Testimonial: Workforce Development Professional
Ira Ayers: 'We've learned economic development'
Ira Ayers played football in high school and college and later coached a high school football team. He was a natural in his career as a job coach, but he never received formal training until the Sacramento Employment and Training Agency (SETA) selected him for the Workforce Development Professional Apprenticeship Program. And there, he discovered his ability to “grow and change.”
Ayers grew up around people struggling to find work, and he knew the uncertainty and anxiety of being unemployed. He was jobless for a couple of years following the death of his mother. A number of people helped him out of his crisis and now, he’s paying it forward. “I tell my customers this is not just a job to me. I let them know I care about them and their successes.”
Here is Ayers, in his own words:
“This apprenticeship has been a great experience. I’ve gained a lot of insight into workforce development and feel like I’ve grown in my knowledge, aptitude and ability to perform the job.
“We’re helping the economy because we’re trying to help people get back to work, but it’s not just with the career coaching. We’ve learned economic development. When a company comes into the region, they are identifying the workers they need and it’s important they have qualified people to hire. We’ve learned how to reach out to companies, how to strategize and equip workers to be ready for an employer.
“I want my customers to know I am here to help them. Not only am I here to help them but now, I’m better equipped.” - Ira Ayers, graduate
“Initially, I was a little apprehensive because I hadn’t been in school for almost 20 years. But I was also excited about the opportunity to become more knowledgeable about workforce development. I have received so many tools for growth and development by attending the program. And I feel more confident that I can transition into a supervisory role.
“I would recommend this program to other people because of the learning experience, the classroom knowledge, the growth, the ability to network and to see yourself grow and change. This is something I would highly recommend to workforce development professionals.”
Ayers finished the apprenticeship in 2016 and was promoted to a Workforce Development Professional III classification and with it, a 5-percent pay raise.