Describes the current national trends and challenges related to coordinating regional workforce development systems.

“This paper examines many of these trends and discusses the current state of the workforce development system in the United States by using the Atlanta metropolitan area as a case study. A number of commissioned studies focused on the Atlanta metropolitan area’s workforce development system are summarized as local examples of these trends, including recommendations for improving regional collaboration. Finally, lessons learned from successful regional workforce development models in Boston, Chicago, Cincinnati, and Detroit provide guidance for forging a successful strategy for regional workforce development. These regional collaboratives suggest a way to improve information, programming, and alignment in local job training ecosystems” (p.1).

“The importance of human capital in regional economic competitiveness is increasingly apparent. However, structural changes, fragmentation, the instability of funding, and other factors have led to challenges for workforce development providers as well as workforce development systems. This fragmentation has created a less coherent and coordinated workforce development system. Often, metropolitan areas have many programs and policies in place to train workers for jobs that require sub-baccalaureate credentials or skills. The lack of coordination in local training systems may limit the information available to job and training seekers, create duplication of services among providers, and discourage outcome measurement and program evaluation” (p.1).

(Abstract: Author)

Full Publication Title: Fragmentation in Workforce Development and Efforts to Coordinate Regional Workforce Development Systems: A Case Study of Challenges in Atlanta and Models for Regional Cooperation from across the Country

Major Findings & Recommendations

“For a number of reasons documented in this paper, local workforce development systems are challenged for coordination. Federal workforce development funding has been in decline while [Workforce Investment Act/Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act] WIA/WIOA reporting and programmatic requirements have increased. Because of these two trends, many training programs have opted out, forming new organizations that finance and fund themselves outside of the ’traditional’ workforce development system. This has allowed for significant innovation and entrepreneurialism in local job training programming, but it has created a significant challenge for local workforce development communities” (p.20). “Several models from across the country suggest potential solutions to fragmented job training and workforce development systems. The solutions from Boston, Cincinnati, Detroit, and Chicago suggest that an important point of entry into creating a more cohesive workforce development system starts with creating a stronger foundation for information sharing—both labor market data as well as information on workforce development programs. Three of the four organizations discussed developed online information-sharing platforms largely to help improve the information about where training organizations were, the type of training they provided, and the populations that they served. These efforts suggest that workforce development and job training programs have little time to deal with marketing efforts and getting the word out about the work that they do. A second-order benefit of information sharing and mapping platforms for workforce development programs is increasing the awareness of workforce development programs with job seekers. Ultimately, it is incumbent upon workforce development organizations to ensure that they market their programs effectively and display their effectiveness to businesses and job seekers, or they may be left behind. The information-sharing platforms can be an initial step in this effort. These types of information-sharing platforms can also serve as a way to promote partnerships with businesses and employers that have needs for special training or skilled workers” (p.20-21). (Abstractor: Author and Website Staff)