As the VWDB adjusts to the new regulations of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), board colleagues and staff are grateful for the experience of the board members who’ve weathered earlier governmental and organizational changes. Jim Darcey, owner of Copy Central in Burbank and Glendale and CopyMat in Westwood and Hollywood, has served on the Executive Board for over a decade.
Darcey readily admits he hasn’t memorized all the workforce-world acronyms, but he shares with the board his sense of its history. He remembers the transformation from JTPA (Job Training Partnership Act) to WIA (Workforce Investment Act) and the VJC’s integration with the EDD (Employment Development Department). He sees the transformation from WIA to WIOA as one more chapter in the saga of government efforts to streamline assistance to industries and jobseekers.
Darcey’s experience as a business owner in an industry that has “migrated with technology” makes him a valuable contributor to VWDB discussions of market trends. He’s also keenly aware of the benefits of soft skills among employees, a topic that comes up often in discussions about training for careers. His company values an employee’s ability to listen to customers and problem solve. “Everything in printing is custom,” Darcey says. “It’s all about personal service.”
He understands the deadlines faced by VJC staff members working to meet their target placement outcomes. “Handling complex print projects with tight deadlines to meet the needs of business clients” is a description of his business, but it could almost apply to VWDB staff working to implement the new WIOA requirements.
Asked about his own experience, he recalled his start in a CopyMat on the Berkeley campus, where he received his BA in Political Science. Eventually he decided to run his own shop, “…And here I am still working hard.”
His employees work hard, too. “We have good people, and we don’t have to hire that often.” When he does hire, along with the soft skills, he said applicants need to come with experience in software applications, because there isn’t much time to train on the job. He also tests applicants’ math skills. “If their math is inferior,” he said, “they usually don’t work out.” He sees the parallel between good math skills and clear, logical thinking. “You have to be able to connect the dots,” he said. He also looks at spelling on an application and will reject an applicant who can’t spell.
Darcey continues to serve on the board because he appreciates knowing what’s going on in the community and feeling connected to it. He also likes to help. “I like to be able to offer a useful perspective on issues that matter.” He also likes to have some influence on how tax dollars get used, he said with a smile.