Katerina Taylor, President & CEO of the DeKalb Chamber of Commerce, will take a new job heading up Atlanta’s workforce development program, WorkSource Atlanta. (Hyosub Shin / Hyosub.Shin@ajc.com)

Atlanta names new head of troubled workforce training program

Katerina Taylor becomes WorkSource’s sixth director in six years

Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms appointed the president of the DeKalb Chamber of Commerce to take over the city’s long-troubled workforce training program.

Katerina Taylor will become the executive director of WorkSource Atlanta as of Oct. 28, the mayor’s office announced late Monday in a press release.

Bottoms said Taylor’s background will play an integral role in successfully leading Atlanta’s workforce development.

Taylor was responsible for economic expansion, workforce development, education, advocacy and business partnership plans at the DeKalb chamber. She served as a vice president of SunTrust Bank from 2003 to 2012, where she developed business growth strategies and training programs for more than 500 regional and local vice presidents. She also chaired the DeKalb Thrives Steering Committee, the county’s strategic plan to improve business and employment.

Kimberlyn Daniel, appointed by Bottoms as WorkSource’s interim executive director a little more than a year ago, will step down.

Worksource has been beset by problems for multiple mayors.

In a little more than six years, the agency cycled through five chief executives. It has returned more than $1 million in federal training dollars in the last year because of missed deadlines, and been ordered to pay back money for improper payments.

In the years before that, under Mayor Bill Campbell, agency employees were accused of campaigning for him on city time.

A 2013 city audit noted the agency’s problems complying with federal regulations and cited poor management. The auditor recommended that Atlanta shut down WorkSource, but City Council members and other officials blasted the report and called for another study. That study described an unorganized agency that operated a number of disconnected programs and had little leadership.

In 2014, federal investigators stepped in after an Atlanta Journal-Constitution report uncovered a fake jobs training program. The director resigned. A WorkSource contractor was sent to prison.

This year, Bottoms announced that WorkSource Atlanta would be integrating with Invest Atlanta, the city’s economic development arm.

WorkSource Atlanta is responsible for programs that are part of the federal Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act of 2014. The agency works with community partners to provide career, educational and training services to help participants find jobs that pay a livable wage.

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