WIB Frequently Asked Questions
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What is the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA)?
Enacted in 2014 by the Congress of the United States, the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) aims to consolidate, coordinate, and improve employment, training, literacy, and vocational rehabilitation programs in the United States. This Federal legislation created Workforce Investment Boards (WIBs) in all 50 States, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Territories to oversee policy on workforce development and coordinate services through a network of 3,000 One-Stop Career Centers, implementing initiatives for potential workers and employers in one convenient location.
The goal of the WIOA is to provide workforce development services to employers and workers through a universally accessible, information-driven, One-Stop Career Center System. WIOA legislates how to create the job training system; WIBs design the system according to their local needs. Job training is provided to currently employed workers, dislocated workers, and those entering or returning to the workforce. Special programs for youth, literacy, and disabilities are also available.
WIOA makes a number of improvements to the public workforce system originally established under its predecessor the Workforce Investment Act of 1998. Among the key features of WIOA are:
- Ensuring that federal core program employment and training services are coordinated and complementary by requiring a single, 4-year Strategic State Plan for achieving the workforce goals of the State;
- Ensuring that federal investments in employment and training programs are evidence-based, data-driven, and accountable to participants and taxpayers by establishing a common performance accountability system for the core programs and requiring other authorized programs to report on the common performance indicators;
- Streamlining and strengthening the strategic roles of State and local workforce boards by reducing board size and adding functions that include strategies for meeting the needs of jobseekers and employers;
- Enhancing services provided to job seekers and employers through the American Job Center system by requiring the co-location of Wagner-Peyser Employment Services; adding the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families as a required partner; providing for State-established certification to facilitate high-quality American Job Centers; requiring partners to dedicate funding for infrastructure and other shared costs; and promoting the development of integrated intake, case management and reporting systems;
- Fostering regional collaboration by having local areas plan and coordinate service delivery within a region;
- Emphasizing the use of career pathways and sector partnerships to promote employment in in-demand industries and occupations;
- Promoting work-based training by authorizing local areas to provide incumbent worker training and transitional jobs, increasing the reimbursement to employers for on-the-job training and customized training and by increasing linkages with Registered Apprentices;
- Increasing flexibility by authorizing local areas to transfer up to 100 percent funding between Adult and Dislocated Worker; and
- Refocusing the youth formula program to serve disconnected youth by requiring a minimum of 75 percent of funds are used for out-of-school youth compared to 30 percent under WIA.
What is a Workforce Investment Board (WIB)?
Legislated under WIOA, Workforce Investment Boards bring together representatives from business, labor, community -based organizations, educational entities economic development agencies and other critical groups to develop regional strategic plans and set funding priorities for their area. Think of your local WIB as your link to the public workforce system. As one of their many functions, many WIBs facilitate partnerships between local businesses with similar training needs. WIBs also rely on labor market information to develop sector strategies that focus resources on a particular high growth industry for their area, often involving skill training for local businesses. More than 50 percent of each WIB’s members must come from the business community. In addition, WIBs are required to have representation from local community colleges and other training providers, as well as elected officials and workforce program leaders. This ensures that current skill needs of local businesses are communicated to relevant training programs.
Who appoints the WIB?
The Erie County Executive and the Mayor of the City of Buffalo appoint the local WIB Board in accordance with the provisions of WIOA.
What are the WIB's primary responsibilities?
The primary responsibility of the WIB are:
- Promote private sector employer participation in all workforce activities to assist in meeting their hiring needs and to connect workforce investment with local and regional development strategies.
- Develop a budget for carrying out the duties of the WIB.
- Certify the One-Stop Operator based on NYSDOL requirements.
- Identify qualified providers of training and labor market services.
- Award contracts to certified service providers.
- Identify and award competitive contract to providers of youth services based on recommendations of the Youth Committee.
- Establish local performance measures and standards.
- Conduct oversight of all workforce activities.
- Develop a local 3 year plan to address the needs of the local workforce development area.
Who are WIOA's customers?
The workforce investment system can best be viewed from the perspective of its two primary customers the job seeker and the local business.
Job Seekers - Through participation at one of our state-of-the-art One-Stop Career Centers, a broad range of assistance is offered to the unemployed, underemployed and dislocated worker. Services includes access to local and national job opening information and workshops covering subjects such as resume development and interviewing preparation. Financial assistance for training is also available to qualified individuals. Center staffers work to understand the needs of employers, then guide job seekers to the training they may need to develop or improve the skills that are most in demand by local companies. For job seekers with disabilities, veterans, mature workers and migrant or seasonal workers, there are customized services available.
Business - By working with our Business Services staff located at our One-Stop Centers, employers throughout the Buffalo and Erie County area have access to a wide range of services designed to help them find the best candidates for their job openings. These services include using the facility to conduct recruiting events such as job fairs, outsource pre-employment assessment screening and perform initial interviews and hiring. Additionally, businesses can take advantage of customized training, staffing services, wage and labor market information, candidate referrals, national job search capabilities and economic development assistance.
What geographic area does the WIB serve?
The Buffalo and Erie County WIB serves the geographic area of Erie County, New York.
Is the WIB Incorporated?
Yes, the WIB was incorporated as a 501(c) (3) Corporation on June 2, 2000.
Who is the Fiscal Agent of Record for WIA and the One Stop System?
The Fiscal Agent for the WIB and One Stop System is the Buffalo and Erie County Workforce Development Consortium, Inc. (WDC) The WDC is located at 726 Exchange Street, Suite 630, Buffalo, New York 14210.
How can I find more information on WIOA?
Additional information on WIOA can be found on-line at www.doleta.gov