- Report Published -
|The Need for Greater Consolidation or Coordination of Workforce Development and Training Resources in the Commonwealth|
|HJR 713 (Regular Session, 2005)|
|[This report was modified on 1-16-06 by adding the attachments to the back of the report.]|
House Joint Resolution 713 established a 15-member joint subcommittee to study the need for greater consolidation or coordination of workforce development and training resources. The joint subcommittee, chaired by Delegate Kathy J. Byron, examined the federal and state resources for workforce and development programs in the Commonwealth, and has recommended changes to the system by which the activities of state programs are coordinated.
Over $250 million in federal and state funds are spent on workforce programs annually. Virginia conducts nearly two dozen workforce training and development programs through nine agencies in three secretariats. The delivery of workforce services is not as streamlined as was intended to follow from enactment of the federal Workforce Investment Act, with its mandate that specified programs partner in the delivery of services through one-stop centers. As noted in the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission (JLARC) 2003 Review of Workforce Training, implementation of the WIA has been a very complex and difficult endeavor, cutting across multiple secretariats, agencies, levels of government, and funding streams. As JLARC predicted, the elimination or substantial reduction of overlap and duplication has been difficult to achieve.
Noteworthy changes to the structure, purpose, and operations of workforce programs have occurred since JLARC conducted its study. These include making TANF and FSET mandated partners, reducing the size of the Workforce Council, and requiring local Workforce Investment Boards to prepare annual Workforce Demand Plans and a three-year strategic plan. However, the workforce services delivery system remains very similar to that which prompted JLARC to recommend that workforce training programs be consolidated into a new state agency for workforce training and development and that the Virginia Workforce Council be assigned independent staff.
Studies of WIA implementation in other states reveal that some have consolidated providers of programs into a single new agency, and others have retained pre-WIA agency structures while improving coordination among the providers. Delegate Hogan and Delegate Byron introduced legislation in the 2004 and 2005 Sessions that would have implemented portions of JLARC's recommendation for agency consolidation, but the opposition engendered by these efforts dissuades the joint subcommittee from recommending this approach.
The joint subcommittee agrees with the finding of National Governors Association reports that active involvement by, and strong leadership of, the Governor is required to effect meaningful positive change in workforce services.
In 2004, Virginia enacted legislation establishing the Special Advisor to the Governor for Workforce Development. Despite the authority of the Special Advisor to report to the Governor, the position was primarily advisory and did not bestow powers with respect to program administration. The Special Advisor position has been perceived as a missed opportunity to provide leadership that transcends secretariat boundaries.
The joint subcommittee endorsed five recommendations to improve the provision of workforce program services to the business community, as follows:
1. Transform the position of the Special Advisor on Workforce Development to a Deputy Chief of Staff for Workforce Development, in the Governor's Office.
2. The duties of the Deputy Chief of Staff will include being the fiscal agent for the Virginia Workforce Council and workforce network funds.
3. The duties of the Deputy Chief of Staff will include serving as staff for the Virginia Workforce Council.
4. The duties of the Deputy Chief of Staff will include working with the Virginia Workforce Council to create and implement a statewide strategic plan and performance measures, and evaluating performances based on these measures.
5. The Deputy Chief of Staff and the Virginia Workforce Council will be directed to create a statewide strategic plan to address the need for reforms in workforce policy, looking at issues of the need for reforms at the local WIB level.
Dr. Cavan's approval of the report is subject to the addition of the following additional recommendation:
"6. Encourage local WIB Boards to use the VCCS as the primary provider of local workforce training."
Senator Yvonne B. Miller dissented from the report on grounds that many federal requirements will require more staff than a new placement will have.