Category Archives: Workforce

Talent Hub Project Manager Search

In May 2012, Workforce Connection began an Alternative Work Strategy concept called “Talent Hub” (TH) ( as a pilot project to support job search and employment opportunities in the freelance market place by engaging job seekers to optimize their skills as sources of income.  The College of Central Florida has been a key partner in this pilot effort.

Based upon the participation in this pilot effort, Workforce Connection is seeking a Project Manager to move the project forward to the next level.  The project manager will be working with an expanded project partner team composed of the College of Central Florida, the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) and SCORE to support/sustain the current TH members, develop an ongoing workshop/education program built upon the pilot effort to engage more “soloprenuers” and build on the base that was established.

Project Vision:

  1. Sustain Current Members by:
    1. Expanding skills development
    2. Establishing Individual Marketing Profiles and Business Opportunities
      1. Market TH capacity for projects
      2. Solicit business projects for TH members
      3. Research member opportunities through Internet Sites
    3. Maintain Website/social media sites and content to support members
    4. Coordinate training through:
      1. SME presentations based on member needs
      2. Partner programs
    5. Facilitate Monthly Member meeting
      1. In-person venue
      2. Online/webinar
  2. Build on Base by:
    1. Developing a resource library for members
    2. Cultivate expanded partnerships
    3. Track member success and other date to support project continuation
    4. Research grants to support on-going project growth and sustainability
    5. Review and adjust project format to improve project services and member success potential
    6. Explore the feasibility/implement a “co-working” facility supported by project partners and outside grants.

Project Manager Qualifications:

The TH Project Manager will possess some or all of the following skills and experience

  1. Past successful experience in an entrepreneurial environment as either the lead of a team or as an individual in a freelance situation; details of experience required;
  2. Bachelor’s degree in a business-related program of study;
  3. Experience with adult learning and training
  4. 10 years of experience in a business environment as a manager or owner.

Project Manager Employment Options:

Given the nature or the project, Workforce Connection will consider:

  1. Either individual employment as a regular employee of Workforce Connection or employment as a contractor, with certain performance goals established; or
  2. Engagement of a firm or organization as project manager.

Workforce Connection believes that the project will require the full time commitment of the person designated/selected as project manager, so contractors or firms should base their prices on this requirement.

Project Period:

The project has had a period of success in its initial phase.  The period of performance, if a consultant/firm is chosen is through June 30, 2013, with extensions beyond that date based upon negotiated outcomes.  Up to three, one-year extensions will be considered based upon the achievement of the performance outcomes.

Individual employment will be subject to the normal terms of employment with Workforce Connection.

Method of Application:

  1. Individuals seeking the position as an employee, should submit their resume and cover letter to:
    Mary Price
    Workforce Connection
    3003 SW College Road, Suite 205
    Ocala, Florida 34474
    Applications due no later than Friday, July 27, 2012, 5:00 p.m.
  2. Contractors and firms should submit their information supporting the minimum requirements to:
    Val Hinson
    Workforce Connection
    3003 SW College Road, Suite 205
    Ocala, Florida 34474
    Submissions due no later than Friday, July 27, 2012, 5:00 p.m.

Workforce Connection shall have the right to terminate this agreement if it fails to receive funding appropriate to continue operation.  In such event, Workforce shall give 60 days advance notice of intent to do so, or, if funding is not established in time to allow such, then such shorter period of notice as is possible, provided, however, that notice in  no event shall be less than 30 days.  Workforce reserves the right to make no award on this RFP, if most advantageous to Workforce.

Parties wishing to protest the recommendations of the Executive Committee should file a written protest within three business days of the committee’s action.  Such protest should include the basis of the protest and any other pertinent materials which the party wishes to have considered as justification for its protest.

Letters of protest should be addressed to:
Suzanne Mills, Chairman
Workforce Connection
Enterprise Center
3003 SW College Rd, Suite 205
Ocala, FL  34474

Upon receipt of a protest, the Chairman will convene a meeting of the Executive Committee.  All parties involved in the protest will be notified of the protest and the time and place of the hearing of the protest by the Executive Committee.  Any affected party may present, in writing, a response to the protest for consideration by the Executive Committee.

Workforce Connection is an EOE Employer/Program.  Auxiliary aids and services are available upon request to individuals with disabilities using TTY/TDD equipment via the Florida Relay Service at 711.

Alternative Workforce Strategies

Alternative Workforce Strategies: Earning Opportunities in the Knowledge Work Era

Key aspects of the traditional job market have been changing for several decades, enabled and increasingly required as a response to global competition, the ability to source labor in lower cost areas, and the willingness of employers to “de-compartmentalize” aspects of a business process and outsource them. This trend has only been accelerated by technology and telecommunications tools that enable work to occur anytime, anywhere and in the most efficient setting possible.

This is being seen in three areas that have a direct implication for job creation in the traditional sense:

1.         Technology is being used to augment or replace roles that were previously filled by a person, such as administrative assistants, travel agents, assembly workers, bank tellers, toll booth attendants, retail clerks, etc.

2.         Work is being “off-shored” or otherwise assigned where it can be achieved at a lower cost, and companies are increasingly outsourcing work that is not a core competency or profit center for the business. This is being seen in the health care industry (e.g., medical records transcription and radiology interpretation) as well as in professional services such as accounting, law, and business consulting.

3.         Entire work processes have been transferred to lower cost areas of production, such as the manufacture and assembly of electronics and components, and these jobs are not likely to return to the US.

Today’s freelance and crowdsourcing approach to project work includes a variety of activities, many of which are a natural complement to current social media practices and technology. There are dozens of areas where crowdsourcing is supporting or supplanting traditional roles and employment opportunities, such as advertising, programming, writing, research, design, product development, and data analysis. Technology makes it possible to source this work instantly via alternative workforce strategies and contingent staffing models.

Project and contract assignments generally fall into one of the following categories:

(1)   Transactional: tasks that can be delegated or assigned to an individual or entity with specific instructions and expectations for the completed work

(2)   Relational: projects and tasks that are interpersonal in nature, and frequently require interaction and collaboration among more than one team member to complete the work

(3)   Creative: requires intellectual and/or creative content from an individual, often based on ambiguous instructions or loose guidelines

Just One Word … Wow!

A few weeks ago, I got a call from Rusty Skinner at Workforce Connection asking if it would be possible to set up some training on freelancing for workforce customers in the Citrus-Levy-Marion region. And, of course, being a good consultant I said “yes.” You’ll see how that works when we do this training … kind of like this quote from a recent BusinessWeek article, “How to Look Like You’re in the Special Forces”:

Never say “no.” Your first reaction has to be, “Yes, I can do that,” and then you figure out how. If the president asked me to go to the moon tomorrow, I’d say yes. Then I’d say, “I’ll need some training. And someone who can fly a rocket.”

So, we set up a couple of orientation sessions, one in Ocala, Fla. (that was last week) and one in Lecanto (Citrus County) Fla. – that was where I spent the afternoon today. When Rusty and I set this up, I remember him saying, “Maybe we’ll have some interest, maybe about 20 people or so will sign up.”

Last week’s session in Ocala was great … we had outstanding turnout and people were very interested in the concepts that we covered, ranging from what it takes to be a freelancer to how to navigate the online project market. If you’re interested, you can see the slides from that presentation here. To set the right tone for the meeting, we watched this intriguing video produced by oDesk that provides some insights about the “New World of Work.”

After the meeting, we did have about 20 people sign up to participate in the 4-week training program. Rusty was right. Right? Well … kind of.

We anticipated about 40 people at today’s session at the College of Central Florida – Citrus Campus. We had closer to 50 people, and this group asked some great questions and had some definite ideas about how this Talent Hub concept could work for them. I had to let them know that we were pretty close to a full class (our capacity was capped at 24 because of the computer lab we are using for the classroom training) and a few people actually signed up on their phones and other mobile devices during the orientation.

In the two hours it took to drive home from Lecanto, 40+ people had signed up for the Talent Hub training program. That’s 40+ people over and above the number already signed up. Now we have 80 people signed up and we’re scrambling to expand the training to a second location and an additional series of classes. So, now you know what I mean when I say “Wow!”

Thanks so much to the great people who joined us last week in Ocala and today in Lecanto, and I am really looking forward to working with you to launch as many as 80 new Me, Inc. businesses and solopreneurship ventures! This is going to be fun! And a very special thanks to the team at Workforce Connection and to College of Central Florida for hosting our training and making this all possible!

In the News … Citrus Chronicle

Seminar offered on alternative work training

By Shemir Wiles
Saturday, April 28, 2012 at 12:00 am (Updated: April 28, 12:01 am)

LECANTO — Downsizing has led to a growth in the contingent workforce made up of self-employed professionals, solo entrepreneurs, freelancers, independent contractors and other nonpermanent workers.

From 1995 through 2012, the total workforce of self-sufficient workers grew by an estimated 4.3 million workers. As estimated by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, despite economic downturn, the overall contingent workforce has held steady and is projected to grow to 40 percent, or 64.9 million by 2020.

However, as the independent workforce prospers, other benefits like flexibility in one’s work schedule, supplemental income and becoming one’s own boss has influenced more and more people to leave the 9-to-5 daily grind and work independently.

To help people make the transition, Workforce Connection is launching “Your Talent Hub,” a new alternative work initiative to assist professionals in navigating the new work world of freelancing and crowd-sourcing.

The program provides access to tools, resources and strategies designed to lead to earning opportunities, project work, contracting and full-time placements in creative, technology and related fields.

“We’re excited about this innovative alternative workforce strategy,” said Laura Byrnes, communications manager with Workforce Connection.

In partnership with the College of Central Florida (CF), an orientation is Monday, April 30, at CF’s Learning and Conference Center, 3800 S. Lecanto Highway in Lecanto. The orientation begins at 3 p.m. and is free.

Rusty Skinner, president and chief executive officer with Workforce Connection, recently told the Chronicle editorial board there is a whole pool of people who have skills they can use to snag freelance opportunities.

“We’re trying to get people to define their skills and think differently,” Skinner said.

Starting in May, training sessions will introduce alternative workforce strategies and opportunities such as online research, technical writing, virtual assistance, web development, project management, content development, technology and help desk support and social media management.

The orientations and training sessions will be lead by Orlando-based workforce strategist Steve Urquhart, founder of T21 Solutions of Orlando and the nonprofit VETsourcing, which helps veterans — particularly those with disabilities and other limitations — transition from military service to civilian careers.

Over the past three years, Urquhart said there has been an erosion of the traditional job as businesses seek to hire remote workers with certain skills on a temporary basis to complete specific projects. The goal of “Your Talent Hub” is to give people a survival skill set so they can freelance or launch a small business. It’s about learning one’s marketable skills, he said, and then using social media to reach a newer, broader consumer base.

“You have to be plugged in,” Urquhart said.

To learn more about the orientation, call  352-291-9551 or 800-434-5627, ext. 1147 or visit or Updates and information are also available on Twitter @YourTalentHub and at

To register for the orientation, send an email to

Chronicle reporter Shemir Wiles can be reached at  352-564-2924  or

Last Chance to Sign Up for Talent Hub

If you missed this week’s Talent Hub orientation at the College of Central Florida – Ocala Campus, today is your last chance to sign up for the Monday session to learn about “the new world of work” and kick off this four-week training program and demonstration project for the Citrus, Levy and Marion county workforce region.

Here is an overview of what we’ll cover in Monday’s session:

  1. Trends in the workplace and the “future of work”
  2. The move to a contingent workforce
  3. What it takes to freelance, pros and cons
  4. Top ten freelancing jobs
  5. How to find freelancing opportunities
  6. Preview of the four-week training program
  7. Next steps

Orientation is on Monday, April 30 in Lecanto, from 3:00 pm – 4:30 pm. I hope to see you at Talent Hub! You can sign up on Facebook here or send an email to – thanks!

In the news … Workforce Connection Launches Talent Hub

Workforce Connection is launching “Your Talent Hub,” an innovative workforce program to assist professionals in transition through crowdsourcing and freelancing opportunities. Our goal is to teach you the skills needed to compete and succeed in the new world of work.

That new world of work is a “Free Agent Nation” of borderless workplaces where freelancers profit by coworking in project-specific virtual teams that form, collaborate, disband and form again. Collectively, there are more than 40 million members in this contingent workforce which companies can tap into to get work done without weighing down the bottom line.

To get started, we are holding two Freelance Talent Hub orientations in partnership with the College of Central Florida (CF): the next one is on Monday, April 30 at the college’s Learning and Conference Center in Lecanto. Next month, we’ll begin a special training program that takes place once a week for four weeks. There is no charge to participate in the training.

You can sign up for the orientation here.

The program will be presented by Steve Urquhart, formerly with Workforce Florida and Enterprise Florida and whose company, T21 Solutions, specializes in workforce alternative strategies and project management. Urquhart, an Army veteran, is also founder of VETSourcing, a nonprofit that helps veterans in the Orlando area make the transition from military service to civilian careers. VETSourcing’s goal is to provide the veterans, especially those with disabilities which preclude traditional employment, with paid work opportunities and projects that will help them earn a living, sharpen their skills, and become increasingly competitive for full-time placements, additional project assignments and greater earning potential.

“Jobs may be in short supply, but in some industries there is actually more work than ever as companies are beginning to ramp back up and prepare for market demands,” Urquhart said.

We are excited about the potential for Your Talent Hub and possibility of opening up this new world of work to those who never thought it was even possible. That’s just the beginning of what’s in store for Your Talent Hub.

If you are interested in joining the talent hub, or just finding out more, sign up for one of the orientations by sending an email to You may also call the Talent Hub information line at 800-434-5627 , ext. 1147.

You’ll find a variety of additional information by visiting and by following us on Twitter @YourTalentHub and checking us out on Facebook at

Disruptive Forces at Work

As traditional forms of employment have disappeared in the United States economy, some new and not-so-new working arrangements have emerged, largely driven by economic need. Crowdsourcing has emerged as a method to connect freelancers with paid work opportunities.

Crowdsourcing falls within the loose definition of outsourcing, which, according to IDC SharedXpertise, represents a $500 billion global industry (2009). Current revenue estimates for the leading crowdsourcing firms are a mere sliver of the pie, ringing in at approximately $838 million as of December 2010, based on a freelance market report (Miller, 2010).

Major players in the industry such as oDesk and Elance reported 18.8 percent and 16.8 percent gains, respectively, in revenue in calendar year 2010. Also worth noting: the dramatic increases in the number of available freelancers and contractors offering their services through crowdsourcing sites. Elance alone reported an 88.3 percent increase to over 300,000 service providers (Morgan, 2011).