New Federal Workforce Law Brings Forth Better Services for Job Seekers and Employers in Northern Indiana; Advanced Partnerships Coming, As Well
new day dawned for workforce development in Northern Indiana and across the nation with enactment of the 2014 federal Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA).
Among a host of visionary reforms, WIOA has ushered in an era of forward-leaning collaborations among not only federal, state and local government agencies but also employers, small businesses, educational bodies, nonprofit groups and eco- nomic development organizations, among others.
|SUMMARY, The 2014 Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), effective July 1, 2015.|
|WorkOne gets strong legal authority under WIOA to help job seekers and employers.|
|WIOA replaces old Workforce Investment Act.|
|WorkOne has new partnerships with social services, economic development, education and others.|
|Employment and training programs must be based on evidence and steered by data.|
|Two federal departments, 1) Labor and 2) Education, jointly will develop performance-accountability system for core programs, including WorkOne Region 2 in north-central Indiana.|
|WorkOne should align with regional economic development strategies to meet needs of local employers, WIOA says.|
|WIOA advances how WorkOne uses Labor Market Information, also known as LMI.|
|WorkOne must use “work-based” training programs to help local employers and job seekers, WIOA says.|
|Northern Indiana Workforce Board considers the following as career pathways in north-central Indiana: ? advanced manu-facturing; ? transportation, warehousing and logistics; ? health-care; ? professional and technology services; and ? construction.|
|Certain administrative and funding changes in WIOA impact WorkOne’s service delivery to individuals and employers in Northern Indiana.|
Effective on July 1, 2015, the law, which supersedes or replaces the Workforce Investment Act (1998), mandates that Indiana and all other states take actions to strategically align workforce-development programs. Under WIOA, employ- ment and training programs provided by Work- One and partner organizations must be coordi- nated and interconnected so that job seekers strengthen skills and credentials enough to meet the needs of Region 2 employers.
Moreover, WIOA includes components that ob- ligate WorkOne, and all other core providers nationwide, to ensure that employment and training programs are evidence-based and data-driven. For instance, under the law core programs are required to report on common performance indicators that provide vital employment information, such as: ? how many workers entered and retained employ- ment; ? median wages; ? whether workers earned credentials; and ? their measurable gains in employment skills. For the first time ever under WIOA, WorkOne and core providers must measure the effectiveness of services to employers.
The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) will team with the federal Department of Education (DoED) to develop a common performance-accountability system for core programs, such as WorkOne Region 2 in north-central Indiana. Stakeholders — including workforce development, economic devel- opment, businesses, local governments and others — will be able to provide reasoned input to the two federal depart- ments. In addition, there will be room for negotiation on performance levels for common indicators, which, in turn, will be adjusted based on a statistical model that accounts for economic conditions and traits of local participants.
WIOA EMPHASIS: ALIGNING WITH ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
AND MEETING NEEDS OF EMPLOYERS IN NORTHERN INDIANA
In another key provision, WIOA urges workforce development programs to align with regional economic development strategies to meet the needs of local and regional employers. The law, moreover, includes other substantial changes in how WorkOne operates (in WIOA, workforce-development agencies receiving public funds, such as WorkOne, are called “American Job Centers,” or, at times, “One-Stop” centers).
One of the most far-reaching changes in the law is designation of state Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) programs as mandatory partners in the WIOA one-stop system of American Job Centers, including WorkOne. Staff members with Indiana’s Family and Social Services Administration (FSSA) oversee TANF for Hoosiers; in this light, WorkOne will forge a partnership by co- operating in close alliance with FSSA in north-central Indiana.
On another front, WIOA requires noteworthy advances in how federal and state agencies gather, calculate and analyze Labor Market Information (LMI), a bedrock used by employers, individual job seekers and others in the five counties composing northern Indiana. The law brings forth not only a revised performance system that makes all programs accountable to the same core metrics but also requires coordination of state and federal evaluation efforts as well as establishing a new Workforce Information Advisory Council.
WIOA PUSHES WORK-BASED TRAINING PROGRAMS AND SKILLS
THAT PROPEL HOOSIERS TO POST-SECONDARY CREDENTIALS
WIOA keeps pace with current economic conditions by calling on one-stop job centers to improve services to employers and strengthen “work-based” training programs. “Local areas can use funds for demonstrated effective strategies that meet employers’ workforce needs, including incumbent worker training, registered apprenticeship, transitional jobs, on-the-job training and customized training,” said the federal Employment and Training Administration (ETA), a unit of the U.S. Department of Labor.
Under WIOA, WorkOne and other one-stop job centers will emphasize skills training that leads to post-secondary cre-dentials that are recognized by industries in northern Indiana, such as advanced manufacturing, healthcare and con-struction. As directed by the statute, the Northern Indiana Workforce Board has analyzed the regional economy in order to iden- tify career pathways — in essence, navigation tools to help individual Hoosiers develop plans to elevate their training, education and career advancement. The board, which governs WorkOne Region 2 in Elkhart, Fulton, Kosciusko, Marshall and Saint Joseph counties, has tagged the following areas as career pathways in north-central Indiana:
? advanced manufacturing;
? transportation, warehousing and logistics;