Members’ Corner: Ellen Flowers-Fields

Name, Title, Organization:

Ellen Flowers-Fields, Vice President Continuing Education & Workforce Development, College of Southern Maryland

Explain your background in economic development:

30 years of progressive professional experience in the field of workforce development and human capital management. My diverse background includes the acquisition, project management and implementation of various federal, state and local programs that address community economic development needs, acquiring and managing over $100 million dollars in support of various economic and community development initiatives. Funding acquisition from USDOL, USDA, US Dept. of Commerce, Veterans Administration, Federal Highway Administration, and numerous state and local agencies, in NY, GA and MD.

What are your key priorities within your current position?

The development and delivery of relevant career development and industry recognized training programs; community engagement and life long learning programs; development of work-based learning and employment opportunities for students.

Does one particular project spark your excitement? If so, describe it below.

CSM has an emphasis on enhancing social and economic mobility for our students. I’m excited about the emphasis that has been placed on supporting the expansion of career services and paid work-based learning opportunities to include internships and apprenticeships in career fields of study. We are creating early connections to our regions employers while students gain experience in their chosen fields.

What professional pressures keep you up at night?

The ongoing challenge of responding to labor market needs can be daunting. In my role I serve as facilitator between future workers and employers. The difficulty in connecting the two goes beyond what is often defined as a skills gap, its moreover the need to engrain a cultural competency that actively develops and delivers structured on the job training and skills building for entry and mid-level employees. When there are so many people seeking opportunity and so many employers espousing need we must constantly work to craft those connections.

What are your locality’s top three “selling points” for future growth?

Geographic location, education levels of population, availability of land/infrastructure development opportunities.

If you could wave a magic wand, what would you want to work with MEDA on to move Maryland forward?

This is a challenging question because economic development in Maryland is very decentralized. The work that MEDA already does to educate, empower and advocate for economic development priorities is the most important work that it can do in my opinion.

Please include any personal background information that you’d like to share (Alma mater, Military Service, hobbies, etc):

Master of Public Administration degree candidate at Old Dominion University (Spring 2024) Bachelor of Business Administration degree from Pace University Business Incubation Management Certification, International Business Innovation Association (INBIA) Global Career Development Facilitator Certification, Center for Credentialing and Education.

Affiliations include: Executive Board member Tri-County Council for Southern Maryland; Vice-Chair of the Maryland Technology Development Corporation; Member of the National Association of Workforce Development Professionals and the Maryland Economic Development Association; Leadership Southern Maryland alumni.

Recognitions include: 2017 Excellence Award from the National League for Innovation in Community Colleges.

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