“Agency collaborations, both within and across regions, are at the heart of the workforce investment system envisioned by Congress when it passed the Workforce Investment Act of 1998 (WIA) and the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) in 2014. The system’s employment and training services are administered by Local Workforce Investment Boards (LWIBs) in approximately 600 state-defined Local Workforce Investment Areas (local areas) across the country. The boundaries of these local areas do not always align with those of regional economies—an LWIB’s service area might stop at a county line or city limit, but many of its residents likely commute and conduct business in broader regions. Recognizing that LWIBs might have to partner across their borders to best serve these regional economies, WIA enabled state workforce agencies to provide funding for LWIBs to pursue a regional approach to workforce development. WIOA further encourages regional collaborations by requiring states to define economic regions and LWIBs to coordinate across regions” (p.1).
“This brief describes how 28 LWIBs randomly selected to participate in the WIA Adult and Dislocated Worker Programs Gold Standard Evaluation collaborated regionally, as described by LWIB administrative and/or fiscal entity staff (LWIB staff) during onsite interviews conducted in 2012 and 2013 and telephone interviews conducted in 2014, and in program documents. It highlights the key goals of these collaborations and provides a detailed description of a particularly comprehensive, multifaceted LWIB partnership that can serve as a model for LWIBs currently considering or pursuing collaboration. This information can help states and local areas as they plan to meet WIOA’s requirements for regional collaboration” (p.2).
The brief includes case studies from the Southeast Michigan Works Agency Council (p.5) and the Dallas-Fort Worth Regional Workforce Leadership Council (p.4) to demonstrate examples of regional collaborations.
“This issue brief is one in a series of briefs that presents findings from the WIA Adult and Dislocated Worker Programs Gold Standard Evaluation, which is being conducted for the U.S. Department of Labor…, Employment and Training Administration….The study examines the implementation, effectiveness, and benefits and costs of the Adult and Dislocated Worker programs using an experimental design” (p.6).(Abstractor: Author and Website Staff)
Major Findings & Recommendations
The brief reports that, “[s]taff from all but 3 of the 28 study LWIBs reported partnering with at least one other LWIB to identify and address common regional issues, challenges, and needs. These collaborations ranged from informal communication networks to periodic partnerships that executed special projects to long-standing regional associations that pooled funds, shared staff, met regularly, and implemented numerous activities. More than half of the study LWIBs that collaborated with other LWIBs also partnered with other entities that had a vested interest in the health of the region’s economy and workforce, such as economic development agencies, education and training providers, employer associations, and employers” (p.2). In general, “[c]ollaborations pursued one or more of the following goals: (1) obtain funding for joint ventures, (2) communicate about regional issues and best practices, (3) coordinate outreach to regional businesses, (4) promote employment in target sectors, (5) conduct regional planning, and (6) respond to regionally disruptive events” (p.1). The brief concludes that “[t]he experiences of the 28 randomly selected study LWIBs show that collaboration among LWIBs is a potentially beneficial way to address regional issues and achieve common goals” (p.5). (Abstractor: Author and Website Staff)