Longtime higher education and workforce development executive will lead talent recruitment and development for seven-county region
Anna Lebesch, Ed.D., will join JAXUSA Partnership next month as Vice President of Talent Development, a role designed to connect residents to career opportunities, as well as develop home-grown talent and attract skilled workers to Northeast Florida.
Lebesch has more than two decades of higher education and workforce development experience, primarily at St. Johns River State College. Lebesch has served as Vice President of Workforce Development there for more than 15 years and, in 2013, also assumed the role as Executive Director of the SJRSC Orange Park Campus.
“Talent is the next battleground in economic development,” JAXUSA Partnership President Aundra Wallace said. “We need to leverage partnerships and get creative so families have opportunities for meaningful, gainful employment and companies know they can find the talent they need to be successful in Northeast Florida. Anna has worked for two decades building relationships with educators and employers in our region and will step in and make a difference immediately.”
At St. Johns River State College, Lebesch helped attract more that $20 million in state, federal and private grants to expand access and programming in health, computer science, engineering and career services. She also serves on the Florida Department of Education’s Articulation Coordinating Committee, a statewide advisory board with representatives from all levels of public and private education.
“Anna has the unique blend of experience working with students to achieve their career goals and knowing what skills employers are looking for when they go to hire,” said Bruce Ferguson, President and CEO of CareerSource Northeast Florida. “She has a proven track record of building strategic partnerships and is the right leader for this important role.”
Along with her academic and executive responsibilities, Lebesch served as St. Johns River State College’s community liaison, building partnerships with local schools and industry leaders.
“Anna has been a valued member of our Executive Team, overseeing day-to-day operations at our largest campus in Orange Park and continuously evaluating our work to see how we can better serve our students,” St. Johns River State College President Joe Pickens said. “In this new role, she will be serving the entire seven-county region and I know all of Northeast Florida will now benefit from her exemplary leadership.”
Lebesch served as a co-chair of Elevate Northeast Florida, the five-year strategic plan for economic development in the region. One key pillar of Elevate is focusing on working together as a region to grow and develop a highly-trained workforce to attract investment to the area.
“We have everything in place to continue to build on our strengths as a region and work to ensure everyone in our community has an opportunity to succeed,” Lebesch said. “The focus on talent is critical for our community and I look forward to working with all of our education and business partners.”
Lebesch earned her Bachelor of Educational Studies and Master of Education from the University of Missouri. She earned her Doctor of Education from University of Florida.