Workforce Investment Boards play a critical role in America’s workforce development system. Job seekers go to WIBs with varying work experience and education but with the common goal of obtaining relevant knowledge and skills to gain employment and contribute to the American economy. Workers learn in-demand skills, which improves the quality of the workforce and enables local businesses to succeed.
Last week, Penn Foster proudly announced that more than 1,000 opportunity youth and adult learners have earned a Penn Foster high school diploma, career school diploma or college degree through our partnerships with Workforce Investment Boards (WIBs) across the country. Penn Foster works with more than 100 workforce organizations and over 200 Career Centers under the federal Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), which became law in July 2014.
This milestone illustrates our ongoing commitment to provide career pathway opportunities to help unemployed or underemployed individuals attain the necessary skills to achieve economic mobility.
Challenges Facing WIBs Today
The public workforce system is administered at the local level by WIBs and authorized under federal law with creating solutions to regional labor market challenges. The original WIB programs were partnerships between WIBs and community colleges to create education and training programs.
The purpose of WIBs was to help build local workforces equipped to provide the skills needed to drive local and regional economies. Every labor market is unique and requires workers with varying skills and knowledge.
This hyper-localized model has many success stories and has contributed to the vitality of local and regional economies. However, it also introduces redundancy and inefficiency, especially when you look at each WIB as one part of a larger, national network.
Without collaboration on a larger scale, WIBs duplicate efforts for establishing the infrastructure necessary to deliver services to the people they are trying to reach. For example, the continuing cycle of conducting labor market research, creating one-off localized curriculums with community colleges, recruiting and training instructors, and managing fundraising campaigns to build these employment programs creates significant challenges in a fluid labor market. It makes it difficult to respond quickly to the 21st century marketplace in a sustainable or reliable manner.
Penn Foster provides our WIB partners with a skills-building solution designed to alleviate these challenges.
National Programs Customized for Local WIBs Achieve Economies of Scale
One of the foundational elements of the WIB model is the “One Stop Career Center,” which WIBs operate to connect job seekers to upskilling programs. However, upskilling programs tend to operate independently within each region, so issues with scale and agility extend to these programs as well. Penn Foster’s WIB partners all identified training solutions and services as an element of their offerings they believe can be improved through working with an independent skills-training provider.
Penn Foster provides a unified skilling and training solution delivered to WIBs as a service. Because Penn Foster operates on a national scale, it has the resources to develop a much larger library of courses and training resources, which can customized based on each WIB’s specific needs.
This is especially useful for small, local providers within the Workforce Development system that they would otherwise not be able to provide these diverse training opportunities at scale.
Learn more about Penn Foster’s work with WIBs and our commitment to enhance the impact of their existing services.
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