Category Archives: Workforce Development Ideas

Dynamic Teams & Working Styles

There are many things that make our team well… dynamic.

One of the most unique facets is that our team works remotely full-time. We’ve been doing it for a while, so the work from home part is not new to us. The at home all the time part is! For some of us we’ve suddenly got a house full of people at home with us! In the wake of social distancing and self-quarantine, we are all asking ourselves, “How can I possibly stay focused for 8 hours a day?” Pets, snacks, kids, laundry, screens, partners, and our comfy beds stare us in the face with each moment that crawls by. For others the new routine of not having evening plans and activities keeps us sitting at our computers longer than normal. There’s got to be a balance! Getting your work done without distraction and turning it off at the end of the work day as well!

So, what’s the magic behind an entire virtual team? How does the Dynamic Works squad stay engaged, productive, and sane at the same time?

According to Cal Newport’s “Deep Work,” there are 4 types of focus approaches:

  • The monastic approach. This is where you shut yourself off from distractions completely. An extreme example might be moving to a remote cabin in the middle woods with no technology and locking yourself in until you check off everything on your to-do list. But we don’t expect you to do that.
  • The bimodal approach. This is when you might set aside a block of a few hours to hyper focus. Once the block of time is done, you can work on all the other stuff you got to do, like finishing Love is Blind on Netflix.
  • The rhythmic approach. This involves setting aside small chunks of time over the course of a longer period to accomplish a task. You might set aside 2 hours a day for 6 weeks, for example. You know what they say: A chunk a day keeps the procrastination away!
  • The journalistic approach. This is when you use random blips of free time to dedicate towards your tasks. When you find yourself staring out a window, you may suddenly think, “I could do that report I guess.” Then you focus in and have the time of your life on doing that report.

We asked our General Manager and Business Development Manager to tell us their personal focus approach. Here’s what they said:

GENA LEISTEN, General Manager – Bimodal

“Show your face on meetings as much as possible for accountability AND team camaraderie. Seeing other people can brighten your day, especially virtually.”

NIKKI STRUNK, Business Development Manager – Rhythmic/Bimodal

This sounds silly but, make your bed and put on your shoes! I also have found that a daily to-do list and scheduling at least 30 minutes outside of the house refreshes me, too.”

Finding your own work and focus styles can be a trial & error process.

Somedays you’ll know you did something wrong when you’ve had 5 cups of coffee and 7 breaks by noon. But that’s okay! Everyone has a perfect work flow just waiting to be achieved.

No matter what your style the most important thing to remember right now is that these are extraordinary times and things are just different. Kids are going to interrupt meetings, dogs are going to bark, connections are going to be iffy. It’s o.k. none of us have done this at this level before. Things happen. A cat stepping on a keyboard is not going to wreck the space time continuum, and it may give a welcome laugh when we all need it most.

Wishing you deep focus in your missions!

-Your Dynamic Team

Ex-Offender Job Development Series

Who hires ex-offenders?

The truth is that some companies hire many people with a record–people who have the skills and abilities to do the work, even if they have a criminal record. Others may be afraid that people who have criminal records won’t be good workers. In those cases, it’s up to you, the workforce professional, to show them that’s not true.

So, what can you do, as a workforce professional, to improve employment prospects for your client, an ex-offender?

Do you know how to get an ex-offender interview ready?

What are the Green Elements Standards?

How should they talk about their conviction?

What are employer benefits for hiring a worker with a criminal record?

If you don’t know the answers to these and other questions, consider taking our new Ex-Offender Job Development Series.

This series contains lessons allowing you to uncover strategies your client can utilize to overcome employer resistance in hiring individuals with a criminal history. Learn how labeling negatively impacts an individual with a criminal history. Discover how motivational interviewing strategies can assist the client with a criminal history to find his or her voice and the strength to obtain meaningful employment. Help your clients advocate for themselves so they can experience a brighter future. Then put it all together with a summary lesson for next steps in your work with Ex-Offenders.

Check out this free lesson on Putting It All Together.


“The Ex-Offender training I took was immensely helpful! 
Yvonne Lopez, MBA Program Specialist

Yvonne Lopez, MBA
Program Specialist

I gained skills to better provide services to this population.  I also learned about how they think about themselves and how I can help them to change their mindset.  I appreciate how important it is for them to change the way they think about themselves so that they can present themselves with more confidence to potential employers.  I wanted to run out and start informing employers about the importance of being thoughtful in deciding not to hire people with backgrounds to avoid inadvertently violating EEOC requirements.”


Contact us today to learn more at gleisten@dwfs.us or click here to purchase!

An Entrepreneur and Career Planning Tool You Can’t Pass Up! Let’s Go!

GGGoGuideTM is an innovative, interactive, intuitive and easily usable tool, which allows students the opportunity to discover who they are, where they want to go, how they want to get there, what challenges might get in their way, and how they will make it to their destination!

This tool is 100% e-based and mobile friendly so students can access their plan on the go! Click on White Paper to download the PDF file describing the academic roots behind GoGuideTM.

How We Can Address the Skills Gap?

The latest on the infamous skills gap and some commentary regarding how it can be addressed comes to us from the following articles:

Confronting the Skills Gap – Are Higher Education Graduates Career Ready?

Closing Skills Gap Important for 2018 and Beyond

Dynamic Works can help close this gap with our Industry Scholars courseware that highlights high-demand industries in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) industries and offers practical solutions to gain experience and become trained in these occupations.Industry Scholars

This courseware entices those entering into or transitional careers into these sectors while giving them a clear picture of expectations for entry level and advancement positions along the career pathway.  Click here to learn more.

Our customers are raving about our web-based services!

LaSonya Bishop“Dynamic Works Institute offers a user friendly online training platform for learners at all levels.  The seamless enrollment process allows learners to immediately access their courseware. The training is relevant and accessible and reporting options for Managers allows for timely retrieval of learner progress. The customer service from Dynamic Works’ staff is phenomenal, readily available, and offers support at all levels.” ~LaSonya Bishop, Director of Workforce Programs, Volunteers of America

Want to see how our services and Learning Management System can help your organization?  Tour our site and LMS here.

Implementing a Successful Pre-Apprenticeship Program

A Pre-Apprenticeship program is a set of strategies designed to prepare individuals to enter a Registered Apprenticeship program. In our free webinar you’ll learn the best practices for implementing a pre-apprenticeship program in your area from those who have succeeded in doing just that! Presented by Tim Smith, Business Services Manager, and Teri Ross, WIOA Program Coordinator, both of Workforce Solutions East Texas.

Tim Smith is the Business Services Manager for Workforce Solutions East Texas. As the Business Services Manager, his focus is taking care of their primary customer, the employer.

Teri Ross has been the WIOA Program Coordinator for Workforce Solutions East Texas for the past 3 years. She coordinates data collection and program evaluation ensuring activities are implemented according to relevant legislation, policies, and procedures.

Access the webinar below for strategies to implement a pre-apprenticeship program in your area!

Finding Success, One Step at a Time


Michel LoustaunauThroughout this journey called life, I have learned that it is only through hard work and dedication that one’s goals can be achieved. My name is Michel Loustaunau, and I am from Chihuahua, Mexico, a beautiful city with a rich culture and history. I lived there for the first thirteen years of my life. After I obtained my permanent residence, I immigrated to the U.S. and started school. With that first step, many opportunities became available for me.


When I was a senior in high school I remember thinking, What am I going to do during the summer with no work experience? I really wanted a job, but I had no skills; I didn’t even know how to write a resume or fill out a job application.

My second step came after I saw a pamphlet that was promoting a summer program that would help youth 16 to 24 get a job. All I needed to do was show up and be willing to learn, which I did. In 2009 I became part of the youth program which helps young adults gain training, work experience, and skills (among many other things) providing a pathway for self-sufficiency. The case workers at Workforce Solutions Borderplex were extremely kind to me. After asking about my interests and learning that I was majoring in psychology, they prepared me for my first job.

After a couple of years of guidance and support from my family, friends, and my youth case manager, I graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology. This step was a big accomplishment for me and my family, since I was the first person in my family to graduate from college. I continued taking advantage of the educational opportunities available to me and started pursuing a Master of Arts in Sociology and will graduate in the Spring of 2018.

Professionally, I was hired on a permanent basis as a youth case manager after I was no longer part of the program. Today, I continue to work in the youth program as a lead case manager and work with my mentor and friend, who was once my own youth case manager. I am extremely grateful for the opportunities the workforce system has provided me, including giving me the chance to fulfill my dream of working with those in need. Now I’m able to help youth reach their own dreams no matter how big they are.

Success only takes effort, serenity, responsibility and a positive attitude. In life no matter how difficult a situation might seem nothing is impossible if you got the courage to fight for what you want. And remember to take that first step.

Human Resource Services Series


As a Workforce Development Professional, what do you think about when you see the term human resource services?

Did you know that one of the many functions of your job is to work with your region’s business customers?

The Dynamic Works’ Human Resource Services Series provides you with information on how you can help businesses improve their competitiveness and profitability through human resource management. You will learn about techniques to hire, train, and retain workers; provide expertise to businesses; and link businesses to available resources.

This training will present you with both necessary information and real-life experiences on how providing human resource services is an integral part of your role as a Workforce Development Professional.

Contact us today to learn more at gleisten@dwfs.us!

TED Talk: A practical way to help the homeless find work and safety

When Richard J. Berry, the mayor of Albuquerque, saw a man on a street corner holding a cardboard sign that read “Want a job,” he decided to take him (and others in his situation) up on it. He and his staff started a citywide initiative to help the homeless by giving them day jobs and a place to sleep — and the results were incredible. Find out how your city can replicate Albuquerque’s model with this frank and optimistic talk.

Richard J. Berry: A practical way to help the homeless find work and safety | TED Talk | TED.com.  This talk was presented to a local audience at TEDxPennsylvaniaAvenue, an independent event.

10 Classic Interview Questions and the Best Responses

In a tight job market, where a day’s delay can mean the difference between hiring a great candidate and missing out, it can be tempting to pursue applicants primarily because they look promising on paper.

In fact, harried recruiters admit that they often cut their part of the interview process short to move potential employees along faster to frustrated hiring managers. Trying to fill positions that may have remained open for many months, managers then whiz through interviews, allowing those with strong resumes who can talk a good game to step into the empty seats. Unfortunately, such haste often leads to costly hiring mistakes when it becomes clear that the new employees lack critical skills or are a poor fit.

Check out the full article.

Tony Lee (2017, November 27). Article: 10 Classic Interview Questions and the Best Responses. Retrieved from shrm.org