Local News

Heartland Workforce head announces retirement

Highlands Today staff SEBRING - Heartland Workforce Board CEO and President Roger Hood will be retiring at the end of the year, and the board's vice president and chief operating officer, Donna Doubleday, will be taking his place beginning July 8. Ann Martin will replace Doubleday and also will begin her new duties on July 8. "I have thoroughly enjoyed building relationships with our many partners and I also appreciate the support that I have received from each of them these last several years," Hood wrote in an email circulated to his associates, while announcing his retirement.
He described his retirement as "bittersweet," and said he and his wife will be doing some traveling. To help Doubleday in her transition, Hood will continue to hold the title of president until he retires. While helping her transition, he will "primarily focus on outreach efforts to businesses, community leaders, elected officials and our many partner agencies," he added. Doubleday said she was "truly honored to have been selected for this position, and look forward to the challenges ahead." She has been with the local workforce system on and off for 20 years. "I left the system twice, for about a year each time," she said. "Seems though, that workforce gets in the blood! I missed it each time and was happy to be able to return. I have been back now since 2006. " She has served in a variety of positions: a vocational assessment counselor, case manager, quality improvement monitor, regional director for a service provider, project manager, and most recently, as vice president/CEO. As for her priorities, she said they are set by the board of directors. "As the people part, or talent development side, of economic development, we understand that businesses create jobs," she said. "We seek to understand the skill sets needed by our local businesses, then to help the local worker or job seeker attain those skills, ultimately, ideally, helping both the business and the working sectors thrive. "The success of our organization is, in part, contingent upon the partnerships we have with businesses, educational institutions, community organizations, local government, and local leaders. I hope to continue to grow those partnerships for the benefit of workforce development in our tri-county region," she added. The transition also will take place during a time the state's workforce agencies are rebranding their name. In accordance with The Regional Workforce Board Accountability, legislators have directed the state's workforce leadership to evaluate and establish a single, statewide workforce-system brand., Hood said. The existing system encompasses the state workforce board, Workforce Florida Inc , the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, 24 regional workforce boards and nearly 100 One-Stop Career Centers with different names and brands. The state workforce board has contracted with an Orlando company, which has conducted meetings over the last several months with different entities to develop the new brand name. That will be rolled out to the public in the next few months, Hood added. Hood, who has been with Heartland Workforce for more than 12 years, was initially hired in September 2001 and shortly after became the assistant executive director to the late Jimmy Gose, who was executive director. He then served as the assistant director to Carol Brown and was appointed executive director in April 2004, becoming CEO and president a few months later.