Some departments are so well run that you don’t read much about them in the news. One of those is Greensboro Workforce Development and the force behind Workforce Development, Director Lillian Plummer is retiring on Feb. 28.
Plummer has been with the city since 1978 and head of Workforce Development since 1981, so she definitely has her time in, 41 years total and 38 years as director.
Workforce Development is a complicated deal. The employees work for the City of Greensboro but it is a countywide program funded by the city, state and federal government.
Plummer agreed that her department was complex as far as the law and all the different pieces went but she added, “The real mission is to help people find jobs. To get them prepared for new jobs. Really it’s just trying to help people better themselves.”
Plummer is one of those leaders who prefers to talk about the great things other people are doing. She said, “I’ve probably made as much impact as I can make.” And then she started talking about some new initiatives she was leaving behind in good hands.
Although Workforce Development is all about finding jobs for people as Plummer pointed out that also means bringing new jobs to the area and she noted that they were always at the table when those in charge of economic development were recruiting new industries.
She said, “Big or little they work with us and we help them by making referrals, setting up job fairs and doing whatever they need.”
She said that one of the difficult sells was to convince people to train for jobs that aren’t here yet, but are coming.
And she said that working with employers who are already here was a big part of what her department does. She said, “A number of them have developed the kind of relationship with us that they call us up and say ‘this is where we are.’”
She said that sometimes that means they are laying people off and want help in finding new jobs for there soon to be former employees.
Plummer said, “My board says we are Guilford County’s best kept secret.”
Mayor Nancy Vaughan said of Plummer, “She’s done an awful lot in her tenure with Workforce Development. I think that Lillian is leaving behind a great legacy.”
Vaughan said, “I’m excited that one of the last things that has happened is this Welcome Home initiative. It’s a pilot program for the chronically homeless and Workforce Development is playing a critical role.”
Vaughan said, “Workforce Development has done a lot of creative things over the years and is certainly a very important economic development tool.”
Finally Vaughan said, “I’m glad she has had this time with the city and I’m glad she is taking some time for herself.”
After 41 years of outstanding service, it’s very well deserved.