History of Polk Works
- January 2012 – Polk Works’ annual Workforce Summit was held on January 26, 2012 at The Lakeland Center. The half-day summit offered company executives, human resource professionals, educational staff, and the general public critical information on business issues such as Labor Law, Disability and Privacy; Legal issues in Social Media and Leadership. Following the break-out sessions was a luncheon with a keynote speaker, Monica Wofford, CSP of Contagious Companies. Monica informed and entertained with “Make Difficult People Disappear”, an engaging presentation designed with each audience member in mind. Participants experienced the awareness of their own preferences in behavior and personality, explored the behaviors of others that made them appear difficult, and practiced utilizing this information in real world scenarios. Attendees received HRCI Certification hours for all sessions.
- March 2012 – On March 13, 2012 Polk Works sponsored the “What if Symposium”. The event included educational institutions as well as employers. Local educational institutions were asked to set up booths that the participants can visit as well as providing experts in financial aid & scholarships. There was also an area set up for the young people to conduct mock interviews as well as receive resume assistance. The ultimate objective of this symposium was to empower the young person with a broader view of the world of work and the opportunities that are available to them.
- May 16th – Polk Works sponsored Congressman Dennis Ross’ Community and Veteran Employment Fair at Polk State College’s Lakeland Campus. Numerous employers were on hand conducting interviews and in some cases hiring on the spot. Military veterans were highly touted and encouraged to attend.
- June 1, 2012 – Polk Works hosted its 5th Corporate Institute at Polk State College’s Lakeland Campus for staff. Various training and brainstorming sessions were conducted throughout the day. Leadership Institute candidates were announced: Migdalia Alvarez, Michael Willis, Beverly Dingle, Steven Carr, Gina Ronokarijo, Allen Smoak, Marybeth Soderstrom & Kathleen O’Donnell.
- July 1, 2012 – The Florida Legislature passed House Bill 7023, Accountability Act, which strengthens the accountability and transparency of regional workforce boards. One of the Governor’s priorities in his seven-point Job Creation and Economic Growth agenda.
- January 27, 2011 - Approximately 200 people attended the 2011 State of the Workforce Summit at The Lakeland Center. The event featured nine diverse breakout sessions as well as Simon Lia from GEMS Consulting as the keynote speaker.
- March 10, 2011- Polk Works partners with USF Polytechnic for the 8th Annual USF Polytechnic Career and Networking Fair. Over 40 employers/businesses registered for this event.
- March 15, 2011- Polk Works holds the 1st Annual "What If Expo". This college and career fair focused on youth between the ages of 14 and 21. Approximately 200 youth attended this event.
- April 2011- Polk Works held a Virtual Job Fair during the week of April 24-30. There were 20 companies that posted jobs for this event and 687 job seekers who participated.
- May 2011 - Polk Works Job Links Internship Program run from May thru June 2011. Financially disadvantaged youth between the ages of 18 and 21 offered opportunities to interview for one of 120 position offered with employers throughout the county. Job Links Program was able to engage 50 employers in which 120 youth were placed in employment during this timeframe.
- June 2011
- Polk Works host its 4th Corporate Institute with a "Boot Camp" training for its staff. The candidates for the Leadership Institute Class of 2011-12 were announced: Joshua Giron, Frankie Rollins, Jennie Santos, Voncia Simmons, Aletta Stroder & Laura Weiss.
- June 7th - Congressman Dennis Ross Job Fair was held at the Bartow Civic Center. Approximately 1000 job seekers were on hand to see the over 60 employers.
- August 2011 - Polk Works held is Annual Meeting & Best Places to Work award ceremony on August 18, 2011 at the Lakeland Center. 12 employers won Best Places to Work Award. As the theme of the event, "The Offerer", 3 people were offered jobs with Polk County companies. The keynote speaker was Adrian Jones, General Manager Legoland Florida.
- October 2011 – Polk Works held its Annual ACES Golf Tournament at Eaglebrook Country Club on October 7, 2011. All sponsors were on hand and the annual raffle was held. Polk Works gave away some amazing prizes and the golf tournament was a great success.
- December 2011 – On December 19, 2011, Polk Works’ VP of Operations (Mr. Thomas) distributed via email the revised directive (PY11-07) indicating to all Polk Work’s staff that as of December 1, 2011 “Workforce 2020” had its name changed to “Business Services Unit”.
- December 6th, 2011 – ResCare Academy Roll-Out took place.
- December 16th, 2011 – Polk Works held its Mid-Year Corporate Institute and a subsequent dinner for all staff at Polk State College.
- January 2010 – Gov. Crist’s Florida Back to Work initiative is introduced to Polk County employers. The program is targeted toward adults who are 200% or more below the poverty line and pays 95% of the wages for the employer.
- January 2010 - Polk Works Young Leaders graduated the first class in their Introductory Culinary and Hospitality Program.
- January 28, 2010 - Polk Works hosts its second annual State of the Workforce Summit at the Lakeland Center with over 200 in attendance. It featured 12 diverse breakout sessions and Alex Chatfield from EA Sports as the keynote speaker.
- February 2010 - Polk Works Young Leaders and PSC partner to bring child care classes to the Winter Haven One-Stop Center. Classes provide the opportunity for students to earn 40 hours of child care training and obtain a Child Care Certification.
- February 23, 2010 – Polk Works partners with USF Polytechnic for the 8th Annual USF Polytechnic Career and Networking Fair.
- March 2010- Polk Works Workforce 2020 hosts its first Virtual Job Fair. 20 employers and over 250 job seekers attended the week long event.
- March 2010 - Polk Works introduces a new financial education program entitled “Lowering Barriers to Self-Sufficiency for the Disabled”. This program was funded through a $10,610 grant from the George W. Jenkins Fund within the Impact Lakeland Initiative of the Community Foundation of Greater Lakeland.
- April 2010- Polk Works partners with PGTV to offer a live interactive webinar discussing “The Top Strategies to Get Hired”.
- May 2010 - Polk Works in conjunction with AWI and Microsoft launch the Elevate America program which offers free Microsoft training and certification vouchers.
- June 4, 2010 – Polk Works hosts its third Corporate Institute to train all of its staff and reward them for their hard work and dedication over the course of the year.
- June 2010- Polk Works graduated its members of Leadership Institute Class II. Graduates include Traci Aguis, June Baptiste, Nilda Blanco, Mollie Brown-Ferrier, Candace Burns, Mike Carew, Lynda Crist, Alexis Echeverria, Traci Hall, Mercedes Rubiano, and Arlalia Wesley. Leadership Institute Class III members were announced including: Geary Cottrell, Tara Frazer, Ann Marie Haywood, Michelle Leach, Kimberly Lewis, Darlene Moton, Amanda Ray, Eshia Smith, Kathy Suttles, Billie Tuck, Nikkia Wright-Grant, and Pamela Young.
- June 22, 2010- Polk Works Young Leaders holds its graduation ceremony at Polk State College’s Winter Haven Campus honoring approximately 100 students.
- August 2010 – Polk Works receives $280,000 grant from AWI for the Youth Aging out of Foster Care Project. Only three workforce boards in the state of Florida were selected to receive this grant.
- August 19, 2010- The Polk Works Annual Meeting reached a near capacity crowd of 500 attendees at the First Presbyterian Church in Lakeland. Awards were presented to Best Places to Work winners and select board members.
Best Places to Work- ACT Environmental; Clark Environmental; Cross, Fernandez & Riley; DSM Technology Consultants; BCI Engineer; Clark & Daughtery; Bunch & Associates; Florida’s Natural Growers; The Estates at Carpenter; Coca-Cola; Ferguson Enterprises; Mosaic; Southern Wine & Spirits
Employer of Distinction- Lanier Upshaw
Hammer Award- Edith Tiencken, Staff Builders Inc.
Larry Miller Award- Rebecca Rodgers, Keiser University
Workforce Champion Award- Lisa Weems, Help Fort Meade
- September 2010- The Elevate America program concludes. Polk Works issued more than 1,000 vouchers over the course of the program.
- September 23, 2010- Polk Works partners with Metromont to hold a recruitment fair at the Ft. Meade Adult Transition Center.
- September 30, 2010 – Polk Works closes the Florida Back to Work Program for employers after successfully placing 168 individuals in positions throughout Polk County.
- September 2010 – Polk Works assists Results Technologies to recruit 200 employees for their new Winter Haven location.
- October 1, 2010 – Polk Works holds its 6th Annual ACES Golf Tournament for Workforce Development and Literacy raising over $85,000. Keiser University was the title sponsor for this event.
- October 28, 2010 – Polk Works partners with Polk State College- Winter Haven to hold a Veteran and Community Employment Fair. Over 700 job seekers and 60 employers participated in this event.
- November 2010- Polk Works hosts its second Virtual Job Fair featuring 14 different employers. Over 250 users were able to register and conduct job searches during this seven day event.
- December 10, 2010- Polk Works holds a mid-year Corporate Institute where staff engaged in an initiative called Rapid Process Improvement (RPI).
- January 2009 – Polk Works hosts’ is first State of the Workforce Summit in partnership with Mid-Florida Society for Human Resource Managers (Mid-Florida SHRM) at the Lakeland Center with approximately 200 business professionals in attendance.
- March 2009 – Polk Works receives $4.5 million dollars in American Recovery & Reinvestment Act (ARRA) Funds to fuel the economy, retain and create jobs.
- March 27, 2009 – Polk Works hosts its’ Fifth Annual ACES Golf Tournament for Workforce Development and Literacy raising over $70,000 in funds. Keiser University took the lead as Title Sponsor. Tournament Chair for 4 consecutive years was Larry Miller of Spherion with co-chair Ed Chambers of United Food & Commercial Workers Union.
- March 2009 – Polk Works hosts the Southeastern Employment and Training Association (SETA) Conference in Destin Florida. Polk Works President & CEO, Stacy Campbell-Domineck is installed as the 2nd Vice President of the SETA.
- April 2009 – Polk Works WorkForce 2020 signs Recruiting Agreement with Lakeland Regional Medical Center.
- April 2009 – Polk County Board of County Commissioners appoints 14 new Board members to the Polk Works Board of Directors to take position in July 2009. The newly appointed members included: James Barnes, International Brotherhood of Boiler Makers – Local 433, Larry Fairchild, Packaging Corporation of America, Tim Jackson, Nujak Construction, Michael LaPan, The Lakeland Center, Robert Lusa, RF Lusa & Sons, Inc., Michael A. Micallef, Jr., Community Southern Bank, Alice Murray, University of South Florida, Joe Oullette, Aldi, Inc., Jane Patton, Haines City Chamber of Commerce, Benny Robles, Bartow Ford, Anthony Rodriguez, The Ledger, Edna Rohland, Brighthouse Networks, Mark Thomas, Blackmon Roberts Group, Inc.
- May 2009 – Polk Works WorkForce 2020 signs Recruiting Agreement with Polyglass.
- May 2009 – Polk Works President & CEO, Stacy Campbell-Domineck is reappointed to the Lakeland Utility Commission for an additional 3-year term.
- May 2009 – Polk Works announces its Summer Youth Employment & Training Program to place 300 young people into jobs for the summer at $8 per hour for up to 30 hours per week for 6 weeks. Polk Works allocated $1.2 million of the ARRA funds to support this initiative.
- June 2009 – Polk Works graduated its members of Leadership Institute Class I. Graduates include Paula Bohnstedt, Gloria Hatchett, Luz Heredia, Jackie Small, Shela Stewart-Lucas, Nancy Vaughan. The graduating class presented the President & CEO with a check for $27,277.00 raised during the class project. Leadership Institute Class II was announced and the members include: Traci Agius, June Baptiste, Nilda Blanco, Mollie Brown-Ferrier, Candace Burns, Mike Carew, Lynda Crist, Alexis Echeverria, Rhona Garner, Traci Hall, Laurie McDonald, John Quinlisk, Greg Robinson, Mercedes Rubiano, Arlalia Wesley.
- June 2009 – Spherion Staffing of Lakeland wins contract for Employer of Record for Summer Youth Employment & Training Program. Henkels & McCoy will serve as contracted Service Provider to oversee the program.
- June 5, 2009 – Polk Works hosts its’ second Corporate Institute to train all of its staff and partners to ensure quality performance over the next program year.
- June 23, 2009 - The Polk Works Young Leaders program recognizes 36 high school graduates, 21 GED recipients, and 8 CNA recipients during its graduation ceremony. All graduation participants were awarded with a new laptop and case from Polk Works.
- August 2009 - Polk Works introduces the Professional Services program which targets professional job seekers. These services are available for individuals who have training and education beyond high school, usually holding degrees, certifications or licensures recognized in a particular industry, with a work history demonstrating the individual has held a position requiring minimal supervision and involving independent discretion and judgment.
- August 2009 - Polk Works presents the State of the Workforce through its Workforce on Parade program. Staff visited various locations around Polk County giving an overview of the county’s workforce supply/demand and covering what Polk Works is doing to assist the community in addressing current and future workforce needs.
- August 20, 2009 - The Polk Works Annual Meeting was held at the First Presbyterian Church in Lakeland and brought in a crowd of over 400 people. Awards were given to select individuals for their outstanding leadership and support throughout the year. The Best Places to Work Awards and the Employers of Distinction title were given to several businesses throughout the community.
Best Places to Work- DSM Technology Consultants; Cross, Fernandez & Riley; Clark Environmental; American Compliance Technologies; Lanier Upshaw; BCI Engineers & Scientists; Ascent Healthcare Solutions; Bunch & Associates; Ferguson Enterprises; Coca-Cola North America; Southern Wine & Spirits
Employers of Distinction- Brighthouse Networks; Keith & Schnars; Lakeland Regional Medical Center; Marriott Vacation Club International; Polk County Board of County Commissioners; Polk County Clerk of Courts; Winter Haven Hospital, Inc; WS Badcock Corporation
Larry Miller Award- Larry Miller, Spherion (first time award was given)
Workforce Champion Award- Congressman Adam Putnam
Hammer Award- Gary Tarr
- September 2009 – Polk Works concludes its Summer Youth Employment & Training Program. Approximately 325 youth were placed in summer positions with over 70 employers. As a result of the program, 16 youth were hired permanently.
- September 15, 2009 - Polk Works in partnership with Books-A-Million hosts the first Coffee Talk for Professionals. Coffee Talks provide job seekers with valuable resources including resume critique, interviewing insights by Polk Works’ business services team and networking opportunities.
- September 2009 - Polk Works Young Leaders hosts an open house at each of its locations for youth between the ages of 16 and 21 in order to showcase its services.
- October 29, 2009 - Polk Works in cooperation with USF Poly/Polk State College and Congressman Adam Putnam host the Veteran’s Exposition and Employment Fair at the Lakeland PSC Campus.
- November 2009 - Wachovia Wells Fargo Foundation presented Polk Works with a $5,000 grant to support Workforce Development Activities in Polk County as part of their mission to make a positive difference by building strong and vibrant communities.
- December 2009 - Polk Works Young Leaders Career Coach Beverly Dingle was honored at recent Henkels & McCoy Regional Meeting. Her committed work with the youth of Polk County by encouraging them to obtain their high school diplomas and work towards employment has spanned for over 30 years.
- December 2009 - Polk Works, partnering with WorkNet Pinellas, has been granted funds through The Florida BRAIVE Fund, to provide incentives for employers to hire veterans in central and southwest Florida that have served in Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF/OEF).
- March 2008 – Polk Works WorkForce 2020 signs Recruiting Agreement with Cellynne Corporation.
- May 2008 – Polk Works President & CEO begins her role as Chair of the Lakeland Chamber Leadership Lakeland Class XXVI.
- June 2008 – Polk Works WorkForce 2020 signs Recruiting Agreement with Mosaic Company.
- June 2008 – Polk Works launched its’ first ever State of the Workforce Survey to assess the workforce needs of Polk County Businesses. The survey is set to be completed and distributed at the August Annual Meeting.
- June 6, 2008 – Polk Works hosts its’ newly created Corporate Institute. This Institute was created and designed to develop and upgrade the skills of the staff and partners of Polk Works and to enhance the quality of services provided by the Workforce System. The faculty of this Institute is charged to monitor each Divisions’ progress over the next year. The Division with the most significant improvement by December 2008 will be allowed to attend the SETA conference in March in Destin, FL.
- July 2008 –Polk Works launches its first Leadership Class I of the newly created Leadership Institute. Class members include: Steve Thompson, Ed Holcomb, Marsha Leap, Luz Heredia, Shela Stewart-Lucas, Nancy Vaughan, Gloria Hatchett, Paula Bohnstedt, Jackie Small, Joyce Bentley.
- August 21, 2008 – Polk Works Annual Meeting themed “Extreme Makeover, Polk Works Edition” brings over 320 to the Lake Mirror Center. Lakeland Regional Medical Center’s President *& CEO Jack Stephens receives the Workforce Champion Award for his outstanding leadership and support of Workforce Literacy. Dick Till of Till Office Equipment receives the Polk Works Hammer Award. Polk Works distributes its first State of the Workforce Survey.
- August 21, 2008 – Polk Works bestows title “Employers of Distinction” to those who have won the Polk Works Best Places to Work Award for three consecutive years. The 2008 Employers of Distinction were: Lakeland Regional Medical Center, Polk County Board of County Commissioners, Bright House Networks, Keith & Schnars, Marriott Vacation Club International, Polk County Clerk of Courts, Winter Haven Hospital and W.S. Badcock Corporation.
- September 2008 – Polk Works Corporate & Business Services (WorkForce 2020) offices move to a new home in Bartow in the Colonial Bank Building at 600 N. Broadway, Suites A & B on the first floor.
- November 2008 – Due to a tough economy, Larry Miller, ACES Tournament Chair decides to postpone Polk Works’ Annual ACES Golf Tournament until March 2009.
- March 1, 2007 – Success Rally Awards – close to 400 people shows up at the Lakeland Center to see who Polk Works will name as the Best Places to Work in Polk County.
- April 2007 – Polk Works Full Board approves recommended revisions to its By-Laws. Long time Board Members, Mike Stedem, Neal Branch and Marvin Hammer resign from Polk Works.
- June 1, 2007 – Polk Works Board staff host the Annual Gateway Conference. Staff partners of the One-Stop centers participate of a full day in-service training to enhance the quality of the services provided.
- June 2007 – Polk Works President & CEO appointed to the Polk County Citizens Healthcare Oversight Committee.
- July 1, 2007 – Polk Works Board elects new officers. Phyllis Watson, Chair, completes her term and welcomes new Chair, Rebecca Rodgers.
- July 1, 2007 – Arbor Education & Training is selected to continue as the Board’s operator of One-Stop Centers and Henkels and McCoy, Inc. for service the Youth program.
- July 25, 2007 – Polk Works welcomes eight new Board members: Ed Chambers, Irene Dobson, Hector Gonzalez, Marie Horton, Annette Howard, Elka Lopez, Katrina Lunsford and Lori Walsh.
- July 2007 – Polk Works President & CEO, Stacy Campbell-Domineck selected as a member of Class 1 for Leadership Polk hosted by Polk Vision.
- August 16, 2007– At the Polk Works traditional Annual Appreciation Breakfast Meeting, a “Deal or No Deal”-themed event, Phyllis Watson receives the Hammer Award for outstanding service to workforce development. Dean Boring receives Workforce Champion Award.
- August 27, 2007– The Board receives a $260,500 WIN Grant, Workforce Investment Now Project/Employed Worker Training, to promote outcomes such as job retention, earnings gains and career advancement.
- September 2007 – The Board renews its Workforce Services Plan for two additional years.
- November 2, 2007– A total success! Polk Works hold its Fourth Annual Aces Golf Tournament raising $101,000 for workforce literacy.
- December 2007 – Polk Works Board votes to discontinue funding the Citrus Cars Program. Phyllis Watson retires from Lakeland Regional Medical Center and resigns from the Board.
- December 2007 – Polk Works President & CEO, Stacy Campbell-Domineck travels to Memphis, TN as a member of the Lakeland Economic Development Council’s High Skill Investor Group.
- February, 2006 –Polk Works receives Lakeland Chamber’s 2006 Corporate Spirit of Diversity Award at their annual Community luncheon.
- May, 2006 – Polk Works’ own Stephanie Campbell receives the ‘She Knows Where She's Going’ award by Girl’s Inc. at their annual awards luncheon.
- May, 2006 – Approximately 1,500 job seekers attend first-ever Polk Works youth job fair at Lakeland Center
- June, 2006 –Nancy Thompson announces her resignation to become Arbor Education & Training’s Vice President of Florida Operations; Tom Hornack named Interim Director.
- June, 2006 –Polk County Commissioners declared June 21st as Nancy Thompson Day.
- July, 2006 – Nancy Thompson resigns for position with Arbor Education & Training, LLC.
- July 2006 – Polk Works moves it’s Lakeland One-Stop Center to 309 N. Ingraham Ave. facilities.
- July 1, 2006 – Polk Works celebrates its 10th anniversary.
- September 11, 2006 – Polk Works welcomes its new Executive Director, Stacy Campbell-Domineck.
- September 16, 2006 – Polk Works Administration office moves to its new home at 500 East Lake Howard Drive, Winter Haven, FL.
- October 2006 – Polk Works President & CEO appointed to Early Learning Coalition Board of Directors.
- October 13, 2006 – Polk Works third Annual Aces Golf Tournament sets a new mark, raising $108,400 for workforce literacy.
- November 2006 – Polk Works President & CEO, Stacy Campbell-Domineck is elected President of the Mid Florida Society for Human Resource Managers for 2007.
- December 2006 – Polk Works President & CEO, Stacy Campbell-Domineck travels to Jacksonville as a member of the Lakeland Economic Development Council’s High Skill Investor Group.
- December 2005 – Polk Works receives a Verizon grant for workforce literacy.
- February 2005 - Board members and staff from workforce regions in Tennessee visit Polk Works to research best practices. The second annual Polk County School Board Guidance Counselor training is conducted at the Lakeland One-Stop.
- April, 2005 – ACS is selected to continue as the Board’s operator of One-Stops and Henkels and McCoy, Inc. wins the bid for services to drop-out youth. Board staff is recognized nationally: Stacy Campbell-Domineck is elected to the Board of SETA and Joyce Bentley to the board of NAWDP.
- June, 2005 – Polk Works hosts the first meeting of the United Community Alliance Network (U-CAN), a faith based partnership for workforce development.
- August, 2005 – at the Polk Works annual meeting, a Polk Works Idol-themed event, Larry Miller receives the Hammer Award for outstanding service to workforce development.
- October, 2005 – the second annual Aces for Workforce Literacy golf tournament raises an unprecedented $105,000!
- November, 2005 – over 400 people show up at the Lakeland Center to see who Polk Works will name as the Best Places to Work in Polk County.
- March 2004 – The Board awards all of its youth services (in and out of school) to Henkels and McCoy, Inc. ACS continues as the Board’s One-Stop Customer Services provider.
- July 2004 - Chantee Roberts, Citrus Cars recipient was featured on Citrus Cars story aired on Channel 13 News.
- August 2004 – As hurricanes begin hitting Polk County, the Board receives 5.2 million dollars over the next several months to employ people dislocated by the storms in hurricane recovery jobs. 350 people begin working. At the Polk Works annual meeting featuring ‘Men in the Workforce’ themed event, Carl Strang receives the Hammer Award for outstanding service to workforce development
- October 2004 – Polk Works holds first Aces for Workforce literacy golf tournament, raising over $78,000 for workforce literacy.
- November 2004 – Larry Miller, former board chair, is recognized by WFI as a Florida Workforce Development Hero.
- January 2003 – The Board receives $330,000 in incentive funds from the state for high performance in the previous program year.
- April 2003 – Citrus Cars contracts to administer the Working Wheels program in Hillsborough County.
- May 2003 – Polk Works Executive Director Nancy Thompson is elected President of the Florida Workforce Development Association.
- July 2003 – Polk Works receives a US Department of Labor competitive grant for $298,000 to improve access and services for residents with disabilities.
- November 2003 - Polk Works Career CD Rom is released providing employment, labor market and education information that targets high school students.
- May 2003 - Due to budget cuts, Polk Works downsizes their Bartow and Lake Wales One-Stop Centers to Service Centers for Food Stamp Employment & Training and welfare transition program participants.
- July 2003 - The second annual state of the workforce report is published on CD Rom as part of the Polk Works annual report.
- August 2003 -at the Polk Works annual meeting Mike Stedem receives the Hammer Award for outstanding service to workforce development.
- October 2003 - Polk Works was named one of the top 3 performing regions in the state and honored for maximizing workforce development resources for their Workforce Literacy program. Mike Stedem is also named Workforce Champion by Workforce Florida Inc.
- November 2003 - Polk Works WorkForce 2020 names their first Best Places to Work employers honoring 8 businesses in Polk County for best workforce practices during the Success Rally. Polk Works WorkForce 2020 also recognized 4 employers during their Workforce Literacy roundtable for hosting on-site GED prep classes.
- November 2003 - The Board earned over $189,000 in incentive dollars for outstanding performance in rapid re-employment of dislocated and unemployed workers at good wages. Also Polk Works did well in helping former welfare clients not to return to welfare.
- January 2002 – The Board takes on comprehensive strategic planning activities. Training is conducted for High School Guidance Counselors related to career issues.
- April 2002 – The Board adopts the strategic plan and begins developing strategies. The Board selects ACS, State and Local Solutions to continue as its One-Stop Operator. Contracts are awarded to a consortium of local agencies for the operation of comprehensive, year-round youth services.
- August 2002 – Polk Works declares this “Workforce on Parade Month” and conducts an event nearly every day to improve the community’s understanding of workforce development issues. The first annual “State of the Workforce” report is published and distributed at the Board’s annual meeting and “Academy Awards”. Polk Works is notified that they are once again one of the top performing regions in the state. The first ‘Hammer Award’ is received by Marvin Hammer who was selected as the board member who had given the most outstanding service to the Board during the prior program year.
- October 2002 – Polk Works is one of three workforce boards in Florida recognized for best practices in workforce development during the annual Florida Summit.
- November 2002 – Polk Works and WorkForce 2020 host the first annual Literacy Forum to discuss issues with a broad base of community and business leaders.
- January 2001 – US Department of Labor regional staff from Atlanta visit Polk’s One-Stop Career Centers. They announce that Polk is the only region they have visited in the Southeast with all required elements in place.
- March 2001 – The Polk County School Board and Workforce Development Board being hosting a series of three summits to address youth employment and education issues. The Workforce Board enters into a partnership with the Tampa Bay Regional Workforce Boards to develop customized labor market information.
- April 2001 – The Workforce Development Board awards a contract to Lockheed Martin IMS for three more years of quality customer services.Chair Tom Clark establishes a Social Entrepreneur committee to explore revenue generation opportunities.
- July 2001 –The Board receives a competitive USDOL Sectoral Planning Grant and begins analyzing employment within the health care industry sector.
- August 2001 – At its annual meeting, the Workforce Development Board unveils the new logo and brand name, “Polk Works”. Polk County is recognized as one of the top four performing regions in the State. Lockheed Martin IMS is purchased by ACS, State and Local Solutions. The Board assigns its contracts to the new company.
- October 2001 – Polk Works Executive Director, Nancy Thompson, is tapped by the state workforce board (WFI) to spend 6 months in Miami providing technical assistance. The Board receives a $354,000 IT training grant from WFI to operate in partnership with Polk Community College.
- May 2000 – The Florida Legislature passes the Florida Workforce Innovation Act, which reorganizes State and local Board structure and re-assigns leadership of several Department of Labor functions to local workforce development boards. >
- June 2000 – The Board completes its three years of One-Stop Career Center implementation. Three full-service and over a dozen satellite locations have been developed and are fully functioning.
- August 2000 – The Board forms a partnership with the Central Florida Development Council to educate employers about how to recruit and retain quality workers. Known as WorkForce 2020, a series of employer seminars and roundtables begin throughout the county.
- September 2000 – Workforce Florida, Inc. certifies that the Board is in compliance with all provisions of the new state law and new committees begin to address their assigned tasks.
- November 2000 – The Board receives two competitive grants from Workforce Florida, Inc.: One to pass on to Polk Community College to train information technology workers and one to Lockheed Martin IMS for the Step-Up Challenge Grant under welfare-to-work.
- December 2000 – The Board submits to the state a Memorandum of Understanding outlining how they will assume responsibility for former Department of Labor functions for labor exchange, veterans services and other programs.
- January 1999 – Florida becomes one of seven states to implement WIA early, on July 1, 1999. As a result, the Board enters into a fast-paced re-organizing and planning phase.
- July 1999 – The Board has met all requirements under WIA and begins operating under the new law.
- July 1999 – The Board partners with Lakeland area businesses to develop and submit for funding a program, Skills for Life, to train manufacturing workers. It was subsequently awarded.
- March 1998 – The Board approves several contracts designed to achieve a reduction in the rate of teenage pregnancy. They also vote to consolidate all workforce and WAGES services into a single contract.
- April 1998 – Polk County receives recognition as the Outstanding School-to-Work partnership in the State.
- May 1998 – The Board awards the consolidated contract for customer services to Lockheed Martin, IMS. The total Board budget is nearly 12 million dollars and over 4 million is awarded to Lockheed.
- August 1998 – The Board begins operation of its subsidiary corporation, Citrus Cars of Polk County. Designed as a low-income car ownership program, it helps working welfare recipients lease used cars. This is one of only 5 similar programs in the country.
- September 1998 – The Board selects Lockheed Martin IMS as its One-Stop Operator under the new Workforce Investment Act. The Board also receives a national Welfare-to-Work program allocation to begin serving the hardest to serve of those still on the welfare rolls.
- October 1998 – The Board selects the Polk County School Board to head up a coalition of community-based agencies engaged in preparing young people for the workplace.
- November 1998 – Citrus Cars of Polk County issued the first vehicle to Ruby Philpot, single parent & welfare recipient.
- February 1997 – The State WAGES Board designates the Polk County Workforce Board as the combined WAGES and Workforce Board for Polk County. Planning begins to take on this new responsibility.
- April 1997 – The Board selects Lockheed Martin IMS as its primary provider of welfare reform services.The Board’s budget more than doubles to nearly 9 million dollars.
- October 1997 – One year after it was passed into law, the welfare reform (WAGES) program has decreased welfare caseloads in Polk County by more than 60%.
- July 1996 – The Polk County Workforce Development Board officially begins doing business under the Chairmanship of Marvin Hammer. The Board was formed in response to an Executive Order from Governor Lawton Chiles that replaced former Private Industry Councils (PICs) with Workforce Boards. Polk split from a five-county consortium to become a single county region. Leaders agree to operate as a nonprofit corporation and for the Board to be its own administrative entity and fiscal agent. The annual budget is 4.1 million dollars. Henkels and McCoy, Inc. is selected as the Board’s workforce service provider.
- December 1996 – The Board votes to pursue designation as the county’s WAGES Coalition (Welfare reform board).