Highlighted findings from a larger study of how the governance structure of the U.S. workforce development system can facilitate partnerships, foster collaboration, and help job seekers find jobs and employers find qualified workers.
“…[T]he recent recession and the political climate of fiscal austerity have left the public workforce system with less money to serve more participants. Faced with the challenge of doing more with less, policymakers and program administrators are increasingly seeing the benefit of leveraging resources through collaboration among employment-related organizations within local labor markets. The decentralized structure of the public workforce system provides the flexibility for local workforce investment boards (LWIBs) to form partnerships and to be catalysts for collaboration within their local communities” (p. 1). (Abstractor: Author)

Major Findings & Recommendations

“…[T]he OECD has deemed the United States’ decentralized approach to public workforce development as an international best practice among OECD countries in offering the flexibility to meet the specific needs of local job seekers and employers (Giguere and Froy 2009). The U.S. study described here underscores this conclusion…. Many LWIBs are increasingly entrepreneurial, collaborating with many different agencies, including community colleges, economic development networks, not-for-profit organizations, and small business advisors. Although not all LWIBs use their flexibility in the same way or with the same effectiveness, the four LWIBs offer useful lessons in how the current workforce system can align resources and integrate services to enhance local job creation” (p. 2). "The four LWIBs in the study demonstrated strong leadership in forging partnerships with key stakeholders in their communities...For example, organizations in the Sacramento area relied on informal relationships to form and sustain their partnerships. Benefiting from years of personal relationships and trust, leaders from key organizations could respond quickly when needs or opportunities arose. Particularly noteworthy is that the four WIBs within the greater Sacramento area came together to develop integrated plans for the broader region" (p. 2). A higher level of formality in forging partnerships is illustrated by one of the LWIBs studied in Michigan. It is a member of a formal network that encompasses the Detroit metropolitan area and includes six LWIBs and the Detroit Chamber of Commerce. The purpose of the network is to bring LWIBs and their business, economic, and educational partners together to secure resources and collaborate on projects to successfully address critical workforce issues as a region. Memoranda of understanding among the network members establish joint processes that enable the LWIBs to support regional initiatives and to enter into financial contracts" (p. 2). Additionally, "state-level policy and practice encourages and supports the pursuit of coordination and collaboration. The California state workforce development plan asserts that workforce, education, and economic development entities must develop stronger partnerships and more effective communication with business and industry in order to prepare available and future workers with required skill sets" (p.3). (Abstractor: Author)