The Center for a Competitive Workforce: Meet Richard Verches – Part I
As the Executive Director of the Center for a Competitive Workforce (Center), Richard Verches brings a wealth of experience, knowledge, and compassion to his work. His many careers in law, policy, business, and humanitarian causes have honed his focus on the most human of human interests: the drive to succeed and thrive. He uses that focus and his numerous talents to move the Center forward in its quest to unite the LA region’s businesses and industries with the evolving talent pool emerging from its 19 community colleges. Not even the COVID-19 concern has slowed him down.
Familiar Work; New Opportunity
On the job for less than two years, Verches has been busy taking over management of the Center’s many projects. His directive is to attract and engage the attention of LA’s immense industrial complex and the leadership of its 19 diverse community colleges. His goal is to forge ongoing partnerships between the two that will accomplish a myriad of objectives:
Assisting the schools to develop and implement curricula and programs that will facilitate well-paying jobs for their graduates;
Introducing to regional businesses and industries the potential labor force resources that exist in local college populations;
The development of internship and entry-level work-based learning opportunities that directly connect students to jobs, and
The creation of a region-wide network of training and teaching programs based on actual business and industry demands and standards.
His partners in the effort are the Executive and Advisory Committees that represent the schools, including 13 Workforce and Economic Development (WED) Deans from nine of the 11 Community College Districts and Strong Workforce Program Managers from the California Community Colleges (CCC) organization. He also works closely with the leadership of the Los Angeles Economic Development Corporation (LAEDC), where the Center is housed.
His position at the nexus of industry and education is intentional; his purpose is to knit the two into a unified economic engine to drive forward the economy of the LA region and all of its citizens.
Personal Interest; Global Impact
Verches has spent his career pursuing humanitarian rights in a variety of positions. Highly attuned to his Latino heritage, his activities have always included championing the under-represented. As a lawyer, he worked with both the United Nations and private industry, advising business and government on human and environmental rights in areas covering half the planet. He brought those insights to his later work with LA County, as a deputy director of its Commission on Human Rights, and as the Executive Director of its Workforce Development Board. He left the County to direct the LA/Orange County Regional Consortium of Community Colleges, which led him to his present position at the CCW.
Through it all, he remained supportive of Latinx-related organizations focused on supporting and building minority communities. He champions the Latinx Education Achievement Project (LEAP) and advises the Ethics and Development Circle for Talent for Humanity, among many other efforts. Not insignificantly, he also teaches at UCLA, leading classes on illiteracy, Human Rights in the Americas, and comparative and historical perspectives of Latinx communities and the Law.
It’s hard to imagine another person with the precisely right talents and skills to lead the CCW than Richard Verches. And he arrives none-too-soon, as is revealed in our next article.
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