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Region 9 receives second 2011 Innovation Award

The Region 9 Economic Development District (Region 9) was chosen by the National Association of Development Organizations (NADO) to receive a second 2011 Innovation Award for its leadership implementing the Southwest Workforce Network (Network). The Network is an information exchange between employers and business leaders, governmental entities, and educational facilities.

While the Southwest Colorado Workforce Board has been in place for many years, the Network is a way for the board to involve more private sector participants through an informal listening and sharing of workforce issues and challenges important to the community. Speakers such as representatives of workforce sectors, education or economic development present at lunch meetings held immediately following the bi-monthly board meetings.

The executive director of Region 9, Ed Morlan, serves on the Southwest Workforce Advisory Board, but also collaborated with the Workforce board and Southwest Workforce Center to implement the Network.

“The attendance and networking among people who may not ordinarily attend a Workforce Board meeting is fantastic,” said Ronnie Zaday, chair of the Southwest Workforce Advisory Board. “It is an opportunity for employers, local government officials, job seekers, and the folks working in workforce development to create new partnerships.”

The Workforce Development Network also publishes a newsletter following up on issues of interest, as well as promoting the upcoming meeting and program.

Region 9 has received at total of five Innovation awards in the past four years: one in 2008 for a transportation project, one in 2009 for the Growth Company Initiative, and two this year (one for the Workforce Development Network and the other for the STEM Internship program).

NADO, a Washington, DC-based association, will showcase the winners during its annual training conference, to be held Oct. 8-11 in Miami, Fla.

For more information about the award-winning project, contact the Region 9 Economic Development District of SW Colorado at 247-9621.

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