Marano Fellows Class of 2014
Name: John Gardner

Director of Business Services


Worksystems, Inc.

Location: Portland, OR
Industry Sector: Construction, Manufacturing, Healthcare, Information Technology

Organizational Background & Mission: Worksystems, Inc. is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that pursues and invests resources to improve the quality of the workforce in the City of Portland, Multnomah and Washington Counties. We design and coordinate workforce development programs and services delivered through a network of local partners to help people get the skills, training and education they need to go to work or to advance in their careers. Our partners include employers, labor groups, government, community colleges, high schools, community-based and economic development organizations.

Our mission is to coordinate a regional workforce system that supports individual prosperity and business competitiveness. We ensure that the public workforce system serves business by developing qualified employees and giving current and future workers the skills and support they need to successfully engage, advance, and succeed in the labor market.

Interest in Sector Work: In the spring of 2012 Governor Kitzhaber delivered a powerful charge to State and Local Workforce Boards, he asked the Boards to build a sustainable, systemic approach to workforce development that produces a highly-skilled workforce, advances more people into family wage jobs, and helps our businesses and workers succeed in a fundamentally transformed economy. Sector Strategies are the primary vehicle identified to help achieve this new model. My interests is in understanding how to use Sector strategies better as the framework for developing new collaborative employment and training models that connect targeted populations to living wage opportunities across our regions identified Sectors.