Clackamas County Emerging Career Networking Group

Posted on December 20, 2011

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We want to share a unique program with you, started in Clackamas County. ELGL members Rosalynn Greene ([email protected]Sustainability Analyst and Karen Pearson ([email protected])Human Resources Program Coordinator – Workforce Planning have been instrumental in getting the program after the ground.

The mission of the Emerging Career Networking Group (ECNG) is to connect newly hired and existing Clackamas County employees who share the common goal of developing new ideas and cultivating professional and social relationships through shared interests and contributions to the community. The Emerging Career Networking Group is open to any and all employees; however, its primary purpose is to establish linkages between employees at the County who are in the early years of their careers. Once established, the networking group will be employee-driven and provide a forum to exchange ideas, build a network, support each other in career development and have a little fun. The Emerging Career Networking Group will seek to:

    • Create a forum to meet other employees
    • Facilitate networking
    • Provide a voice to share ideas and perspectives
    • Welcome new employees who are also in their early careers
    • Develop connections
    • Develop a sense of community and partnership

Observations from Rosalynn:

We have a steering committee that consists of 4 people and we are currently in the process of recruiting more participants.  To be honest, it has been hard to get employees involved.  Every other month we host the Department Learning Series which is our most popular event.  During the hour long “brown bag” attendees come to learn about the featured departments day-to-day activities, educational background needed to work there, etc.  Our turnout for these events is typically 10-15 attendees, however it really depends on the content.  This month we tried to pull together a “Holiday Cookie Mixer” which is described on the attached flier.  Due to lack of interest it was canceled.  Our biggest challenge right now is engaging employees beyond having them show up to hear a speaker.  We are trying to find ways of getting folks to engage in networking activities however there seems to be reluctance, especially when it is called out as such.

Observations from Karen:

When we first announced the formation of this group it was met with a great turnout of interested employees.  We framed it as a networking group for employees in their early years of their career. The first informational event was held in March 2010 and the county purchased pizzas.  I think we had close to 30 employees attend that first event and another 20 or so who wanted to be put on the mailing list.  Now we have close to 75 employees on our mailing list.  We thought “wow, this is going to be the best thing ever!!” 

Despite those numbers, we are struggling with getting a solid turnout for our networking meetings.  Like Rosalynn said, we have a good turnout for our bi-monthly department learning brownbags (held on odd number months), but the networking events that are held on even number months have a low turnout.  We are actually stealing some great ideas from the ELGL group to get some attention-grabbing speakers for 2012.  We are trying to find some internal county directors or managers who are interested in speaking about a topic that supports career development.   Its central to workforce planning to have a forum for passing along knowledge and mentorship among our employees.


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