask questions, be curious and seek clarity as needed. Doing so strengthens relationships, creates shared understanding, and helps systems and programs move forward.
In 2014, I held the position of iMatchSkills® Business Team Lead. My role required that I assemble a team of IT staff, Program Analysts, and Operation and Policy Analysts on a bi-weekly basis to discuss and debate the merits of various system changes. From these conversations, I delegated tasks and created timelines for completion. I also wrote business cases, system service request documents, and system enhancement desk-aides. I met with division and executive leadership, and other stakeholders to solicit buy-in, as well as provide them status updates. When potential issues arose, I met with impacted program and IT staff to discuss the issue, identify possible solutions and create a plan of action. Finally, I designed, developed and launched several webinars to train staff on these changes. At the end of 2014, I led the business team to launch three major system update changes to iMatchSkills, the state’s labor exchange system. These changes impacted staff, job seekers and business customers alike.
I promote IAWP often. In 2017 for example, I had three staff within the Agency shadow the work I do. In talking with them about tools and resources that enhance my work as the WSO Training Coordinator and an Operation & Policy Analyst, I always mentioned that IAWP was one of my ‘to-go’ places. These conversations led to the staffs’ enhanced understanding about how IAWP can influence their role within their center. One employee joined IAWP as a result of our conversation and their subsequent job shadow. Also, in Winter 2019, I held a Professional Career Development webinar for WSO staff. The purpose of this event was to identify ways, tools and resources staff could personally own their own professional development. During this webinar, I highlighted the IAWP website (iawponline.org) and showed staff the numerous articles, training opportunities, etc. they can access. Several IAWP members were in attendance and thanked me for showing them this material as they were unaware our website included such resources. I also have a similar conversation while facilitating Career Development Facilitation training by introducing participants to the webinar and then discussing how this information can benefit their conversations with job seekers and businesses. Additionally, I am a member of the Association for Talent Development (ATD) organization, Cascadia chapter (in Oregon). In attending annual state conferences and in interacting with other ATD members, I frequently share that I’m also an IAWP member. In doing so, I highlight how both organizations benefit trainers within the workforce industry.
My manager supports my involvement within IAWP and considers this professional development. In fact, as a WO division, our management team provides us 2 – 3 hours per week for professional development purposes. If additional hours are needed, we simply need to talk with our manager so arrangements can be made. I understand that not all IAWP business can be conducted within the time structure mentioned above and plan on devoting an additional 5 – 7 hours either at night or on the weekends to accomplish stated tasks.
My manager supports my involvement within IAWP and considers this professional development. In fact, as a WO division, our management team provides us 2 – 3 hours per week for professional development purposes. If additional hours are needed, we simply need to talk with our manager so arrangements can be made. In Fall 2018 for example, I attended the Fall Board Meeting in San Antonio TX; my manager covered part of my time as ‘work time’ and the remainder I took as vacation.