Annual Report on the Workforce Investment Act
The United States Department of Labor
Program Year 2008
July 1, 2008 – June 30, 2009
Russell L. Fry, Acting Executive Director
Submitted October 1, 2009
112 California Avenue, Charleston, West Virginia 25305-0112
Message from the Governor:
It is my pleasure to present West Virginia’s annual report on the Workforce Investment Act for program year 2009. The past year is particularly noteworthy for the success of the West Virginia Career Readiness Certificates I have awarded as part of the ACT’s WorkKeys? assessments. The statewide WorkKeys? program is an important step in documenting to employers that West Virginia has a workforce with the skills to get the job done. It also represents a partnership with WorkForce West Virginia, the West Virginia Department of Education, and Community and Technical Colleges.
Our strong partnerships have allowed West Virginia to take full advantage of WIA funding to build a strong workforce, particularly funding provided by the Recovery Act. We look forward to continuing to provide new initiatives in workforce development in West Virginia. We appreciate the assistance provided by the United States. Department of Labor in implementing these programs.
This has also been a year of planning for the future as we have seen an increase in our unemployment rate along with the rest of our country. Our agency has developed a reemployment services program for many of our customers filing unemployment claims. Our goal is to shorten the amount of time claimants are receiving benefits. This will be combined with the availability of training programs funded through the Workforce Investment Act, Trade and Global Adjustment Assistance Act of 2009, and other resources available through our partnerships.
We are also working to build a strong Workforce Investment Council where all our partners work closely to respond to business needs as we constantly work to improve our efficiency in providing services to employers and jobseekers.
I look forward to our continuing improvement and innovation in West Virginia’s
workforce development system.
With Warmest Regards,
Joe Manchin III
A Word from the Acting Executive Director:
On behalf of WorkForce West Virginia, I am happy to provide you with our annual report on the Workforce Investment Act for program year 2009. After my appointment in May 2009, I am excited to have the opportunity to build upon the many successes of the past year.
Those successes include the launch of the Governor’s WorkKeys? Career Readiness
Certificate program in October 2008. Since its initiation, 87 percent of the job seekers assessed through the program have received certificates.
WorkKeys? benefits West Virginia job seekers by providing prospective employers with concrete proof of their skills with a portable, nationally-recognized certificate issued by the Governor. West Virginia employers benefit by selecting job seekers who are a good match for the company, reducing employee turnover and increasing worker retention and return on investment. West Virginia benefits by compiling a database of job seekers who are career-ready.
In the upcoming year, two new elements will expand the benefit of WorkKeys? . First, WorkForce West Virginia and the West Virginia Department of Education have partnered to provide statewide access to the remediation program called KeyTrain. Now,
job seekers throughout the State can get help to improve their skill levels.
Secondly, WorkForce West Virginia business consultants have been certified as Job Profilers by ACT. Our staff can now provide job profiles as a service for employers, helping employers can make reliable, EEOC compliant decisions about hiring, training, and program development.
We are also reinvigorating the West Virginia Workforce Investment Council to give businesses and employers a stronger voice in workforce development.
We at WorkForce West Virginia are excited about the new partnerships we are building to deliver a highly skilled and employable workforce.
Russell L. Fry
Acting Executive Director
WorkForce West Virginia—Promoting Standardization and Integration of Services
Marketing Template and Unified Web Site
WorkForce West Virginia has developed a marketing template for all services to provide a consistent, professional brand for the agency. This template includes easily-identified visual elements that brand WorkForce West Virginia. The template uses consistent design themes for brochures, folders, banner stands and other materials. All marketing materials produced by WorkForce West Virginia are available free of charge to the Workforce Investment Boards (WIBs).
Unified Web Portal
In November 2008, WorkForce West Virginia launched a unified Web portal combining five separate agency Web sites into a single launching site at www.workforcewv.org. The site
includes links to all local WIBs and public notices. The site averages 44,000 unique visitors each month.
Statewide Career Readiness Certificate Program
West Virginia Governor Joe Manchin launched the WorkKeys Governor's Career Readiness Certificate statewide program in October 2008. This interagency collaboration verifies to employers that an individual has essential core employable skills in Reading for Information, Applied Mathematics, and Locating Information.
Using ACT's nationally-recognized WorkKeys assessments, the certificate program offers individuals, employers, and educators a credential issued by the Governor that certifies the attainment of these workplace skills.
The statewide WorkKeys program is an important step in documenting to employers that the state of West Virginia possesses a workforce with the skills to get the job done. It also represents a partnership with WorkForce West Virginia, the West Virginia Department of Education and Community and Technical Colleges.
As of August 17, 2009, 87 percent of the WorkKeys assessments administered under the statewide program resulted in Career Readiness Certificates issued by Governor Manchin.
The 4,725 certificates issued include 996 Gold certificates; 2,848 Silver certificates; and 881 Bronze certificates. Additionally, 4,519 of the Governor's Career Readiness Certificates have been issued to Career and Technical Schools in the State. In less than a year, Governor Manchin has issued a total of 9,244 Career Readiness Certificates in West Virginia.
WorkKeys benefits West Virginia job seekers by providing prospective employers with concrete proof of their skills with a portable, nationally-recognized certificate. West Virginia employers benefit by selecting job seekers who are a good match for the company. Consequently, employee turnover is reduced, worker retention is increased; and the return on investments is higher. West Virginia benefits by compiling a database of job seekers who are career-ready.
In the 2009-2010 program year, two new elements have been added to expand the benefit of WorkKeys. First, WorkForce West Virginia and the West Virginia Department of Education have partnered on a remediation program called KeyTrain. Using KeyTrain, job seekers can
assess potential WorkKeys scores and work to improve their skill levels as needed. Second, WorkForce West Virginia is training staff to provide Job Profiles as a service for employers. Employers can make reliable, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission compliant decisions about hiring, training, and program development by matching Job Profile information with individual scores on the WorkKeys assessments.
The WorkKeys Governor’s Career Readiness Certificate program contributes to West Virginia’s
workforce and economic development. It is also easily understood, conveniently attained, and universally valued.
The WorkForce West Virginia System
“Workforce development” is a generic term which reflects the purpose and intent of the
Workforce Investment Act of 1998 (WIA). As defined by the Act, “the purpose of Title 1 is to provide workforce investment activities that increase the employment, retention and earnings of participants, and increase occupational skill attainment by participants, which will improve the quality of the workforce, reduce welfare dependency, and enhance the productivity and competitiveness of the Nation’s economy.”
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 workforce development system that meshes federal, state, and local resources to respond with a comprehensive and customer-focused system. The centerpiece for the delivery of these services is the statewide network of “One-
Stop” service locations, known as WorkForce West Virginia Career Centers. An integrated
service delivery system is the core ingredient to the WIA law.
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. As implied by their name, WorkForce West Virginia Career Centers, these centers are intended to offer job seekers and employers ready access to the many workforce development resources available in a local region. A brief description of the seven local regions and the WorkForce West Virginia Career Centers follows.
Local Workforce Investment Regions
Region One consists of two comprehensive centers, three satellite centers and four affiliate sites. The Region One Workforce Investment Board administers eleven southeastern counties. The Region, indicative of many areas of the State, is mountainous and rural, and is the residence to an
assortment of industry sectors. Although employment numbers are not as considerable as they have been in previous decades, mining remains a significant part of the economic structure of the
region. Tourism and leisure and hospitality related business are expected to produce notable employment growth in the years ahead as are other associated service providing sectors.
Region Two consists of one comprehensive center, one satellite center and seven affiliate sites. The Southwestern West Virginia Workforce Investment Board oversees service delivery in this seven counties region. Region Two offers an urban presence in Huntington and the supporting MSA, but also contains a mix of rural areas and small municipalities. The energy sector contributes a significant influence to the regional economy as does health care with its hospitals and numerous clinics.
Region Three consists of one comprehensive center and four affiliate sites.
The Workforce Investment Board of Kanawha County is responsible for the State’s only single
county workforce investment region. The face of industry in Region Three over the last few decades has changed noticeably. Government employment and business continues to wield a weighty influence in the region, but now the health sector has become more prominent. Of the top 100 private employers in the State, Region Three is home to a hospital group that is the third
largest employer, thus emphasizing the importance of health care to the area.
Region Four consists of one comprehensive center, three satellite centers and four affiliate sites. Nine counties comprise a region of rural and urban population that includes the Ohio River as its western border. While health care is a significant industry in Region Four, other key parts of the economy include the federal government, tourism and professional and business services. Growth in the regional economy is likely to continue in health care and tourism primarily.
Region Five consists of two comprehensive centers and one satellite center. Six counties comprise the area overseen by the Northern Panhandle Workforce Investment Board. Historically, the region has been heavily reliant on the steel industry. That dependence in recent decades has been shaken with significant job losses throughout this sector and many of the related businesses. Future growth is expected to be in service providing industries such as
entertainment and tourism.
Region Six consists of four comprehensive centers and nine affiliate sites. Made up of thirteen counties, Region Six consists of mostly rural areas, but contains sizeable municipalities as well. The dominant university health care sector is expected to continue its expansion and influence on the regional economy, however, additional growth is anticipated in technology, research, and service providing businesses.
Region Seven consists of two comprehensive centers. Eight counties comprise the area served by the Region Seven Workforce Investment Board. Region Seven offers a contrast of rural life in its western counties and the growing eastern counties that are heavily influenced by Washington, D.C. metro area. Until the recent recession, government and construction industry sectors have provided significant growth. In recent months, however, the Washington metro area has been
more resistant to the economic downturn and will likely provide a positive ripple effect for Region Seven. As the national economy returns to a normal pace the region is expected to regain its expansionary persona, especially in food processing and production, government and home construction.
The WorkForce West Virginia Career Centers
In response to business and industry’s challenge to successfully operate in the global economy,
WorkForce West Virginia expanded its focus. To provide easier access to services for job seekers and employers, WorkForce West Virginia now focuses on the creation and maintenance of partnerships; collaboration and integration of services designed to focus on the full range of training; and employment services. 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 to businesses and job seekers in the field of workforce development. WorkForce West Virginia One-Stop Career Centers continue to provide access to services by a combination of partners physically located within the Center and services accessible via electronic linkages.
West Virginia continues to strengthen its relationship with Economic Development by utilizing the One-Stop system as the primary entity to direct services to new and expanding business in recruiting and screening required workers. The Governor launched the WorkKeys Governor’s
Career Readiness Certificate statewide program in October 2008. This initiative focuses on skill assessments for the employers by linking businesses with job seekers. The One-Stop Centers, which be the broker of services that will educate partners and employers of the importance of WorkKeys by providing employers with evidence of the key generic employability skills that are crucial to effective performance in most jobs.
WorkForce West Virginia continues to lead the charge of the workforce development system in West Virginia by focusing on workforce challenges that require a more active and engaged role of all partners. The shift in a global economy, progress of technology and an aging workforce has had a tremendous impact on workforce partnering. WorkForce West Virginia is addressing these labor market issues by partnering with mandated partners and AARP to help the most vulnerable members of our society and those at risk of falling into poverty in the second half of life. WorkForce West Virginia believes that by providing training and tools, organizations can partner to create social and economic opportunities that can transform communities and help individuals realize their potential.
AARP and WorkForce West Virginia are united in believing that most people, regardless of age or income, want a better life for themselves and their families so they can achieve the safety, security, and prosperity they desire. Most notable of these challenges is ensuring that the skills being developed are viable and in demand by employers in each community; and facilitating the connection of these newly skilled people with available jobs. This joint partnership will increase the opportunities and access to technology for workers and disadvantaged individuals, thereby laying the foundation for a safer, healthier, and more secure future.
WorkForce West Virginia added one major initiative to serving job seekers within all comprehensive One-Stop Career Centers statewide, remediation for job seekers wanting to demonstrate their level of skill meets the requirements to success in the workplace. WorkForce West Virginia entered in a Memorandum of Agreement with the State Department of Education and Adult Basic Education (ABE) to launch an interactive training system for the WorkKeys basic workplace skills. This system will measure the skills required in the everyday workplace. It helps to improve West Virginia’s workforce by sharpening the workplace skills of job seekers.
Job seekers are then placed in jobs where they can be more successful. This system benefits individuals and businesses by providing a common language for describing basic skills needed for jobs.
WorkForce West Virginia continues to strengthen its partnership with one Workforce Investment Area in West Virginia by expanding the Virtual Video Interview. WorkForce West Virginia is receiving positive support from the employer community, as they request that Virtual Video Interview be added to their job orders. This new technology will allow companies to interview job seekers by utilizing technology to streamline the hiring process to employers and job seekers.
West Virginia continues to place emphasis on continuously improving WorkForce West Virginia Career Centers across the State. As part of this effort, WorkForce West Virginia expanded their hours of operations in three of its satellite sites due to the growing demand for services. The West Virginia Workforce Investment Council produces a comprehensive “Workforce Development System Report” annually. This report includes workforce development funding
from all State agencies and information ranging from center locations to the financial contributions of partner agencies within the system. Reports are available at www.workforcewv.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.
WorkForce West Virginia continues to serve as the lead state agency, strengthening relationships between workforce development agencies, social service agencies and community action agencies. This effort will provide early intervention to low-income and under-skilled workers. Early intervention will be accomplished by identifying needs and making appropriate referrals for employment in soft skills or skills-upgrade programs.
WorkForce West Virginia activated the Inter-agency Collaborative Team (ICT) task force fully integrate a comprehensive integrated delivery system that will focus on all partner services. Monthly dialogue at the ICT meetings will allow members to communicate their specific program needs through the chain-of-command to the local level for implementation of an integrated workforce development system. This integrated approach will enable Local Workforce Investment Boards to serve low-income and under-skilled workers by utilizing appropriate funding streams to enhance the client’s employment skills. The Department 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.
Milestones and Achievements of the Program Year
While this WIA annual 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 Career Centers across the State.
Enhanced Services to Business
Newly created Community and Business Services Unit
In July 2008, WorkForce West Virginia created a new unit called Community and Business Services. The unit is managed by the Assistant to the Executive Director and it includes seven state business consultants and two staff members of the Governor’s Guaranteed Workforce. Program (GGWFP). The GGWFP program is funded by the West Virginia Legislature.
The state business consultants will work collaboratively with employers, community groups and the local business services representatives to develop workforce training and services to meet industry needs.
Additionally, state business consultants are being trained as Job Profilers under ACT’s WorkKeys assessment program. In October 2009, WorkForce West Virginia anticipates that three of its state consultants will be certified to conduct Job Profiles for employers free of charge. This additional service will enhance employee retention and productivity as data indicates that employees who obtain positions selected based on Job Profiles are more successful employees.
The Interagency Collaborative Team (ICT)
With a renewed focus on expanding partnerships, monthly meetings of the ICT now include presentations by two partners that highlight programs impacting workforce development. For example, at the recent meeting, the West Virginia Division of Rehabilitation Services presented an overview of the Bioptic Driving program, which helps low vision individuals travel to work. Additionally, the Housing and Urban Development program gave an overview of their programs with recommendations for increased partnerships.
Newly Revitalized Workforce Investment Council
In March 2009, a newly appointed Workforce Investment Council (WIC) held its first meeting. During the meeting, Governor Manchin addressed the group and outlined his expectations for the Council.
In July 2009, the WIC held its first working meeting. The members were divided into four committees: Youth, Unemployment, Training and Economic Development. The committees will continue to work on recommendations for workforce development. The recommendations will then be presented to the Governor.
Improved Access to Services
WorkForce West Virginia was awarded funds for the Disability Program Navigators (DPN)for an additional year. This program is designed to heighten awareness about disability issues by using the State’s five DPNs. This grant has enabled DPNs to provide 547 technical assistance activities to 9,070 individuals including students; the professional community; agency staff; family; and the general public. The Navigators have developed a strong relationship with staff at local One-Stop Career Centers. Many of the activities they were engaged in included participation on relevant committees or workgroups; outreach and dissemination of information; training development and coordination; and collaboration with staff to provide quality services to individuals with disabilities. DPNs will:
• Encourage and educate local Workforce Investment Boards on the benefits of becoming
an Employment Network;
• Continue to develop linkages, and collaborate on an ongoing basis, with employers to
facilitate employment for persons with disabilities;
• Continue to develop Interagency Inclusion Teams that address interagency
collaboration and services provision as well as systematic concerns regarding the
employment of individuals with disabilities;
• Conduct outreach to agencies or organizations that serve people with disabilities.
• Collaborate with the Department of Social Security Administration to encourage people
with disabilities, who are currently on Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), to
visit Career Centers for possible employment or for general skills upgrades;
• Serve as resources on programs that impact the ability of persons with disabilities to
enter and remain in the workforce.
By using available resources and partner services, WorkForce West Virginia developed a comprehensive Reemployment Service (RES) program to transform and enhance reemployment services to Unemployment Compensation (UC) claimants. This program was designed to move dislocated workers from UC to reentry into the workforce. WorkForce West Virginia anticipates a decrease in the average duration of weeks filed by claimants. Such a decrease will save money for employers and for the Trust Fund. WorkForce West Virginia is scheduled to assess approximately 30,000 claimants within the first year. In addition to RES participants, WorkForce West Virginia will be targeting Emergency Unemployment Compensation and Eligibility Review Profile participants for participation in this comprehensive program, which focuses on transitioning claimants back into the workforce. This will be accomplished through comprehensive workshops and intensive services provided by WorkForce West Virginia staff and partners within the One-Stop Career Centers.
Over the past year, WorkForce West Virginia has established a program within each of the seventeen local offices that concentrates reemployment efforts on claimants that are determined to normally work in “demand occupations”. Claimants coded as “demand” are scheduled for an in person Eligibility Review interview. Barriers to obtaining employment are reviewed. A work