- Report Published -
|The Establishment and Vision of the Workforce Leadership Council|
|Secretary of Education; Secretary of Commerce and Trade; Secretary of Health and Human Resources|
|HJR 563 (Regular Session, 1993)|
|As recognized in House Joint Resolution No. 563, a long-standing need to better coordinate and focus the efforts of our diverse education, employment and training programs has become more critical as our economy has become less robust, and our workforce, products and services increasingly compete in a global marketplace.|
In order for the Commonwealth to remain competitive in a global marketplace, it should provide for a current and future workforce with strong academic and technical skills. Providing those skills can be accomplished only through a coordinated effort among local schools, colleges and universities, and other education and training providers -- in concert with business and industry so as to meet their emerging needs.
An education and training "system" becomes more complex, however, once that system is opened to those outside the traditional walls of 'K-12' or higher education. Once the needs and demands of the business community are included, as well as the needs of workers already in the workforce, the needs of workers without a job and perhaps without skills, and the needs of individuals with special circumstances -- once the needs of this diverse group of constituents are considered, the "system" becomes much broader and a single mission more difficult to define.
Therefore, as the Workforce Leadership Council was formed, membership was extended to stakeholders at the state level with an interest in or responsibility for components in this system. Initial membership consisted simply of agency heads and cabinet members. It was envisioned that as issues arose committees and task forces to advise the Council would be formed to include relevant constituent groups. But the core membership was kept at a minimum to facilitate cooperation and communication, and to avoid a sense of added bureaucracy or red tape. This group does not add another layer to any organization chart.
Current members and representatives of the Workforce Leadership Council include:
Commissioner, Virginia Employment Commission
Director, State Council of Higher Education
Superintendent of Public Instruction
Commissioner, Department of Labor and Industry
Executive Director, Center for Public/Private Initiatives
Chancellor, Virginia Community College System
Commissioner, Department of Social Services
Executive Director, Governor's Employment and Training Department
Commissioner, Department of Rehabilitative Services
Superintendent, Department of Correctional Education
Director, Department of Economic Development
Deputy Secretaries from the Offices of the Secretaries of Education, Commerce and Trade, Public Safety, and Health and Human Resources
Since the summer of 1992, the Workforce Leadership Council has met monthly. Although an extensive agenda was developed initially, the first focus of the Council was on coordinating services to clients and students with multiple needs extending beyond the resources of a single agency or institution. In deciding on this focus, Council members made the assumption that reform of elementary and secondary education and restructuring of higher education would continue on their own momentum in order to address workforce preparation needs of those students coming through the system for the first time.
The progress seen in improved awareness and communication across the Workforce Leadership Council agencies and programs, as well as within the General Assembly, has been extensive. Change is occurring, but much work remains to be done. A set of pilot programs supported by the Workforce Leadership Council to actually test out new working relationships and commitment has been proposed and should be supported for 1994-96. Further, legislation should be introduced to put the Workforce Leadership Council into the Code of Virginia as a formally established and recognized on-going commitment of the Commonwealth.