Forward March

by Shellie Willis, Senior Director of Workforce Systems Alignment

September 28, 2021

By now, we have equally experienced several transitions in our daily lives. Many would agree that the definition of work-life balance is very different than it was before March 2020. We have reached a point where building community and sustaining the pace of our new ways to live and work isn’t always easy. We have changed the landscape of our lives by investing back into what we know is important. Community investment is how we are able to check on our neighbors and preserve some sense of humanity in an ever-changing world.

As a veteran who served over 24 years in the U.S. Army, I am accustomed to adapting to change and pivoting direction quickly. My experiences while serving multiple deployments have always required a level of resilience that was developed and strengthened over time. “Forward March” is a command used to move troops in a specific direction with a specific cadence and distance between each step. When we think about what that means in our new way of living and work, each day may seem unclear. However, we know that change is constant and how we stand together to continue this forward movement in agreement and alignment with one another will sustain us over time. Identifying the need to move forward can be challenging with so much uncertainty. As in marching, the following building blocks towards forward movement will improve our community, collaboration, and collective equitable result. To effect social change, we must learn to first B.U.I.L.D. as we move forward in unity, pace, and direction.


Break up from the past by addressing, transforming, and realizing the community we want to see.


Unify our collective voices to amplify change in a way that honors ALL members of our community and acknowledges the work we still have yet to do.


Invest to preserve community foundational efforts and create access for future investment.


Increase the longevity of continuous improvement and accountability within our communities.


Dedicate to do the work necessary to continually sustain, grow, and THRIVE beyond what we see.

By applying these concepts we are building resilience, continuing to grow, and strengthening our workforce system and partnerships that address our unique challenges in innovative ways. We are increasing awareness and expanding our education and training opportunities at our local WorkSource sites. We are creating cohorts with multiple entry points across demographics that allow employers to upskill their current workforce and backfill entry-level positions. We are giving young adults work experience and businesses extra support with our youth work programs. We are strengthening our future processes through thought partnership and design thinking. WorkForce Central remains steadfast in our “Forward March” during this ever-changing time.

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