Annual Report on the Workforce Investment Act
To the United States Department of Labor
Program Year 2004
July 1, 2004 – June 30, 2005
Submitted September 28, 2005
Message from the Governor
The WORKFORCE West Virginia system continued to provide quality employment and training opportunities to the people of West Virginia during Program Year 2004.
Workforce development must continue to serve as a vital partner with education and economic development to ensure the continued growth of West Virginia’s economy. The work performed
by government agencies, service providers, state and local workforce boards, elected officials, and others within the WORKFORCE West Virginia system is essential for the businesses and citizens of our state.
I commend all those who play a role in the continued growth and improvement of the WORKFORCE West Virginia system. Together we will continue to make the highest quality services available to all West Virginians.
With Warmest Regards,
Joe Manchin III
Greetings from the Council Chair
The West Virginia Workforce Investment Council continues to serve as the state-level workforce board envisioned by the federal Workforce Investment Act. However, the Council works hard to do more than merely comply with this legislative requirement. The Council made great strides in the previous year in shaping a comprehensive, integrated system for workforce investment in our state. The Council was pleased to introduce its own comprehensive strategic plan for workforce investment during the preceding program year. This document also served as a building block for efforts to craft and submit West Virginia’s five-year plan for workforce investment to the United
States Department of Labor, which has been approved and is currently in place.
As always, we must continue to seek ongoing improvement of the WORKFORCE West Virginia system. The Council must work with elected officials, government bodies, local boards, and other entities to continue to refine the delivery of workforce services in our state.
Finally, I would like to take a moment to thank the individuals who work every day to improve workforce investment in West Virginia. I would particularly like to extend my thanks to my fellow Council members for their service in carrying out the complex and vital tasks set before this group.
H. Stan Cavendish
West Virginia Workforce Investment Council
A Word from the Director
Beginning in January, 2005, an evaluation of the roles and functions of the Bureau of Employment Programs and the Governor’s Workforce Investment Division resulted in the decision to merge these agencies in order to further streamline the delivery of workforce investment services in our state. As a result, these agencies were brought together as WORKFORCE West Virginia and placed under the operations of the Secretary of Commerce.
This agency is guided by the Governor’s requirement that workforce development and education serve as vital partners in the state’s economic development efforts. Programs have been developed in partnership with our friends in education and economic development in order to supply skilled workers for industries ranging from oil and gas production to health care and other industries. Efforts are underway to supply immediate demands for skilled workers in the coal industry.
The ultimate goal of the WORKFORCE West Virginia system is to work with all of our partners and the hard working citizens of West Virginia to provide existing and prospective businesses with the skilled labor needed in today’s economy. In essence, we must strive to achieve the basic economic theory of matching the labor supply (individuals looking for employment or skills upgrades) with the labor demand (business and industry seeking skilled workers).
The dedicated individuals working within the WORKFORCE West Virginia system continue to assist their fellow West Virginians with achieving their career goals while working with businesses to grow the economy. The successes outlined in this report are not possible without the continued efforts of the WORKFORCE West Virginia system and its people.
Ronald E. Radcliff
WORKFORCE West Virginia
WORKFORCE West Virginia – Continuing to Grow and Change
Similar to many states, West Virginia continues to see its economy change. Employment opportunities have continued to shift as certain industries decline and others emerge. Unfortunately, these economic shifts have in many instances resulted in worker dislocations. Thus, both individuals looking to enter the workforce for the first time and individuals looking to return to work must acquire the skills needed to take advantage of the available opportunities in the labor market. At the same time, businesses with employment opportunities continue to seek workers with the appropriate skills.
The WORKFORCE West Virginia system continues to make every effort to provide the services needed to furnish appropriately skilled workers for the business community. The delivery of workforce services requires the participation of a complex network of individuals and organizations. Elected officials, state and local workforce boards, partner agencies, service providers, and others all play a role in the delivery of needed services. Unfortunately, many of the necessary services must continue to be provided during a time of decreasing resources. Thus, as evidenced by the activities highlighted in this report, efforts have continued to provide quality services while also addressing the delivery of these services in the most efficient and effective manner.
The WORKFORCE West Virginia System
The delivery of workforce services involves both state-level and local efforts across West Virginia. The federal Workforce Investment Act of 1998, the key legislation driving the delivery of workforce services, emphasizes a locally driven system that meshes federal, state, and local resources to respond to the needs of individuals and businesses. The focal point for the delivery of these services is the statewide network of “One-Stop” service locations, known as
WORKFORCE West Virginia Centers.
This emphasis on local control is reflected in the state’s reliance on seven local workforce investment regions. These regions, each overseen by a local board appointed by local elected officials, provide locally driven services to individuals and businesses within the framework established by the federal Workforce Investment Act and the State of West Virginia. A brief description of the seven local regions, as well as the WORKFORCE West Virginia Centers, follows.
Local Workforce Investment Regions
Region One: The Region One Workforce Investment Board administers eleven southeastern counties. Primarily rural and mountainous, the region nevertheless has a variety of employment sectors. While traditional employment sectors such as mining continue to be vital to the regional economy, it is also expected that areas of growth in the near future will be in industries relating to services, construction and retail trade.
Region Two: The Southwestern West Virginia Workforce Investment Board oversees service delivery in this seven county region. The region is a mix of rural counties, small towns, and more
urban settings. Currently, opportunities for growth exist in areas such as mining and other energy related fields, as well as industries ranging from healthcare to construction.
Region Three: The Workforce Investment Board of Kanawha County is responsible for the state’s only single county workforce investment region. As the home of the capital city of Charleston, Kanawha County combines government service with private sector employment (including chemical production and service industries) to form the basis of its economy.
Region Four: Stretching from the western border to the interior of the state, the nine counties comprising the Workforce Investment Board Mid-Ohio Valley are a mix of rural and more metropolitan areas. Future growth is expected in economic sectors such as healthcare, tourism, and services.
Region Five: Six counties comprise the area overseen by the Northern Panhandle Workforce Investment Board. While traditional industries such as steel production have been experiencing difficult times in this region, growth is expected to occur in services, trade, and tourism.
Region Six: The Region Six Workforce Investment Board governs a large area of thirteen counties that features a mix of cities and rural, mountainous terrain. Future growth is expected in sectors such as technology, research, and service-related industries.
Region Seven: Eight counties comprise the area served by the Region Seven Workforce Investment Board. While the more populous eastern counties border the metropolitan areas of Washington, DC, the western portions of the region are more rural in nature. This region has economic growth opportunities in sectors as diverse as government employment and food production and processing.
The WORKFORCE West Virginia Centers
Based on the vision set forth by the Workforce Investment Act, West Virginia has established a network of “One-Stop” service centers to provide access to the array of services necessary in the
field of workforce investment. Branded the WORKFORCE West Virginia Centers, these locations provide access to services by means of a combination of partners physically located within the center and services accessible via electronic linkages.
The Workforce Investment Act requires each local workforce region to have a comprehensive “One-Stop” facility. The local areas of West Virginia have gone beyond this basic requirement in order to provide the best possible access to services. While each local region has one or more comprehensive WORKFORCE West Virginia Centers numerous affiliate and satellite sites have been established that provide access to services on a more limited basis.
West Virginia continues to place emphasis on continuous improvement of the WORKFORCE West Virginia Centers across the state. As part of this effort, the West Virginia Workforce Investment Council produces a comprehensive “State of the One-Stops” report annually. This
report includes information ranging from center locations to the financial contributions of partner agencies within the system. Reports are available at www.wvwic.org.
WORKFORCE West Virginia – The State Level
Numerous state-level individuals and organizations are a part of the delivery of workforce services across West Virginia. The Governor, with the advice and assistance of the West Virginia Workforce Investment Council, works with the Legislature and various administrative agencies to shape a comprehensive workforce development system. These entities work to continue the growth and improvement of workforce development services in West Virginia.
At the forefront of state-level workforce development is the newly created WORKFORCE West Virginia division within the Bureau of Commerce. In January, 2005, analysis began regarding the unification of two separate state entities, the Bureau of Employment Programs and the Governor’s Workforce Investment Division. The resulting merger of these operations into the
single WORKFORCE West Virginia entity within the Bureau of Commerce serves to unite a number of functions vital to workforce investment activities within the state, including administration of the Workforce Investment Act, Wagner-Peyser Act programs, veterans employment initiatives, Trade Adjustment Assistance programs, and the state’s Unemployment Compensation program. Thus, WORKFORCE West Virginia is positioned to serve as the lead state agency for workforce investment matters in the state.
Milestones and Achievements of the Program Year
While this report is provided under the requirements of the Workforce Investment Act, many of the highlights and achievements are due not only to the programs operated under this legislation but to the efforts put forth by the entire WORKFORCE West Virginia system. The continued growth and success of a comprehensive workforce delivery system such as WORKFORCE West
Virginia requires the work of dedicated individuals from the state level to the front-line staff found at the WORKFORCE West Virginia Centers across the state.
Enhanced Service to Business
Building on previous successes in enhancing service to business, WORKFORCE West Virginia continued to emphasize the provision of quality services to the business community. The message delivered to businesses is that the system is driven by their input. The WORKFORCE West Virginia system continues to refine its delivery of business services. The utilization of regional Business Services Teams encourages collaboration among public entities providing services to employers to both reduce duplication and enhance business services. This effort has been supported by the publication of a handbook entitled Successful Business Services Teams, a
technical assistance guide for establishing and organizing regional teams. The handbook also contains a comprehensive asset mapping table outlining the resources available to businesses through the WORKFORCE West Virginia system. Finally, business services have been enhanced by the combination of state-level business services personnel from the Bureau of Employment Programs and Governor’s Workforce Investment Division as part of the implementation of the singular WORKFORCE West Virginia entity.
The Interagency Collaborative Team (ICT)
The ICT, codified by the West Virginia Legislature, is comprised of representatives from numerous state-level entities that provide services as part of the WORKFORCE West Virginia system. The ICT is chaired by the Executive Director of WORKFORCE West Virginia and includes representatives from organizations such as the following: Bureau of Senior Services, Council for Community and Technical College Education, Department of Education and the Arts, Department of Health and Human Resources, and Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety.
Monthly meetings of the ICT allow leaders from various agencies and programs to discuss issues that impact all aspects of the workforce development system. During the previous program year, this group was able to achieve a number of important goals. Highlights include:
; Entering into its annual comprehensive state-level Memorandum of Understanding
regarding the delivery of workforce services
; Entering into a five-year planning compact to develop common goals and objectives for
the advancement of workforce development in West Virginia
; Continuing to work on topics such as assessment, which resulted in the adoption of Work
Keys and TABE products as the testing tools of choice
; Reacting to recommendations of the Vision Shared work group on Worker Training and
Credentialing to align with existing nationally recognized, industry-based skill standards
Improved Access to Services
The WORKFORCE West Virginia system continues to make every effort to assure access to its services for all West Virginians. The emphasis on access is for both physical access to WORKFORCE West Virginia Centers and access to services through technology. Many of these efforts have centered on the efforts of the Building Inclusive One-Stop Systems (BIOSS) program. This grant-funded program has been utilized to greatly enhance the physical and technological accessibility of the WORKFORCE West Virginia Centers for individuals with disabilities. Efforts have ranged from providing training for WORKFORCE West Virginia Center staff to assisting with physical accessibility issues. Assistive technology ranging from accessible computers and software to TTY phones has also been installed in WORKFORCE West Virginia Centers as part of the efforts undertaken in this initiative. While this initiative ended on June 30, 2005 with the expiration of federal grant monies, the impacts of the efforts made by those participating in this program will be felt for years to come.
It is hoped that in the coming year additional assistance will be made available to those with disabilities through the so-called “Navigator” program. Application has been made for federal grant monies designed to, among other things, provide trained staff that will assist those with disabilities in finding their way through the workforce development system and accessing the full range of services and opportunities available.
The West Virginia MACC System
The technological backbone of the WORKFORCE West Virginia network, the West Virginia MACC is the state’s comprehensive management information system. Housing case management, reporting, and other information related functions, the West Virginia MACC currently supports over 50,000 active users and processes approximately 2 million transactions per day.
The system continues to be refined and enhanced to provide for the needs of its users, who range from the members of the public at large to businesses seeking employees, service providers and partners, and WORKFORCE West Virginia system employees charged with case management and performance functions. Recent improvements include enhanced features related to business services, as well as improvements that have made the system fully prepared to implement the tracking and reporting of the “Common Measures” prescribed by the federal government for workforce programs.
As part of the ongoing process of enhancing the delivery of information through technology, WORKFORCE West Virginia will use portals such as the West Virginia MACC system to provide access to ever-improving data related to employment and workforce issues. For instance, efforts are currently underway to make use of labor market information and available technologies to provide even more real time data to business and governmental agencies seeking information vital to economic development and training programs. This will continue the process of addressing needs for current and future employment demands.
WORKFORCE West Virginia Collaboration and Partnering
The individuals and entities comprising the WORKFORCE West Virginia system have
continued to come together in various ways to continuously improve the delivery of services to
West Virginians. In addition to the efforts highlighted elsewhere in this report, other ongoing
efforts warrant mention.
; Collaboration continues between the WORKFORCE West Virginia division and the
seven local workforce boards. In addition to ongoing monitoring and technical assistance
matters, state personnel and local boards have continued to collaborate in areas such as:
continued monthly meetings between local directors and WORKFORCE West Virginia
staff, working to blend and leverage funds (where possible) from sources such as the
federal Workforce Investment Act and state-funded programs such as the Governor’s
Guaranteed Workforce Program, and promoting and executing a series of local events
designed to inform veterans of the opportunities available to them within the
WORKFORCE West Virginia Centers.
; The West Virginia Workforce Investment Council continued to work with state and local
partners in fulfilling its role in shaping workforce development matters in the state. The
Council, with staff support from WORKFORCE West Virginia personnel, continued to
meets at least quarterly throughout the program year, with committees often convening to
perform assigned tasks between Council meetings. The continued assistance of the
Council has resulted in achievements such as the ongoing evaluation of policy matters,
the creation and distribution of information such as the “State of the One-Stops” report,
and the design of the state’s new five-year plan for workforce investment that has been
approved by the United States Department of Labor.
; The West Virginia Legislature has continued to work closely with the WORKFORCE
West Virginia system during the previous program year. Through an oversight
commission comprised of members from both the Senate and House of Delegates,
legislators continue to receive updates and information from various partners within the
WORKFORCE West Virginia system. They have also continued to receive and evaluate
reports such as the “State of the One-Stops” report and an annual compilation of funds
available and expended in the state on workforce investment activities. This so-called
“Funding Stream Report” is complied by WORKFORCE West Virginia staff in
conjunction with input from partner agencies in order to examine the funding and
outcomes associated with workforce investment across West Virginia.
; Partnering and collaboration also take the form of continual technical assistance and
training for those involved in the WORKFORCE West Virginia system. In addition to
technical assistance provided on a daily basis, WORKFORCE West Virginia was also
pleased to continue its tradition of hosting the annual WORKFORCE West Virginia
Conference in July 2005. This event continues to serve as both a capstone to the previous
program year and a way to energize everyone for the year ahead. Over 300 individuals
were able to attend this year’s conference and take away valuable information to assist
them in the upcoming program year.