ECMC Foundation Fellow Spotlight: Q&A with Crystal Davidson
June 23, 2023
We chatted with Crystal Davidson, an executive-level trainer, educator and information architect who works with business leaders, government officials and education experts to develop training programs with an emphasis on apprenticeship development.
Crystal has spent two decades bridging the gap between performance in public education and meeting the instructional and training needs of the business community. She employs innovative strategies for designing and developing curricula and ensuring that students are successful in achieving the desired learning outcomes that lead to gainful and productive employment.
Read more below about Crystal’s outlook on workforce development initiatives in strengthening postsecondary CTE.
Name: Crystal Davidson
Title and Affiliation: Vice President, iBuild
Fellowship and Cohort: Talent of Tomorrow from Jobs for the Future (Cohort 2)
Why CTE? What drew you to postsecondary career and technical education and keeps you committed to advancing the field?
I chose a career in workforce development, with a focus on the construction trades industry, because I am deeply committed to bridging the skills gap and addressing the growing demand for skilled workers in this sector. By equipping individuals with the necessary training and qualifications for construction trades, I can contribute to building a strong and competent workforce that can meet the industry's evolving needs. The construction trades offer diverse career opportunities, and I believe that by empowering individuals with the relevant skills, we can create sustainable economic growth, enhance infrastructure development and provide pathways for upward mobility and financial stability.
What has been the most rewarding part of being an ECMC Foundation Fellow in the Talent of Tomorrow Fellowship?
As an ECMC Foundation Fellow within the Talent of Tomorrow Fellowship, delivered by Jobs for the Future (JFF), the most rewarding part has been the opportunity to collaborate with a diverse group of passionate professionals who share a common goal of advancing workforce development. Through this fellowship, I have been able to engage in meaningful conversations, exchange innovative ideas and develop lifelong connections with individuals who are dedicated to making a positive impact in the field. Additionally, the support and resources provided by ECMC Foundation and JFF have empowered me to implement practical solutions, contribute to real-world projects and witness the tangible results of our collective efforts in transforming the lives of individuals through education and workforce development initiatives.
From your perspective, what is the greatest area of opportunity for strengthening the postsecondary CTE field?
The greatest area of opportunity for strengthening postsecondary Career and Technical Education (CTE) lies in expanding and promoting registered apprenticeships. Apprenticeships offer a unique combination of classroom instruction and on-the-job training, providing individuals with practical skills and industry-specific knowledge. By investing in apprenticeship programs, we can bridge the skills gap in many industries, ensure a pipeline of highly skilled workers and meet the growing demand for qualified professionals. Additionally, it is crucial to enhance the collaboration between educational institutions, employers and industry organizations to develop relevant curricula, align training programs with industry needs and provide ongoing support for apprentices throughout their education and career journeys. By recognizing the importance of registered apprenticeships and strengthening postsecondary CTE, we can create sustainable pathways to success for individuals in the construction industry and foster a highly skilled workforce that drives innovation and economic growth.
How do you see yourself advancing the field in years to come?
In the years to come, I see myself advancing the field by actively contributing to the continuous improvement and innovation of workforce development in the construction industry. I plan to stay abreast of emerging trends and technologies that shape the construction trades, such as sustainable building practices, digitalization and automation. By leveraging these advancements, I aim to develop and implement effective training programs and initiatives that prepare individuals for the evolving demands of the industry.
Furthermore, I see myself collaborating with key stakeholders, including employers, educational institutions and industry associations to establish strong partnerships and promote the value of workforce development. By advocating for the importance of postsecondary CTE and registered apprenticeships, I will strive to expand access to quality training opportunities, particularly for underrepresented and justice involved populations.