Downtime in Dallas: An After-Hours Guide to the 30th Annual AJLA Conference

Welcome to Texas
Image by Mikey Burton | Texas Monthly

AJLA states will convene in Dallas for the 30th Annual AJLA Conference in just a few short weeks. From Tuesday, July 17, to Thursday, July 19, we will enjoy true Texas hospitality at the historic Magnolia Hotel located within the Main Street District in downtown Dallas. We’ve lined up great local speakers and sessions where we can discuss regional and national workforce initiatives and to grow as professionals together. In addition to a great conference agenda, we’ve also gathered information on local attractions for you to visit in your downtime.

Giant Eyeball Sculpture in Downtown Dallas
Photo by Sharon Mollerus | Flickr

Directly next to the Magnolia Hotel is the Pegasus Plaza, which features a hot spring fountain and is often the site of special events. Grab a pastry at the Flying Horse Café in the Magnolia and enjoy one of the various nearby restaurants or food trucks during your lunch. Don’t forget to keep a look out for the Giant Eyeball located about a block away.

Evenings are yours to explore all that Dallas has to offer. The Central Dallas area is composed of the Downtown, Uptown, Design District, and Deep Ellum areas. Each is bursting with things to do whether you like the arts, green spaces, fine dining, or luxurious shopping.

Downtown Dallas has a beautiful arts scene with many museums to choose from fine dining and nightlife and tours. Consider spending time at one of the following local destinations:

You can also create your own unique experience with the Downtown Dallas Experience tool by searching the Main Street District around the hotel or one of the other nearby districts. For ratings on popular places, take a look at TripAdvisors’ list.

Staying over Friday? Consider booking a free walking tour through DalWalk, but if walking isn’t your thing, consider the Dallas Segway Tours or Trolley Tours.

We look forward to seeing you in Dallas and hope you’re excited as we are about the conference and the surrounding attractions. For more info about the conference, visit the AJLA Events page.

What’s On Your New Orleans Bucket List?

The 2017 Winter Steering Committee Meeting is about a month away, so it’s time to start thinking about what you’ll do in your free time. Whether you’re flying in early or staying a little late, looking forward to the night life, or just dreaming of Po’ Boys and beignets, we’ve got plenty of things to add to your NOLA bucket list.

For the Day Trippers

Second Line in New Orleans
Second Line in New Orleans | Photo by Infrogmation via Wikimedia Commons

For the Night Owls

Street cars on Bourbon Street at Christmas in New Orleans
Christmastime in New Orleans | |

For the Foodies

Red beans and rice, a classic New Orleans meal
Red beans and rice, a NOLA staple meal| Photo by Cheryl Gerber |

While you’re planning your trip and brushing up on your N’awlins speak, we’ll be planning a great meeting agenda for you. Don’t forget to reserve your room by the deadline, Monday, November 6, to take advantage of the discounted AJLA rate. See you in the Big Easy!

Boston-Bound: A Preview of the 29th Annual AJLA Conference

Set your course by the stars, not by the lights of every passing ship.The countdown has begun: in 29 days, AJLA states will convene in Boston for the 29th Annual AJLA Conference. From Tuesday, July 25, to Thursday, July 27, we will enjoy the hospitality of The Langham – Boston and the opportunity to network with workforce development colleagues and AJLA–TS staff.

During the days, we’ll be charting the future of AJLA applications, hearing workforce development updates, and collaborating to share strategies on workforce policies and programs. Join us for a great lineup of great speakers, including:

  • Tim Martin, Director of the Office of State Systems for ETA Region 1
  • Christina Graff Eckenroth, Executive Assistant to the Regional Administrator for ETA Region 1
  • Ken Messina, Rapid Response Director for the Massachusetts Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development, Division of Career Services
  • Steven Trueman, Vice President of Workforce Development Operations for the Regional Employment Board of Hampden County
  • Stacey Thompson, Workshop Facilitator, Career Center of Lowell, MA
  • Freddie Velez, Deputy Director of Youth Options Unlimited (YOU) Boston
  • Charlie Terrell, NASWA Project Manager
  • Francheska Atchison, Jobs for Veterans State Grants Program Lead for USDOL/VETS

Evenings will be free to enjoy the sights, sounds, and tastes of Boston. We recommend checking out the Boston Calendar or browsing through our Pinterest board for the conference, which is full of suggestions. We’ll also be using the Topi app for the days of the conference for an interactive agenda, speaker list, and photo stream.

We’re counting down the days til we see you, so book your hotel room and register now!

Spring Showers and AJLA Meeting Hours

April is the month of spring showers, baseball home openers, and the 2017 America’s Job Link Alliance (AJLA) Spring Meeting. Join us in Kansas City, MO, April 19–21, for the chance to connect with AJLA–TS staff, enjoy spring at the Country Club Plaza, and learn more about the latest topics in workforce development and the latest updates to AJLA–TS software.


The Spring Meeting is held in Kansas City area every year, giving current and prospective customers the chance to meet many of the Kansas-based AJLA–TS staff. This year we’re excited to implement new session formats to facilitate discussions, an ongoing tech café where you can ask questions and get training, and a Kansas City photo bingo competition. Check out the agenda for details.

Wondering what to do after meeting hours in KC?

  • Grab some local BBQ and watch the Kansas City Royals take on the San Francisco Giants: 8:15 PM, Wed, April 19.
  • Visit the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art for Third Thursday, an evening of live music, free programs, and art activities: 6–9 PM, Thur, April 20.
  • Catch some live KC jazz at the Blue Room: 7–11 PM, Thur, April 20.
  • Ask an AJLA–TS staff member to show you around!

Visit our Events page for more Spring Meeting details, including the draft agenda, hotel reservation information, and online registration form. The deadline to book your room at the AJLA preferred rate at the Intercontinental Hotel is Friday, March 31. We look forward to seeing you soon!

Top 5 Things To Do in Nashville

In five weeks we’ll be gathering in Nashville, Tennessee, for our annual AJLA Winter Meeting. Join us at the landmark Renaissance Nashville Hotel from Wednesday, December 7, to Friday, December 9, for opportunities to collaborate and brainstorm about AJLA products during the day, and to enjoy music, food, and networking in the evening.

Interested, but still need convincing? We’ve rounded up the Top Five Things To Do in Nashville to persuade you.

Top 5 Things to do in Nashville graphic

  1. Pay tribute to the history of music.

Visit the Country Music Hall of Fame. While you’re there, join a tour of RCA Studio B, where greats like Elvis Presley, Roy Orbison, and Dolly Parton recorded some of their top hits. Love Johnny Cash? Visit his museum on 3rd Avenue.

  1. Take a stroll down Honky Tonk Highway.

Step out of the museums and into live music when you walk down Lower Broadway. Enjoy no cover charges and listen to up-and-coming musicians any time between 10 AM and 3 AM. There’s even a free Nashville Live Music Guide app that tells you who’s playing, when, and where.

  1. Eat hot chicken.

Treat your taste buds to a perfect fried chicken sandwich, breaded and coated with cayenne and other spices, served on white bread with pickles. This legendary Nashville dish will clear your sinuses and take the chill out of the December air.

  1. Take in the sights.

There’s more to see in Nashville than music venues. Tour historical mansions, botanical gardens (check out their Christmas lights!), and a full-scale replica of the Parthenon.

  1. Shape the future of AJLA–TS software and services.

Collaborate with AJLA consortium members and AJLA–TS staff to envision the future of America’s JobLink, ReportLink, and CertLink. Weigh in on enhancement requests and listen to each other’s best practices so you can bring home new ideas and solutions for your state.

Need more reasons to come? Check out our “Convince Your Boss” letter and look through the agenda to see what we have lined up! Be sure to register for the conference and snag the AJLA discounted hotel rate here by Friday, November 25. All conference information is available on the AJLA Events page.

We’re looking forward to seeing you!

Top 10: After the Conference Day Ends

We know you’re coming to the 28th Annual AJLA Conference because it’s a fantastic professional development opportunity—a chance to get updates on workforce issues, hear guest speakers’ unique perspectives on the workforce, network with other workforce colleagues, and pick up strategies for creativity and collaboration. But what happens at the end of the conference day? We’ve made a list of some ways you could occupy your downtime.

Top 10 Things To Do When the Conference Day Ends:

10. Relax in Dolores Park or in any of the beautiful Fog City parks.

9. Buy a souvenir or treat at Union Square.

8. Indulge your curiosity at the Exploratorium, a museum of experiences.

7. Swim (or take a ferry) to Alcatrez.

6. Take a trip back to the 60s in Haight-Ashbury.

5. Eat some Ghiradelli chocolate (they even have chocolate cable cars!)

4. Survey fine art at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

3. Browse the nation’s oldest Chinatown.

2. Ride a cable car and take in the City by the Bay.

1. Take a picture at the Golden Gate Bridge.

Top Ten Things to Do in San Francisco

For a collection of other things to do in San Francisco, as well as websites relevant to the conference, check out our 28th Annual AJLA Conference board on Pinterest. You can also review the agendaregister, and reserve your hotel room on the Events page. See you in less than a month!

Try Out Topi: Annual Conference App

Topi App LogoAre you going to this year’s 28th Annual AJLA Conference in San Francisco? We sure hope so! The theme this year is Collaborate ­– Create – Captivate, and we’ll be using innovative ways to engage attendees and generate opportunities for creative collaboration. To this end, we’re excited to announce an app for our event! Topi is a free event organizer that you can visit online or download for Android or Apple devices. Topi will give you mobile access to the schedule, speaker information, and other great conference content. It also doubles as a fantastic networking opportunity, allowing you to chat and connect with other attendees through the app.

If you want to get a head start, you can download the app before the conference, or at least preview the web version.

Download the App

Topi App Join Screen
Figure 1: Join the event using “ajla28”
  1. Download the free Topi app from Google Play or the iTunes App Store on your tablet or smartphone.
  2. Open the app and log in with your Facebook or LinkedIn credentials.
    • If you do not have or would prefer not to use Facebook or LinkedIn credentials, we can create a unique login for you. The downside is that you would have to manually build up your profile information. If you would like us to create a login, just contact us.
  3. Before the event starts, you can access the event by typing in the code “28AJLA” upon login (See Figure 1).
    • Once in San Francisco, the app’s geo-fencing feature will suggest the conference for you.
  4. Select Event Info in the expanding menu to view conference information, the conference agenda, speaker and exhibitor info, surveys, and more (see Figure 2).

Exploring the Event Info

Topi App Event Info Menu
Figure 2: Event Info Menu
  1. Select Information for an overview of the conference.
  2. Use the Live Chat to schedule lunch or dinner with a few colleagues.
  3. Open the public Social Wall to comment about the conference, or to leave pictures!
  4. Check out the color-coded Agenda, with information on sessions and pictures of speakers.
  5. Find out more about the Speakers, see when they’re scheduled to speak, give a rating to their presentation, and bookmark them as favorites.
  6. Learn about the companies our four special guest speakers work for in the Exhibitors section.
  7. Answer Surveys and see the results live. (Some surveys may not open until their respective presentations.)
  8. Use the Bookmarks to view agenda items, speakers, or exhibitors that you’ve marked as favorites.
  9. Share on social media! In Event Info, use the Twitter hashtag #ajla28 to tweet about the conference (connects to Twitter if loaded on your device).
  10. Use the Private Notes feature to type, record audio, or draw notes about the conference.
  11. In Documents, see presentation files, URLs for Prezis, and more.

Visit the Website

  1. If you don’t want to download an app, you can view a web-based version of the app at
  2. Use the web version to access the schedule, speaker and exhibitor information, and AJLA social media. Dynamic features like the live chat, social wall, surveys, and note taking are not available on the website.

We hope this event app will captivate your attention and spark creativity and collaboration. If you have any questions about the app or about the conference, just let us know. See you in San Francisco!