Workforce Today

Workforce Today is the podcast that talks locally but thinks globally about workforce issues with business, community and public sector leaders. Your host is Bill Villano, President and CEO of Workforce Alliance in New Haven, CT. To learn more about Workforce Alliance, visit
RSS Feed iOS App
Workforce Today






All Episodes
Now displaying: Page 1
Dec 10, 2021

Drexel University economist Paul Harrington returns to the program to discuss the future of the post-pandemic economy, as well as labor market trends. Paul also shares his thoughts about the current and future state of manufacturing and whether we will face a crisis when it comes to long-term unemployed workers. 

Dec 9, 2020

Ari Santiago, President of IT Direct, joins the program to discuss the impact that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on his IT services business, as well as the trends he is seeing in his manufacturing clientele and his podcast “Made in America.” Ari also shares his thoughts on attracting tech talent and the impact of manufacturers investing in robotics and AI technologies. 

Nov 7, 2019

Tariq Farid, founder of Edible Arrangements, joins the program to discuss his newest venture, Incredible Edibles, an end-to-end CBD product business that will farm, process and sell CBD food products through a franchise model. Tariq reveals why he decided to start Incredible Edibles, the benefits of CBD for consumers, and the potential economic impact of the industry. 

Sep 23, 2019

This episode was recorded live at the Amazon Fullfillment Center in North Haven, Connecticut with Richard Dyce, Director of Operations for the facility. The center features 855,000-square-feet of space and 10 miles of conveyors. Discover why Amazon chose the North Haven location, the role of automation in the shipping and fullfillment process, and the benefits and opportunities available to employees. 

May 7, 2019

Bill Villano keeps asking questions about how automation and robotics impact the labor force. He talks with Professor and Economist Harry J. Holzer on how to prepare for more disruption. Are wage subsidies the best way to make up the loss? How does that fit in with or labor reforms to avoid the “3 L’s”: longer unemployment, lower wages, and labor market withdrawal. Holzer is a public policy professor at Georgetown University, a Brookings Institute contributor, and former U.S. Dept. of Labor economist.

Apr 1, 2019

Discover the jobs, skills and training opportunities in the medical and recreational marijuana business. Bill Villano talks with Joe LaChance, who is an advocate, business owner and director of education for CannaHealth LLC, which prepares people to work in dispensaries. Second of two new episodes on this $9 billion industry.

Apr 1, 2019

Cannabis is a $9 billion business. In the first of two new episodes on the medical and recreational marijuana industry, Bill Villano digs into how the industry has grown and the workforce outlook with CT Attorney and NORML Counsel Aaron Romano.

Oct 16, 2018

Following last year’s popular episode, Ellen Davis of the National Retail Federation returns to talk about innovation. As a bonus, Bill Villano traveled to one of CT’s most personalized spaces – Colony Grill in Milford, CT – to talk with co-owner Ken Martin about how keeping elements of the building that was once the iconic Harrison’s Hardware store has endeared the restaurant to the community. Ellen and Bill go on to preview the first ever Retail Works Summit, and tackle hot-button political issues like tariffs and immigration.

Aug 13, 2018

What has been called the fourth Industrial Revolution is fundamentally changing the way we live, work and relate to one another. Host Bill Villano talks with scholar and author Darrell West of the Brooking Institution about his new book “The Future of Work: Robots, AI and Automation."

Jun 13, 2018

The best people may not want to work for you. They want to work WITH you as a freelancer. On this episode, Bill Villano continues with Nation 1099 founder and marketing expert Robert McGuire about how the gig economy impacts employers. Freelancers are business people too, so listen for what tools exist for collaborating.

Apr 25, 2018

Gig work, independent contracting, freelancing, project-based work – no matter what you call it, more people are making a living at it. Bill Villano talks with Robert McGuire, founder of the website and also owner of a New Haven-based marketing agency that employs a stable of 1099ers. The percent of independent contractors in the Gig Economy by choice may surprise you.

Feb 22, 2018

Compounding the current skilled workers shortage is the potential loss of knowledge and skills as older, seasoned workers decide they are ready to retire. David DeLong literally wrote the book “Lost Knowledge” before the Great Recession put off many workers’ plans to retire. As the economy has improved and as other factors begin to affect longevity, what can employers do to soak up as much know-how from exiting workers, integrate a new workforce – and retain them?

Dec 12, 2017

Immigrants are a vital part of our economy and the workforce. The legal process for entering the U.S. to work is complicated and long, and the prospect of deportation is frightening and always looming for those without the proper documentation. Bill Villano and New Haven, CT. Attorney Glenn Formica discuss newsworthy sanctuary cases and the sometimes arcane system for workers and employers. Formica represents Nuri Chavarria, the mother of four who took sanctuary in a New Haven church.

Oct 13, 2017
Senator Edward Kennedy Jr. is leading the charge in Connecticut to ensure fair scheduling for service workers. On this episode, he discusses how it benefits not only hourly workers but also their employers, and other states and cities that have proposed similar – in some cases sweeping – regulations on hours and scheduling. Sen. Kennedy also discusses his other passion – disability rights – and his effort to showcase employers who are models for inclusion.
Aug 30, 2017

As a follow up to Ep. 10 with Ellen Davis at the National Retail Federation, Bill talks with Walmart’s Julie Gehrki about training its 2.3 million associates, upward mobility within the company, and how customer behavior impact job roles. Julie Gehrki is Senior Director of Business Integration at the Walmart Foundation and sat down with Bill during a visit to Walmart’s Bentonville, Arkansas headquarters.

Jul 19, 2017

For all the stories about closing big box stores and failing malls, there are just as many retailers opening or re-inventing themselves in response to a more educated and intentional customer base, says National Retail Federation VP Ellen Davis on this episode of Workforce Today. Davis, who also heads the non-profit NRF Foundation, talks about how data helps retailers adapt to buyers’ shifting habits and make investment decisions, and that behind the register is just one of the 28 million jobs that make up the retail industry.

May 10, 2017

This episode features an interview with Art Bilger, the Founder of WorkingNation, a national not-for-profit campaign to educate the American public about the looming unemployment crisis in this country. Discover the biggest threats and opportunities to Connecticut and US labor markets and 4 variables that are key to the transformation of the US economy.  

For more information, visit 

Apr 25, 2017

Mike Lawlor, Under Secretary for Criminal Justice Policy and Planning for Connecticut, joins the program to discuss the efforts that are underway in his state to help ex-offenders find good jobs. Mike shares why putting ex-offenders back to work makes sense from an economic perspective and dispels some common myths about recidivism and the overall perception of formerly incarcerated individuals. Discover why employers are increasingly willing to hire people with a criminal record and what Connecticut is doing to help people get an expedited pardon of their criminal convictions.    

Apr 3, 2017

Bill Villano continues his conversation with Drexel University economist Paul Harrington on how automation can increase productivity, replace workers AND still lead to higher wages and a more stable workforce. Discover what's really behind economic inequality, and why bashing Walmart is wrong.

For more information visit 

Apr 2, 2017

Labor Market Economist Paul Harrington of Drexel University talks with Bill Villano about current and future impacts and takes apart common perceptions about employment, wages, and the decline in youth employment. Is automation what we really should be worried about when it comes to filling jobs?

For more information, visit 

Jan 25, 2017

Portia Wu, Assistant Secretary, Employment and Training Administration at Department of Labor under the Obama administration, shares her reflections on the U.S. Workforce, including labor force participation in the U.S. Portia also discusses the issues of paid family leave, the future of green jobs, and the one issue she regrets not making more progress on during her time at the Department of Labor. 

To learn more about Workforce Alliance and the services they provide, visit 

Jan 23, 2017

Bill Kamela, Director of Workforce Policy for Microsoft, discusses the national skills gap and the steps that Microsoft is taking to address the skills gap in the U.S. He also discusses why Microsoft is recruiting from military bases and shares his thoughts about the "computerization of jobs." 

To learn more about Workforce Alliance and the services they provide, visit

Jan 4, 2017

Bill Villano caught up with U.S. Senator Chris Murphy via Skype, and asked him 5 questions about his walking tour across Connecticut. Senator Murphy discusses what he heard along the tour, and his thoughts about the labor market in Connecticut. 

For more information about Workforce Alliance, visit 

Nov 17, 2016

This episode features an interview with Tariq Farid, CEO and Founder of Edible Arrangements International, Inc. Tariq shares his story of how he came to found Edible Arrangements, and the importance of the "wow factor" in building a business. 

To learn more about  Edible Arrangements visit 

To learn more about Workforce Alliance and the services they provide, visit 

Nov 16, 2016

This episode features an interview with Marcia LaFemina, President of PennGlobe, and Paul Hoffman, President of Orange Research as they discuss the future of manufacturing in Connecticut and beyond. Discover how and why the manufacturing industry has changed and what steps can be taken to address the current skills gap.

To learn more about PennGlobe, visit and for Orange Research, visit  

To learn more about Workforce Alliance, visit 


1 2 Next »