With unemployment in Nevada the second highest in the country—at 6.8%, trailing only California—and the unemployment system, Nevada’s Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation (DETR) in shambles, Gov. Sisolak has appointed consultant Latonia Coleman as DETR’s Deputy Director of Programs. Coleman is a former Sisolak appointee who served as a judge on the Board of Review of the Employment Security Council, a division of DETR.
According to DETR’s press release, “Ms. Coleman launched the Nevada 2020 Women on Boards initiative to empower career advancement for more women and minorities. Ms. Coleman’s work has delivered value across a broad array of industries and companies of all sizes and has a strong strategic program, leadership development, and systems transformation record. Her learning and development, operations, sales, and executive consulting expertise led to improved client and employee experiences in healthcare, banking, manufacturing, and the telecom industries for companies such as Sprint, Anthem’s Caremore, and Nissan.”
On her LinkedIn profile Ms. Coleman writes: “I am passionate about creating pathways to success and bringing vision to life. Game changer who understands how to achieve results and put people first. Humanity is in need of humanity.”
In 2020, at the height of the pandemic and during the Sisolak-mandated shutdown, DETR was unprepared and plagued by turmoil–a class-action lawsuit and agency-wide turnover as both the top administrator and deputy administrator walked out in the middle of the chaos.
As reported by KTNV:
“The agency has struggled under an unprecedented wave of unemployment claims and is still fighting a class-action lawsuit over its Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program designed for gig workers.
The department has also experienced turnover at its highest levels. DETR is on its third director in five months and its deputy director resigned in mid-July.”
Per the Las Vegas Review Journal: “For almost seven weeks, DETR went without a director until Gov. Steve Sisolak’s Aug. 6 appointment of Elisa Cafferata as the new acting director to head the embattled agency.”
The agency was hit by a class action lawsuit brought by thousands who didn’t receive unemployment benefits or they were cut off without cause. Reno District Court Judge Barry Breslow held the State of Nevada in contempt of court for failing to follow the court’s July 22, 2020 order to continue paying unemployment benefits to about 9,000 people who had begun receiving benefits, but whom DETR discontinued paying without notice.
Upon Coleman’s appointment, DETR Director Elisa Cafferata stated: “We look forward to having Ms. Coleman’s extensive background to help rebuild DETR, lead our systems modernization through client and claimant centered programs, and build accountability into our work. Her learning and development, operations, sales, and executive consulting expertise led to improved client and employee experiences in healthcare, banking, manufacturing, and the telecom industries for companies such as Sprint, Anthem’s Caremore, and Nissan.”
“DETR’s vision to empower Nevadans to realize their potential through meaningful work; building economic prosperity in every community resonates and matters. I value the opportunity to create pathways to success. Through my work with DETR, I look forward to making a difference with and for Nevadans.” said Ms. Coleman.
In an unclassified position announcement issued by the Governor, the position’s responsibilities are defined as: “The incumbent will direct and supervise the administrative, financial, staffing, research and technical activities of DETR’s Divisions. The incumbent will coordinate with other State agencies, facilitate information dissemination, develop, implement and review operating procedures; the incumbent will oversee budgetary activities and champion biennial agency proposals; the incumbent will assist the Director in the day-to-day operations of DETR’s agencies by providing guidance and seeking short and long term strategic initiatives to solve ongoing agency issues; and represent the agency as needed in fiscal, legislative and executive matters.”
Ms. Coleman’s annual salary will be $131,743.
Prior to publishing, The Globe reached out to DETR to inquire about the Nevada 2020 Women on Boards Initiative. During an exhaustive search, we could not find anything about this initiative and are hoping that DETR can provide any highlights and successes Ms. Coleman claims to have had as published on her website. The story will be updated per their response.
Correction per DETR: Elisa Cafferata was appointed by Governor Sisolak and has been with the agency since August 6, 2020, first as acting director then as permanent director on February 19, 2021. Latonia Coleman was appointed as Deputy Director of Programs by DETR Director Cafferata.
The Woman on Boards 2020 Initiative was changed last year to 5050 Women on Boards. More information of this organization can be found here.
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