Workforce Development

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ISSUE

The National Association of Regional Councils (NARC) supports sufficient and sustained funding of programs designed to meet the workforce needs of businesses and the training needs of individuals to ensure competition in all sectors within the global marketplace, most notably in the reauthorization of the Workforce Investment Act (WIA).

RECOMMENDATIONS

PARTNERSHIPS

  • Support the federal government partnership with local governments and regions to resolve critical workforce issues through an effective national workforce development system.
  • Uphold the authorities, responsibilities and obligations that are reserved to the states and localities on labor and employment law.
  • Engage directly with local elected officials, who understand the local needs, opportunities, and obligations through their “on-the-ground” perspective.
  • Maintain an economic environment that promotes job creation and job access.

FUNDING

  • Support reauthorization of and funding for the WIA to FY05 levels to provide increased flexibility for state and local officials to establish broad-based labor market systems using federal job training funds for adults, dislocated workers and youth.
  • Examine the creation of a workers “GI Bill” to assist workers in fi nancing back to school opportunities as a possible solution to rising unemployment and the needs of emerging business.

PROGRAM

  • Encourage competitive, inclusive regional economies through a diverse workforce.
  • Ensure various types of employment training are operated by the existing local workforce delivery system and managed by the Workforce Investment Boards in partnership with local elected officials.
  • Incent coordination among the many government agencies responsible for workforce development and training.
  • Encourage workforce development opportunities based on urban, suburban and rural local and regional economic need.
  • Promote regional and market-based approaches to worker training through strategic alliances with local governments, the private sector, community leaders and academic institutions.
  • Allow incumbent workers access to federally-sponsored training and employment programs to upgrade skills and adjust to changing job markets.
  • Urge, where applicable, the expansion of workforce training and update traditional workforce development programs to train at-risk/underemployed people in emerging skills.
  • Support real-time training initiatives.
  • Incentivize implementation of cross-systems or cross-jurisdictional workforce development-related initiatives.
  • Coordinate and align resources and strategies between human services, economic development, housing, transportation and workforce development.
  • Utilize the training of the current workforce to determine future sectors for workforce development.
  • Encourage regional forums to identify and detail plans to support specific workforce development initiatives.
  • Support the modernization of the workplace by granting flexibility and choice.
  • Support transitional jobs designed to provide temporary employment that can lead to full-time permanent employment.
  • Examine the benefits of a consolidated federally-funded, block grant national workforce development system to align resources and streamline requirements.
  • Grant local and regional workforce development entities authority to creatively respond to local and regional employment and economic development issues.
  • Encourage the integration of workforce development into plans that build livable/sustainable communities.

BACKGROUND

A trained, readily available workforce is essential to retain and attract new industries. Regional planning organizations promote regional, market-based approaches to worker training through strategic alliances with the private sector, community leaders and academic institutions; economies of scale; and, opportunities for program replicability. Local elected offi cials provide strong leadership and sound oversight for workforce programs. Creating and incentivizing a fluid and flexible workforce can assist in a rapidly changing economy and provide both employers and workers new opportunities.

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