Washington State’s workforce system helps residents to find jobs or advance in careers. The programs begin with high school and reach through apprenticeships, certificate programs and college, but stop short of four-year degrees. Taken together, the state-defined workforce development system manages over $1.1 billion per year in state and federal funding. The state’s workforce development programs are mapped out on this table. It shows all the major programs and the streams of money (federal and state) that flow through the system.
At the local level, Washington’s twelve Workforce Development Councils (WDCs) prepare students, current workers, and dislocated workers with in-demand skills. The twelve WDCs are business-led boards that decide how federal and state grant dollars will be spent. In fiscal year 2013 Washington spent $190 million through its locally-controlled WDCs.
They are required to work in consultation with stakeholders from education, economic development, labor, and community-based organizations to advance the economic health of their respective communities through a skilled and competitive workforce. WDCs are certified by the governor with agreement from local elected officials as required by the federal Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) of 2015.
Get quick information on key WIOA points
- Define workforce development services that are in place.
- Address identified skills gaps experienced by area employers.
- Tailor strategies to meet the needs of local economies.
- Create a meaningful vision for the entire workforce development system so customers are served efficiently with satisfactory results.
Local Workforce Plans and Resources
Federal law holds that each regional WDC must create a four-year workforce plan that offers a vision for their local workforce development system. Washington State law requires that local plans be consistent with Washington’s most recent strategic plan for workforce development, High Skills, High Wages
Current plans have been under development throughout the spring of 2016. The plans are intended to boost the skill levels of the local workforce, increase employment and earnings, raise customer satisfaction for both jobseekers and businesses who rely on a skilled workforce, and offer a good return on investment for both taxpayers and workforce program participants.
Public comment period ending soon
For many WDCs, the first phase of the planning process is coming to an end. The public comment period ends on May 31st. Find your local WDC’s plan. Review it. And submit your comment today before it’s too late.
Federal funding for the state’s 12 WDCs is delivered in four functional areas.