In workforce development for the majority of her career, Donna Doubleday, began teaching daily living and job readiness to developmentally disabled individuals. Increasing her skills increased via education and job training, she found new opportunities. Soon conducting vocational assessments and evaluations, she later served as the coordinator of a transitional employment program.
Helping with job search, readiness and placement, she began working with performance and program monitoring as well as procedure and project development. Doubleday has also been a case manager, program monitor, quality improvement coordinator, director of programs and operations, a regional director and chief operations officer.
Hailing from New England, she has lived in Highlands County since 1993. “I have resided in New Jersey, Ohio, Illinois, Maryland and Virginia too as my father was in the military.”
Throughout the years, Doubleday found her niche in workforce development. With a Bachelor’s in Human Services and a Paralegal Certificate, she is a Nationally Certified Workforce Development Professional. “I have also completed the Florida Certified Workforce Development Professional, tiers 1, 2 and 3, with endorsements in Management and Business Services.”
Now responsible for all procedures, programs and activities of CareerSource Heartland (CSH), she serves as president/chief executive officer. “I’ve been with CSH since 1993, with the exception of two brief stints elsewhere. The grass is not always greener as we sometimes think when we are young.”
Administering federal, state and local grant funded programs, she oversees operations and training program planning while handling contract negotiations with vendors. “This includes public and private employers, social service agencies, educational institutions, participants, the general public and local, state and federal regulatory agencies,” she explained.
Doubleday and her staff ensure compliance with federal, state, and local policies, procedures and regulations and she serves as liaison between CSH’s Board of Directors and CareerSource Florida. “I work with the boards on strategic plan development and creating collaborative relationships with community partners and governmental agencies.”
As one of 24 Local Workforce Development Boards in Florida, CSH is a not-for-profit corporation operating as a demand-driven, business-focused, public-private partnership. Overseeing workforce and talent development in a four-county region, she collaborates with private and public organizations and businesses to enhance the local economy. If this seems like a lot to digest, Doubleday sums it up. “Our job is to locate or develop the talent local businesses need to thrive.”
Prosperous commerce in turn ensures good career options. “We are often called the people part of the equation,” she explained. “Talent is the new currency for economic development.” Stressing it takes close relationships to develop solutions for workforce needs she turns to the local region.
“Our partners include businesses, economic development organizations and educational entities such as the DeSoto, Hardee, Highlands, and Okeechobee school districts.” The South Florida and Indian River state colleges, job training providers and government agencies are also on her list.
Then there are Boards of County Commissioners, city officials and chambers of commerce, as well as interested stakeholders and the community. Collaboratively issues are discussed and resources identified so solutions can be developed.
Why does Doubleday pour herself into such weighty tasks and responsibilities? “The work is filled with challenges, but I enjoy developing practical, effective and efficient solutions.” Whether she is assisting a business with a hard to fill job opening, coaching someone on a new career path, or assisting with job training, it makes her feel good.
“When a client’s revised resume results in an interview and hire, or I work with community groups to resolve higher level workforce issues, it all equals tremendous personal fulfillment,” said Doubleday.
She gives much credit to the CareerSource Heartland Board of Directors-most of who come from the private business sector-and her Executive Board. “They are a very dedicated group of business and community partners who volunteer their time to offer strategic direction for our organization.”
Doubleday also commends her hard working staff. “We also work closely with the Department of Economic Opportunity and CareerSource Florida too,” she noted.
What does the future hold? CSH has two major projects going on. One is addressing the soft or foundational skill deficits impacting our local workforce and the other is addressing a talent gap affecting local advanced manufacturing industries.
Sitting on various boards and committees throughout the region, Doubleday’s focus is clear. “I’m always asking, what is the impact to our local workforce?” She also wants to spread the word about CSH. “We don’t want to be the best kept secret in town.”
Own a business and have openings to fill or employees needing upskill training? “Call us,” urged Doubleday. Planning an expansion? “Call us for that too.” Are you an employee looking for a job, a new career or enhanced training? “Come see us,” she urged.
Don’t know which direction to go or where to start? “We can identify careers, work with you on a resume or provide guidance on where to apply. Whether you are a business owner or job seeker in DeSoto, Hardee, Highlands or Okeechobee County, visit us to discover how workforce development opportunities can help you grow.”
Location: 5901 US Hwy 27 South, Suite 1, Sebring
Phone: (863) 385-3672 ext. 1303