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Group suggest changes to Workforce Development System

04.24.10

MAY 2010, Allentown/Bethlehem/Easton edition of The Union News

Group suggest changes to Workforce Development System

BY NANCY KRAKE
THEUNIONNEWSABE@AOL.COM

REGION, April 13th- According to four researchers there is a need for the “re-imagining” of the Workforce Development Act (WIA) to promote the creation of talent development systems that foster regional cooperation and prepare workers not only for the jobs of today, but for the jobs of tomorrow.

The four researchers; the Public Policy Associates Inc., Berkeley Policy Associates; the W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research; and the Unversity of California-San Diego, are calling for changes to WIA.

The report comes at a critical moment as the United States Congress debates reauthorization of the Workforce Investment Act which was enacted in 1998.

The researchers recently presented the findings of their research at a briefing that was held at the Department of Labor in Washington DC.

The report, “Strategic Workforce Development as a Catalyst for Economic Growth; Lessons and Insights from the Field and Implications for the Future of WIA,” indicates the need to develop integrated workforce development systems that thrive on collaboration across functional and jurisdictional boundaries.

The researchers who have vast experience in evaluating workforce development initiatives recommend that the WIA be re-characterized and christened as the “Strategic Workforce Development Act.” The change would reflect the need to develop integrated workforce development systems that thrive on collaboration across functional and jurisdictional boundaries.

The researchers concluded too often, various workforce development entities work in their own silos. In some cases, that can result in training workers for jobs that do not match the current or future needs of employees and fail to retool America’s workforce in alignment with long-term economic goals.

By thinking and acting more strategically, workforce development leaders can work to ensure that the various stakeholders, employers, economic development and workforce development boards, community colleges, and others collaborate to create effective approaches to transforming their regional economies and providing high-wage jobs for workers.

One of the recommended changes to WIA is a new system of measurement and accountability.

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