Workforce Development gets new director

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Processed with VSCO with b5 preset

Kara Toay

For many businesses, organizations and employees that require training, there is Continuing Education and Workforce Development at NMU, which recently gained a new director.

Stephanie Zadroga-Langlois was appointed by Steve VandenAvond, Vice President for Extended Learning and Community Engagement, as the new director of Continuing Education and Workforce Development in late September. She said her past experiences help her with her new position.

“It was the perfect storm because I have a background in the private sector of the staffing industry and the other side was the public sector of Michigan Works,” Zadroga-Langlois said. “This is kind of the final piece.”

One of the biggest goals she hopes to achieve as the director is to let businesses around the Upper Peninsula understand what the department does.

“I think a lot of businesses think of the university just for getting your two, four-year degree or Masters,” Zadroga-Langlois said. “We’re here to bring that continuing education and increase the workforce across the Upper Peninsula.

The Continuing Education and Workforce Development department offers training to any business or organization with a need for the services and can formulate exactly what they need.  According to an NMU press release, Zadroga-Langlois’s role is to cultivate partnerships with business and industry throughout the Upper Peninsula and oversee a variety of skilled and professional training programs that can be customized to specific needs.

She previously worked as a national client account manager with Manpower, where she researched talent shortages and skills or education gaps and designed plans to address them. She is also the former director of the talent acquisition team for Michigan Works UPWARD Talent Council.

Zadroga-Langlois said this has led her to understand the demands of the industries across the nations and the skills that are lacking.

With the public sector, she said she understands how grant money can come in and help fill gaps and other techniques. She also said she’ll use the contacts that she gained from her past experiences to help move the university and its business partners forward.

“I understand a lot of the industries in the Upper Peninsula, and because of that we can work nicely together with other organizations,” Zadroga-Langlois said.

Michael Falcon, program coordinator of the Continuing Education and Workforce Development department  feels that Zadroga-Langlois brings a certain perspective to the position.

“She brings to the table a sound understanding of the kinds of things our office does and has the right attitude to make these things happen,” Falcon said.

Zadroga-Langlois said she has learned the job requires patience and that it’s possible to have things work out as hoped but that it might take longer than originally thought. She also added that there are a lot of rules and regulations that are learned that can impede an original plan.

“You have to learn to be creative and always have a few strategies to get to the positive outcome,” she said.