CREC Project News and Updates

Talent Development: Federal-State Economic Development Collaborations

December 9, 2015
  • Topic Overview

Workforce development—or Talent Development—encompasses initiatives that educate and train individuals to meet the needs of current and future business and industry in order to maintain a sustainable competitive economic environment.  In a recent survey of corporate executives, two of the top three most important site selection factors relate to workforce development (Citation: “The Role of Workforce Development in Economic Development,” National Association of Workforce Development Professionals, May 2015). The availability of a skilled workforce, and the productivity of that workforce are critical determinants to whether or not a business will locate or expand in a region. It is also critical for existing companies as they compete for new business. Furthermore, workforce development can be leveraged to foster entrepreneurial development. Most job growth comes from firms employing less than 20 people, and the majority of it from firms employing less than 10.

  • Federal Role & Priorities

Federal job training programs help employers to hire the workers they need and help millions of Americans to reach their full potential. Using an expansive definition, federal employment and training programs are funded at just over $17 billion in the FY 2014 federal budget. By way of comparison, in 2013, U.S. employers are estimated to have spent over $450 billion on training. Traditionally, these federal programs (often referred to as the “public workforce system”) were focused on helping individuals find employment or seek out education and training based on their personal goals and interests. In this context, metrics tended to focus on placements and emphasized the hard-to-serve over those already in the workforce whose skills were becoming obsolete or the talent pipeline required to meet industry needs.

However, a successful public workforce system actively engages employers to ensure that training and education investments prepare Americans with the skills needed to be productive and properly rewarded. In rapidly-changing industries and a globalizing economy, this engagement must be dynamic and must be move beyond the human resources function of the company to the “C-suite.”

Both the Bush and Obama Administration worked to implement these strategies within the legacy public workforce system by promoting pilot efforts to promote collaboration between economic and workforce development and to encourage industry engagement through sector strategies. The Obama Administration began using competitive grant programs to make the public workforce system more demand-driven. In July 2014 the Vice President released the Job-Driven Training (Citation: The White House, “Ready to Work: Job-Driven Training and American Opportunity”, July 2014) report, which includes calls to action for helping 24 million low-wage, lower-skill American workers to upskill themselves into better jobs, and expanding the ways that a diverse array of Americans can be trained for a half million jobs currently unfilled in information technology occupations, and hundreds of thousands more that need to be filled soon.

  • Major Federal Programs & Activities

In July 2014, Congress enacted the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) on a bipartisan basis as a replacement to the Workforce Investment Act. WIOA seeks to transform the public workforce system by providing states and local areas the flexibility to collaborate across systems in an effort to better address the employment and skills needs of current employees, job seekers, and employers. WIOA accomplishes this by requiring:

  • A stronger alignment of the workforce, education, and economic development systems; and
  • Improving the structure and delivery in the system to assist America’s workers in achieving a family-sustaining wage while providing America’s employers with the skilled workers they need to compete on a global level.

WIOA consists of four core programs: Adult, Dislocated Worker, and Youth; Adult Education and Literacy; Vocational Rehabilitation; and Wagner-Peyser Employment Services. The common performance measures on which WIOA core programs will be assessed include: employment placement; median earnings; credential attainment; skills gain; and effectiveness in serving employers.

WIOA embraces the principles of the Job-Driven Checklist included in the Vice President’s Job-Driven Training report. The checklist serves to guide administrative reforms and to ensure that what’s working best becomes what all Americans can expect from federally funded employment and training programs. Of particular note, the checklist highlights the importance of (1) working with employers up front, (2) utilizing work-based learning opportunities, including on-the-job training, internships, pre-apprenticeships, and registered apprenticeships, and (3) making better use of data to drive accountability, inform what program offered and delivered, and provide user-friendly information to job seekers.

  • State Role

Statewide Workforce Development Boards, appointed by the Governor, provide oversight for their respective workforce systems; and under WIOA are to be increasingly engaged in the business of collaboration, convening, and partnership. Workforce Board composition at both the state and local levels must consist of at least 51 percent Business Representatives, including the Board Chair, and must also contain at least one representative each from Higher Education and Economic Development.

In an effort to create a more comprehensive, strategic and streamlined system, WIOA requires a single, Unified State Plan inclusive of all core programs under the Act. The State Plans seek to improve service delivery and access to the workforce system for job seekers and employers. These strategies provide an opportunity for states to engage in new innovative approaches to employer engagement, using technology, or strengthening core programs; developing career pathways and industry and sector partnerships; and affording the opportunity to use labor market analysis to drive a comprehensive analysis of the state’s talent needs. Local Plans are designed to address the needs of the local labor market and encompass the overall strategy embodied the State Plan.

About This Project

Developing a Community Empowerment Scorecard
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CREC is assisting the Colorado Workforce Development Council (CWDC) in promoting economic mobility among the individuals that are receiving employment assistance.  CREC is developing a community empowerment scorecard to help CWDC monitor the various factors that contribute to jobseeker mobility.  The scorecard will focus on examining career pathways and partnerships in the retail sector that […]

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CREC worked with FTCC leadership and staff to translate data about labor market trends into more demand-driven curriculum plans that recognize key labor market opportunities as an important criterion in allocating limited college resources. Through this effort, CREC reviewed how FTCC used data in its curriculum planning process and facilitated working sessions with the Board, senior staff, […]

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Building a Recovery-to-Work Ecosystem
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CREC is providing support to the Development District Association of Appalachia in executing an Appalachian Regional Commission grant to support and document the development of “recovery-to-work” ecosystems.  The project goal is to guide Local Development Districts in the Appalachian Region convene community stakeholders and lead efforts aimed at helping Substance Use Disorder sufferers to transition […]

Business and Higher Education Forum (BHEF) Project
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The Business and Higher Education Forum (BHEF), the Greater Washington Partnership (GWP) and the Business Roundtable are well established organizations connecting business, university and non-profit partners in the Washington DC/Maryland/Virginia region (DMV). These organizations aim to increase the number of high-quality, transparent and affordable pathways to the attainment and updating of Digital Technology skills in […]

Improving State-level Labor Force Projections
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CREC and the State of North Carolina Labor and Economic Analysis Division (LEAD) are working with the Projections Managing Partnership on an improved methodology that considers state-level labor force projections as a benchmark for labor supply in the PMP’s employment projections products. Currently, the PMP relies on national estimates provided by the U.S. Bureau of […]

Regional Innovation Cluster Initiative Program Evaluation
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CREC and Optimal Solutions Group are providing program evaluation services to the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Office of Performance Management on its Regional Innovation Cluster Initiative. SBA’s Regional Innovation Cluster (RIC) Initiative was launched in September 2010, with funding now provided to 14 industry clusters across the country focused on geospatial technology products, water technologies, […]

Assist BrightHive with WIN Apprenticeship Data Platform
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Workforce Intelligence Network for Southeast Michigan (WIN)/Southeast Michigan Community Alliance (SEMCA) has entered into a contract with BrightHive to build an apprenticeship data platform to support connecting employers with performance-based objectives (PBOs), competency frameworks and models, and other skills outlines and to help employers create competence-based apprenticeships through integration with and subsequent use by one […]

MIT Work for the Future
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CREC is working closely with Dr. Liz Reynolds and Dr. Paul Osterman to investigate how Detroit’s education and training delivery systems are adapting to technological and pedagogical advances as well as how they are contributing to equality in opportunity and social inclusion – the future of the “mobility sector”. CREC will support Dr. Paul Osterman […]

ARC Entrepreneurial Benchmark Update 2018-2020
Start Date: Jan 1970 — End Date: Jan 1970

CREC, working with EntreWorks Consulting, is continuing our work in promoting entrepreneurial efforts in the Appalachian Region by maintaining a database of the region’s entrepreneurial ecosystem, updating research on the region’s economic dynamism, and maintaining a web presence at http://arceco.creconline.org for the entrepreneurial directory and the entrepreneurial index (updated through 2017).

About the Client

EntreWorks Consulting

Based in Arlington, VA, EntreWorks Consulting is an economic development consulting and policy development firm focused on helping communities, businesses, and organizations achieve their entrepreneurial potential.   EntreWorks works with a diverse base of clients including state and local governments, Chambers of Commerce, business leaders, educational institutions, and non-profits. Since its founding, EntreWorks has worked with […]