Inter-Departmental Correspondence

County Manager’s Office



October 5, 2010


October 19, 2010







Honorable Board of Supervisors


David Boesch, County Manager


Strengthening Workforce Investment Board and County Communications



Accept this report on the Workforce Investment Board requested by your Board during the June 2010 budget hearings.



The Workforce Investment Act of 1998 (WIA) is the federally funded employment and training program enacted August 7, 1998 (P.L. 105-220), which replaced the Job Training Partnership Act (JTPA). WIA was enacted to streamline and strengthen the country’s job-training system to create universal access to an integrated “one-stop,” delivery system of multiple employment services, job training, and education programs that are designed to meet local community industry demands.


The goal of WIA is to improve the quality of the workforce, reduce welfare dependency and enhance the productivity and competitiveness of the nation’s economy by providing a wide variety of career development services including services for adults, youth, for those underemployed, as well as the unemployed.


WIA took full effect July 1, 2000 and ended September 30, 2003, but has been extended annually through the federal appropriations process. During the 109th Congress in 2009-10, both the House and Senate passed reauthorization measures, but were never acted upon in Conference.



There are four funding streams under WIA: Rapid Response for the recently laid off workers; dislocated workers who have been out of work for 12 months; adult funding, the most flexible funding, that can be used to serve those out of work for any length of time; and funding for disadvantaged youth ages 14-21, subject to strict income requirements and demonstrate barriers to employment.


On February 17, 2009, President Obama signed into law the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA), (P.L. 111-5). The three main goals of the Recovery Act are to (1) Preserve and create jobs, (2) promote the nation’s economic recovery and structural adjustment and (3) assist those individuals most severely impacted by the economic recession. As a result, some ARRA funds were directed through WIA.


The downturn in the economy and ARRA enactment also served to elevate the WIA reauthorization debate with some anticipating action in the next Congress.


Workforce Investment Boards (WIB)

The legislation replaced JTPA’s Private Industry Council’s with Workforce Investment Boards (WIB) with broader responsibility for developing a more comprehensive local workforce investment system and more specific memberships, as well as a required youth council.


Local WIA administration can be organized as government entities or nonprofits. In California, more than 50 are organized as government entities nested within human services or social services or economic development departments. There are 17 mandatory WIB members; some have as many as 40 members, most about 33, with only three with fewer than 20 members. The mandated WIB participation was envisioned to achieve greater community visibility and result in the WIB serving as the workforce development mechanism for the community. With limited government funding and little partnership funding materializing, this vision has not yet been realized in most communities.


One-Stop System

Under WIA, each WIB develops a universally eligible one-stop system to provide core services and access to intensive services and training through at least one physical center. The law mandates that certain partners, including vocational education, welfare-to-work and vocational rehabilitation to provide services for all through the one-stop system. In 2004, there were 286 one-stop centers in California. Despite the sharp rise in unemployment, today less than 85 remain.


San Mateo County WIB

San Mateo County’s WIB has 29 members, with the majority of its representation from business, labor, and education. The WIB is nested with our Human Services Agency. It operates with Performance Standards, Finance, Youth Advisory and Board Development Committees. Over the past 18-months, our WIB has responded to the economic downturn and rise in unemployment by conducting a series of “Job Hunters Boot Camps,” skill building curricula for the unemployed and created a “Green Jobs Corps” program to serve this emerging industry cluster.



In addition to a review of reports and WIB documents, staff conducted a series of interviews with past and present WIB staff and Board members to gain insight and perspective. Many raised concerns that the one-stop system has resulted in an emphasis on job search and work readiness activities at the expense of developing a long-term strategy for workforce development in San Mateo County. At the same time, there is recognition that this challenge is compounded by the fact that there has been an overall increase in demand for services, while funding has eroded. This makes it difficult to meet increased demand with an unpredictable revenue stream.


Over the past five years San Mateo County has received a total of $24.2 million in WIA funding, of which, $4.7 million is ARRA related funding that was received in the latter part of FY 2008-09 and in FY 2009-10. The charts below detail the allocation of funding during the program years (PY) beginning in PY 2005-06 as well as the number of clients served. Since PY 2005-06, WIA has served a total of 123,702 unduplicated clients, including self service, walk-in, and SWIPE tracked clients, for an average cost per client of $195. For those placed, the average hourly wage was $18.00. In PY 2008-09, the most recent program year reported to the state, the job retention rate for adults and dislocated workers was 83.3% and 89.1%, respectively. During the same program year, the youth (ages 14-21) rate for placement in employment or education was 68.1% and the rate for attainment of a degree or certificate was 75.5%.



The San Mateo County Human Services Agency recently completed a department-wide reorganization to among other things integrate WIB to provide clear accountability within the Agency.


Accepting this report contributes the Shared Vision 2025 outcome of a Prosperous Community by creating jobs, building community and educational opportunities for all residents.



It is important for the WIB to more fully communicate and engage community partners and stakeholders to be sure that the County is best serving the needs of our residents in all communities; that we are responding to the needs of the recently unemployed, those now underemployed, those chronically unemployed, as well as planning for future workforce development needs and growth in our valuable diverse economic sectors, such as biotech, clean/green, technology and health. That requires building and strengthening relationships through enhanced communication and collaboration.



Your Board may consider the following recommendations to improve the WIB’s overall communication:

    Inclusive of broad community partners and stakeholders, prepare a five-year WIB strategic plan with strategies that integrate job placement and workforce training and development; with performance measures that are reported quarterly to the WIB and the Board of Supervisors’;

    Annual WIB work plan reviewed by the Board’s Housing, Health and Human Services Committee and submitted to the Board of Supervisors;

    < Prepare a “WIB Annual Report” that is presented to the community;

    < WIB to meet with all city economic development staff, chambers of commerce, sector industry leaders, as well as participate in SAMCEDA, to ensure WIB activities are aligned with community needs; and

    Anticipate and prepare for the reauthorization of WIA: conduct a Program Performance Audit of the WIB to identify areas for local improvement and legislative reform.