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Charlotte Amalie
Tuesday, August 9, 2022
HomeNewsArchivesBusiness Leaders Named to Workforce Development Board

Business Leaders Named to Workforce Development Board

Gov. John deJongh Jr. recently appointed 13 area business and professional leaders to the Workforce Investment Board, an advisory body the governor created to guide the professional development of the territory’s workforce.

“It is important that our workforce is trained not only for what is now available, but that we take into account where our economic efforts are leading us, what our employers are requesting, and that we put in place the programs that provide a career pathway for those wanting the opportunity," deJongh said in a statement from Government House.

DeJongh created the board by signing an executive order in January 2008.

The board replaced the former Human Resource Investment Council, assuming the same rights and duties of that council while placing greater emphasis on planning, policy development, coordination, monitoring and self-evaluation, according to Government House.

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The board aims to be a unifying force among workforce development agencies, the private sector, labor unions and faith- and community-based partners. Board members are charged with advising the governor on strategies and policies to foster an advanced professional workforce in the U.S. Virgin Islands, according to Government House.

The board is designed to help guide all available resources and programs to meet the needs of employers and is critical to true workforce development, deJongh said.

"That system, along with economic advances, will promote a more career-driven, adaptable and technologically savvy workforce,” the governor said.

The approach is a complement to those available through the Department of Education’s Career and Technical initiatives, according to deJongh.

The specific new directives and focus help bring the territory’s strategic plans in line with priorities outlined by the U.S. Labor Department’s Employment and Training Administration for all the states and territories.

The 25 members of the board—representatives of various economic, social and government interests—should support programs they believe will successfully attract new businesses to the territory and create the kind of employment opportunities that allow the territory’s citizens to maintain a high standard of living, according to Government House.

The governor, the commissioners of Labor, Human Services and Education, and various other government officials with a role in career training are members; and the V.I. Legislature has two seats on the board as well. DeJongh’s executive order has the governor fill the remaining positions with 11 representatives of business and industry, one representative of organized labor, one member of a community-based organization, and one of a faith-based organization.

“The members of the board include those in some of the fields that we are encouraging as industry niches for the Virgin Islands, such as healthcare, technology, renewable energy, aviation, finance, and, in general, small business entrepreneurship,” said Richard Difede, chairman of the Workforce Investment Board.

The non-governmental members are:
–Allie Allison Petrus, Surtep Enterprises;
–Nancy Bass, V.I. Equicare;
–Roger Dewey, St. Croix Community Foundation (Community organization);
–Richard Difede, Goldcoast Yachts;
— Omer ErSelcuk, Seaborne Aviation;
— Onaje Jackson, Sustainable Systems and Design International;
— Charlene Jones, Nursing (Labor);
— Daniel McIntosh, Chairman, V.I. Board of Career & Technical Education (Faith-based);
— Athneil C. “Addie” Ottley, Ottley Communications Corporation;
— Neil Ruan, NR Electric;
— Amber Walker, Bank of Nova Scotia;
— David Zumwalt, UVI’s Research and Technology Park.

Together, the board members will work on aligning training services with job demand, coordinating education and talent-development programs, and helping high school dropouts enter the workforce. They will also help Labor officials create a system to identify and assess suitable candidates for the territory’s career development programs and to implement uniform administrative procedures and performance standards.

The Workforce Investment Board will help advise the governor on how best to allocate local and federal funds to various human resource programs. According to Government House, the board will receive funding from the various workforce development programs it coordinates. It will be administered through the Labor Department.

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Gov. John deJongh Jr. recently appointed 13 area business and professional leaders to the Workforce Investment Board, an advisory body the governor created to guide the professional development of the territory’s workforce.

“It is important that our workforce is trained not only for what is now available, but that we take into account where our economic efforts are leading us, what our employers are requesting, and that we put in place the programs that provide a career pathway for those wanting the opportunity," deJongh said in a statement from Government House.

DeJongh created the board by signing an executive order in January 2008.

The board replaced the former Human Resource Investment Council, assuming the same rights and duties of that council while placing greater emphasis on planning, policy development, coordination, monitoring and self-evaluation, according to Government House.

The board aims to be a unifying force among workforce development agencies, the private sector, labor unions and faith- and community-based partners. Board members are charged with advising the governor on strategies and policies to foster an advanced professional workforce in the U.S. Virgin Islands, according to Government House.

The board is designed to help guide all available resources and programs to meet the needs of employers and is critical to true workforce development, deJongh said.

"That system, along with economic advances, will promote a more career-driven, adaptable and technologically savvy workforce,” the governor said.

The approach is a complement to those available through the Department of Education’s Career and Technical initiatives, according to deJongh.

The specific new directives and focus help bring the territory's strategic plans in line with priorities outlined by the U.S. Labor Department’s Employment and Training Administration for all the states and territories.

The 25 members of the board—representatives of various economic, social and government interests—should support programs they believe will successfully attract new businesses to the territory and create the kind of employment opportunities that allow the territory’s citizens to maintain a high standard of living, according to Government House.

The governor, the commissioners of Labor, Human Services and Education, and various other government officials with a role in career training are members; and the V.I. Legislature has two seats on the board as well. DeJongh's executive order has the governor fill the remaining positions with 11 representatives of business and industry, one representative of organized labor, one member of a community-based organization, and one of a faith-based organization.

“The members of the board include those in some of the fields that we are encouraging as industry niches for the Virgin Islands, such as healthcare, technology, renewable energy, aviation, finance, and, in general, small business entrepreneurship,” said Richard Difede, chairman of the Workforce Investment Board.

The non-governmental members are:
--Allie Allison Petrus, Surtep Enterprises;
--Nancy Bass, V.I. Equicare;
--Roger Dewey, St. Croix Community Foundation (Community organization);
--Richard Difede, Goldcoast Yachts;
-- Omer ErSelcuk, Seaborne Aviation;
-- Onaje Jackson, Sustainable Systems and Design International;
-- Charlene Jones, Nursing (Labor);
-- Daniel McIntosh, Chairman, V.I. Board of Career & Technical Education (Faith-based);
-- Athneil C. “Addie” Ottley, Ottley Communications Corporation;
-- Neil Ruan, NR Electric;
-- Amber Walker, Bank of Nova Scotia;
-- David Zumwalt, UVI’s Research and Technology Park.

Together, the board members will work on aligning training services with job demand, coordinating education and talent-development programs, and helping high school dropouts enter the workforce. They will also help Labor officials create a system to identify and assess suitable candidates for the territory’s career development programs and to implement uniform administrative procedures and performance standards.

The Workforce Investment Board will help advise the governor on how best to allocate local and federal funds to various human resource programs. According to Government House, the board will receive funding from the various workforce development programs it coordinates. It will be administered through the Labor Department.