As defined by the U.S. Department of Labor, the public workforce system is a network of federal, state, and local offices that function to support economic expansion and develop the talent of our nation’s workforce. In order to meet the challenge of the 21st century global economy, the public workforce system works in partnership with employers, educators, and community leaders to foster economic development and high-growth opportunities in regional economies. This system exists to help businesses find qualified workers to meet their present and future workforce needs.
Workforce Investment Boards have transformed over the years and their recent focus has remained constant — create workforce talent in America to keep our nation competitive. Each Board has a majority of business champions who work collaboratively with public sector organizations to build workforce strategies in their local communities. Approximately 12,000 business volunteers serve on the nation’s Workforce Boards, with the average local Board consisting of approximately 45 total members.
The strategies and vision of the Workforce Investment Boards are carried out through a network of One-Stop Career Centers which offer businesses, job seekers and youth with innovative employment and training services. Workforce Investment Boards across the country focus on keeping these resources market-driven; accessible to any individual who wants or needs a job, education, or training; and finding and training the right workforce talent for employers.
One-Stop System Structure
WIBs are prescribed by the Workforce Investment Act to receive workforce system funding and oversight responsibility on behalf of local elected officials. In a multi-jurisdiction, such as that of Southwest Missouri, the county commissioners from each of the region’s seven counties appoint a single Chief Local Elected Official to represent their interests to the WIB.
Funding and regulatory control of the system is established at the federal level, passes through the State of Missouri’s Division of Workforce Development, then on to Missouri’s fourteen local WIBs with concurrence of the Chief Local Elected Officials. The Workforce Investment Act mandates that service delivery to customers be separated by a firewall to effectively ensure that WIBs themselves stay focused on strategy and impact while not being encumbered by one-stop operations. As such, the SW MO WIB procures and designates subcontractors to manage the Career Center and operates its respective programs.