Workforce Development Boards might find that through engaging CBOs in the planning process that the community members can be served effectively. This guide is designed to help Community Based Organizations (CBOs) learn about, participate in, and influence the local WIOA planning process which shapes how the local public workforce system serves the people and businesses of a local community.

Workforce Development Boards might find that through engaging CBOs in the planning process, CBOs can help ensure that the local public workforce system serves all community members effectively, especially those that have barriers to employment. Further, CBOs that serve diverse, marginalized communities can play a key advocacy role in ensuring that the public workforce system meets federal requirements to provide equitable access to what are known as “special populations.”

An equitable, inclusive, and effective workforce system requires broad participation by all stakeholders and CBOs—with their deep, powerful connections to people in diverse communities across the state—are a critical voice in crafting a well-informed local Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) plan that meets the needs of jobseekers and industry alike.

The report answers the following questions:

  • What is WIOA Local Planning? Why Does it Matter?
  • Workforce System Fundamentals: Understanding the Local System And Services
  • Who Makes Decisions About WIOA Investments and Services Locally?
  • How Much Funding is at Stake?
  • Where Do CBOs Fit Into This?
  • How Could Your CBO Engage in the WIOA Planning Process?
  • What Obligations Do WDBs Have in the WIOA Planning Process and Service Delivery?

Major Findings & Recommendations

There are many success stories associated with including the CBOs in shaping workforce planning and service delivery.

  • In Los Angeles, CBOs working with opportunity youth—especially those who were gang-involved, foster system involved, homeless, and out of school—were key voices in shaping the region’s strategy to focus WIOA youth funds heavily on out of school, disconnected youth through a one-stop, neighborhood-based model.
  • The WDB members in Humboldt County included—in 2018 representation from a CBO serving Native American Populations, helping to shape service delivery in this community so that it is responsive to the needs of this population.
  • California’s English Language Learner (ELL) Navigator Project funded through WIOA discretionary funds now being implemented in five communities across the state as a part of the public workforce system and within AJCs drew heavily on the program models, practices, and input of immigrant and refugee serving CBOs that demonstrated success in serving these populations with workforce services.
  • San Diego County has contracted providers including a refugee and immigrant-serving CBO and a CBO focused specifically on returning citizens and the justice-involved population. These providers deliver Title I services including job training and career services in a community-based model.
  • Several CBOs are project partners in California’s Workforce Accelerator Fund, an initiative that is focused on designing, developing, and implementing projects that accelerate employment and re-employment strategies for California job seekers.