In honor of Workforce Development Month, we’re showcasing our outstanding case managers! To start, we’ll introduce our SWVA Works case managers.
Debi Hutchinson – While she’s technically the program manager, Debi has extensive experience with the WIOA (Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act program) and with case management. She began her career in workforce development in 2007 with Clinch Valley Community Action, working as a youth case manager for Tazewell County. In addition to that position, she’s also been an adult and dislocated worker case manager, team lead, trainer, and monitor. But this year, she became the SWVA WDB’s WIOA program manager, which is very near and dear to her heart. She is happily married and shares six children, thirteen grandkids, and one great-grandchild with her husband, Jeff. She lives in Hurley and enjoys spending her free time in the water (she is a self-proclaimed water dog!), redoing furniture, riding motorcycles, and hanging out with her family. When we asked Debi about the WIOA program, she said, “[It’s] one of the most underrated programs out there. Imagine starting with someone just beginning their education, helping and supporting them, then watching as they graduate in their chosen career field and go to work! It’s the best thing about my job!”
Lisa Hubbard – Lisa is the youth case manager for Buchanan, Russell, and Tazewell counties. She hails from Haysi but has lived in Honaker for the past 29 years. She is the mother of two children, of whom she is incredibly proud. She’s been working in WIOA programs for five years. She’s active in her community, and you can often catch her coaching on the softball field in her spare time. When asked about her favorite part of the job, she said, “I love helping the youth in our area grow in so many ways and help them navigate into what they never knew they could do.”
Meridith Brooks – Meridith is one of our newest staff members, and she currently serves as the youth case manager for Lee and Scott counties. After graduating from Thomas Walker High School in Rose Hill, she joined the Army. Meridith has also served as a sheriff’s deputy at one point in her career. She is a mom to a brood of kids, too. “I look forward to helping as many folks as possible to be successful in life and [in] the workforce,” she says.
Mike Elswick – Mike has been a case manager with us for over three years, first serving in the youth program and now in the adult and dislocated worker program. He is often the comic relief and can punch out hilarious one-liners without a second thought, always keeping us entertained. Mike has spent the past 22 years as a VHSL Wrestling official and two years as the voice of Grundy Golden Wave Wrestling on 100.7 WMJD. He is married and lives in Grundy. Mike says, “I enjoy seeing people create a goal and not only reach that goal but… also exceed their expectations of themselves.”
Robyn Davis – Robyn is the adult and dislocated worker case manager for Dickenson, Wise, Lee, Scott counties, and the city of Norton. She’s been working in WIOA programs since 2018. She graduated from Mountain Empire Community College with an associate degree in paralegal studies and King College with a bachelor’s degree in information technology. She has lived and worked her entire life in Southwest Virginia. She has personally experienced employment downsizing and layoffs, making tough decisions about her future employment opportunities. She understands the emotions and challenges a person faces when met with an uncertain employment situation, using her experience to help others decide their next steps. Robyn says, “I love my job and helping individuals succeed in their training and employment goals.”
Stephanie Edwards – Stephanie was born and raised in Dickenson county and has worked as the youth case manager for Dickenson and Wise counties and the city of Norton for just over two years. She recently earned her Certified Workforce Development Professional designation, for which workforce professionals must study, test, and maintain 60 hours of professional development courses every three years. Steph is an out-of-the-box thinker and always has fantastic ideas to further engage the youth in the region. She loves advocating for young people with barriers who are interested in entering the workforce. “Some of these individuals have no one in their corner supporting them. I love being that person. I reassure them on their bad days, encourage them on their good days, and celebrate with them when they reach their goals,” she says. She helps her young folks get involved in the community by facilitating community service projects, helping them practice positive social interactions, creating connections, and fostering a sense of pride in their shared community. “I am proud of where I come from. I want them to feel the same, so they can go on, do more, and do better for the community and the generations to come.”