Women Leading in Central MA: Workforce Consultant Amy Mosher
Monday, July 01, 2013
From 2009-2012, Mosher served as Workforce Central's Lead STEM Coach connecting job seekers and employers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) fields through the STEMPower program. Since April 2012, she has been focused primarily on offering entrepreneurship workshops, as well as programs that address ''new economy" topics such as Green Jobs, Volunteer Connections, Stress Reduction and Employer Engagement, among others. Mosher Co-chairs the Worcester Business Resource Alliance (WBRA), a group of 13 non-profit and government agencies supporting entrepreneurship and small business development in Central MA.
Originally from Central MA, Mosher founded Expressive Capital Consulting in 2006 to help organizations and small businesses capitalize on their creativity. She enjoys several creative initiatives "on the side," a term she declared at the age of four, when she would describe to adults what she would do when she grew up.
Mosher also sits on the Worcester Chamber's Annual Women's Leadership Conference planning committee and is active with the Young Professional Women's Association.
Mosher has a Master's in Community Development and Planning from Clark University and a Bachelor's in Environmental Studies/ Spanish from the University of Vermont (UVM). In her free time, she loves to travel, dance, paint, and inspire people to laugh!
SW: You are a strategy and innovation leader at Workforce Central Career Center. What exactly does that entail?
AM: I came on board at Workforce Central in 2009. I was the lead coach for the STEM program from 2009-2012. I love the idea of being an intrapreneur, or an "inside entrepreneur". After assessing gaps and opportunities at Workforce Central, I made a pitch to my boss, he felt it made sense to have someone focused on new initiatives, and here I am. I love puns and plays on words. The acronym for my title, SAIL, is especially dear to my heart, since I see subtle shifts steering the boat (organization) into new waters... AND the triangular shape of a sail is symbolic of change itself (delta)! Change, or transformation, has always been the core of who I am and, therefore, the work I do.
My awesome boss, Don Anderson, was responsive to my proposal to focus in on entrepreneurship training for people who come to the career center wanting to start their own business rather than work for someone else. I do two workshops a month that give people a solid baseline, although entrepreneurship is certainly not for everyone.
I have coordinated a series of stress reduction workshops with techniques and exercises to help job seekers to reduce the impact of the stress that comes with seeking employment. I also support our PR and outreach efforts to communicate what we do. I offer a Green Careers workshop every other month for jobseekers interested in green, or environmental, work. I also provide support to the director and mangers to implement new programs especially ones that target those who are unemployed over 6 months to help them be more successful.
SW: When was Workforce Central Career Center founded, what is it and what geographic region do you serve?
AM: Workforce Central Career Center is operated by the City of Worcester - Division of Workforce Development in partnership with the Massachusetts Division of Career Services and was founded in 1999. We serve the City of Worcester and 37 surrounding communities in conjunction with the Milford and Southbridge offices. We are one of 33 in the state and a one stop career center. We serve both jobseekers and employers.
I am the first to remind jobseekers and employers alike that we are not the Unemployment Office; we are a Career Center. Workforce Central offers job seeker services including career counseling, job skills and job listings. We also offer innovative programs and workshops such as the New Leaf Program, under Penny Welch, for those who have been incarcerated to job readiness for youth ages 16-24 with our youth specialist Roy Lucas. Quinsigamond Community College provides a college and career navigator, Dawn Kiritsis, to help with college admission and various career paths as well as an in-house GED specialist, Brenna Kane.
Another important program is Volunteer Connection led by Wendy Gould to help people who are unemployed to connect with non-profits seeking volunteers. It keeps job seekers inspired and on their game and freshens their work skill set while giving them the opportunity to give back to the community. We have a monthly volunteer connections workshop and a quarterly Volunteer Exchange.
SW: What career path is wide open now in the area right now?
AM: Worcester is one of the top 15 areas in the country for manufacturing jobs. Smaller manufacturers, with 30 or so employees, are now the new face of the industry. They are hiring and are willing to train the right people. My colleague, Sharyn McLaughlin, offers monthly workshops on the new high tech world of manufacturing.
SW: One of your main focuses has been entrepreneurship training. It must be interesting to move from being an entrepreneur to instilling those qualities in others.
AM: I love it. Whether or not, you end up being in business for yourself, you benefit from the training if you have lost your job or had trouble finding one. I help people to feel empowered and to develop an entrepreneurial mindset. Jobseekers need to know how to get inside the minds of potential employers and have a better sense of how to prove that they are an asset to a company.
Expressive Capital is a concept that I developed that helps individuals find their passion and what value they bring to the marketplace. I work with them to help them to figure out if there is a demand for their product or services. We work on Individual Unique Value Propositions where they write out what makes them unique and what makes them stand out from the crowd and clarify if being an entrepreneur is right for them.
After the June workshops, 133 people have gone through the program and completed their action plans. This is incredibly unique and rare within the public workforce system in MA, and most likely, in the US. As I mentioned being self-employed is not for everyone. I encourage job seekers to do what I call a "parallel pathway" and look for a job as well as work to develop their own business. Whichever pops first is most likely the path to follow, at least for now.
SW: Have you had success in promoting green jobs in the area and how is Worcester doing in the field?
AM: Worcester has a lot of the ingredients needed for success around the development of green jobs but have not yet connected to all the right players in the state. Folks here are busy with individual projects but I still feel we lack a comprehensive portal for the region. I hold workshops, every other month, on green jobs and outreach to employers with the hope of seeing more solid examples of people actually doing green jobs and the community marshaling all of its resources to create green career pathways. The Institute of Energy and Sustainability is a cool resource. Lots of academic resources are here as well with all of the colleges in Worcester.
SW: How has the difficult economy affected the area? Are there more jobs currently or less?
AM: Overall there are more jobs available than even 6 or 8 months ago. We need to be more creative to help unemployed people to gain the credentials and hands on experience that they need to get hired for those jobs. Many employers have a “try it before you buy it” attitude as hiring the wrong person is a liability.
SW: What propels you in your career?
AM: I really believe in people and just have a fire in my belly that makes me believe that we are all here for a deeper purpose than the daily grind. I believe every moment is a miracle and tomorrow is not guaranteed, although most of us live like it is. To help people find their passion and their path and to watch when they find clarity and self-confidence is so rewarding. I feel deeply compelled to help everyone to fulfill their potential. I feel I am in the right place to do it, and I am grateful.
SW: What exciting project is next?
AM: My latest project is the launching of a local TV show, Exposure with Mosher, beginning in August 2013 on WCCA TV Channel 13 that will spotlight work-ready jobseekers and early-stage entrepreneurs-- both in need of exposure in the marketplace.
SW: What is your advice to those trying to find a job?
AM: Believe in yourself first and foremost. Develop an entrepreneurial mindset. Take risks to move forward. Set yourself up to get exposure in the marketplace to get in front of the right people at the right time. Try and set up an interview so you have an actual conversation and not just an online application. Most importantly, remember that anyone can go through a period of unemployment. We are all human and most people have a desire and capacity to make a difference in the world, regardless of our current employment status. Here's a challenge for the readers... Wake up tomorrow, acknowledge one thing you're grateful for, choose to be positive, and be your best self! If that doesn't work out, you can always go back to the status quo!
With more than 25 years of leadership experience, Susan Wagner has been known for driving events, initiatives, launches, and openings through her company Susan Wagner PR. In this challenging economy, she has begun a new division to offer affordable start-up packages to new and emerging small businesses and non-profit organizations that include professional writing services, websites, collateral, marketing, social media grassroots outreach and regional PR campaigns.
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