Name: Patrick Burkhart
Title: Assistant Director
Company: Maricopa County Human Services Department/ Maricopa Workforce Connections
Years with city: 3.5
Years in current position: 2.5
Entity Established: 1998
Employees in AZ: 71
Employees in HR dept.: 4
Words such as “tirelessly” and “diligently” are used to describe the work ethic of Patrick Burkhart as he collaborates with Maricopa Workforce Connections (MWC) to help people find jobs and assist local businesses seeking qualified employees to hire.
Burkhart is assistant director of the Maricopa County Human Services Department, and MWC is a department division.
MWC offers comprehensive recruitment and talent-acquisition services to businesses, organizations and associations located in Maricopa County and outside the city of Phoenix. Its services are particularly important in today’s recessionary times, as it researches labor market trends and helps job seekers identify their transferable skills. MWC also helps individuals refine their employment search to ensure they are applying for the right jobs using appropriate information and job-hunting techniques. MWC is funded by a federal grant under the Workforce Investment Act of 1998, and offers its services for free to both businesses and people.
Building relationships is Burkhart’s forte. He establishes rapport with community partners, business leaders and others who may be beneficial to MWC’s clients. He oversees MWC operations and is always looking for opportunities to leverage support and improve efficiency. For example, Burkhart tapped the expertise of another agency to streamline MWC’s processes, reduce waste and alleviate staff stress caused by the increasing number of job-seeking clients requesting assistance at the county’s career centers.
Burkhart also took the initiative to bridge gaps between MWC and other work force development agencies in the region to form the Maricopa County Human Capital Collaborative. The collaborative applies for grant funding to enhance the efforts of local work force agencies and bring additional resources to the area.
Because MWC is federally funded and resources are directed to businesses and individuals, money is not available to pay for memberships in various organizations. Instead, Burkhart and his team work closely with chambers of commerce, the Greater Phoenix Economic Council, the Arizona State Council of the Society for Human Resource Management and the Governor’s Council On Workforce Policy at the Arizona Department of Commerce. Burkhart also works with dozens of public and private organizations that either provide services to the community or have a stake in MWC through positions on its youth council and board of directors.
MWC offers an array of business services, employer services, employed-worker training, on-the-job training, recruitment services, youth services and job fairs. MWC also informs businesses on an array of employment and training-related tax incentives. These incentives include state corporate income tax credits for the creation of new jobs at companies with less than 10 percent retail, a 40 to 60 percent reduction of property taxes for five years at small manufacturing companies, federal work opportunity tax credits and federal welfare-to-work tax credits.
MWC also offers assistance to companies that are downsizing and helps displaced employees with their transition to new employment. Services include information on unemployment insurance, career and job fairs, access to job postings, and workshops on job-search skills, resume writing, interviewing, personal finances and budgeting.