Workforce Investment Board cites critical challenges for employment and training programs

The L.A. County Workforce Investment Board (LACWIB) met with policy makers in Washington, D.C. at the annual workforce forum several weeks ago, to garner support for federal employment and training programs, including special workforce initiatives for veterans, parolees and re-entry youth.  But, the current proposed budget passed by the House of Representatives completely eliminates Workforce Investment Act (WIA) funding for these programs.  Some Congressional members have argued that the impact is “unclear”; in truth, some four million people were put back into the job market last year through WIA-funded programs, while employment and training services were provided to over eight million jobseekers.

LACWIB Chairman Dr. Dennis W. Neder said, “Eliminating WIA funding would cut smart investments that have helped American companies put people back to work.  The WIB is represented by business owners, as well as representatives of labor, higher education, economic development and community organizations, all critical partners in rebuilding our economy.  In an independent economic impact analysis by Southern California Edison in January 2011, the return on investment in the L.A. County region is over 25 to 1.”

Currently in L.A. County, WIA authorizes seven business-led workforce investments boards (WIBs) to oversee and coordinate services through a network of 48 One-Stop Career Centers and 38 Youth Centers.  In the last year alone, this system has served over 10,000 companies with employment and training services and employee layoff aversion assistance, 12,500 low-income youth with work experience programs, and 11,900 adults with career training in targeted high growth sectors.  In spite of unemployment hovering at 9% nationally, and over 12% locally, these WIBs placed over 50% of those seeking services into jobs.

The LACWIB and its network of WorkSource California One-Stop Career Centers serve over 11 million residents in 88 cities and 151 unincorporated areas.  Repercussions of the current budget proposed by the House of Representatives for L.A. County include:

  • Elimination of all 48 One-Stop Career Centers and 38 Youth Centers in L.A. County;
  • No services for companies to recruit and screen potential employees, and train its incumbent workers;
  • No employee layoff aversion assistance to keep jobs in the region;
  • Elimination of youth work experiences diminishing business’ options for building a pipeline of local workforce talent; and
  • No training or re-training for job seekers and laid off workers to gain access to high growth, high demand fields.

“There are four jobseekers to every job vacancy and 13.9 million unemployed in the worst recession that the U.S. has seen in generations,” said LACWIB Executive Director Richard Verches.  “The more people work, the less likely they rely on taxpayer-funded social services—our system is a vital solution to helping American companies of all sizes succeed in getting people back to work.”

For more information go to www.WorkSourceCalifornia.com and for local and national success stories about the workforce investment system, or to sign our Keep America Working petition, get the facts at www.WorkforceInvestmentWorks.com.

SOURCE L.A. County Workforce Investment Board

CONTACT: Richard Verches of L.A. County Workforce Investment Board, +1-213-738-2597

Web Site: http://www.worksourcecalifornia.com

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