Local Elected Officials
WIOA provides local elected officials with an opportunity to overhaul and restructure local workforce development boards (WDBs). Legislated under WIOA, a local WDB brings together representatives from business, labor, community-based organizations, economic development agencies and educational institutions. A chief elected official (for example, a county commissioner, executive or supervisor) appoints members to sit on the local WDB. WIOA reauthorization calls for a shift in the overall governance structure of the local WDB – with 51 percent having to represent the business sector, 20 percent representing the existing workforce and the remaining portion to represent job-training service providers in adult education, higher education, economic and community development, educational institutions and vocational rehabilitation.
WIOA also enhances the local boards’ functions, empowering them to conduct research and regional labor market analysis, develop new career pathways, coordinate with education providers and develop assessments of one-stop career center accessibility for individuals with disabilities. These new functions and changes to the governance structure provide local boards with more strength and flexibility to tailor services to their region’s employment and workforce needs. As a result, county elected officials have an important opportunity to appoint cross-sector representatives to the local WDB that are active in the research, analysis, program development and coordination across the entire workforce system. Counties can thus ensure local WDBs include members that better represent particular needs and business growth.
In an effort to create a more comprehensive, strategic and streamlined system, WIOA also requires a unified state plan outlining a four-year strategy to improve service delivery and access to the workforce system for job seekers and employers. Any local or regional plan should address the needs of the local labor market, while encompassing and complementing the overall state plan strategies. County leaders also agreed that counties can align their local plans with existing local economic development plans to better include dislocated workers, adult programs and youth programs. Also, counties can focus on creating local plans that provide wrap-around services to better connect employment with adult basic education and upskilling programs.
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