National Association of Workforce Boards Annual Conference – Washington DC: Advancing Workforce Innovation

Wednesday June 10th, 2015 at 8:00am

Written by Ray Eibel - Director of New Business Development with EDSI 

reibel@edsisolutions.com

For the past twelve years I have had the pleasure of representing EDSI at the annual National Association of Workforce Boards Conference in Washington, D.C. This year, Terri Kaufman, Ken Mall and I had the opportunity to attend this premier event where workforce development professionals and leaders in business, government, labor and education gather to discuss the current state of our nation's workforce system and consider the goals and policy framework affecting the future of human capital development. Although the final numbers are not in, over 1,200 people registered for the conference which far exceeds last year’s attendance. 

 



Why do we exhibit at events like this? For one reason, it is a learning opportunity for us, especially with the implementation of WIOA right around the corner. Another reason to attend is the opportunity to talk with many of our current customers over the three-day period. Of course, we also appreciate the opportunity to talk with Workforce Board Executive Directors and board members in areas where we currently do not have contracts to learn and discuss best practices.

This year’s opening speaker was none other than Tom Perez, Secretary of the US Department of Labor. I was very glad to hear that Secretary Perez focused on the need for employer-focused training to assist in closing the skill gap. He spoke in detail about training being the number one concern for almost all employers and put an intense emphasis on developing an increased understanding of data-driven regional approaches to create sector strategies and coordinated partnerships. Consistent with the Secretary’s message, our own Ken Mall was part of a panel discussion about the skilled worker shortages plaguing the transportation industry.

Based on the people we talked with, the workforce board attendees came away from the conference looking for ways to incorporate industry partnerships, incumbent worker training, on the job training programs and youth programs that lead to steady employment. The good news is that EDSI has numerous programs to meet this demand. 

This conference generated a very positive energy; something I hadn’t felt in recent years when unemployment was high and clear direction seemed to be lacking. Perhaps it has something to do with WIOA.


WIOA - A Few Thoughts on Employer Engagement

Monday February 16th, 2015 at 11:20am

Written by Terri Kaufman - Workforce Development Specialist with EDSI

tkaufman@edsisolutions.com

The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) requires local Workforce Investment Boards (WIBs) to design and deliver services based on business and industry needs. Employer engagement is key for local WIBs to meet regional workforce needs and is one of the key metrics that local WIBs will evaluated against.  The challenge - how do local WIBs effectively engage employers?  Did you know that WIOA referenced “Industry Partnerships” 74 times?!

WIOA enables states and local WIBs the opportunity to support Industry Partnerships. These partnerships will strengthen services of the local WIB and companies by identifying the specific needs of their current and future workforces, identifying and analyzing the gaps between the skills needed to perform jobs and the skills of incumbent workers or job seekers, and then matching skills needed to training providers.

 

Industry Partnerships can help local WIBs, businesses and workers to:

  • Identify skill needs
  • Align educational curriculum to meet industry needs
  • Develop cost-effective training solutions for companies
  • Increase productivity 
  • Develop new career pathways
  • Help companies identify and address organizational and human resource challenges
  • Identify barriers to “entry level employment” and develop strategies to remove those barriers
  • Collaborate with youth initiatives to connect with careers in demand
  • Promote communication networks between companies, between managers and workers, and between companies and their communities and educational institutions

If you are interested in gaining more information regarding WIOA employer engagement, please contact me at: tkaufman@edsisolutions.com 

Click here for more info about WIOA on our website. 

 

Founded in 1979, EDSI is a national leader in workforce development, customized training and consulting.

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