[January 2022] Great Resignation and Human Services: Combating Workforce Shortages in Public and Nonprofit Agencies

Great Resignation and Human Services: Combating Workforce Shortages in Public and Nonprofit Agencies

January 31, 2022 2 - 3:00p.m. EST

As the U.S. grapples with the “Great Resignation,” both public human service agencies and nonprofit community-based organizations are experiencing significant difficulties in retaining staff and filling vacancies. Organizations are reporting vacancies as high as 30% or more. The reasons are complex, such as salary competition from other sectors, burnout in high-stress jobs, opportunities for more flexible work arrangements in other markets, and limitations in government hiring and contracting practices. While these workforce issues have long been a challenge, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and emerging economic challenges have made it clear that public and nonprofit human services agencies must rapidly adapt and innovate to build a modern workforce positioned to meet the demands of the future.

Join this webinar hosted by Social Current and the American Public Human Services Association (APHSA) to hear from public and nonprofit human services leaders about the collective workforce challenges, as well as promising approaches that, through partnerships, build organizational capacity to achieve our shared mission of supporting the well-being of people and communities.  


·         The impact of workforce shortages on public human services agencies and nonprofit community-based organizations

·         Practice and policy solutions to address workforce challenges

·         Examples of community and state policy changes and initiatives

Who Should Participate:

·         Executives

·         Human resources leaders

·         Directors and managers

·         Public Sector leaders    



Alex  Figueroa
Organizational Effectiveness Consultant
American Public Human Services Association

Alexander Figueroa is an organizational effectiveness consultant for the American Public Human Services Association (APHSA). He brings over fourteen years of experience in training and facilitation in child support, supervision, leadership, and human services professional development to the APHSA Organizational Effectiveness team. Figueroa’s experience includes delivering comprehensive training, peer networking and specialized workshops at the state, regional, and national levels.

Prior to joining APHSA, he was the manager of human services initiatives at the Institute for Families, Rutgers School of Social Work. In that capacity, he oversaw the training program at the New Jersey Child Support Institute (NJCSI), as well as a leadership academy for managers and supervisors in health and human services funded by the New Jersey Department of Human Services. Figueroa is a graduate of Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey with a bachelor’s in criminal justice, a bachelor’s in Puerto Rican Hispanic Caribbean Studies, and a master’s in social work. In addition to his work with APHSA, Figueroa serves as the liaison to the National Staff Development and Training Association (NSDTA), an affinity group of APHSA.

Tina Wright-Ervin
Organizational Effectiveness Consultant
American Public Human Services Association

Tina Wright-Ervin has over 20 years of organizational development, management, supervision, and training experience in retail, corporate, and human services settings. Prior to joining APHSA, Wright-Ervin worked for San Bernardino County serving in various capacities in human services, starting as a social service practitioner for Children and Family Services and most recently serving as the training and development manager for the county’s Performance, Education and Resource Center, providing organizational excellence and leadership training development for the largest geographic county in the nation. Wright Ervin is a dedicated champion for equity, diversity, and inclusion and applies this lens to her work with organizations to ensure that they are effective in their efforts. Wright-Ervin is also a proud former Disney “cast member,” where she began her organizational excellence and leadership training development journey.

Justin Brown

In June 2019 Governor J. Kevin Stitt appointed Justin B. Brown as Director of the Oklahoma Department of Human Services, the state’s largest agency by workforce.  In March 2020, Governor Stitt further appointed Brown to the position of Cabinet Secretary of Oklahoma Human Services.  As CEO of a regional senior housing company prior to these appointments, Brown built a deep experience in organizational leadership, finance and strategic planning & execution.  With this experience, Brown is well suited to build a vision based on a customer first mentality, motivating the team to execute on a vision of serving the State of Oklahoma’s most vulnerable citizens.  As a strong relationship builder, Brown was uniquely qualified to position the Department of Human Services as a collaborative agency that engages with partners across the state to serve together. 


In the years since his appointments, Brown and the OKDHS team have tirelessly pursued a set of strategic imperatives referred to as their ‘True North.’  The Oklahoma Human Services True North has ensured that the organization prioritizes the utilization of limited resources to deep service to the communities most in need in the State of Oklahoma. 

In addition to having built a passion for serving seniors through his prior profession and Board of Directors engagement with the Alzheimer’s Association, Brown has built a life of service to children through non-profit service including the OU Children’s Hospital Foundation, the YMCA of Greater Oklahoma City, the OKC Zoo, Big Brothers & Big Sisters, among others.  He and his wife, Kelly, have been married for 20 years and have two children, Hannah and Ford.

Ilana Levinson
Senior Director of Government Relations
Social Current

Ilana Levinson is the senior director of government relations at Social Current. In this role, she represents Social Current to Congress, federal agencies, and applicable state government. She also coordinates activities and partnerships with fellow human service organizations and policy coalitions in Washington D.C., to advance shared goals. 

Prior to joining Social Current, Levinson served as senior director of advocacy and public policy for YouthBuild USA, a national organization focused on reconnecting low-income, out-of-school youth to education and job training. Under her leadership, the organization more than doubled federal legislative support and increased annual federal investment by $12 million, to $90 million annually. She also cofounded the Reconnecting Youth Campaign, a national advocacy campaign focused on creating one million reconnection pathways for opportunity youth each year. She served as a legislative assistant from 2006-2011 in the office of Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), focusing on furthering legislation to expand healthy food access to low-income residents, the promotion of green collar jobs, and efforts to re-engage out-of-school youth in education and employment opportunities. She received her master’s in public and nonprofit administration from the Wagner School of Public Service at New York University and her bachelor’s in social relations and psychology from Michigan State University. 

Robin Chapolini
Deputy Commissioner of Policy Development and System Enhancement
Philadelphia Department of Human Services

Robin Chapolini is the deputy commissioner of policy development and system enhancement. She began her career as a social worker trainee in Family Center Region 1 in 1996. Chapolini obtained her master’s in social work from Temple University in 2003. In 2003, Chapolini was promoted to social work supervisor in intake where she supervised investigations and assessments. She continued her career advancement at DHS and gained experience in the various aspects of child welfare. Chapolini became a Trainer for DHSU in 2007. In 2012, she was promoted to chief of staff to the deputy commissioner of the Children and Youth Division. As chief of staff, she served as a primary advisor to the deputy commissioner and the operations’ directors. In 2014, Chapolini became the director of DHS University (DHSU), where she oversaw training, technical assistance, professional development and organizational effectiveness and other various projects to support DHS staff, providers, and other partners in Philadelphia’s Child Welfare System. In February 2020, Chapolini was promoted to chief learning officer for DHS University. In addition, she currently serves as the safety lead for Philadelphia County to ensure appropriate application of child welfare laws and regulations related to the safety of children within their home and in placement settings and has been instrumental in guiding child welfare practice.

Lydia Bell
Chief Strategy Officer
Home of the Innocents

Lydia Bell is currently the chief strategy officer at Home of the Innocents. In this role, she leads the organization’s strategic planning and advocacy efforts; guides the implementation of trauma-responsive and anti-racist organizational culture 

initiatives; and oversees the team that raises money for programs, recruits volunteers, and markets the Home to the public. She has been with the Home since 2014.

Bell has a 22-year career in fundraising, communications, and organizational development for a variety of nonprofits in the Louisville, Kentucky area. She began her nonprofit career as a grant writer and community organizer at New Directions Housing Corporation. She has worked for Leadership Louisville, The Center for Women and Families, and the Housing Partnership prior to her arrival at the Home.

Bell earned her bachelor’s in literature at the University of North Carolina-Asheville.  She went on to earn a master’s in English at the University of Memphis and a master’s in library and information sciences from the University of Kentucky.

Edgar Ramirez
President and CEO
Chicago Commons

Edgar Ramirez joined Chicago Commons in 2010 as associate executive director before being named CEO in 2013. As a community organizer in Chicago’s Little Village neighborhood prior to joining Chicago Commons, he led significant campaigns at Enlace Chicago and Erie Neighborhood House. He worked on issues such as leadership development, green space improvement, anti-violence campaigns, child care income eligibility, immigration reform, and youth job development.

Ramirez currently serves on the boards of Elevate Energy, Social Current, and the Latino Policy Forum. He also serves on Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s Every Child Ready to Learn City of Chicago working group, and previously served on Cook County President Toni Preckwinkle’s Latino Advisory Committee as well as Mayor Lightfoot’s ad-hoc committee for reopening early education centers during the COVID-19 pandemic. Ramirez is a Leadership Greater Chicago fellow (2016) and a member of the Economic Club of Chicago. He earned a master’s from the School of Social Service Administration at the University of Chicago in Policy Analysis and Community Organizing, a bachelor’s from DePaul University, and in 2021, completed the Harvard Business School’s certificate in Strategic Perspectives in Non-Profit Management.