Linda West to Lead Center for Working Families

March 11th, 2010
Linda West (left) and Libby Palackdharry discuss Center for Working Families initiatives

Linda West is the new director of the Center of Working Families at Southwest Housing Solutions.

Linda brings to the newly created position more than 25 years of consistent success in program development and administration for educational and human service organizations.

“We are extremely fortunate to have Linda as the director of the Center for Working Families,” said John Van Camp, president of Southwest Solutions. “Her record of accomplishment and innovation in the arena of workforce development is unrivaled in metro Detroit. The fact that she has decided to head our Center for Working Families speaks volumes about the significance and promise of this program to help families build wealth and better their lives.”

In joining Southwest Housing, Linda leaves her role as director of Workforce Development at Henry Ford Community College (HFCC). As its director since 2002, Linda established effective partnerships with state and local workforce agencies and developed collaborative workforce training programs with numerous organizations in the private and public sectors. These state-of-the-art training programs prepare participants for careers in Michigan’s new economy, including alternative energy, “green” construction, weatherization, biotechnology, health care, and computer information systems.

At HFCC, Linda also headed the Michigan Technical Education Center(M-TEC). In addition to supervising the M-TEC workforce development staff, she directed marketing, financial development, and advisory board recruitment and cultivation.

Under her leadership at HFCC, the number of adults enrolled in workforce development increased dramatically and the financial position of M-TEC changed from a deficit to surplus.

“Linda combines outstanding organizational skills with a collaborative sensibility and the ability to draw the best out of those she works with,” said Hector Hernandez, director of the Housing Opportunity Center, where the Center for Working Families is based.

The Center for Working Families (CWF) helps low-income families reach financial stability, access income supports, develop educational and employment opportunities, and move up the economic ladder. Participants are assisted by a financial coach, workforce development coach and income support coach.

The new “Pathways Out of Poverty” program will be implemented through the CWF. This federally-funded, $4 million collaborative project will target roughly 1200 applicants and place approximately 360 disadvantaged community residents in permanent unsubsidized employment opportunities in the green industries sector.

Linda is deeply familiar with the organization she joins. She has served as chair of the Southwest Counseling Solutions Board since 2007, and has been involved in Board committees since 2001.

“Becoming the CWF director is an opportunity to apply my expertise in workforce development to advance exciting new initiatives at an organization that I love,” Linda said. “More people are living in poverty in our community and we must assemble and provide critical components to prepare people for the jobs of the future. These components include workforce development, adult literacy, job placement and many other support services. This package of comprehensive services is key to address the root causes of poverty.

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