Posts by Celeste Frye

2015 Policy Forum: Public Works Partners, WPTI and NYCETC Create Conversations


Public Works Partners was proud to sponsor and help organize the 2015 Workforce Development Policy Forum, along with partners Workforce Professionals Training Institute (WPTI) and the NYC Employment and Training Coalition (NYCETC) on Friday, February 6, at Hostos Community College. The Forum convened leaders from workforce providers, business stakeholders, educational institutions, and the public sector to collaborate on potential directions for the NYC workforce system. The Forum was organized around the City’s Career Pathways report, which we helped to develop, with the emphasis on opportunities for workforce providers and other stakeholders to chart their course for new and improved programming that aligns to the City’s new policy directions.


There were productive conversations all day, from the presentation by the NYC Workforce Investment Board Director Sherazade Langlade, the keynote speech from Dr. Brenda Dann-Messier, to an afternoon of leadership discussion and workshops.  Principal Celeste Frye and Senior Manager Allison Quigney worked with WPTI to facilitate the Leadership Lunch, a dynamic conversation about key themes from Career Pathways and how it will impact organizations.  In that session, Paul Ortega, Director of Training and Development for Swiss Post Solutions, a key employer partner, challenges workforce leaders to market and brand workforce development to appeal to business customers.  Principal Scott Zucker organized and facilitated a workshop on career pathways with a dynamic panel of experts from CUNY and the nonprofit sector. Details of the learning from those sessions to come in subsequent posts – stay tuned.

Public Works/WPTI Leadership Roundtable Brings Together NYC Workforce Executives

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Celeste Frye of Public Works Partners moderates the panel discussion

On September 10, 2014, Public Works Partners and WPTI—the Workforce Professionals Training Institute—convened our second workforce development leadership roundtable this year. The topic was Developing Leaders in the Workforce Field and included a panel of dynamic leaders from across the workforce field and the private sector. Panelists shared their own career experiences, the passion that keeps them in the field, and their respective organizations’ efforts to develop leaders from within. Panelists included:

The conversation highlighted several strategies panelists used to develop leaders from within. These include explicit goal-setting; putting high-potential employees on important projects, including assignments that stretch and develop their skills; creating well-defined career paths to aspire to; and intentional performance management. Many panelists and attendees also mentioned mentoring and investing in professional development as key elements of retaining and developing staff.

Blake Walters Foote, vice chair of WPTI’s board of directors, opened the day. The panel was moderated by Celeste Frye of Public Works. Sharon Sewell-Fairman, executive director of WPTI, and Allison Quigney of Public Works presented our own best practices for leadership and professional development resources. The group then discussed the most pertinent points from the day and set goals for their own organizations. Watch this space for more best practices and resources from the day.

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Allison Quigney of Public Works Partners shares best practices for leadership and professional development resources

This Leadership Roundtable Series was developed in order to bring workforce development leaders together to learn and build the field. The next roundtable will be conducted early in 2015. Use the comments section below to let us know what you would like to see discussed then. We’ll see you there!

New Report on NYC Capital Project Management

PWP report coverPublic Works Partners is pleased that our study A Survey of Capital Project Management Among New York City Government Agencies, which we researched and wrote for the advocacy group New Yorkers for Parks, has just been released and is garnering serious attention from the Parks Department and the City Council, as well as a bit of press.

Working side by side with New Yorkers for Parks, and with the full cooperation of the Parks Department, we conducted extensive interviews with several City agencies that commission capital projects, along with the City’s budget and contracting agencies, to identify best practices as well as that challenges that each agency faces. In nearly every facet of the capital process, we discovered that other agencies can provide valuable lessons for the Parks Department to explore.

The report offers a number of straightforward steps that Parks can take to improve its capital program management to ensure projects are timelier, more cost-effective, and processes are transparent. These include: baselining more capital funding in the Mayoral budget; outlining a faster and more clearly defined design process; using a better system for selecting and working with vendors; collaborating with other City agencies; and developing systems that develop greater accountability within the capital division at Parks. Each of these suggestions is expanded upon in the report.

What’s next? The good news is that this report won’t just sit on a shelf. Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver has already begun taking a hard look at the capital division, and the department is using our report as one of the starting points for the assessment.

Download the Report (PDF)

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