Sunday, March 7, 2010

Greetings from NAWB 2010!

It's hard to believe that this blog is now 1 year old (the first content was posted from the 2009 National Association of Workforce Boards' annual conference) but here we are posting again from NAWB 2010!

According to conference organizers, this is the first time in a while that all 50 states, Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands, and Guam have all been here together. The feeling this year is one of real camaraderie and mutual respect for the work that we do. After all, we're all fighting the same fight to help people get skilled up and placed in jobs during this awful economy in countless local communities across the country.

Jane Oates, Assistant Secretary for Employment and Training, US Department of Labor, was an inspiring choice to kick-off the conference. We've been hearing for some time that the Workforce Investment Act will be reauthorized but she spoke with such optimism that it left the impression that it may be imminent. She stated that it will include a re-defining of the role of local and state boards because the language was "too vague" the first time around and that the role of business and economic development needs to be enhanced.

I really loved her challenge to the private sector members of workforce investment boards in the audience. She told them (in no uncertain terms) that they MUST use the system. Not doing so was, in her words, akin to a restaurant owner not eating the food. Businesses should be the biggest spokespeople we have and their use - or non use - of the system speaks volumes.
Other things to look for in the coming months include a re-invigoration of the Registered Apprenticeship Program, new opportunities for On-the-Job Training, a new community of practice for Rapid Response, and bringing Job Corp back to ETA with a real commitment to integrating YouthBuild and WIA Youth programs into the one stop system.

One last heads up: DOL's 2010-2016 Strategic Plan is currently under development and there will be ample opportunities for us to get involved.

More posts soon!

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