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CAEL Pathways Blog

Transformational Workforce Development Leadership with Walter L. Simmons

During the 2022 annual CAEL Conference, held in Chicago, we hosted several virtual Ed Talks, which were quickfire sessions designed to give participants a quick dive into various topics. Walter L. Simmons, president and CEO of Employ Prince George's, Inc., provided an impactful session entitled 'Transformational Workforce Development Leadership.' This talk provided leaders with tools to empower their followers using a six-step method: Dreams, Ideas, Goals, Strategies, Plans, and Realities (D.I.G.S.P.R).

Simmons centered his talk around the importance of connecting with your staff. While he spoke from a workforce development perspective, this truth can be applied across all industries. He believes that job quality is enhanced through understanding more about your employees and connecting their employment to their personal passion. The method Simmons highlighted was focused on the six-step method of D.I.G.S.P.R.: 

Dreams: Encourage your staff to dream about their future career goals.

Ideas: Help your staff bring their dream into reality by aiding them in identifying the steps to get there. 

Goal: Assist your staff in creating benchmarks that are achievable. 

Strategies: Identify what tools can be utilized to work toward those goals.

Plan: What will be the daily routines that will be developed to ensure work is
being completed toward the goal? 

Realities: The culmination of the six-step method. 

Using this six-step approach will not only allow leaders to connect with their staff, but it will create more buy-in with your employees as they see you supporting their personal advancement. 

In my professional experience, when I have worked with supportive supervisors who create opportunities for me to develop new skillsets related to my professional goals, I have felt more validated as an employee and more engaged in my work with the company. CAEL does an excellent job at this through ensuring that every employee creates an annual professional development plan that encourages skill development. 

What are ways you can include the D.I.G.S.P.R. framework in your organization -- whether that is a workforce agency or postsecondary education provider? Are there new ways you can empower your employees in professional goal setting to create more buy-in for your institution? 

Consider joining us at our next CAEL conference for future informational sessions to help further your institution. For more information about our 2023 CAEL conference that will be held November 8-10, 2023, in Baltimore, follow this link


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