City of Detroit workforce agency Detroit Employment Solutions Corporation announced Monday that it has hired Nicole Sherard-Freeman to serve as its new President and Chief Executive Officer.
The announcement, which concluded an exhaustive nationwide recruitment process that attracted over 300 candidates, will see Ms. Sherard-Freeman take over in her new role by January 2017.
“The process of finding a new CEO is a matter not just of finding the right qualifications and experience, but also the right fit,” said Calvin Sharp, former EVP Human Resources for Penske Automotive Group and DESC Board member, who led the search on behalf of DESC. “Nicole is a proven leader with vast experience in the workforce space. Her expertise in strategy, policy, and leadership development set her apart in a national pool of candidates. We are delighted to have her lead the efforts to prepare Detroiters for opportunities and connect them to jobs.”
In her new role, Ms. Sherard-Freeman will focus on building a Detroit talent pipeline that can support the workforce demands of an increasing number of Detroit employers across a wide range of sectors.
“We are experiencing a level of employment growth opportunity that we have not seen for many years,” said Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan, one of several key stakeholders with whom Ms. Sherard-Freeman met during the interview process. “It is critical that Detroiters are given the opportunity and the tools to be a part of this revitalization. We can only build Detroit by building Detroiters.”
Ms. Sherard-Freeman joins DESC from the Corporation for a Skilled Workforce in Ann Arbor, where she was the Director of CSW’s Detroit Portfolio. A native Detroiter, Sherard-Freeman led the on-the-ground research team for and co-authored the CSW Workforce System mapping report.
For the past two years, she has worked directly with community and faith-based organizations, non-profits, government partners, and philanthropic investors in Detroit. Her work has been instrumental in helping to understand how to connect thousands of adults and youth to jobs, career paths, and skill development opportunities. She also brings more than 25 years of experience in other HR, sales, account management, operations, and senior leadership roles from the corporate sector.
“There couldn’t be a better time to join DESC,” said Ms. Sherard-Freeman. “Over the past year, the organization has started to build stronger, more comprehensive partnerships to help connect Detroiters to jobs. We need to accelerate this collaboration, and improve our operational excellence to be able to connect Detroiters with emerging opportunities in the city. As a system, we owe Detroit job-seekers and employers stronger, faster, and smarter orchestration of the services we provide.”
Ms. Sherard-Freeman will take over from Interim President and CEO Jose Reyes, who has been leading the agency since April.