"I would tell my younger self that, when in doubt, act in a manner to provide your future self with the most options. Don't worry about planning out your life while young, just work to gain the experiences, cultivate the relationships, and master the skills that collectively will grant your future self a wide variety of career and life options."
Many of us know Adam Peck for his leadership skills, his thoughtfulness, and for using his voice to make Visalia a great place to live, work, and thrive. His last nine years have been spent as the Executive Director of the Workforce Investment Board of Tulare County where in his words "works with businesses to ensure that we are properly preparing workers with the skills necessary to help businesses grow while providing those workers with a family-sustaining wage."
We were really excited to interview Adam and get his perspective as an ITK Champion, especially since the Tulare WIB has provided expertise, resources and staff, (and lots of humor!) to the INNOVATE Tulare-Kings initiative.
Here's what he had to share with us:
Knowing that you most likely didn't know what "workforce development" was when you were 5 or 10 years old, what did you think you'd be doing for work as an adult?
Like most kids, my idea of work was strongly shaped by what my parents did. So, it should come as no surprise that when an assignment at school first asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, I stated that I wanted to be a Truck Driver, just like my dad.
How would you describe your job to someone who doesn't know anything about the WIB?
I tell them that I work with businesses to ensure that we are properly preparing workers with the skills necessary to help businesses grow while providing those workers with a family-sustaining wage.
You've worked in Visalia for your whole professional career and its clear you love this city - where does your passion come from?
I see civic engagement as more of a privilege than a passion. I grew up just outside of Visalia in a neighborhood that never coalesced into a "community" so once I established myself in Visalia as an adult, I was amazed that anyone willing to raise their hand to play a role in shaping this community would quickly be allowed to help make decisions about the future of this city.
What is something in your work you're the most proud of?
I'm proud that our investments have made a difference in so many lives in our community. From an individual out of work in need of obtaining new skills, a young person entering the workforce for the first time, or a business searching for someone to fill a skilled position in order for that business to grow.
Young people are often told that they need good communication skills. What does this mean to you and how have these skills helped you in your life and career?
I think it's important first to be an empathetic listener before seeking to communicate any ideas of your own. To be committed to learning from others and to ensure that others know you have really absorbed their perspective and understood their ideas. Only then can you expect that your own words and ideas are best informed and likely to be fully considered.
If you could give your younger self a piece of advice, what would it be?
I would tell my younger self that, when in doubt, act in a manner to provide your future self with the most options. Don't worry about planning out your life while young, just work to gain the experiences, cultivate the relationships, and master the skills that collectively will grant your future self a wide variety of career and life options.
What excites you the most about the work that Tulare and Kings Counties are doing to help prepare our young people for their futures?
I'm most excited about the opportunities being created for young people to work with local businesses in meaningful work. Young people don't have the range of job opportunities available to youth of earlier generations and often enter the workforce after high school or even college without ever experiencing the essential nature of paid labor: a business compensating an individual for their work in the expectation that the productivity of the work will result in a return that exceeds the compensation. In this manner, the experiences with local businesses, enriches the lessons learned in the classroom.