Qualitative Analysis of California Workforce Organizations

Reengineering Workforce Business Services

The national workforce investment system, funded through the Workforce Investment Act (WIA), is led by some 600 workforce investment boards (WIBs) that coordinate and leverage workforce strategies within their local communities, to ensure that state and local workforce development and job training programs meet the needs of employers. WIBs across the country are responsible for developing local workforce strategies and delivering services through a network of approxi­mately 2,000 One-Stop Career Centers, called American Job Centers (AJC).  These investments in workforce development are designed to create a comprehensive system to provide America with a highly skilled workforce that competes in the global economy.

This national system refers to the term “demand driven” to describe how WIBs and AJCs serve businesses and employers as a primary customer. Too often, however, the lack of definition and performance metrics around serving this target audience contribute to the system’s siloed approaches to business services. Funding streams and complicated regulations can create "turf issues" and cause a lack of coordination and duplication of effort among team members who serve businesses in some manner (e.g. job developers, workforce investment board staff, rapid response coordinators), as well as frustration among the very customers that they are attempting to attract and serve.

To better understand the reasons behind these disconnects, FCM funded a qualitative analysis of California’s Workforce Investment Boards (WIBs) and their associated AJCs. Currently California has 49 WIBs that administer funds to a network of approximately 206 AJCs. In December 2013, FCM contacted 21 organizations for an in-depth interview about common workforce business services practices within the WIB and the AJCs.

The following key themes and issues emerged from the study: 1) organizational structure; 2) performance metrics; 3) brand awareness and market perception; 4) use of technology; 5) strategic communications; and 6) on boarding. The results point to the need to reengineer business services among workforce organizations, to better help organizations attract and retain this important target audience.

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