Most of the time, we at POLIHIRE are called upon to support our client partners because a key person in their organization has left or is planning to leave. Working with our clients to define the contours of the transition and then identify leaders who are well-suited to take over the reins is at the core of our work. Every now and then, however, we get the opportunity to play a role in the stand-up of a new organization and help identify individuals to serve in these inaugural roles. This was the case with the City of Atlanta.
In September 2022, Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens announced significant investments in local workforce development and training. To oversee the new activities that are the fruits of this investment – including the Mayor’s Summer Youth Employment Program – as well as the City’s existing labor and innovation work, WorkSource Atlanta, and the Local Workforce Development Board, the mayor established the Department of Labor and Employment Services.
For the inaugural Commissioner of this Department, the City of Atlanta needed someone with a clear track record of success in building successful relationships with the myriad external stakeholders that are part and parcel of solid workforce development programs. At the same time, the City needed someone whose experience was forged in employment’s complex state and regulatory landscape as well as someone with the ability to lead a large team. All of these requirements were satisfied in John Flanagan.
John Flanagan brings over a decade of workforce development leadership to this new role with the City of Atlanta. He has skillfully navigated the multi-partner environments of three different workforce development organizations and managed the intersections of federal and local laws in three different states. To call John a workforce-development veteran would be an understatement. He has successfully grown the reach of the organizations he’s led via National Emergency Grants, Social Innovation Fund Grants, Rapid Response Additional Assistance Allocations, and other opportunities, including public-private partnerships. Most recently, while serving as CEO of CareerSource Tampa Bay, John launched a youth summer jobs program, which matched 560 young people with paid work-experience positions with 90 Tampa Bay-area employers.
John is an appointee to the U.S. Conference of Mayor’s Workforce Development Council, and he now adds Mayor Dickens to the group of mayors with whom he has worked. We look forward to his service on the mayor’s Cabinet.