oversight

Workforce Investment Act: Innovative Collaborations between Workforce Boards and Employers Helped Meet Local Needs

Published by the Government Accountability Office on 2012-01-19.

Below is a raw (and likely hideous) rendition of the original report. (PDF)

               United States Government Accountability Office

GAO            Report to Congressional Committees




January 2012
               WORKFORCE
               INVESTMENT ACT

               Innovative
               Collaborations
               between Workforce
               Boards and Employers
               Helped Meet Local
               Needs




GAO-12-97
                                                January 2012

                                                WORKFORCE INVESTMENT ACT
                                                Innovative Collaborations between Workforce
                                                Boards and Employers Helped Meet Local Needs
Highlights of GAO-12-97, a report to
congressional committees




Why GAO Did This Study                          What GAO Found
As the United States continues to face          Workforce board officials and their partners in the 14 initiatives cited a range of
high unemployment in the wake of the            factors that facilitated building innovative collaborations, as shown in the figure.
recent recession, federally funded              Almost all of the collaborations grew out of efforts to address urgent workforce
workforce programs can play an                  needs of multiple employers in a specific sector, such as health care,
important role in bridging gaps between         manufacturing, or agriculture, rather than focusing on individual employers.
the skills present in the workforce and         Additionally, the partners in these initiatives made extra effort to understand and
the skills needed for available jobs. The       work with employers so they could tailor services such as jobseeker assessment,
Workforce Investment Act of 1998                screening, and training to address specific employer needs. For example, in
(WIA) sought to strengthen the
                                                Greensboro, North Carolina, board staff provided expedited services for an
connection between workforce
                                                aircraft company that just moved to the area by designing a web-based
programs and employers, but GAO’s
prior work has found that collaboration
                                                recruitment tool and customized assessment process within 48 hours and
remains a challenge. With WIA                   screening over 2,400 initial applicants. In all the initiatives, partners remained
currently awaiting reauthorization, GAO         engaged in these collaborative efforts because they continued to produce a wide
reviewed (1) factors that facilitated           range of reported results, such as an increased supply of skilled labor, job
innovative collaborations among                 placements, reduced employer recruitment and turnover costs, and averted
workforce boards, employers, and                layoffs. For example, in Cincinnati, Ohio, employers who participated in the
others; (2) major challenges to                 health care initiative realized almost $5,000 in estimated cost savings per worker
collaboration; and (3) actions the              hired, mainly due to lower turnover and recruitment costs, according to an
Department of Labor (Labor) has taken           independent study.
to support local collaborative efforts.
GAO examined 14 local initiatives               Factors That Facilitated Collaboration in Selected Initiatives
identified by experts as among the most
promising or innovative efforts in which
local workforce boards collaborated
effectively with employers and other
partners to achieve positive results.
GAO interviewed representatives of the
14 initiatives and officials from five
federal agencies. GAO also reviewed
reports on the initiatives and relevant         While these boards were successful in their efforts, they cited some challenges
federal laws, regulations, and other            to collaboration that they needed to overcome. Some boards were challenged to
documents.                                      develop comprehensive strategies to address diverse employer needs with WIA
                                                funds. For example, some boards’ staff said that while their initiatives sought to
What GAO Recommends                             meet employer needs for higher-skilled workers through skill upgrades, WIA
                                                funds can be used to train current workers only in limited circumstances, and the
To better support the capacity of the
                                                boards used other funding sources to do so. Staff from most, but not all, boards
local workforce investment system to
                                                also said that WIA performance measures do not reflect their efforts to engage
collaborate with employers and other
partners, Labor should compile
                                                employers. Many of these boards used their own measures to assess their
information on workforce boards that            services to employers, such as the number of new employers served each year
effectively leverage WIA funds with             or the hiring rate for jobseekers they refer to employers.
other funding sources and disseminate           Labor has taken various steps to support local collaborations, such as conducting
this information in a readily accessible        webinars and issuing guidance on pertinent topics, and contributing to a new $37
manner. Labor agreed with our                   million grant program to facilitate innovative regional collaborations. Many of the
findings and recommendation.                    boards we reviewed cited leveraging resources as a key to facilitating
                                                collaboration. However, while Labor has collected information on effective
View GAO-12-97 or key components.
For more information, contact Andrew Sherrill   practices for leveraging resources, it has not compiled this information and made
at (202)-512-7215 or sherrilla@gao.gov.         it easy to access.

                                                                                                United States Government Accountability Office
Contents


Letter                                                                                              1
                       Background                                                                   3
                       Several Key Factors Supported Initial Collaboration and Sustained
                         It over Time                                                               9
                       Workforce Boards Overcame Some Challenges to Address Diverse
                         Employer Needs and Developed Their Own Measures to Track
                         Employer Engagement                                                      23
                       Labor Has Taken Steps to Support Local Collaborative Efforts and
                         Address Some Challenges but Has Not Made Information on
                         Leveraging Resources Readily Available                                   26
                       Conclusion                                                                 28
                       Recommendation for Executive Action                                        29
                       Agency Comments and Our Evaluation                                         29

Appendix I             Objectives, Scope, and Methodology                                         31



Appendix II            Profiles of Selected Local Workforce Boards’ Initiatives                   35



Appendix III           Comments from the Department of Labor                                      64



Appendix IV            GAO Contact and Staff Acknowledgments                                      66



Related GAO Products                                                                              67



Tables
                       Table 1: WIA Mandatory One-Stop Partner Programs and Related
                                Federal Agencies                                                    5
                       Table 2: Fourteen Initiatives Addressed a Range of Urgent
                                Employer Needs                                                    11
                       Table 3: Most Frequently Used Resources to Build and Sustain
                                Initiatives                                                       16




                       Page i                                        GAO-12-97 Workforce Collaboration
Figure
         Figure 1: Factors That Facilitated Collaboration                                          10




         Abbreviations
         Commerce             Department of Commerce
         CMTC                 California Manufacturing Technology Consulting
         Labor                Department of Labor
         MAGMA                Michigan Academy for Green Mobility Alliance
         MEP                  Manufacturing Extension Partnership
         Recovery Act         American Recovery and Reinvestment Act
         TANF                 Temporary Assistance for Needy Families
         TET                  Technical Employment Training, Inc.
         WIA                  Workforce Investment Act of 1998
         WIRED                Workforce Innovation in Regional Economic
                              Development


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         Page ii                                                 GAO-12-97 Workforce Collaboration
United States Government Accountability Office
Washington, DC 20548




                                   January 19, 2012

                                   The Honorable Tom Harkin
                                   Chairman
                                   The Honorable Michael B. Enzi
                                   Ranking Member
                                   Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions
                                   United States Senate

                                   The Honorable Patty Murray
                                   Chairman
                                   The Honorable Johnny Isakson
                                   Ranking Member
                                   Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions
                                   Subcommittee on Employment and Workplace Safety
                                   United States Senate

                                   Over 2 years into the economic recovery, unemployment remains at 8.5
                                   percent. Yet the nation continues to face challenges in closing the gap
                                   between the skills present in the workforce and the skills needed for
                                   available jobs. While federally funded workforce programs are designed
                                   to cultivate a stronger workforce, there is growing recognition that these
                                   programs need to better collaborate with employers to align services and
                                   training with employers’ needs. In overhauling the nation’s fragmented
                                   employment and training programs, the Workforce Investment Act of
                                   1998 (WIA) envisioned such collaboration by focusing on employers as
                                   well as jobseekers, establishing a “dual customer” approach. To create a
                                   single, comprehensive workforce system, WIA required that four federal
                                   agencies—the Departments of Labor, Education, Health and Human
                                   Services, and Housing and Urban Development—provide access to 16 of
                                   their programs through local one-stop centers across the country. To
                                   align federally supported training and employment programs more closely
                                   with local labor market needs, WIA established a system through which
                                   local workforce investment boards develop policy and oversee service
                                   delivery for local areas within a state, and required that local business
                                   representatives constitute the majority membership on these boards.

                                   Despite the vision of collaboration between local employers and the
                                   workforce investment system, however, we and others have found that it
                                   can be challenging. For example, in previous reports, we found that some
                                   employers have limited interaction with or knowledge of this system—the
                                   approximately 1,800 local one-stop centers that provide access to all


                                   Page 1                                       GAO-12-97 Workforce Collaboration
required programs 1 and the local workforce boards that oversee these
centers—and that employers who do use the one-stop centers mainly do
so to fill their needs for low-skilled workers. 2 Others have found that
collaboration is challenging because it requires staff time and resources
to build credibility with employers. 3

With WIA currently awaiting reauthorization, you requested that we
identify and describe promising practices for collaboration between
workforce investment boards, employers, education providers, and others
that have demonstrated positive results. Specifically, we examined (1) the
factors that facilitated innovative collaborations among workforce boards,
employers, and others; (2) the major challenges to collaboration; and (3)
what actions the Department of Labor (Labor) has taken to support local
workforce boards in their collaborative efforts.

To conduct this work, we asked officials from five federal agencies and
national experts on workforce and economic development issues
representing 20 organizations to nominate what they viewed as the most
promising or innovative initiatives in which local workforce boards
collaborated effectively with employers and other partners to achieve
positive results. In addition to the Departments of Labor, Education,
Health and Human Services, and Housing and Urban Development,
which administer one-stop programs, we also requested nominations
from the Department of Commerce (Commerce), which administers key
economic development programs. We selected the experts from the 20



1
  In addition to the one-stop centers that provide access to all programs, over 1,000 other
one-stop centers, known as affiliate centers, provide limited employment and training-
related services to job seekers and employers.
2
 See GAO, Workforce Investment Act: Employers Are Aware of, Using, and Satisfied with
One-Stop Services, but More Data Could Help Labor Better Address Employers’ Needs,
GAO-05-259 (Washington, D.C.: Feb. 18, 2005). This report found that about half of
employers were not aware of their local one-stops, and that this was more common
among smaller companies. Also, see GAO, Workforce Investment Act: Employers Found
One-Stop Centers Useful in Hiring Low-Skilled Workers; Performance Information Could
Help Gauge Employer Involvement, GAO-07-167 (Washington, D.C.: Dec. 22, 2006).
3
 Our 2003 report provided information on promising practices at selected one-stops for
streamlining services for job seekers, engaging the employer community, and building a
solid one-stop infrastructure by strengthening partnerships across programs and raising
additional funds. See GAO, Workforce Investment Act: One-Stop Centers Implemented
Strategies to Strengthen Services and Partnerships, but More Research and Information
Sharing Is Needed, GAO-03-725 (Washington, D.C.: June 18, 2003).




Page 2                                                  GAO-12-97 Workforce Collaboration
                          organizations for their knowledge of workforce development or economic
                          development activities at the local level.

                          More than 89 initiatives or sponsoring organizations from 28 states were
                          nominated, and we selected 14 initiatives in 13 local areas for in-depth
                          review. The criteria for our selection included the number of nominations
                          for each initiative, diversity of federal funding sources, variety of local
                          unemployment rates, evidence of replicability, and geographical diversity,
                          among others. We conducted semi-structured interviews with local and
                          state workforce officials, representatives of educational institutions,
                          training providers, economic development officials, employers, and
                          others. We conducted in-person interviews in seven local areas and
                          conducted interviews in the other areas by phone or video
                          teleconference. In some cases, we also toured training facilities and
                          workplaces. Our findings regarding the 14 initiatives are not generalizable
                          to other local workforce boards. In addition, we conducted interviews with
                          officials of Labor and Commerce, as well as representatives of workforce
                          associations such as the National Association of Workforce Boards. We
                          also reviewed relevant federal laws, regulations, and other documents
                          pertaining to the key federal programs. See appendix I for more
                          information on our scope and methodology. We conducted our work
                          between November 2010 and January 2012 in accordance with generally
                          accepted government auditing standards. Those standards require that
                          we plan and perform the audit to obtain sufficient, appropriate evidence to
                          provide a reasonable basis for our findings and conclusions based on our
                          audit objectives. We believe that the evidence obtained provides a
                          reasonable basis for our findings and conclusions based on our audit
                          objectives.



Background

Collaboration under WIA   WIA created a comprehensive workforce investment system that brought
                          together multiple federally funded employment and training programs into
                          a single system, called the one-stop system. 4 Prior to the enactment of
                          WIA, services were often provided through a fragmented employment and
                          training system. One-stop centers serve two customers—job seekers and


                          4
                          Pub. L. No. 105-220, 112 Stat. 936 (codified at 29 U.S.C. § 2801 et seq.).




                          Page 3                                                GAO-12-97 Workforce Collaboration
employers—and WIA provided flexibility to states and local areas to
develop approaches that best meet local needs.

In its redesign of the system, WIA created three new programs—Adult,
Dislocated Workers, and Youth—that provide a broad range of services
including job search assistance, assessment, and training for eligible
individuals. The WIA programs provide for three levels of service for
adults and dislocated workers—core, intensive, and training. Core
services include basic services such as job search and labor market
information; intensive services include activities such as comprehensive
assessments and case management. Training is provided through
individual training accounts that participants can use to pay for training
they select from a list of eligible providers. In serving employers, one-
stops have the flexibility under WIA to provide a variety of tailored
services, including customized screening and referral of qualified
participants in training to employers.5

In addition to establishing the three new programs, WIA required that
services from these programs, along with those of a number of other
employment and training programs, be provided through the one-stop
system so that jobseekers, workers, and employers could find assistance
at a single location. Table 1 shows these mandatory programs and their
administering federal agencies. Labor is responsible for providing
guidance to states and localities on delivering services through the one-
stop system, and states, through state workforce boards, have a number
of responsibilities for the workforce system statewide, such as developing
state plans.




5
29 U.S.C. § 2864(e)(1).




Page 4                                        GAO-12-97 Workforce Collaboration
Table 1: WIA Mandatory One-Stop Partner Programs and Related Federal Agencies

 Federal agency                                                   Mandatory program
 Department of Labor                                              WIA Adult
                                                                  WIA Youth
                                                                  WIA Dislocated Worker
                                                                  Employment Service (Wagner-Peyser)
                                                                  Trade adjustment assistance programs
                                                                  Veterans’ employment and training
                                                                  programs
                                                                  Unemployment Insurance
                                                                  Job Corps
                                                                  Native American workforce training
                                                                  program
                                                                  Senior Community Service Employment
                                                                  Program
                                                                  Employment and training for migrant and
                                                                  seasonal farm workers
 Department of Education                                          Vocational Rehabilitation
                                                                  Adult Education and Literacy
                                                                  Postsecondary Career and Technical
                                                                  Education (Perkins Act)
 Department of Health and Human Services                          Community Services Block Grant
 Department of Housing and Urban                                  HUD-administered employment and
 Development (HUD)                                                training
Source: GAO, Workforce Development: Community Colleges and One-Stop Centers Collaborate to Meet 21st Century Workforce
Needs, GAO-08-547 (Washington, D.C.: May 15, 2008).

Note: Although WIA required 17 programs to participate in the one-stop system, the Welfare-to-Work
Program no longer exists, reducing the total to 16 mandatory programs.


WIA requires that each state have one or more local workforce
investment areas 6 (designated by state governors), each governed by a
local workforce investment board. 7 To help align employment and training


6
 29 U.S.C. § 2831(a) and (b). In designating local workforce investment areas, the
governor is required to take into consideration geographic areas served by educational
agencies and institutions, labor market areas, distances that individuals must travel to
receive services, and the resources available from local areas to help carry out WIA
services. Approximately 600 local workforce investment areas exist throughout the nation.
29 U.S.C. § 2831(a)(1)(B).
7
 29 U.S.C. § 2832(a).




Page 5                                                                      GAO-12-97 Workforce Collaboration
                      programs with the needs of employers, WIA requires that local boards
                      include representatives from one-stop partner programs, local educational
                      entities, labor organizations, community-based organizations, and
                      economic development agencies. It also requires that a majority of the
                      members be representatives of local businesses and that the local board
                      chairman be a representative of a local business. 8 Through these
                      requirements, WIA gave business representatives a key role in deciding
                      how services should be provided and overseeing operations at one-stop
                      centers.

                      Local workforce boards are also responsible for coordinating workforce
                      investment activities with economic development strategies, and
                      developing relationships with employers. 9 The local workforce boards
                      also select the entities to operate one-stop centers and conduct oversight
                      of the one-stop system. 10 In addition to the mandatory programs, local
                      workforce boards have the flexibility to include other programs in the one-
                      stop system. 11 Labor suggests that these additional, or optional, programs
                      may help one-stop systems better meet specific state and local workforce
                      development needs.


Funding Streams and   Over $40 billion in federal funding has been provided for Adult, Dislocated
Sources               Worker, and Youth programs since fiscal year 2000. In 2009, Congress
                      passed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (Recovery Act),
                      which included a one-time addition of $3.15 billion for the three programs
                      through program year 2010. 12 Compared to fiscal year 2000, annual WIA
                      funding declined in nominal terms by about 24 percent in fiscal year 2011.

                      While the federal funds for Adult, Dislocated Worker, and Youth programs
                      that flow to states and then to local areas through statutory formulas 13—


                      8
                      29 U.S.C. § 2832(b)(2), (b)(4) and (b)(5).
                      9
                      29 U.S.C. § 2832(d)(7).
                      10
                          29 U.S.C. § 2841(a).
                      11
                        29 U.S.C. § 2841(b)(2). These programs can include other federal, state, local, or
                      private human resource programs.
                      12
                        Pub. L. No. 111-5. Div. A, Title VIII, 123 Stat. 115, 172-173. Recovery Act funds were
                      permitted for all activities allowed under WIA.
                      13
                          29 U.S.C. §§ 2852 and 2862.




                      Page 6                                                  GAO-12-97 Workforce Collaboration
WIA formula funds—are intended to support services and training for
individual jobseekers, WIA provides for certain set-asides for statewide
workforce activities, as well. Governors may reserve up to 15 percent of
these program funds for statewide activities, referred to in this report as
WIA Governor’s set-aside. 14 WIA requires states to use the Governor’s
set-aside for activities such as statewide evaluations of workforce
programs and incentive grants for local areas, and allows them to fund a
wide array of activities, including innovative training programs for
incumbent workers, 15 research and demonstration projects, and capacity
building and technical assistance. For program year 2011, Congress
reduced the 15 percent Governor’s set-aside to 5 percent. 16 Additionally,
governors may reserve up to 25 percent of the Dislocated Worker
program funds for “rapid response” activities, to help serve employers and
workers facing layoffs and plant closings. 17

To further address local workforce needs, Labor has also provided some
discretionary grants to the local workforce boards to help them bring
together diverse partners, including employers. Generally, Labor’s
discretionary grants are awarded under a provision of WIA that provides
authority for demonstration, pilot, multiservice, research, and multistate
projects, 18 and a provision enacted as part of the American
Competitiveness and Workforce Improvement Act of 1998, 19 which
provides authority for job training grants funded by the H-1B visa



14
  29 U.S.C. §§ 2853(a) and 2863(a).
15
  Workers who already have a job may be considered “incumbent workers,” a term each
state board defines. According to Labor, the primary mission of the workforce investment
system is to serve unemployed workers, but services to incumbent workers, who may not
otherwise be eligible for WIA’s Adult or Dislocated Worker programs, are permitted with
Governor’s set-aside funds, and for the purpose of assisting employers and workers
facing layoffs, with rapid response reserve funds and formula funds, under waivers
granted by Labor. See Department of Labor, Training and Employment Guidance Letter
No. 30-09 (Washington, D.C.: June 8, 2010).
16
  Department of Defense and Full-Year Continuing Appropriation Act, 2011, Pub. L. No.
112-10, § 1801(a)(3), 125 Stat. 38, 156. Program year 2011 began July 2011 and runs
through June 2012.
17
  29 U.S.C. §2863(a)(2).
18
  29 U.S.C. § 2916.
19
  Pub. L. No. 105-277, Div. C, Title IV, § 414(c), 112 Stat. 2681-653, codified at 29 U.S.C.
§ 2916a.




Page 7                                                  GAO-12-97 Workforce Collaboration
                  program. 20 Between 2001 and 2007, Labor spent almost $900 million on
                  three employment and training grant initiatives: the High Growth Job
                  Training Initiative beginning in 2001, the Community-Based Job Training
                  Initiative beginning in 2005, and the Workforce Innovation in Regional
                  Economic Development (WIRED) initiative beginning in 2006. These
                  grants were designed to identify the workforce and training needs of
                  growing, high-demand industries and engage workforce, industry, and
                  educational partners to develop innovative solutions to workforce
                  challenges.

                  Beyond the WIA programs, Commerce runs programs that can support
                  workforce training. For example, the department’s Hollings Manufacturing
                  Extension Partnership (MEP) provides technical assistance upon request
                  to manufacturers, including advice on workforce practices or skills training
                  in some cases. MEP clients reported having invested about $270 million
                  of their own funds in workforce training in 2009.


WIA Performance   In order to receive their full funding allocations, states must report on the
Measures          performance of their three WIA programs. 21 WIA requires performance
                  measures that gauge program results for jobseekers in the areas of job
                  placement, retention, earnings, and skill attainment. 22 In addition, WIA
                  requires measures of customer satisfaction for jobseekers and for
                  employers, which may be collected through surveys. 23 WIA holds states
                  accountable for achieving their performance levels by tying those levels to
                  financial sanctions and incentive funding. 24




                  20
                    This program imposes a fee on employers that hire foreign workers to fill positions in
                  specialized professions such as computer technology.
                  21
                    29 U.S.C. § 2871(g)(1)(B).
                  22
                    29 U.S.C. § 2871.
                  23
                    29 U.S.C. § 2871(b)(2)(B).
                  24
                    29 U.S.C. § 2871(g) and 20 U.S.C. § 9273.




                  Page 8                                                  GAO-12-97 Workforce Collaboration
                         While the 14 selected initiatives varied in terms of their purpose, sector,
Several Key Factors      and partners involved, the boards and their partners cited common
Supported Initial        factors that facilitated and sustained collaboration (see fig. 1). For
                         example, virtually all of these collaborations grew out of efforts to address
Collaboration and        critical workforce needs of multiple employers, typically in a specific
Sustained It over Time   sector, rather than focusing on individual employers. Additionally, the
                         partners in these initiatives made extra effort to understand and work with
                         employers so they could tailor services such as jobseeker assessment,
                         screening, and training to address specific employer needs. In all cases,
                         the partnerships included workforce boards, employers, and education
                         and training providers, and in some cases, they also included local school
                         districts, regional organizations that promoted economic development, 25
                         state agencies, or labor unions. Partners remained engaged in these
                         collaborative efforts because they continued to produce a range of results
                         for employers, jobseekers and workers, and the workforce system and
                         other partners.




                         25
                           According to the National Association of Development Organizations, economic
                         development organizations include councils of governments, local development districts,
                         planning and development districts, regional councils, and regional development or
                         planning commissions, among other entities.




                         Page 9                                                GAO-12-97 Workforce Collaboration
Figure 1: Factors That Facilitated Collaboration




Workforce Boards and                      Workforce boards, employers, education and training providers, and other
Their Partners Focused on                 partners in the 14 initiatives focused on urgent and commonly shared
Urgent, Common Needs                      employer needs that served as a catalyst for collaboration. Virtually all of the
                                          initiatives focused on ways to supply workforce skills that were commonly
That Provided a Catalyst                  needed by multiple employers in a specific sector. The urgency of their
for Collaboration                         needs ranged from a shortage of critical skills in health care and
                                          manufacturing to the threat of layoffs and business closures (see table 2). In
                                          San Bernardino, California, for example, some companies were at risk of
                                          layoffs and closures because of declining sales and other conditions, unless
                                          they received services that included retraining for their workers.26 Also, in


                                          26
                                            According to Labor, averting layoffs is one of the functions of the workforce investment
                                          system, and worker training, such as training for workers in new processes or
                                          technologies, is one of several services that can help employers avoid layoffs. Labor has
                                          encouraged states to establish criteria to identify the employers and workers for whom
                                          layoff aversion services may be appropriate. States that seek to use WIA formula or
                                          reserve rapid response funds for incumbent worker training must obtain waivers from
                                          Labor. See Department of Labor, Training and Employment Guidance Letter No. 30-09.




                                          Page 10                                                 GAO-12-97 Workforce Collaboration
                                           Rochester, Minnesota, the turnover rates at long-term care facilities
                                           threatened their ability to comply with state regulations and remain open. In
                                           one case, in Gainesville, Florida, employers joined with the board and others
                                           to tackle the need to create additional jobs by embarking on an initiative to
                                           develop entrepreneurial skills. See appendix II for a profile of each initiative.

Table 2: Fourteen Initiatives Addressed a Range of Urgent Employer Needs

Initiative name                         Workforce boarda                  Sector focus                         Needs addressedb
1. ManufacturingWorks                   Chicago, Illinois                 Manufacturing                        Critical skill needs
2. Health Careers Collaborative of      Cincinnati, Ohio                  Health care                          Critical skill needs, turnover
   Greater Cincinnati
3. Entrepreneurship Quests              Gainesville, Florida              No single sector                     Need for additional jobsc
4. Advanced Manufacturing Training      Golden, Colorado                  Manufacturing                        Soft skillsd
   Initiative
5. Piedmont Triad Global Logistics      Greensboro, North                 Transportation, distribution,        Critical skill needs
   Workforce Initiative                 Carolina                          and logistics
6. Center of Excellence in Production   Lancaster, Pennsylvania           Agriculture                          Critical skill needs
   Agriculture
7. Career Pathways                      Madison, Wisconsin                Multiple                             Critical skill needs
8. Pre-employment Healthcare            Rochester, Minnesota              Health care (long-term care)         Turnover, soft skillsd
   Academy
9. Technical Employment Training        San Bernardino,                   Manufacturing                        Critical skill needs
                                                  e
                                        California
10. Manufacturing Sector Layoff         San Bernardino,                   Manufacturing                        Imminent threat of layoffs
                                                  e
    Aversion and Business Assistance    California
    Initiative
11. Health Care Sector Panel            Seattle, Washington               Health care                          Critical skill needs
12. Michigan Academy for Green          Taylor, Michigan                  Manufacturing                        Need for upgraded skills to keep
    Mobility Alliance                   (southeast Michigan)                                                   pace with technological change
13. NoVaHealthForce                     Vienna, Virginia (Northern Health care                                 Critical skill needs
                                        Virginia)
14. Composites Kansas WIRED             Wichita, Kansas                   Manufacturing (aviation)             Need for upgraded skills to keep
    Initiative                                                                                                 pace with technological change
                                           Source: GAO.
                                           a
                                            The boards are identified by the city in which they are located. For the initiatives that involved
                                           multiple workforce boards, the city shown is the location of the lead workforce board. For the boards’
                                           complete names, see appendix II.
                                           b
                                            A single initiative could address more than one common need. The needs shown represent the main
                                           needs identified by the partners.
                                           c
                                            This initiative addressed the area’s need for new employment opportunities through a strategy of
                                           promoting self-employment.
                                           d
                                            Soft skills are the nontechnical skills that workers need to function in a job, and include
                                           competencies related to problem-solving, oral communication, personal qualities, work ethic, and
                                           teamwork skills.
                                           e
                                               Two initiatives of this board, both in manufacturing, were selected for this report.




                                           Page 11                                                             GAO-12-97 Workforce Collaboration
In most cases, workforce boards worked with employers and other
partners to determine the scope of the problem, which galvanized the
partners’ commitment to collaborate. In Northern Virginia, for example,
officials told us that, individually, local hospitals were experiencing
difficulties recruiting skilled workers and anticipated that their needs
would become more acute due to pending retirements among their
existing workers. However, until the initiative, there had been no attempt
to quantify the staffing needs overall among the hospitals. The partners
commissioned a study which projected a shortage of 17,000 nurses and
other health care workers in 23 occupations—a finding that reinforced the
partners’ commitment to collaborate on a common strategy, according to
local officials. In some initiatives, the partners obtained information about
employers’ needs through studies or a focus group. 27 In a few cases,
boards used previously developed state models to engage employers in
specific industries and regions and identify information about their critical
workforce needs. For example, in both Seattle and southeast Michigan,
employers participated in models—known as “Skill Panels” or “Skills
Alliances”—that Washington State and Michigan had developed for this
purpose. 28

By focusing on common employer needs across a sector, the boards and
their partners also produced innovative labor force solutions that, in
several cases, had evaded employers who were trying to address their
needs individually, according to those we interviewed. In several cases,
employers cited the recruitment costs they incurred by competing against
each other for the same workers. By working together to develop the local
labor pool they needed, the employers were able to reduce recruitment
costs in some cases. Describing the competitive approach to labor supply


27
  See Seattle-King County Workforce Development Council and Washington State
Hospital Association, Seattle-King County’s Hospital Staffing Crisis: Challenges and
Solutions Identified by Seattle-King County Hospital, Education and Labor Leaders
(February 2003); PriceWaterhouseCoopers, The Health Care Workforce Shortage: An
Analysis of the Scope and Impact on Northern Virginia (2004); and Center on Wisconsin
Strategy, The Future of the Health Care Workforce in South Central/Southwest Wisconsin:
An Analysis of Employer and Employee Surveys in Key Locations (2008). In at least one
case, employers provided information about their workforce needs through focus groups—
specifically, in Golden, Colorado, the board held a focus group with manufacturers.
28
  Washington State has used a collaborative approach, known as “Skill Panels,” to identify
skill gaps and standards in targeted sectors, develop training, and share promising
practices, and Michigan has developed a similar approach, known as “Skills Alliances.”
These approaches have been used in various sectors, including manufacturing, energy,
health care, construction, and services.




Page 12                                                GAO-12-97 Workforce Collaboration
that had prevailed before collaboration, one employer said, “When we
steal staff [from each other], we don’t add people to the workforce, and it
increases the cost of doing business.”

In addition to finding common ground among employers, some initiatives
also forged greater collaboration among education and training providers.
As with the employers, the focus on common needs galvanized support,
leading the educational institutions in some cases to share curricula or
agree to recognize courses offered by other participating institutions. For
example, in southeast Michigan’s initiative in automotive manufacturing,
education partners agreed to grant credit for courses offered by other
participating institutions. In Seattle’s health care initiative, a community
college official said that area colleges had competed against each other
and worked with employers independently, but collaboration helped them
think more in terms of scale and as a system.

In several cases, the initiatives involved multiple workforce boards as
partners to address issues on a regional basis. For example, the health
care initiative in Cincinnati involved the efforts of four boards across three
states—Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana—because board officials recognized
that the local labor market includes communities in each state. In Wichita,
Kansas, the aircraft manufacturing initiative included two boards—one
serving the six counties around Wichita, and the other serving 63 rural
counties in the western half of the state. To address initial concerns that
the larger Wichita-based board might benefit disproportionately, both
boards took steps to ensure that they would each benefit from and have
access to resources. In doing so, according to board staff, they were able
to expand the recruitment pool and promote job openings in a wider area.
Their collaboration also fostered communications about new market
opportunities for companies.




Page 13                                         GAO-12-97 Workforce Collaboration
Leadership Was Critical in
Spurring Action and
Building Partnerships




                             Officials from many boards emphasized the importance of securing
                             leaders who had the authority or the ability, or both, to persuade others of
                             the merits of a particular initiative. In some cases, workforce board or
                             one-stop staff took the lead. In San Bernardino, California, for example, a
                             leader from the one-stop’s Business Services unit used feedback from
                             local employers to persuade the board of the need for layoff aversion
                             services, such as training manufacturers’ incumbent workers in more
                             efficient production techniques. 29 In Lancaster, Pennsylvania, workforce
                             staff helped public school teachers gain state approval for an agricultural
                             curriculum by obtaining the state’s designation of agricultural careers as
                             “high priority occupations,” and as a result, convinced previously wary
                             partners that collaborating with the workforce system would be beneficial.
                             In some cases, other partners led efforts to launch the initiative. For
                             example, to address a critical need for health care workers in Northern
                             Virginia, a community college president personally marshaled support
                             from area hospital chief executive officers and other local leaders to
                             address common needs for health care workers. Employers also provided
                             leadership that was instrumental in persuading other employers and
                             partners to join the initiatives. In Greensboro, North Carolina, officials
                             reported that many employers joined round-table discussions after their
                             competitors encouraged them to participate.

                             Many partners also emphasized the value of having a leader whose
                             perceived neutrality could help build trust among parties who were
                             otherwise competitors. Officials from several initiatives also said that
                             neutral leaders helped different partners understand how their mutual


                             29
                               According to local officials, almost all of the participating employers in this layoff
                             aversion initiative received services that included training for their workers. In addition,
                             some also received other services to help them increase revenue and stabilize their
                             operations, such as assistance with marketing.




                             Page 14                                                    GAO-12-97 Workforce Collaboration
                          interests could be served through collaboration. In Seattle, for example,
                          officials said that having such a neutral convener helped to both manage
                          partners’ relationships and focus on opportunities for systematic change,
                          and that without such leadership, their efforts would have likely produced
                          smaller, more isolated projects. The leaders who served as neutral
                          conveners varied among the initiatives. For several initiatives, including
                          Seattle, the local boards served this purpose. In southeast Michigan, the
                          state workforce agency was viewed as a neutral convener.


Leveraging Resources
Supported Collaborative
Efforts




                          All of the boards and their partners leveraged resources in addition to or
                          in lieu of WIA formula funds to launch or sustain their initiatives. 30 In some
                          cases, partners were able to use initial support, such as discretionary
                          grants, to attract additional resources. For example, in Golden, Colorado,
                          the board leveraged a Labor WIRED grant of slightly more than $285,000
                          to generate an additional $441,000 from other partners. WIA formula
                          funds were typically used to support some training, as well as pre-
                          employment assessment and screening. According to several workforce
                          board directors, however, WIA funds were not sufficient to meet the
                          training needs of employers and jobseekers in their areas. Various
                          partners contributed resources to meet these training needs and sustain
                          their collaboration. For example, projects that stemmed from Seattle’s
                          Health Care Sector Panel have had a wide variety of support, including



                          30
                            According to Labor, leveraged resources are not defined in federal regulation or related
                          administrative requirements. For the purposes of grant reporting, Labor defines leveraged
                          resources as all resources used by a grantee to support grant activity and outcomes. See
                          Department of Labor, “Fiscal Forums 2011: Leveraged Resources and Match 2,” webinar
                          (August 24, 2011). For our purposes, we use the term to mean all resources used to
                          support an initiative’s activities or outcomes.




                          Page 15                                                GAO-12-97 Workforce Collaboration
WIA formula funds, Governor’s set-aside funds, and federal H-1B monies
and state funds, among others.

In addition to public funds, in all cases that we reviewed, employers
demonstrated their support by contributing as well. For example, in
Northern Virginia, health care employers offered matching funds to help
persuade the state legislature to provide financial support, according to
local officials. In Cincinnati, Ohio, all participating employers committed
tuition reimbursement dollars for workers’ course costs, including
remedial education, and in Greensboro, North Carolina, employer
matching funds supported a sector-specific training center. In addition,
employers also provided in-kind support, such as equipment, use of
facilities, and providing training during working hours. Table 3 lists the
most frequently used resources to build and sustain initiatives.

Table 3: Most Frequently Used Resources to Build and Sustain Initiatives

                                                                          Number of initiatives
 Resource                                                                 using each resource
 1. Employer cash or in-kind contributions                                                   14
 2. WIA formula funds                                                                        11
 3. American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (Recovery Act)                                     9
 4. Other federal grants or funds                                                             8
 5. State grants or funds                                                                     8
 6. Local funds                                                                               6
 7. WIA Governor’s set-aside                                                                  6
 8. Foundation grants                                                                         5
 9. WIRED grant                                                                               4
Source: Workforce officials from each of the 14 initiatives.




Page 16                                                        GAO-12-97 Workforce Collaboration
Partners Provided
Employer-Responsive
Services to Enhance
Collaboration




                      In all cases, the initiatives of the boards and their partners provided
                      employer-responsive services to actively involve employers and keep
                      them engaged in the collaborative process. Some boards and their
                      partners employed staff with industry-specific knowledge to better
                      understand and communicate with employers. In Madison, Wisconsin, for
                      example, the board designated some one-stop staff as industry
                      specialists. According to officials, these specialists better served
                      employers because they understood what the available jobs entailed,
                      what training was required, and what to look for on a resume for specific
                      occupations when screening jobseekers. Similarly, in Chicago, to help
                      meet the needs of manufacturers, staff of a sector-based center
                      specialized in certain kinds of manufacturing, such as food processing,
                      plastics and paper, and metal. These examples are consistent with the
                      finding of a prior GAO report that one-stop staffs were better able to
                      respond to labor shortages when they had a strong understanding of the
                      employment and training needs in specific industries. 31

                      In other initiatives, boards and partners gained employers’ confidence in
                      the collaboration by tailoring services such as jobseeker assessment and
                      screening services to address specific employers’ needs. For example, in
                      Greensboro, North Carolina, the board staff provided expedited services
                      for an aircraft company by designing a web-based recruitment tool and
                      customized assessment process within 48 hours and quickly screening
                      over 2,400 initial applicants, according to a board official. Similarly, to
                      better match jobseekers with specific job openings, the sector-based
                      center in Chicago worked closely with employers to review and validate



                      31
                       GAO-03-725.




                      Page 17                                       GAO-12-97 Workforce Collaboration
employers’ own assessment tools, or develop new ones, and administer
them on behalf of the employers. Center staff said they could screen 50
candidates and winnow them to the top 5, which saved employers time in
the hiring process. One employer noted that without the center’s help,
they would have needed at least two human resource specialists to do
this job.

Boards and their partners also strengthened collaborative ties with
employers by making training services more relevant and useful to them.
In some cases, employers provided direct input into training curricula. For
example, in Wichita, employers from the aviation industry worked closely
with education partners to develop a training curriculum that met industry
needs and integrated new research findings on composite materials. In
southeast Michigan, education partners adjusted the course content—
while the training was under way—in response to shifting industry needs.
Another way that some initiatives met employers’ training needs was to
provide instruction that led to industry-recognized credentials. 32 For
example, in San Bernardino, a training provider integrated an industry-
recognized credential in metalworking into training to make it more
relevant for employers. To address employers’ long-term training needs,
some initiatives incorporated career pathways, in which training is
sequenced and linked to additional training in a way that supports career
advancement. In Seattle, employers reported that this approach to
training could play an important role in reducing employer turnover costs
associated with certain workers such as medical assistants, who formerly
had few options for career advancement.

In addition, some boards engaged employers in collaborative efforts by
ensuring that certain jobseekers had adequate basic skills to meet
employers’ needs. In some cases, this entailed working closely with the




32
   While there is no universally accepted definition of the term “industry-recognized
credential,” Labor defined it in recent guidance as a credential that is either (1) developed
and offered by, or endorsed by a nationally recognized industry association or an
organization representing a sizeable portion of the industry sector, or (2) a credential that
is sought or accepted by companies in an industry sector for the purposes of hiring or
recruitment. See Department of Labor, Training and Employment Guidance Letter No. 15-
10 (Washington, D.C.: 2010).




Page 18                                                  GAO-12-97 Workforce Collaboration
adult education system. 33 In Seattle and Madison, for example, the
boards adapted existing state approaches to help jobseekers improve
both basic and occupational skills simultaneously, by including a basic
skills instructor in training at least part of the time or by using curricula
that basic skills and occupational instructors had developed together. In
San Bernardino, where employers had been struggling to find skilled
machinists, the training provider incorporated basic math and basic
blueprint reading in the 630 hours of training that it provided to
jobseekers. To address employers’ need for a long-term supply of
workers, some boards and their partners also included youth in their
initiatives. For example, in Gainesville, Florida, the TechQuest initiative
enrolled WIA youth participants in 8 weeks of business-oriented learning
to introduce them to technology-oriented businesses while improving their
reading and writing skills.

Another way that boards and their partners facilitated collaboration with
employers was by reaching beyond WIA’s primary mission of serving the
unemployed and including employed workers or jobseekers not receiving
services under WIA. 34 Several officials described this broad approach as
driven by the employer’s need for certain skills, irrespective of a
jobseeker’s status under WIA. In Northern Virginia, for example, the
partners first identified employers’ needs—in this case, a projected local
shortage of health care workers—and then developed a broad,
responsive strategy that incorporated WIA as a key but not the sole
element. As a result, the partners’ efforts to increase the supply of skilled
workers extended beyond WIA to the general population, while including
some workers who had individual training accounts under WIA. Similarly,
staff of the sector-based center in Chicago explained that their practice of
screening and referring qualified jobseekers—both those who received
services under WIA and those who did not—was responsive to
manufacturers’ need for specific skills. In other cases, boards and their


33
  The Adult Education State Grant Program, authorized by the Adult Education and
Family Literacy Act, Title II of WIA (20 U.S.C. § 9201 et seq.) and administered by the
Department of Education, supports activities to provide instruction for individuals age 16 or
over who lack basic skills, a high school diploma or its equivalent, or English language
proficiency. Entities that carry out such activities, including community colleges, public
schools, and community-based organizations, are mandatory partners in the one-stop
system.
34
  As discussed previously, all initiatives leveraged resources beyond WIA formula funding,
such as WIRED grants or employer contributions. These non-WIA funds allowed initiatives
to serve WIA-eligible and WIA-ineligible populations together.




Page 19                                                  GAO-12-97 Workforce Collaboration
                            partners focused largely on employers’ current workers to meet specific
                            employer needs while also serving some workers receiving services
                            under WIA. The manufacturing initiatives in Golden, Colorado, and
                            southeast Michigan, for example, focused on upgrading the skills of
                            incumbent workers while at the same time retooling the skills of some
                            dislocated workers.


Minimizing Administrative
Burden for All Partners
Facilitated Collaboration




                            Boards also facilitated collaboration by minimizing administrative burden
                            for employers and other partners. Board staff with several initiatives said
                            that complex administrative processes would have discouraged
                            employers from collaborating in the initiatives. In some cases, boards and
                            their partners streamlined data collection or developed shared data
                            systems to enhance efficiency. For example, in Cincinnati, the partners
                            developed a shared data system to more efficiently track participants,
                            services received, and outcomes achieved across multiple workforce
                            providers in the region. Additionally, in southeast Michigan, an industry
                            official reported that the administrative burden would have been “almost
                            insurmountable” for employers if they had not collaborated with the
                            workforce system and received administrative support. For several
                            initiatives, one-stop staff or board members said they managed
                            administrative processes because the level of documentation could be
                            intimidating and discourage collaboration.

                            Another way many initiatives minimized administrative burden was by
                            designating a single point of contact or having a program manager to
                            streamline communication channels, which facilitated collaboration
                            among disparate partners. For example, in Golden, Colorado, a partner
                            reported that having a program manager who was focused and
                            responsive to employers’ concerns improved stakeholder relations and
                            helped employers understand the benefits of collaboration. In other
                            cases, some partners limited the frequency, length, and focus of meetings


                            Page 20                                       GAO-12-97 Workforce Collaboration
                        to use partners’ time most effectively. For example, in Northern Virginia,
                        officials said they opted for biannual meetings focused on outcomes,
                        needs, and employer support to accommodate the busy schedules of
                        hospital executives and college presidents.


Demonstrating Results
Helped Sustain
Collaborations




                        For employers, the partnerships produced diverse results that generally
                        addressed their need for critical skills in various ways. In some cases,
                        employers cited an increased supply of skilled labor. In Northern Virginia,
                        for example, the partners said that the initiative produced an increased
                        supply of nurses and other health care workers. In other cases, employers
                        said the initiatives helped reduce their recruitment and retention costs. For
                        example, in Rochester, Minnesota, one employer, a long-term care facility,
                        reported a reduction in turnover from 60 percent to 6 percent in 1 year. In
                        Cincinnati, Ohio, according to an independent study, employers who
                        participated in the health care initiative realized about $4,900 in cost
                        savings per worker hired. Other employers cited less quantifiable benefits.
                        For example, in Gainesville, Florida, one employer said that participants in
                        the entrepreneurship training initiative had acquired the specialized skills
                        needed for new ventures that were otherwise difficult for them to find. In a
                        few cases, employers credited the initiative with helping to increase their
                        competitiveness. In the Wichita, Kansas, area and southeast Michigan,
                        where employers focused on upgrading skills to keep pace with changes in
                        technology, officials told us that the initiatives had helped them develop a
                        talent base that could help them compete internationally.

                        For jobseekers and workers, the partnerships produced results that mainly
                        reflected job placement and skill attainment. For example, in Wichita, of the
                        1,195 workers who were trained in the use of composite materials in
                        aircraft manufacturing, 1,008 had found jobs in this field. In some cases
                        where incumbent workers were promoted after having received services to



                        Page 21                                        GAO-12-97 Workforce Collaboration
support their career progression, as in Seattle’s health care initiative, new
openings were created for entry-level jobseekers. In Gainesville, Florida,
some participants who had completed the initiative’s entrepreneurship
training had started seven new companies. Elsewhere, such as in San
Bernardino’s layoff aversion initiative, workers retained jobs when 426 jobs
were saved. 35 In addition, some of those who attained new skills included
jobseekers with barriers to employment. For example, in San Bernardino,
officials reported that 32 percent of the trainees who had completed the
Technical Employment Training for machinists faced barriers to
employment, such as a disability or criminal record.

For the workforce system, the partnerships led to results such as
increased participation by employers in the workforce system, greater
efficiencies, and models of collaboration that could be replicated. Officials
with several initiatives said they had generated repeat employer business
or that the number and quality of employers’ job listings had increased,
allowing the workforce system to better serve jobseekers. In some cases,
officials also cited efficiency improvements. For example, in Cincinnati, an
education partner cited cost savings achieved when two colleges shared
a training program, splitting certain costs. Some partners also applied
their lessons learned through the partnership to new initiatives. For
example, the Rochester board’s pre-employment health care initiative has
been replicated in manufacturing, while officials in Golden, Colorado,
replicated elements of their manufacturing initiative in the energy sector.




35
  These data on jobs saved reflect one of several performance measures of Commerce’s
MEP program. Participating employers report these data to a third party for submission to
Commerce. We did not evaluate these data for reliability or accuracy, nor did we assess
the data collection methods that were used. Therefore we cannot verify the extent to
which these outcomes are the result of involvement with the MEP program.




Page 22                                                GAO-12-97 Workforce Collaboration
                           Although all of the boards were successful in their collaborative efforts,
Workforce Boards           they identified some challenges they needed to overcome. For example,
Overcame Some              some boards cited challenges related to using WIA formula funds to
                           address diverse employer needs. Staff from most, but not all, of the
Challenges to Address      boards also said that WIA performance measures do not directly reflect
Diverse Employer           their efforts to work with and engage employers. However, we found that
Needs and Developed        many of the boards developed a number of their own performance
                           measures to assess their services to employers.
Their Own Measures
to Track Employer
Engagement

Some Boards Were           Some boards identified challenges in using WIA funds to address
Challenged to Develop      employers’ need for workers at various skill levels. For example, staff
Comprehensive Strategies   from some boards said it was challenging to collaborate with employers
                           using WIA formula funds because they could generally only use these
to Address Diverse         funds to train eligible jobseekers. Furthermore, WIA prioritizes funding for
Employer Needs with WIA    intensive services and training for low-income individuals when funding
Funds                      for adult employment and training activities is limited. 36 The director of
                           one board said that pursuing comprehensive strategies for an entire
                           economic sector can be challenging, because WIA funds are typically
                           used for lower-skilled workers, and employers in the region wanted to
                           attract a mix of lower- and higher-skilled workers. To address this
                           challenge, the director noted that the board used a combination of WIA
                           and other funds to address employers’ needs for a range of workers.

                           In at least five of the initiatives, board officials described services to
                           incumbent workers as a major part of their successful collaboration with
                           employers, yet some boards were challenged to piece together funds to
                           do this. WIA formula funds generally cannot be used to train incumbent
                           workers, with certain exceptions. For instance, employed workers who
                           need training to reach self-sufficiency may be served with WIA formula
                           funds. In addition, WIA Governor’s set-aside funds may be used for
                           innovative programs for incumbent workers. Among the initiatives that
                           served incumbent workers, the most common funding sources were
                           employer contributions and state funds. In addition, states may apply to



                           36
                            29 U.S.C. § 2864(d)(4)(E).




                           Page 23                                        GAO-12-97 Workforce Collaboration
Labor for waivers to provide layoff aversion services to incumbent
workers with both WIA formula and reserve rapid response funds. One
board used WIA rapid response funds for layoff aversion services
because the state had a waiver for this purpose. 37 Even in cases where
boards used some WIA funds to serve incumbent workers, most boards
had to find other funds to address this employer need.

Because WIA formula funds for training are primarily designed to pay for
services for individual jobseekers through individual training accounts,
some boards found it challenging to fund other training-related activities. 38
For example, some board staff said they needed to use other funding to
develop new curriculum for their initiatives. Boards can use WIA funds to
develop curriculum as part of “customized” training for employers.
However, this type of training has some restrictions, such as requiring
employers to pay for 50 percent of the training, which could be a deterrent
for some employers. 39 In other cases, board staff reported that they
wanted to provide training for an entire cohort, but boards usually cannot
use WIA funds to contract for training services. 40




37
  In the San Bernardino layoff aversion initiative, services were provided under a waiver
that allowed the board to use rapid response funds for this purpose.
38
  WIA requires training to be provided through individual training accounts with limited
exceptions, such as when the services include on-the-job training provided by an
employer or when the local board determines there is an insufficient number of training
providers in the area. See 29 U.S.C. 2964(d)(4)(G)(ii).
39
 Labor has issued a waiver of this requirement for certain states, so that smaller
employers may contribute less than 50 percent.
40
   29 U.S.C. § 2864(d)(4)(G). However, the Recovery Act allowed local workforce boards
to contract directly with institutions of higher education or other eligible training providers,
if the local board determined that it would facilitate the training of multiple individuals and
the contract did not limit customer choice. Pub. L. No. 111-5, 123 Stat. 115, 173. The
Appropriations Acts for fiscal years 2010 and 2011 also included this authority.
Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2010, Pub. L. No. 111-117, 123 Stat. 3034, 3226 and
Department of Defense and Full-Year Continuing Appropriations, 2011, 125 Stat. 38, 102-
103.




Page 24                                                    GAO-12-97 Workforce Collaboration
WIA Performance            Staff from a majority, but not all, of the boards said that WIA performance
Measures Focus Primarily   measures do not directly reflect their efforts to work with and engage
on Outcomes for            employers. The current WIA performance measures primarily focus on
                           local-level outcomes for jobseekers, except for a required measure of
Jobseekers, but Local      employer satisfaction which may be measured by a survey of a sample of
Boards Developed Their     employers for this purpose. 41 While this survey provides a high-level
Own Measures of            indicator of employer satisfaction with WIA-funded programs, the
Employer Engagement        statewide sample that is reported to Labor does not provide information
                           on each local area’s performance. 42 Thus, board staff explained, the sole
                           employer measure does little to acknowledge or reward local boards that
                           successfully engage employers. For example, one board’s staff said that
                           although they prioritize working with employers, they do not get credit for
                           this under WIA. On the other hand, the executive director of one board
                           noted that their successful efforts to engage employers were reflected in
                           improved outcomes for jobseekers.

                           However, WIA does not preclude local efforts to develop measures of
                           employer engagement, and we found that many of the boards track a
                           variety of their own employer measures. In Chicago, staff track measures
                           such as the number of new employers served every year and the hiring
                           rate among jobseekers that they had referred to employers. In two
                           initiatives where the boards collaborated with Commerce’s MEP program,
                           the boards collected data on measures such as increased employer sales
                           and employers’ satisfaction with initiative services. Furthermore, one
                           board’s executive director expressed appreciation for the flexibility to adopt
                           measures of employer engagement that best align with local needs. Other
                           examples of the types of measures boards reported that they used to
                           gauge employer engagement or satisfaction include

                           •     interview-to-hire ratio from initiative jobseeker referrals,

                           •     retention rate of initiative-referred hires,

                           •     number of businesses returning for services,

                           •     number of new business contacts,



                           41
                               29 U.S.C. § 2871(b)(2)(B).
                           42
                               GAO-04-657.




                           Page 25                                              GAO-12-97 Workforce Collaboration
                       •    employers’ willingness to invest time or funding in initiatives,

                       •    employer satisfaction with initiative, and

                       •    increased or retained employer sales.

                       These examples are consistent with prior GAO work. In a 2004 report, we
                       found that about 70 percent of local areas nationwide reported that they
                       required one-stop centers to track some type of employer measure, such
                       as the number of employers that use one-stop services, how many hire
                       one-stop customers, and the type of services that employers use. 43


                       To help boards form partnerships with employers, colleges, and other
Labor Has Taken        partners, Labor has conducted webinars and shared information on the
Steps to Support       uses of and opportunities for funding such collaborations. One webinar
                       explained how to work with Commerce’s MEP program to obtain
Local Collaborative    manufacturing expertise on behalf of local employers. Other webinars
Efforts and Address    hosted by Labor have suggested how boards can use various
                       discretionary grants, such as WIRED grants, to help support their
Some Challenges but    collaborative initiatives. In addition, Labor has featured the innovative
Has Not Made           work of several local boards in forming partnerships, such as the
Information on         approach to career pathways used by the board in Madison, Wisconsin.
                       To help boards optimize their use of WIA funds without overstepping
Leveraging Resources   program rules, Labor has issued guidance on such topics as
Readily Available      entrepreneurship training, working with economic development entities,
                       and training incumbent workers. 44

                       Labor has also engaged in collaborative efforts with other federal
                       agencies that could help support local collaboration. For example, Labor
                       is working with the Department of Education and other federal agencies
                       to identify existing industry-recognized credentials and relevant research




                       43
                         GAO, Workforce Investment Act: States and Local Areas Have Developed Strategies to
                       Assess Performance, but Labor Could Do More to Help, GAO-04-657 (Washington, D.C.:
                       June 1, 2004).
                       44
                         See Department of Labor, Training and Employment Guidance Letter No. 12-10
                       (Washington, D.C.: 2010); Department of Labor, Training and Employment Guidance
                       Letter No. 13-07 (Washington, D.C.: 2007); and Department of Labor, Training and
                       Employment Guidance Letter No. 30-09 (Washington, D.C.: 2010).




                       Page 26                                             GAO-12-97 Workforce Collaboration
projects, 45 and has issued guidance to help boards increase credential
attainment among workforce program participants. 46 In addition, Labor
has recently worked with Commerce and the Small Business
Administration to fund a new discretionary $37 million grant program
called the Jobs and Innovation Accelerator Challenge to encourage
collaboration and leveraging funds. This program encourages the
development of industry clusters, which are networks of interconnected
firms and supporting institutions that can help a region create jobs. These
grants are also intended to help local boards and others leverage existing
federal resources by, for example, encouraging boards to develop
collaborative relationships with career and technical education providers
that receive federal funds. A total of 16 federal agencies will provide
technical resources to help leverage existing agency funding, including
the 3 funding agencies listed above. In September 2011, Labor
announced the 20 regions that will receive grant funds. Labor estimates
the grants will result in the creation of 4,800 jobs.

As discussed previously, board staff stressed the importance of
leveraging resources to facilitate collaboration, but Labor has not made
information it has collected on effective practices for doing so easily
accessible. For example, Labor maintains a website for sharing
innovative state and local workforce practices called Workforce3One,
which has some examples of leveraging funding at the local level. 47
However, the website does not group these examples together in an easy
to find location, as it does for other categories such as examples of
innovative employer services or sector-based strategies. 48 In addition,
Labor funded evaluations of two of its grant programs and identified how


45
  According to the Department of Education, The National Center for Education Statistics
has convened a federal interagency working group to develop better survey measures of
the prevalence of industry-recognized certifications and licenses and educational
certificates in the United States adult population. The group includes staff from Education,
Labor, the Census Bureau, the Council of Economic Advisors, and the Office of
Management and Budget. To date, according to Education, the group has completed a
pilot study to evaluate the validity of proposed survey items and is preparing a technical
report on the study for release in early 2012.
46
  See Department of Labor, Training and Employment Guidance Letter No 15-10
(Washington, D.C.: 2010).
47
  See www.workforce3one.org.
48
  There are 14 “super categories,” on the site, such as apprenticeship, clusters,
community colleges, entrepreneurship, disability, nonprofit, and youth services.




Page 27                                                  GAO-12-97 Workforce Collaboration
             local grantees leveraged funding from educational institutions, businesses
             and employers, and industry associations, among other sources, as well
             as the levels of funding that grantees leveraged and planned to
             leverage. 49 Other research, such as reviews of boards’ coordination with
             faith-based community organizations, has also addressed how local
             workforce initiatives can leverage resources through outside
             organizations to help jobseekers obtain and retain employment. 50
             However, this information on leveraging resources has not been compiled
             and disseminated in one location such as on the Workforce3One website,
             so interested parties must search for and read through separate reports.

             Regarding local measures of employer engagement, Labor
             acknowledged the value of such a measure in 2006 and later developed a
             method for local boards to track and report on employers that use the
             one-stop system, but has postponed its implementation indefinitely. Labor
             officials said they plan to defer changes to their performance reporting
             system until WIA is reauthorized to avoid spending time and money on a
             system that may not meet new requirements.


             At a time when the nation continues to face high unemployment in the
Conclusion   wake of the recent recession, it is particularly important to consider ways
             to better connect the workforce investment system with employers to
             meet local labor market needs. Indeed, that connection is fundamental to
             the vision of WIA, which created the one-stop system, in part, to help
             meet employers’ needs and ensure that one-stop training and services
             are aligned with those needs. The 14 local initiatives profiled in this report
             illustrate how workforce boards collaborated with partners to develop
             innovative and employer-driven services that helped address urgent local
             workforce needs. The variety of ways in which they helped employers
             meet their needs and yielded results may be testimony to the viability and



             49
               For example, see The Urban Institute, Characteristics of the Community-Based Job
             Training Grant Program, prepared for the Department of Labor (Washington, D.C.: 2009).
             Also see Public Policy Associates Incorporated, Nurturing America’s Growth in the Global
             Marketplace through Talent Development: An Interim Report on the Evaluation of
             Generations II and III of WIRED, prepared for the Department of Labor (Lansing, Mich.:
             2009).
             50
               Social Policy Research Associates, Literature Review: Business/Faith-Based and
             Community Organization Partnerships, prepared for the Department of Labor
             (Washington, D.C.: 2006).




             Page 28                                               GAO-12-97 Workforce Collaboration
                     potential of WIA’s vision for local partnership: critical skill needs were met,
                     individuals obtained or upgraded their skills, and the local system of
                     workforce programs was reinvigorated by increased employer
                     participation. Furthermore, the common factors that facilitated these
                     collaborations, as well as the key challenges they encountered, can be
                     instructive for future collaborations and efforts to enhance the workforce
                     investment system.

                     Labor has taken several important steps that support local initiatives like
                     these through guidance and technical assistance, and its collaborative
                     efforts with other federal agencies such as the new grant program with
                     Commerce and the Small Business Administration. However, while Labor
                     has also collected relevant information on effective strategies that local
                     boards and partners have used to leverage resources, it has not compiled
                     this information or made it readily accessible. All the boards we profiled
                     emphasized the importance of leveraging resources to build innovative
                     new partnerships. Moreover, as the workforce system and its partners
                     face increasingly constrained resources, it will be important for local
                     boards to have at their disposal information on how boards have
                     effectively leveraged funding sources. Without such information, boards
                     seeking to emulate such strategies may lack the information they need to
                     benefit from lessons learned, augment their resources, and explore
                     innovative new ways to collaborate with partners.


                     To better support the capacity of the local workforce investment system to
Recommendation for   collaborate with employers and other partners, the Secretary of Labor
Executive Action     should compile information on workforce boards that effectively leverage
                     WIA funds with other funding sources and disseminate this information in
                     a readily accessible manner. This might involve compiling lessons
                     learned from prior research or evaluations of grant programs and new
                     grant initiatives such as the one with Commerce and the Small Business
                     Administration, and disseminating this information by creating a super
                     category for this topic on the Workforce3One website to group examples
                     in one place.


                     We provided a draft of the report to the Departments of Labor, Education,
Agency Comments      and Commerce for review and comment. Labor provided a written
and Our Evaluation   response (see app. III). Labor and Education also provided technical
                     comments, which we incorporated as appropriate. Commerce did not
                     provide comments. In addition, we provided workforce board officials



                     Page 29                                         GAO-12-97 Workforce Collaboration
from each of the 14 initiatives with a draft of pertinent sections and
incorporated their technical comments as appropriate.

Labor agreed with our findings and recommendation. Specifically, Labor’s
response noted that our findings validate the department’s position that
stronger partnerships between employers and the workforce system lead
to improved employment and retention outcomes for workers. Labor also
noted efforts to serve both employers and workers more effectively, and
cited recent technical assistance it has provided to help the workforce
system engage employers. In addition, Labor cited efforts to work across
federal agencies to help align resources and programs to ensure effective
service delivery. Labor also noted states’ critical role in engaging
employers. Labor concurred with GAO’s recommendation, and added that
it is examining ways to improve the identification and dissemination of
promising practices.


As agreed with your offices, unless you publicly announce the contents of
this report earlier, we plan no further distribution until 30 days from the
report date. At that time, we will send copies of this report to the
Secretary of Labor, as well as the Secretaries of Education, Health and
Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, and Commerce,
appropriate congressional committees, and other interested parties. In
addition, the report will be available at no charge on GAO’s website at
http://www.gao.gov. A list of related GAO products is included at the end
of this report.

If you or your staffs have any questions about this report, please contact
me at (202) 512-7215 or at sherrilla@gao.gov. Contact points for our
Offices of Congressional Relations and Public Affairs may be found on
the last page of this report. GAO staff who made key contributions to this
report are listed in appendix IV.




Andrew Sherrill, Director
Education, Workforce, and
  Income Security Issues




Page 30                                        GAO-12-97 Workforce Collaboration
Appendix I: Objectives, Scope, and
              Appendix I: Objectives, Scope, and
              Methodology



Methodology

              Our review focused on (1) the factors that facilitated innovative
              collaborations among workforce boards, employers, and others; (2) the
              major challenges to collaboration; and (3) the actions Labor has taken to
              support local workforce boards in their collaborative efforts.

              To obtain background information, we interviewed experts on the
              Workforce Investment Act of 1998 (WIA), workforce development and
              economic development; reviewed numerous studies, reports, and other
              literature; and reviewed relevant federal laws, regulations, guidance, and
              other documentation. We interviewed officials from five key federal
              agencies: the Departments of Labor, Education, Health and Human
              Services, and Housing and Urban Development, which administer the
              programs required by WIA to participate in the one-stop system, as well
              as officials from the Department of Commerce (Commerce), which
              administers relevant economic development programs. We interviewed
              officials from the National Governor’s Association, the National
              Association of Workforce Boards, and the National Association of State
              Workforce Agencies. To identify relevant studies, we searched for
              literature in various bibliographic databases, including ProQuest, Social
              SciSearch, Social Sciences Abstracts, NTIS, PAIS and EconLit. We also
              asked the experts we interviewed to recommend additional studies.

              To learn about what factors facilitated innovative collaborations among
              workforce boards, employers, and other partners, as well as the
              challenges, we interviewed officials from 14 local initiatives in which local
              workforce boards achieved positive results by collaborating with
              employers, educational partners, and others. To identify these selected
              sites, we asked officials from the five key federal agencies and national
              experts representing 20 organizations to identify what they viewed as the
              most promising and innovative local initiatives in which local workforce
              boards collaborated effectively with employers and other partners to
              achieve positive results. We received nominations from the Departments
              of Labor, Commerce, and Health and Human Services. Officials from the
              Department of Housing and Urban Development told us that the agency
              currently has no programs that it considers mandatory one-stop partners
              and was not able to provide any nominations. Officials from the
              Department of Education provided state-level information, but told us that
              they were not able to provide local nominations. The nonfederal experts
              we contacted consisted of representatives from the following
              organizations, the majority of whom provided nominations:

              •   American Association of Community Colleges



              Page 31                                        GAO-12-97 Workforce Collaboration
Appendix I: Objectives, Scope, and
Methodology




•   Aspen Institute: Workforce Strategies Initiative

•   Center for Law and Social Policy, Inc.

•   Corporation for a Skilled Workforce

•   Council for Community and Economic Research

•   Council of State Administrators of Vocational Rehabilitation

•   Council on Foundations

•   Insight Center for Community Economic Development: National
    Network of Sector Partners

•   Jobs for the Future

•   John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development

•   National Association of Development Organizations

•   National Association of State Directors of Career Technical Education
    Consortium

•   National Association of State Workforce Agencies

•   National Association of Workforce Boards

•   National Coalition for Literacy

•   National Governor’s Association

•   National Skills Coalition

•   Social Policy Research Associates

•   U.S. Chamber of Commerce: Institute for a Competitive Workforce

•   Workforce Strategy Center

Experts were selected based on their knowledge of workforce
development or economic development activities at the local level.
Specifically, we identified them through a review of relevant studies, their



Page 32                                        GAO-12-97 Workforce Collaboration
Appendix I: Objectives, Scope, and
Methodology




participation in conferences focused on workforce or economic
development issues at the local level, previous assistance to GAO on
other reports, and the recommendation of other experts. We asked the
experts and federal agency officials to identify promising local initiatives
that engaged the workforce board as a strategic partner and involved at
least one economic development partner, education partner, and major
Department of Labor (Labor) program required by WIA to provide
services through the one-stop system. We also specified that the
nominated initiatives be data-driven, involve collaborative strategic
planning, and demonstrate positive results. In order to ensure that our
nomination criteria were clear and appropriate for our objectives, we
solicited input from the Departments of Labor and Education, as well as
from associations with expert knowledge of workforce issues, specifically,
the National Governor’s Association and the Council for Community and
Economic Research.

More than 89 initiatives or sponsoring organizations from 28 states were
nominated and we selected 14 initiatives, corresponding to 13 boards, for
in-depth review. Two of the 14 initiatives were led by the same workforce
board. To assist our selection, we first used a data collection instrument
to gather additional information on 29 of the nominated initiatives, which
were chosen based on factors such as the number of nominations they
received, results reported by the nominators, and their geographic
diversity. From these, we then selected 14 initiatives for our review.
These 14 initiatives should be viewed as our selection of diverse,
promising efforts rather than a comprehensive list of initiatives that were
more innovative than the initiatives not selected. Our selections were
intended to represent initiatives that targeted different industries;
demonstrated evidence of replicability; and served a variety of WIA
populations. We also considered the characteristics of the workforce
areas, such as unemployment rates and geographic locations. In some
cases where workforce boards engaged with employers in more than one
sector, we asked board officials to identify the initiative that demonstrated
the most positive results. In one case, we selected the sector to achieve a
range of targeted industries.

At our selected sites, we conducted semi-structured interviews with local
and state workforce officials, representatives of educational institutions,
training providers, economic development officials and employers. We
conducted in-person interviews during seven site visits to Chicago,
Illinois; Golden, Colorado; Lancaster, Pennsylvania; Madison, Wisconsin;
San Bernardino, California; Seattle, Washington; and Vienna, Virginia. In
some cases, we also toured training facilities and workplaces. We


Page 33                                        GAO-12-97 Workforce Collaboration
Appendix I: Objectives, Scope, and
Methodology




conducted interviews for the remaining sites via videoconference and by
telephone. We asked interviewees to tell us how the initiative started,
what funding sources were used to start and sustain it, and what it had
accomplished. To supplement the testimonial evidence employers and
officials provided regarding the results of these initiatives, we requested
and analyzed written documents such as performance reports, return on
investment analyses, external evaluations, and other information to
examine the results of the initiatives. However, we did not assess the
reliability of their data. We are using their reported results for illustrative
purposes only. We also asked them for their views on what had facilitated
collaboration, the challenges involved, and the implications for WIA
reauthorization. The information we obtained about the selected initiatives
is not generalizable to other local workforce boards.

To determine the actions Labor has taken to support local workforce
boards in these types of collaborative efforts, we interviewed Labor,
Education, and Commerce officials. We conducted our work between
November 2010 and January 2012 in accordance with generally accepted
government auditing standards. Those standards require that we plan
and perform the audit to obtain sufficient, appropriate evidence to provide
a reasonable basis for our findings and conclusions based on our audit
objectives. We believe that the evidence obtained provides a reasonable
basis for our findings and conclusions based on our audit objectives.




Page 34                                         GAO-12-97 Workforce Collaboration
Appendix II: Profiles of Selected Local
               Appendix II: Profiles of Selected Local
               Workforce Boards’ Initiatives



Workforce Boards’ Initiatives

               The following profiles provide snapshots of the 14 initiatives we reviewed.
               We gathered data from a variety of sources, including initiative staff,
               board members, education and training providers, employers, state
               officials, relevant reports, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics. 1 In each
               profile, we provide an overview of the initiative and describe some of the
               factors that facilitated collaboration. We also provide some background
               information, including the key partners, the workforce challenge, and the
               role of the board. While the profiles identify some common themes among
               the initiatives, they are not comprehensive descriptions of each initiative.
               We also provide information on the funding sources used for each
               initiative and highlights of the results that partners reported. The reported
               results generally reflected the diverse goals of these initiatives, which
               often included the goals of WIA programs as well as other federal grants
               or programs. Officials from each initiative were given the opportunity to
               review the information for accuracy.




               1
                Labor force and unemployment rate information for each of the workforce investment
               areas was calculated using county-and-equivalent-level data from the Bureau of Labor
               Statistics as of March 2011, when the initiatives were selected for review. In the case of
               Chicago, the workforce investment area covers only the City of Chicago, but we were only
               able to provide county-level labor market information. In the case of Taylor, Michigan, the
               county-level data include Detroit, but the selected board does not serve that city. For the
               workforce area of Greensboro/High Point/Guilford County in North Carolina, we used only
               data from Guilford County, even though the city of High Point includes small portions of
               three other counties.




               Page 35                                                 GAO-12-97 Workforce Collaboration
                                                               Appendix II

                                                               ManufacturingWorks: Chicago’s Manufacturing
                                                               Sectoral Center for Business
                                                               Chicago Workforce Investment Board

Workforce investment area                                      Overview
Total labor force: 2,572,926                                   In about 2000, the Workforce Boards of Metropolitan Chicago began to form
Unemployment rate: 8.9%                                        strategic alliances with manufacturers and other partners to try to increase
Source: GAO analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics Data from   the supply of highly skilled workers needed in local manufacturing.
March 2011.
                                                               Stakeholders said the efforts culminated in the City of Chicago issuing a
Initiative characteristics                                     request for proposal for a manufacturing sector center. A community-based
Key sector: Manufacturing                                      organization, the Instituto del Progreso Latino, responded to the request for
Additional partners:                                           proposal and now runs ManufacturingWorks. The center provides a range of
      •      City Colleges of Chicago                          services to employers, including customized training development,
                                                               jobseeker recruitment projects, comprehensive assessments of
      •      Chicago Manufacturing
             Renaissance Council                               manufacturers’ needs, links with training providers to help employers find
                                                               qualified candidates, and post-placement services to help employers retain
      •      City of Chicago
                                                               newly placed workers, staff said. The center principally works with
      •      Illinois Manufacturing Extension                  employers who meet certain standards for pay and working conditions. The
             Center
                                                               center’s staff identified the following as key to its effectiveness:
      •      Multiple nonprofit agencies
                                                                  •      Industry-knowledgeable staff: Center staff specializes in sub-
      •      Workforce Boards of
             Metropolitan Chicago
                                                                         sectors, such as metal, plastic and paper, and food processing,
                                                                         which helps build credibility with manufacturers, staff said.

Workforce challenge                                               •      Screening of potential candidates: Screening helps ensure
                                                                         that employers get job candidates with the right skills, and that
Manufacturing is an important                                            they therefore succeed in their new positions, stakeholders said.
sector for the Chicago region;
however, employers reported that
they could not find enough skilled
workers, according to initiative
staff. Additionally, jobs in
manufacturing require a higher skill
level than they did previously
according to local stakeholders.
Stakeholders in Chicago identified
a need for 10,000 new and
replacement manufacturing
workers in the Chicago area each
year.
Source: Analysis of GAO interviews.




                                                               The workforce investment board’s role
                                                               The Chicago Workforce Investment Board began promoting the idea of a
                                                               manufacturing sector initiative in the late 1990s, a stakeholder said. At
                                                               the same time, the stakeholder explained, the board also began to
                                                               organize much of its other activity around specific sectors. The board
                                                               held workforce summits with representatives from employers, labor,
                                                               nonprofits, and educational partners to identify reasons for the shortage
                                                               of trained, skilled workers in manufacturing and other sectors.



                                                               Page 36                                        GAO-12-97 Workforce Collaboration
                                              Appendix II

                                              ManufacturingWorks: Chicago’s Manufacturing
                                              Sectoral Center for Business
                                              Chicago Workforce Investment Board

Key federal and state                         Reported results
support                                       ManufacturingWorks staff reported the following results:
Federal WIA formula funds and
another federal grant funded some
                                                  •      Benefits for jobseekers or workers: In 2010,
of the program’s operations.                            ManufacturingWorks reported placing 393 jobseekers in jobs with
However, the business services                          employers. Part of ManufacturingWorks’ strategy is to raise
were funded with other, outside                         average wages for jobseekers. The average wage for placements
funds, according to city staff.                         for program year 2010 was over $13 per hour, up from less than
                                                        $10 an hour in program year 2005, according to documents
Funding sources
                                                        provided by staff.
WIA formula funds
                                                  •      Benefits for employers: ManufacturingWorks staff reported that
Recovery Act                                            they have served hundreds of different employers since 2005,
Other federal grants or funds                           including more than 100 different employers in 2006, 2007, 2008,
                                                        and 2009. On average, manufacturers hired 1 out of every 1.6
Employer cash or in-kind
                                                        jobseekers referred to them by ManufacturingWorks in program
contributions
                                                        year 2010, a key indicator of success, according to initiative
Local funds or grants                                   partners.
Source: Chicago Workforce Investment Board.
                                                  •      Benefits for workforce system and other partners:
                                                        ManufacturingWorks staff reported that the center tracks a
                                                        number of “system relationship measures,” including the number
                                                        of job requests they share with the entire Chicago workforce
                                                        system and the jobseeker referrals ManufacturingWorks gets from
                                                        the rest of the system.




                                              Page 37                                        GAO-12-97 Workforce Collaboration
                                                               Appendix II

                                                               Health Careers Collaborative of Greater
                                                               Cincinnati
                                                               Southwest Ohio Region Workforce Investment Board

Workforce investment area                                      Overview
Total labor force: 427,603                                     In 2004, a partnership that included a hospital, the workforce board, a
Unemployment rate: 8.3%                                        local community college, and an adult education provider focused on
Source: GAO analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics data from   health care employers’ recruitment and turnover issues and ways to
March 2011.
                                                               develop and expand the pool of trained workers in the area. The initiative
                                                               focused on under-employed incumbent workers and low-skilled, entry-
Initiative characteristics                                     level jobseekers, partners said. As part of the initiative, the partners have
Key sector: Health care                                        also developed training for high-school seniors to become nurse
Other workforce boards involved:                               assistants. The initiative focuses on a career pathways approach, in
      • Indiana Region 9 Workforce                             which training is sequenced and linked to additional training in a way that
        Investment Board                                       supports career progression (see photo). In addition, the initiative uses
   •    Northern Kentucky Workforce                            standardized assessments and certifications to ensure that participants
        Investment Board                                       have the skills and abilities needed to succeed, including soft skills, such
   •    Workforce One of Southwest                             as decision-making skills. Participating employer partners pay for course
        Ohio                                                   costs, including remedial education, using tuition reimbursement plans.
Additional partners:                                           The collaborative grew to include other partners, including other
      •      Adult education provider                          employers, workforce boards in Ohio, Indiana, and Kentucky, as well as
      •      Cincinnati State Technical and                    local nonprofits and a foundation. Some key characteristics of the
             Community College                                 initiative included:
      •      Community-based organizations
      •      Local foundation                                      •     Screening of candidates: The partners said that one-stops’
      •      Local universities
                                                                         screening of participants helped employers to retain entry-level
      •      Multiple health care employers
                                                                         workers. In addition, job coaches worked closely with employers
      •      United Way of Greater
                                                                         and retention specialists helped workers after job placement.
             Cincinnati                                            •     Streamlined data collection: The partners have developed a
                                                                         shared data system to track participants, services received, and
Workforce challenge                                                      outcomes achieved across multiple workforce providers.
Local hospitals in Cincinnati were                                 •     Program manager: The program manager administered the
competing against each other for                                         grants and helped communication among partners.
workers and experiencing high
turnover. According to a local
official, they realized that was
raising the cost of doing business
overall.
Source: Analysis of GAO interviews.




                                                               The workforce investment boards’ role
                                                               The four participating boards assessed jobseekers’ skills and used
                                                               individual training accounts to pay for training in some cases.


                                                               Page 38                                         GAO-12-97 Workforce Collaboration
                                                            Appendix II

                                                            Health Careers Collaborative
                                                            Southwest Ohio Region Workforce Investment Board


Key federal and state                                       Reported results
support                                                     Board staff and other partners identified a range of results for jobseekers
Labor provided funding for the                              and workers, employers, and for the workforce system overall:
initiative through Recovery Act
funds for high-growth and                                       •      Benefits for jobseekers or workers: Since 2004, more than
emerging industries and through a                                     3,000 individuals have earned a credential through the initiative; of
discretionary grant for community                                     these, 23 have earned an associate’s degree. According to a
college-based job training.                                           recent report, incumbent workers who participated in the initiative
                                                                      had an 85 percent job retention rate, compared to 35 percent for
                                                                      non-participants. Of the entry-level workers who participated and
Funding sources                                                       earned certificates through the initiative, 82 percent were placed
WIA formula funds                                                     in jobs.
Recovery Act                                                    •      Benefits for employers: According to an independent study that
                                                                      compared costs and benefits of participating in this initiative,
Community-Based Job Training
                                                                      estimated benefits for one participating employer exceeded costs
grant
                                                                      by over $200,000 for an 8-year period. Additionally, that study
Employer cash or in-kind                                              found that participating employers realized an estimated net
contributions                                                         benefit of about $4,900 for every worker hired through the
Foundation grants                                                     initiative, with about half of these savings attributable to lower
                                                                      turnover and recruitment costs. Additionally, collaboration among
Local funds
                                                                      the education partners ensured a consistent approach to training.
Source: Southwest Ohio Region Workforce Investment Board.

                                                                •      Benefits for workforce system and other partners: Education
                                                                      partners said that graduation rates that generally exceeded 80
                                                                      percent helped them achieve cost savings, because more
                                                                      individuals continued to advanced courses, which have fixed
                                                                      costs. In addition, they said they were able to reduce duplication
                                                                      among their educational programs and streamline clinical
                                                                      programs, thereby achieving additional cost savings and reducing
                                                                      the time needed for credential completion by 1 year for certain
                                                                      participants. The partners said they are considering expanding the
                                                                      initiative to include employers in long-term care, and the board
                                                                      said it has replicated elements of this initiative in other sectors,
                                                                      such as manufacturing and construction.




                                                            Page 39                                          GAO-12-97 Workforce Collaboration
                                                            Appendix II

                                                            Entrepreneurship Quests
                                                            FloridaWorks (Workforce Investment Board)


Workforce investment area                                   Overview
Total labor force: 143,635                                  In 2009, a community partnership led by the Gainesville Area Chamber
Unemployment rate: 7.5%                                     of Commerce convened local leaders to discuss the area’s economic
Source: GAO analysis Bureau of Labor Statistics data from
                                                            growth strategy and agreed to make job creation a priority. To this end,
March 2011.                                                 the local workforce board and other partners developed several
                                                            projects—called “quests”—to help impart entrepreneurial skills to three
Initiative characteristics                                  populations: (1) unemployed, highly skilled jobseekers; (2) Temporary
Key sector: No single sector                                Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) cash recipients and (3) WIA
(entrepreneurship)                                          Youth. All three projects were first piloted in 2011.
Additional partners:
                                                            Startup Quest: The board partnered with the University of Florida’s
      •      Gainesville Area Chamber of                    Office of Technology Licensing to provide entrepreneurship training to 83
             Commerce
                                                            unemployed or dislocated high-skilled professionals. These individuals
      •      Local school districts                         worked in 13 hand-selected teams, each with finance, marketing,
      •      Multiple entrepreneurs and                     operations, and other management skills, under the direction of a
             local business owners
                                                            successful entrepreneur/mentor/chief executive officer for a total of 10
      •      North Florida Regional Chamber
             of Commerce                                    weeks. The Office of Technology Licensing made available new
      •      Santa Fe Community College                     technologies to take to market. Working with this office, each mentor
      •      University of Florida’s Office of              selected a technology, such as a sinkhole sensor and an inner ear
             Technology Licensing                           implant, and the teams then developed market analyses. At the end of
                                                            the project, participants pitched their analyses to venture capitalists.
Workforce challenge                                         Opportunity Quest: The board provided 65 TANF cash recipients with
A board official said that the                              training to help them discern their talents, learn marketing techniques
community had substantially more                            and develop business concepts. Topics included networking, marketing,
unemployed individuals than                                 customer service, and finance.
available jobs. The lack of
employment opportunities                                    TechQuest: In partnership with the local school board, staff selected 47
impacted jobseekers across the                              at-risk high school students and enrolled them in WIA Youth for 8 weeks
skill spectrum. Officials also                              of business-oriented learning. The project’s goal was twofold: to
reported that the area’s economic                           introduce students to technology-oriented businesses, and to improve
development was negatively                                  their reading and writing skills. A local entrepreneur taught the classes,
affected by the high-school dropout                         and students earned iPads for completing the training. Students also
rate and the difficulty local                               received support from a local community college, the Chamber of
entrepreneurs faced in finding                              Commerce, and multiple local business owners.
workers able to succeed in a
startup environment.
                                                            Some key factors of the projects were:
Source: Analysis of GAO interviews.                             •     Program manager/single point of contact: A program manager
                                                                      and a single point of contact for employers helped ensure
                                                                      partners quickly adjusted to changing plans.
                                                                •     Screening of candidates: Startup Quest participants were
                                                                      screened at multiple points to ensure that they could commit to
                                                                      the training and had an appropriate educational background.

                                                            The workforce investment board’s role
                                                            The board applied for grants that funded training, and planned and
                                                            developed the quests. Also, officials said that the board's ongoing
                                                            contract for business services with the Chambers of Commerce made
                                                            the quests possible.

                                                            Page 40                                         GAO-12-97 Workforce Collaboration
                                        Appendix II

                                        Entrepreneurship Quests
                                        FloridaWorks (Workforce Investment Board)


Key federal and state                   Reported results
support                                 Local workforce officials noted that because all three projects are
Each of the entrepreneurship            recently implemented pilots, they are still collecting data on participant
projects was funded through             outcomes. The results reported below are current as of October 2011.
separate grants, including
$175,500 for Startup Quest from a           •     Benefits for jobseekers or workers: As of October 2011, of the
Recovery Act state-level grant;                   58 WIA-eligible Startup Quest participants, 35 had found
$101,000 for TechQuest from WIA                   employment. Twelve other Startup Quest participants have
Governor’s set-aside; and                         started seven new companies. The majority of Opportunity
$300,000 from Recovery Act state-                 Quest’s participants did not complete the training; however, more
level funds for Opportunity Quest.                than 25 percent of the attrition was due to participants finding
Officials told us that they could not             employment. Of the 47 TechQuest participants, 42 completed the
have established and implemented                  program and 40 entered paid summer internships with local
the projects without this funding. In             businesses and startups. Of the students who completed
addition, the University of Florida’s             TechQuest, 90 percent have been retested in math and reading,
Office of Technology Licensing is                 and 74 percent improved their scores. Of the15 seniors in
part of a Department of Commerce                  TechQuest, all graduated high school, and 13 will be attending
program.                                          postsecondary school.
                                            •     Benefits for employers: Local entrepreneurs who served as
Funding sources                                   mentors for the Startup Quest project reported that a majority of
WIA Governor’s set-aside                          participants are now skilled in startup management. One
                                                  entrepreneur explained that working in a startup is much different
Recovery Act                                      from working with an established employer, and that Startup
Employer cash or in-kind                          Quest participants understand the urgency and needs of such
contributions                                     businesses, a rare and valued skill set. Officials also reported that
Source: FloridaWorks.                             the TechQuest project helped introduce employers to the
                                                  potential talent of WIA Youth, as evidenced by the fact that
                                                  several employers offered internships to students.

                                            •     Benefits for workforce system and other partners: Startup
                                                  Quest provided market analyses for the technologies to the
                                                  University of Florida’s Office of Technology Licensing, which an
                                                  official said could be useful for future activities. As a result of the
                                                  Opportunity Quest project, a new business incubator service is
                                                  being established at the one-stop in a rural area. An official also
                                                  said that Opportunity Quest changed the one-stop’s management
                                                  processes: now entrepreneurship is considered another option for
                                                  jobseekers, particularly those with more independent
                                                  personalities.




                                        Page 41                                            GAO-12-97 Workforce Collaboration
                                                               Appendix II

                                                               Advanced Manufacturing Training Initiative
                                                               Tri-County Workforce Investment Board


Workforce investment area                                      Overview
Total labor force: 307,796                                     Manufacturing is a key industry in Colorado, ranging from food
Unemployment rate: 8.7%                                        processing to chemicals to fabricated metals, according to local officials.
Source: GAO analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics data from   In 2007, the Jefferson County Workforce Center commissioned a focus
March 2011.
                                                               group study of local manufacturing employers to learn more about the
                                                               staffing and human resource needs of the manufacturing industry and
Initiative characteristics                                     how the workforce system could better serve them. As a result of the
Key sector: Manufacturing                                      focus group and other communication with industry partners, the local
Additional partners:                                           workforce system decided to provide training in “lean” (i.e., more
      •      Colorado Association for                          efficient) manufacturing to dislocated and incumbent workers of small to
             Manufacturing and Technology                      mid-size manufacturing companies. They selected the Colorado
      •      Multiple manufacturing                            Association for Manufacturing and Technology, an affiliate of
             employers                                         Commerce’s Manufacturing Extension Partnership, as the training
      •      Two local economic
                                                               provider.
             development agencies                              The initiative’s goals were to (1) help businesses become more
                                                               profitable; (2) provide individuals with training certifications that help them
Workforce challenge                                            upgrade their employment positions or salary ranges, and (3) provide
                                                               employer-defined critical foundational skills. The training emphasized
An official said that the economic
                                                               “lean” manufacturing, in which workers received training in more efficient
downturn greatly increased the
number of local dislocated workers.                            techniques and problem solving. An official explained that the principles
In addition, employers reported that                           guiding such training are not new concepts, but they can be new to
they needed to cut costs and                                   individual manufacturers.
increase their workforce’s soft                                Some key factors of the initiative included:
skills, including the ability to take
initiative, work in teams, and                                     •     Program manager: Partners reported that having a program
communicate effectively.                                                 manager improved stakeholder relations. The program manager
Source: Analysis of GAO interview.                                       helped employers understand the benefits of the initiative and
                                                                         through various forms of outreach—including overview sessions
                                                                         and e-mails—solidified the business community’s commitment to
                                                                         the initiative.
                                                                   •     Limited or action-oriented meetings: Holding a limited number
                                                                         of meetings with employers was useful, according to partners.
                                                                   •     Industry-recognized credentials: Credentials provided
                                                                         independent verification of jobseekers’ abilities to employers.

                                                               The workforce investment board’s role
                                                               One-stops overseen by the board—Jefferson County Workforce Center
                                                               and Workforce Boulder County—focused on identifying funding sources
                                                               and clarifying the requirements related to federal funding.




                                                               Page 42                                          GAO-12-97 Workforce Collaboration
                                                           Appendix II

                                                           Advanced Manufacturing Training Initiative
                                                           Tri-County Workforce Investment Board


Key federal and state                                      Reported results
support                                                    The initiative tracked results related to both WIRED grant goals, such as
Of the approximately $725,000                              the number of people trained, and Manufacturing Extension Partnership
project budget, slightly more than                         measures, such as the number of jobs created or saved. Officials
$284,000 was provided through a                            reported that over a 14-month period, 25 employers participated in the
WIRED grant from the Department                            initiative and 301 workers received training, including 63 dislocated
of Labor. The balance was                                  workers. Some of the trainees received multiple certifications. The
achieved through leveraging the                            partners informed participating employers at the outset that performance
WIRED grant to obtain other funds.                         data would be required from them, and results were collected through
                                                           surveys administered by a third party.
Funding sources                                                •      Benefits for jobseekers or workers: Employers reported that
WIRED                                                                the initiative saved or created 81 jobs, though one employer
                                                                     cautioned that the data on jobs created could be difficult to
Other federal grants or funds
                                                                     attribute to the initiative, especially in large companies. As of
Employer cash or in-kind                                             August 2011, at least 20 of the 63 dislocated workers were
contributions                                                        reported to be employed (not all responded to a survey to
Source: Jefferson County Workforce Development, Business             determine their employment status). Participants attributed a
Services staff.
                                                                     variety of additional results to the training they received, including
                                                                     receiving more interviews and obtaining a higher starting salary.
                                                               •      Benefits for employers: The employers served by this initiative
                                                                     reported that the training resulted in approximately $2.7 million in
                                                                     decreased costs and other savings, and slightly more than $9
                                                                     million in increased sales. One employer reported that the
                                                                     initiative helped workers become problem solvers, and that it
                                                                     helped change the culture of his company. He said that formerly,
                                                                     the company culture was one in which employees were given
                                                                     direction. The training focused on developing a leaner culture in
                                                                     which employees were encouraged to be proactive, and as a
                                                                     result they developed a new product.
                                                               •      Benefits for workforce system and other partners: As part of
                                                                     the initiative, the workforce centers developed what they termed a
                                                                     “speed-dating” service, during which a variety of employers
                                                                     conducted interviews with dislocated workers. According to an
                                                                     official, this approach has been adapted for the workforce
                                                                     system’s youth services, and for a state program. The partners
                                                                     also formed a resource group for manufacturers, which included
                                                                     representatives of the community colleges, the Colorado
                                                                     Association for Manufacturing and Technology, the workforce
                                                                     system, and other partners. The group meets once a month to
                                                                     review companies with challenges and identify opportunities for
                                                                     growth. In addition, workforce system officials reported that they
                                                                     are replicating elements of the initiative in a new energy-sector
                                                                     initiative.




                                                           Page 43                                            GAO-12-97 Workforce Collaboration
                                                           Appendix II

                                                           Piedmont Triad Global Logistics Workforce
                                                           Initiative
                                                           Greensboro/High Point/Guilford County Workforce
                                                           Development Board
Workforce investment area                                  Overview
Total labor force: 243,293                                 In response to mounting job losses in the area, the board identified
Unemployment rate: 9.9%                                    transportation, distribution, and logistics as a target sector for a WIRED
Source: GAO analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics from    grant in 2006. The board chose this sector for its job creation potential,
March 2011.
                                                           according to a local official, and also took into account the region’s
                                                           existing assets, such as the presence of several aircraft and trucking
Initiative characteristics                                 companies, proximity to major highways, and the airport’s potential to
Key sector: Transportation, distribution,                  become the center of a distribution network. According to a board official,
and logistics
                                                           some trucking and transportation companies, such as Volvo Logistics
Other Workforce Boards Involved:                           and Old Dominion Freight Line, have increased their staff in the area.
      •      Davidson Works Workforce                      Furthermore, as this official explained, as more employers locate in the
             Development Board                             region, they are likely to bring in companies in their supply chain, which
      •      Kerr-Tar Workforce                            could spur additional growth in manufacturing. In addition, as one
             Development Board                             employer explained, this sector was chosen because it is a component
      •      Northwest Piedmont Workforce                  that every industry needs to be successful. Although the initiative has
             Development Board                             had as many as 100 industry partners, according to board staff, a recent
      •      Regional Consolidated                         focus was helping Honda Aircraft Company recruit jobseekers, following
             Workforce Development Board                   the firm’s 2007 decision to locate in the area. The board helped the
Additional Key Partners:                                   company identify qualified jobseekers, and a community college
                                                           designed a course of study, which met Federal Aviation Administration
      •      Community colleges and
             universities                                  standards, to train jobseekers to become airframe mechanics. While
                                                           immediate recruitment needs have been a recent focus, the initiative has
      •      Golden LEAF Foundation
                                                           also featured career fairs for youth. Partners said their collaboration
      •      Greensboro Economic                           continued after Labor’s WIRED grant expired in 2010. Some key
             Development Partnership                       elements were:
      •      Local school districts
                                                               •     Screening of candidates: For Honda Aircraft Company, the
      •      Multiple employers                                      board facilitated three rounds of assessments for over 2,400 initial
                                                                     applicants, ensuring that those who passed had the necessary
Workforce challenge                                                  skills for the positions.
According to local reports, the                                •      Industry-recognized credentials: According to a board official,
region around Greensboro, North                                      the primary relevant credentials include commercial drivers’
Carolina, had experienced severe                                     licenses and Federal Aviation Administration certification for the
job losses, in part stemming from                                    training of aircraft mechanics, and most training programs assist
losses in manufacturing. The board                                   in preparing jobseekers for credential testing.
and other partners selected certain
sectors, including the                                         •      Employer input into curriculum: Employers developed the
transportation, distribution, and                                    curriculum for basic logistics training, now provided by several
logistics sector, for their job                                      local colleges and universities.
creation potential.
                                                           The workforce investment board’s role
Source: Analysis of GAO interviews and review of related
reports.                                                   According to board and company officials, board staff provided expedited
                                                           service for Honda Aircraft Company by designing and implementing a
                                                           web-based recruitment and assessment tool within 48 hours. Partners
                                                           said the board was key to collaboration, as it facilitated employers’
                                                           understanding of their common needs.



                                                           Page 44                                          GAO-12-97 Workforce Collaboration
                                                          Appendix II

                                                          Piedmont Triad Global Logistics Workforce
                                                          Initiative
                                                          Greensboro/High Point/Guilford County Workforce
                                                          Development Board
Key federal and state                                     Reported results
support                                                   Board staff and other partners provided information about the results of
Labor’s WIRED grant provided                              the initiative for jobseekers and workers, employers, and for the
critical support for the                                  workforce system overall:
collaboration, according to the
partners. A foundation created by                             •      Benefits for jobseekers and workers: According to a board
the state legislature also supported                                official, individual jobseekers have found jobs in this sector,
training as well as a survey of                                     although the board could not provide specific job placement data.
industry needs.                                                     In addition, while production delays and economic conditions have
                                                                    restrained hiring in some cases, new jobs are anticipated, in part
                                                                    due to Honda Aircraft Company’s decisions to manufacture
Funding sources                                                     aircraft in Guilford County and to locate a maintenance facility in
Recovery Act                                                        the area, according to a board official. In addition, according to
                                                                    this official, other employers in the sector, such as TIMCO
WIA formula funds
                                                                    Aviation Services and FedEx, have been hiring or expect to do so.
WIA Governor’s set-aside
                                                              •      Benefits for employers: Transportation employers said that the
WIRED                                                               initiative helped them reduce their recruitment costs, although
Employer cash or in-kind                                            they did not quantify the amount. In addition, an employer board
contributions                                                       member highlighted employers’ continued interest in collaboration
                                                                    by noting that, since the WIRED grant expired, the initiative has
Foundation grants                                                   been sustained in part by continued employer contributions.
Source: Greensboro/High Point/Guilford County Workforce
Development Board.                                            •      Benefits for workforce system and other partners: A board
                                                                    official said they have developed similar web-based recruitment
                                                                    tools for other companies. In addition, they said they have
                                                                    developed a closer relationship with local economic development
                                                                    agencies which helps them work together to serve employers.
                                                                    Board officials said they have replicated elements of this initiative
                                                                    in their efforts to serve employers in the manufacturing sector.
                                                                    Additionally, partners said the initiative led to the formation of the
                                                                    North Carolina Center for Global Logistics, to help meet the
                                                                    training needs of employers in the transportation, distribution, and
                                                                    logistics sector on an ongoing basis.




                                                          Page 45                                            GAO-12-97 Workforce Collaboration
                                                               Appendix II

                                                               Center of Excellence in Production
                                                               Agriculture
                                                               Lancaster County Workforce Investment Board

Workforce investment area                                      Overview
Total labor force: 266,305                                     In early 2007, facing new challenges in a critical sector, a diverse group
Unemployment rate: 6.8%                                        of partners formed the Lancaster County Center of Excellence in
Source: GAO analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics data from   Production Agriculture. The center serves as a clearinghouse for
March 2011.
                                                               information, and also provides training through a variety of vendors on
                                                               topics such as dairy feeding, poultry flock management, and manure
Initiative characteristics                                     hauling. To meet the needs of workers with limited English, the center
Key sector: Agriculture                                        has contracted with other partners to develop workplace literacy
Additional partners:                                           materials. The center also provides subsidies for farmers to attend
      •      Agriculture-oriented groups                       events such as the Pennsylvania Dairy Summit, training workshops, and
             such as 4-H and Future                            other events in the dairy and poultry industries that help keep farmers
             Farmers of America
                                                               abreast of best practices. Some key factors of the initiative are:
      •      Economic Development
             Company of Lancaster County                           •     Program manager: A coordinator serves as a point of contact for
      •      Lancaster County Conservation                               the center, and works with industry organizations to reach more
             District                                                    farmers.
      •      Library system
      •      Local school district                                 •     Industry-knowledgeable staff: Employers and other partners
      •      Multiple employers                                          said that the one-stop staff members’ knowledge of both
      •      Pennsylvania Department of                                  government processes and industry needs was helpful.
             Agriculture
      •      Pennsylvania Farm Bureau
      •      Pennsylvania State University
             Cooperative Extension


Workforce challenge
Initiative partners explained that in
recent decades, local farmers have
increased the size and scope of
their operations in order to remain
economically viable. However,
family labor is often no longer
sufficient to run these businesses,
and technological advances require
workers with new skills (see
photos). Farmers hired jobseekers                              The workforce investment board’s role
with limited English skills for some
                                                               Through partners, the board helps employers access incumbent worker
entry-level jobs, but struggled to
                                                               training, largely in the dairy and poultry industries. It also makes available
communicate with them.
                                                               information about jobs in agriculture through the one-stop. An official also
Moreover, workers needed to be
trained for middle-management                                  said that the board serves as a neutral party that can forge connections,
positions that did not previously                              perform evaluation, and approach problems systemically. The board has
exist, and farmers needed to                                   reinforced connections to employers by serving as staff to the Agriculture
remain knowledgeable about best                                Council, a policy body that houses the Center of Excellence in Production
practices in their industries in order                         Agriculture. The board also supports four additional centers in areas such
to remain competitive.                                         as long-term care and packaging operations.
Source: Analysis of GAO interviews.




                                                               Page 46                                         GAO-12-97 Workforce Collaboration
                                                             Appendix II

                                                             Center of Excellence in Production
                                                             Agriculture
                                                             Lancaster County Workforce Investment Board

Key federal and state                                        Reported results
support                                                      A workforce official stated that the initiative built trust among partners in
The state’s Industry Partnership                             part because it delivered results.
grant provided substantial support
over the years.                                                  •      Benefits for jobseekers or workers: An official explained that
                                                                       local agricultural businesses do not typically have many workers,
                                                                       so the center is able to train more workers by focusing on the
Funding sources                                                        overall sector’s needs instead of the needs of individual
State grants or funds                                                  employers. From project years 2005 to 2010, the initiative trained
                                                                       approximately 3,000 individuals, 654 of whom received training in
Employer cash or in-kind                                               2010.
contributions
Source: Lancaster County Workforce Investment Board staff.
                                                                 •      Benefits for employers: In project year 2010, 400 employers
                                                                       received services. An official explained that it can be challenging
                                                                       to quantify the benefits for employers, because some do not wish
                                                                       to share information that they consider to be proprietary.
                                                                       However, one employer noted that financial support provided by
                                                                       employers is an indicator of satisfaction. In project years 2008-
                                                                       2010, participating employers contributed approximately $134,000
                                                                       in cash contributions and approximately $345,000 from in-kind
                                                                       contributions.
                                                                 •      Benefits for workforce system and other partners: Officials
                                                                       explained that developments in the agriculture industry sparked
                                                                       interest in the renewable energy sector. As farms increase the
                                                                       quantity of livestock, manure removal presents a new challenge.
                                                                       Methane digesters can remove the manure and provide farmers
                                                                       with a new source of income. Therefore, the Center for Excellence
                                                                       in Production Agriculture spun off its agriculture projects related to
                                                                       renewable energy and created a new Center of Excellence in
                                                                       Renewable Energy to ensure that area employers remain
                                                                       competitive.




                                                             Page 47                                           GAO-12-97 Workforce Collaboration
                                                               Appendix II

                                                               Career Pathways
                                                               Workforce Development Board of South Central Wisconsin


Workforce investment area                                      Overview
Total labor force: 457,962                                     Starting in 1999, the Workforce Development Board of South Central
Unemployment rate: 6.5%                                        Wisconsin began to reassess its training approach after seeing low
Source: GAO analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics Data from   training program completion rates among jobseekers, board officials said.
March 2011
                                                               The board decided to adopt a career pathways approach throughout its
Initiative characteristics                                     one-stop operation, and focus training on seven sectors. This approach
Key sector: Seven sectors, including                           provides education and training progressively so that students can gain
manufacturing, agriculture, health care,
energy, biotechnology and information                          skills and advance in an occupation or industry as they complete
technology                                                     successive training.
Additional partners:                                           As part of their strategy, the local training providers embedded adult
      •      Madison Area Technical College                    basic education with the regular coursework for those who need
      •      Multiple employers
                                                               remediation. Adult basic education and content matter instructors
                                                               developed the curriculum together. For example, math and reading are
                                                               embedded into the curriculum at the earliest stage, and students can get
Workforce challenge                                            extra help in basic skills at “skill centers” that provide tutoring services.
Companies, particularly in health                              Board staff identified the following as important to collaboration:
care and manufacturing sectors,                                   •      Industry-knowledgeable staff: The board directed the one-stop
indicated they were having a hard
                                                                         to organize its operations around industry specialists. These
time finding new employees.
                                                                         specialists develop knowledge of available jobs in their fields so
Additionally, the board wanted to
address low training program
                                                                         they can ensure jobseekers have the right training for these
completion rates among                                                   openings.
jobseekers.                                                       •      Single point of contact: Board staff reported that there is a
Source: Analysis of GAO interviews.                                      partnership coordinator who collaborates with the board staff and
                                                                         industry partners to help meet industry needs and assures that
                                                                         the board is preparing workers for occupations that are in
                                                                         demand.

                                                               The workforce investment board’s role
                                                               Instead of using the career pathways approach exclusively for training
                                                               programs, the board worked to use the model for all services provided by
                                                               the workforce system. In adopting the career pathways approach to its
                                                               one stop operation, the board funded the pathways training with WIA
                                                               funds. The board also convened the partners from selected industries to
                                                               discuss the needs of a given sector as a whole.




                                                               Page 48                                         GAO-12-97 Workforce Collaboration
                                                       Appendix II

                                                       Career Pathways
                                                       Workforce Development Board of South Central Wisconsin


Key federal and state                                  Reported results
support
The board uses WIA funding to
support individual training accounts
                                                           •      Benefits for jobseekers or workers: One of the major benefits
for jobseekers to pursue career                                  of the career pathways approach is that it has reduced student
pathways training. However, to                                   drop out rates in training programs, board staff said. According to
test this approach with prototypes,                              board staff, preliminary results indicate that students pursuing
the board first used other funds,                                “stackable” or cumulative credentials have an 85 percent rate of
such as federal and state grants.                                completion compared to a 65 percent rate of completion for other
                                                                 students.

Funding sources
                                                           •     Benefits for employers: Through informal feedback, board staff
                                                                 have concluded that employers value getting the right jobseekers
WIA formula funds
                                                                 with the training they need.
WIA Governor’s set-aside
                                                           •      Benefits for workforce system and other partners: Employers
WIRED                                                            have become more aware of the public resources available to
Community-Based Job Training                                     them through the one-stop, and are more likely to work with the
grant                                                            federally funded workforce system to find and train new and
                                                                 incumbent employees, according to an evaluation of board efforts
State grants                                                     by the University of Wisconsin-Madison Center on Wisconsin
Foundation grants                                                Strategy.
Employer cash or in-kind
contributions
Source: Workforce Development Board of South Central
Wisconsin.




                                                       Page 49                                          GAO-12-97 Workforce Collaboration
                                                               Appendix II

                                                               Pre-employment Healthcare Academy
                                                               Workforce Development, Inc. (Workforce Investment
                                                               Board)

Workforce investment area                                      Overview
Total labor force: 245,313                                     In consultation with employers and community colleges, the board
Unemployment rate: 6.9%                                        designed pre-employment training for jobseekers, according to board
Source: GAO analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics Data from   staff. The purpose of this training, which they named the Pre-employment
March 2011
                                                               Healthcare Academy, is to develop jobseekers’ “soft skills,” and also to
Initiative characteristics                                     help them more fully understand what entry-level careers in health care
Key sector: Health care                                        would be like and the opportunities available (see photo). The academy
Additional partners:                                           has served lower-skilled candidates, dislocated workers, and TANF
      •      Adult basic education centers                     clients. According to board staff, the following key elements help the
      •      Local community colleges                          academy match employers with jobseekers:
      •      Multiple local health care                           •      Screening of potential candidates: One-stop staff screen
             employers                                                   jobseekers before they enter the healthcare academy and
                                                                         through this process, some jobseekers realize that health care
Workforce challenge                                                      careers are not a good personal choice for them. In those cases,
                                                                         one-stop staff then help these jobseekers explore other possible
Local employers in the health care
                                                                         careers. This screening keeps health care employers engaged
industry, particularly rural long-term
                                                                         because the jobseekers who complete the training and get hired
care providers, have had a difficult
time finding sufficient staff for their
                                                                         are more likely to succeed.
operations and had identified high                                •      Single point of contact: Employers contact health care program
turnover rates as a problem.                                             coordinators if they are seeking a new hire, which allows
Source: Analysis of GAO interviews.                                      employers to find recent health care academy graduates with
                                                                         skills that meet their needs.
                                                                  •      Industry knowledgeable staff: The program coordinators are
                                                                         also nurses, which helps build credibility with employers.




                                                               The workforce investment board’s role
                                                               The board determined that training additional workers for jobs in health
                                                               care was a key local need, and has supported the pre-employment
                                                               training with both WIA and non-WIA funds. The board’s health care
                                                               subcommittee provides industry input, and includes people who are not
                                                               on the full workforce board, according to board officials.


                                                               Page 50                                        GAO-12-97 Workforce Collaboration
                                      Appendix II

                                      Pre-employment Healthcare Academy
                                      Workforce Development, Inc. (Workforce Investment
                                      Board)

Key federal and state                 Reported results
support                               Board staff said the most important benefit of the health care academy
The board has mostly funded the       was helping health care employers—particularly rural long-term care
academy with grants from the state    facilities—find the right people for their vacancies. According to board
and federal government. For those     staff, this initiative has also produced the following results:
who are eligible, the board also
uses WIA formula funds to pay for         •     Benefits for jobseekers or workers: Through the health care
Pre-employment Healthcare                       academy, 205 jobseekers have been placed in jobs at an average
Academy classes.                                wage of almost $10 per hour.
                                          •      Benefits for employers: Although data are incomplete because
Funding sources
                                                not all participating employers provided detailed information,
                                                board officials said employers have reported much higher
WIA formula funds
                                                retention with new hires from the health care academy than with
Community-based Job Training                    other hires. This increase in retention has reportedly reduced
grant                                           employer costs and has particularly helped long-term care
State funds or grants                           facilities maintain adequate staffing levels.

Local funds or grants                     •      Benefits for workforce system and other partners: The board
                                                has used the pre-employment academy approach in the
Employer cash or in-kind                        manufacturing and energy sectors in the past, and other boards
contributions                                   have replicated the health care academy. Additionally, other
Source: Workforce Development, Inc.             workforce boards have used the health care academy as a model
                                                in other sectors such as manufacturing. The board has estimated
                                                there has been a greater than 6-to-1 return on investment from
                                                the health care academy, factoring in taxes paid and foregone
                                                public assistance for newly employed graduates.




                                      Page 51                                        GAO-12-97 Workforce Collaboration
                                                               Appendix II

                                                               Manufacturing Layoff Aversion and Business
                                                               Assistance Initiative
                                                               The County of San Bernardino Workforce Investment
                                                               Board
Workforce investment area                                      Overview
Total labor force: 848,620                                     The Business Services unit overseen by the local workforce board
Unemployment rate: 13.8%                                       recognized that area manufacturers were closing or under stress. To
Source: GAO analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics data from
                                                               provide assistance, in 2009, Business Services provided workshops that
March 2011.                                                    addressed a variety of business needs, according to board staff.
                                                               Following the feedback received at those workshops, however, staff
Initiative characteristics                                     realized that more in-depth assistance was needed to help employers
Key sector: Manufacturing                                      prevent layoffs. At the direction of the local workforce board, Business
Additional partners:                                           Services issued a request for proposal to provide employers with
                                                               services to improve the efficiency of their processes and reduce their
      •      California Manufacturing
             Technology Consulting (CMTC)                      costs, and selected CMTC, an affiliate of Commerce’s Manufacturing
                                                               Extension Partnership, as the service provider.
      •      Inland Empire Women’s
             Business Center                                   CMTC provided intervention services to small and medium at-risk
      •      Multiple manufacturing                            manufacturers. Sometimes, these services included assistance with
             employers                                         marketing or helping an employer achieve specific industry certifications.
                                                               However, partners agreed that when an employer needed to improve
                                                               efficiency, there was also a training component for incumbent workers.
Workforce challenge
                                                               Almost all of the participating employers received services that
One-stop staff reported that the                               addressed workforce issues, according to officials. Workforce services
local economy struggled during the                             included training incumbent workers in more efficient techniques.
recent economic downturn, with
high unemployment and numerous                                 Some key factors of this collaborative were:
foreclosures. Local businesses
                                                                   •     Streamlined data collection: Partners reported that the intake
were increasingly unable to meet
                                                                         form for employers interested in layoff aversion services was kept
their financial obligations.
Business closures were becoming                                          short, but still addressed essential data needed for program
increasingly prevalent, primarily                                        requirements and performance measures.
due to decreasing sales. To avoid                                  •     Single point of contact: Each employer was assigned a
further layoffs, businesses said                                         consultant to provide personalized services.
they needed to reduce operating
costs and increase sales.                                          •     Industry knowledgeable staff: CMTC was familiar with the
Source: Analysis of GAO interviews.                                      business community’s needs, according to an official.

                                                               The workforce investment board’s role
                                                               Officials told us that the board’s decision to fund the Business Services
                                                               unit (even in lean budget years) proved critical, as it established
                                                               relationships with employers that allowed for better communication with
                                                               the workforce system.




                                                               Page 52                                         GAO-12-97 Workforce Collaboration
                                                         Appendix II

                                                         Manufacturing Layoff Aversion and Business
                                                         Assistance Initiative
                                                         The County of San Bernardino Workforce Investment
                                                         Board
Key federal and state                                    Reported results
support                                                  CMTC provided services to 15 businesses and training to incumbent
The training was funded through                          workers as needed. Using an economic impact tool, officials estimated
Recovery Act and WIA Dislocated                          that this intervention added $5.7 million to the local economy.
Worker Rapid Response funds.                                 •     Benefits for jobseekers or workers: According to the reported
The training was provided under a
                                                                   MEP results, as of May 2011, the employers reported that 71 new
waiver from Labor that allowed the
                                                                   jobs were created as a result of this initiative, and 426 jobs were
board to use Rapid Response
                                                                   saved.
funds for layoff-aversion purposes.
                                                             •     Benefits for employers: For individual employers reporting cost
                                                                   savings over a 12-month period, benefits ranged from $50,000 to
Funding sources                                                    $1,000,000. Collectively, employers also reported that total sales
Recovery Act                                                       increased by more than $3.3 million during the same period. A
WIA Rapid Response Funds                                           workforce official estimated that approximately 80 percent of the
                                                                   businesses would have closed without intervention. A
Employer cash or in-kind                                           representative from a business that received CMTC’s services
contributions                                                      said that his company had been in a precarious financial position
Source: The County of San Bernardino Business Services
staff.
                                                                   that put the employees’ jobs at risk, but now the company is on a
                                                                   growth trajectory. On a scale of 1 to 10—with 10 as the highest
                                                                   level of satisfaction—the participating employers reported an
                                                                   average satisfaction score of 9.6.
                                                             •     Benefits for workforce system and other partners: An official
                                                                   told us that the Business Services unit streamlined its operations
                                                                   as a result of the partnership. For example, staff simplified intake
                                                                   forms and kept the project organized in a way that reflected
                                                                   business practices. Another benefit identified by officials was an
                                                                   increase in mutual understanding and awareness between
                                                                   business and the workforce system. As evidence that the
                                                                   partnership was strengthened, an official told us that a
                                                                   representative of one of the employers that received services
                                                                   wanted to join the board. Moreover, the partnership created new
                                                                   opportunities for the workforce investment system. For example,
                                                                   a representative of a small business told us that his company
                                                                   expected to hire new workers by the end of 2011, and that he
                                                                   would consider using the workforce system to hire them.




                                                         Page 53                                          GAO-12-97 Workforce Collaboration
                                                               Appendix II

                                                               Technical Employment Training, Inc.
                                                               The County of San Bernardino Workforce Investment
                                                               Board

Workforce investment area                                      Overview
Total labor force: 848,620                                     The Technical Employment Training, Inc. (TET) initiative was designed to
Unemployment rate: 13.8%                                       train local students in machining processes that use state-of-the-art
Source: GAO analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics data from   computerized numerical control machinery. The initiative functions as
March 2011.
                                                               both a training provider and an operational machine shop, according to
                                                               local partners (see photos). It was developed following the closure of a
Initiative characteristics                                     local high school’s machining program, when local officials familiar with
Key sector: Manufacturing                                      the community’s shortage of skilled machinists requested that education
Additional partners:                                           officials donate the school’s machines for training purposes instead of
      •      Kelly Space and Technology                        selling them. To introduce students to machining processes, TET
             and other manufacturing                           provides training in basic math, basic blueprint reading, metrology,
             employers                                         inspection, and hands-on instruction. Local employers place orders for
      •      Local industrial council                          trainees to complete, which helps develop students’ skills and can foster
      •      San Bernardino County
                                                               relationships with employers, leading to job opportunities. Employers can
             Regional Occupation Program                       review student performance online prior to inviting students to interview.
                                                               In addition to hands-on training, students learn through a computer-
      •      San Bernardino County School
             District                                          based program known as Tooling U. The entire training sequence takes
                                                               630 hours. The program’s first students graduated in December 2010,
                                                               and three additional classes have since graduated. Key elements of the
Workforce challenge                                            initiative include:
According to employers, local
                                                                   •     Screening of candidates: Applicants are screened prior to the
companies have been struggling to
find skilled machinists, despite the                                     training, and before being referred to companies for interviews,
county’s high unemployment rate.                                         they are screened again by a placement specialist familiar with
One company had recruited skilled                                        the employers’ needs.
workers from Switzerland and                                       •      Industry-recognized credentials: Students earn National
another had created an additional,                                       Institute for Metalworking Skills certifications.
lower-ranking position for new hires
lacking the necessary entry-level
skills.
Source: Analyses of GAO interviews.




                                                               The workforce investment board’s role
                                                               The board approved the core contents of the training, offered technical
                                                               assistance and program development guidance, referred trainees to the
                                                               program, and required that the classes provide industry recognized
                                                               credentials upon completion. The board also funded the first TET class
                                                               with a Recovery Act-funded contract.


                                                               Page 54                                         GAO-12-97 Workforce Collaboration
                                                            Appendix II

                                                            Technical Employment Training, Inc.
                                                            The County of San Bernardino Workforce Investment
                                                            Board

Key federal and state                                       Reported results
support                                                     The average completion rate for the three training classes is 90 percent.
The Recovery Act funded 30 of 36                            Board officials noted that 32 percent of the trainees who completed
trainees in the first TET class. The                        TET’s training faced a barrier to employment, such as a criminal record,
San Bernardino City Employment                              positive drug tests, or a physical disability. Some reported results of the
and Training Agency used                                    initiative include:
Recovery Act funds to fund the
second class. The California State                              •     Benefits for jobseekers or workers: On average, nearly 75
Department of Rehabilitation                                          percent of graduates are employed or full time students, which an
funded part of the third class.                                       official said was particularly notable because of the area’s high
                                                                      unemployment rate. Of those who graduated from the first class,
                                                                      85 percent are now employed or full time students. Moreover,
Funding sources                                                       officials told us that some workers who previously struggled to find
WIA formula funds                                                     employment because of criminal records are now employed. In
                                                                      addition, some employers told us that they hired TET graduates at
Recovery Act
                                                                      higher wages than other new hires.
Other federal grants or funds
                                                                •      Benefits for employers: Employers told us that they were
State grants or funds                                                 pleased by the quality of the employees graduating from TET.
Employer cash or in-kind                                              They noted the importance of soft skills, such as work ethic, as
contributions                                                         well as technical skills. Employers told us that TET trainees made
                                                                      fewer mistakes, and they did not have to spend as much time
Local funds                                                           training TET graduates in order for them to reach proficiency.
Source: The County of San Bernardino Workforce Investment
Board staff.
                                                                      Officials reported that employers consistently return to TET to
                                                                      interview and hire recent graduates.
                                                                •      Benefits for workforce system and other partners: The board
                                                                      reported that of the 30 trainees funded by the Recovery Act in the
                                                                      first TET class, 28 completed the program. One official told us that
                                                                      keeping dropout rates low is a more efficient use of the workforce
                                                                      system’s funds.




                                                            Page 55                                          GAO-12-97 Workforce Collaboration
                                                                Appendix II

                                                                Health Care Sector Panel
                                                                Workforce Development Council of Seattle-King County


Workforce investment area                                       Overview
Total labor force: 1,105,017                                    In 2002, the Washington State Hospital Association and Seattle’s local
Unemployment rate: 8.5%                                         workforce board convened a collaborative panel of representatives from
Source: GAO analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics data from    hospitals, labor groups, local colleges, and other partners to address
March 2011.
                                                                worker shortages in the local health care industry. This group came to be
                                                                known as the Health Care Sector Panel, and their work subsequently
Initiative characteristics                                      launched a collection of mutually reinforcing projects which share the
Key sector: Health care                                         goal of maintaining both the short- and long-term pipelines of health care
Other workforce boards involved:                                workers. A few of these projects are discussed below.
      •      Varied by project                                  Officials said that it would have been difficult to increase the pipeline of
Additional partners:                                            Seattle’s health care workers without providing additional training and
      •      Varied by project, but included                    support to those already in health care jobs so that they could progress
             multiple health care employers                     to more advanced work. For example, one project positioned career
                                                                specialists on-site at hospitals and other facilities to provide career
                                                                counseling and subsequent training to incumbent staff. To add new
Workforce challenge                                             workers to the pipeline, WIA youth were enrolled in a college-level
According to a 2003 report that                                 Certified Nursing Assistant program with some wraparound services to
Seattle’s local workforce board and                             help them navigate the educational and employment systems. For
the Washington State Hospital
                                                                example, WIA case managers were paired with coordinators on college
Association produced for the
                                                                campuses to help youths register for classes, apply for financial aid, and
Health Care Sector Panel, health
                                                                utilize student services. Rather than seeking training only for individuals,
care facilities throughout the state
faced a critical lack of staff,                                 the board also used Recovery Act and state matching funds to purchase
including registered nurses,                                    blocks of training from seven local colleges in order to seat entire cohorts
licensed practical nurses, and                                  of trainees in classrooms. Each trainee was paired with a board-funded
radiology technicians, among                                    employment specialist, and in some cases the board worked with the
others. Patients were turned away                               colleges to shape the curriculum. In addition, the board also found that
from 55 percent of the state’s                                  requiring certain students to complete basic skills education before
emergency departments because                                   beginning vocational training impeded course completion, and therefore
of nursing shortages. The health                                worked with the colleges to integrate basic skills and vocational
care workforce was retiring faster                              instruction by placing a basic skills instructor in some vocational classes.
than it could be replaced, colleges
                                                                Work stemming from the Health Care Sector Panel continues, although
throughout the state had long
waiting lists for courses in health
                                                                the panel itself is not active. A key factor of their collaboration was:
care fields, and up to 30 percent of                                •     Limited or action-oriented meetings: Officials said that short,
students in some health care                                              focused meetings helped keep leaders involved. Professional
training programs were dropping                                           facilitators were brought in for the first few panel meetings to
out before completing their training.                                     ensure that time was well-spent.
Source: In Critical Condition: Seattle-King County’s Hospital
Staffing Crisis (February 2003).

                                                                The workforce investment board’s role
                                                                The board has been involved in sector work on an ongoing basis.
                                                                Employers who were already serving on the board also participated on
                                                                the Health Care Sector Panel and helped identify and attract additional
                                                                partners. For the individual health care projects, the board also served as
                                                                a neutral convener, planner, project manager, and as a data collector
                                                                and reporter. The board particularly focused on job placements that
                                                                allowed jobseekers to attain self-sufficiency, and adopted a tool called
                                                                the Self-Sufficiency Calculator to measure those results.

                                                                Page 56                                         GAO-12-97 Workforce Collaboration
                                                        Appendix II

                                                        Health Care Sector Panel
                                                        Workforce Development Council of Seattle-King County


Key federal and state                                   Reported results
support                                                 Officials told us that there are lessons learned with each project, but
From the beginning, projects that                       developing a continuous improvement and evaluation process is difficult.
stemmed from the Health Care                            Nevertheless, officials reported results from some of these projects:
Sector Panel have had a wide
variety of funding support. For                             •     Benefits for jobseekers or workers: Since 2003, more than
example, career advancement                                       4,600 hospital employees have received services to support their
projects have been supported by                                   career advancement, more than 1,000 of whom participated in
WIA formula funds, Governor’s set-                                health care training. An official noted that providing career
aside funds, federal H-1B grant                                   progression services to incumbent workers can create new
monies, and state funds, among                                    openings for entry-level jobseekers when the incumbent workers
others. A youth training project was                              advance. Furthermore, officials also reported that students in the
piloted with Governor’s set-aside                                 Recovery Act-funded training cohorts said the group experience
funds and has been sustained                                      gave them a network of support that helped them complete their
through WIA Youth formula funds                                   training. The reported retention rate for the Recovery Act-funded
and a state program that allows                                   health care cohorts was 87 percent, compared to 51 percent for a
high-school students to earn                                      comparable student group.
college credit. Training for cohorts
of health care jobseekers was                               •     Benefits for employers: Hospital needs for skilled staff are being
purchased with Recovery Act and                                   better met, according to officials. In addition, the availability of
state matching funds. In October                                  new career pathways has reduced employer turnover costs
2010, the board was awarded a 5-                                  associated with workers such as medical assistants, who formerly
year, $11 million grant from the                                  had few options for career advancement. Many projects included
U.S. Department of Health and                                     a financial contribution from industry, which may indicate the
Human Services to support work in                                 projects’ value to employers. For example, hospitals pay 50
the health care sector.                                           percent of cost of the career progression services.
                                                            •     Benefits for workforce system and other partners: Benefits
Funding sources                                                   stemming from the Health Care Sector Panel’s work include the
WIA formula funds                                                 replication of the sector panel approach in other industries, and
                                                                  relationships with employers that generate knowledge and a
WIA Governor’s set-aside                                          positive regard for the workforce system. An education official
Recovery Act                                                      also said that this type of collaboration changed the way hospitals
                                                                  and colleges communicate and conduct business in the Seattle
Other federal grants or funds
                                                                  area. Partners agreed that as a result of the initiative, hospitals
State grants or funds                                             and colleges approach workforce problems in a more systematic
Employer cash or in-kind
                                                                  fashion, and colleges have stronger industry connections.
contributions
Foundation grants
Source: Workforce Development Council of Seattle-King
County.




                                                        Page 57                                          GAO-12-97 Workforce Collaboration
                                                               Appendix II

                                                               Michigan Academy for Green Mobility Alliance
                                                               Southeast Michigan Community Alliance Michigan Works!
                                                               (Workforce Investment Board)

Workforce investment area                                      Overview
Total labor force: 902,172                                     In response to employer-defined needs, the state workforce agency
Unemployment rate: 12.5%                                       created the Michigan Academy for Green Mobility Alliance (MAGMA).
Source: GAO Analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics Data from   The academy’s mission is to develop courses to help provide rapid skill
March, 2011.
                                                               growth in emerging green technologies in vehicle design. MAGMA
Initiative characteristics                                     Advisory Group members reported that collaboration helped the “Big 3”—
Key sector: Auto manufacturing                                 Ford, Chrysler, and General Motors—work together and see the benefits
Other workforce boards involved:                               of cooperating with competitors to train new workers. The academy
      •     Detroit Workforce Development                      classes are offered to incumbent and displaced engineers and
            Department, a Michigan Works!                      technicians (see photo).
            Agency
                                                               Initiative staff identified the following as integral to collaboration:
      •     Genesee/Shiawassee Michigan
            Works! Career Alliance, Inc.                          •      Industry-knowledgeable staff: Initiative staff became
      •     Livingston County Michigan                                   knowledgeable about the engineering competencies needed in the
            Works!                                                       automotive industry, to help build credibility with employers.
      •     Macomb/St. Clair Workforce                            •      Employer input into curriculum: Employers have suggested
            Development Board                                            changes to the courses and can provide information about their
      •     Oakland County Michigan                                      current and future workforce needs, initiative staff said.
            Works! Workforce Development
            Division
      •     Washtenaw County Michigan
            Works!/Employment Training
            and Community Services Group
Additional partners:
      •       Multiple automotive
              manufacturers and suppliers
      •       Multiple education providers
      •       The State of Michigan


Workforce challenge
In 2007, according to a state
official, an automotive employer
projected a need for about 500
electrical engineers with skills in
designing hybrid vehicles. Unable
to find such electrical engineers
locally, the company reported that
they would need to either recruit
them from overseas or send their
workers abroad for training. More
generally, the state recognized that
growth in production of “green”
mobility products such as electric                             The workforce investment board’s role
cars created an increased need for                             MAGMA board members reported that the workforce board helped
workers trained to work on the new                             administer grants and managed the administration of MAGMA.
technology.                                                    Additionally, Southeast Michigan Community Alliance Michigan Works! is
Source: Analysis of GAO interviews.                            the lead board for the six other workforce boards in the initiative, initiative
                                                               staff reported.

                                                               Page 58                                           GAO-12-97 Workforce Collaboration
                                                         Appendix II

                                                         Michigan Academy for Green Mobility Alliance
                                                         Southeast Michigan Community Alliance Michigan Works!
                                                         (Workforce Investment Board)

Key federal and state                                    Reported results
support                                                  Initiative staff reported the following benefits from the initiative:
To fund the initiative, the Southeast
Michigan Community Alliance
                                                             •     Benefits for jobseekers or workers: According to initiative staff,
Michigan Works! applied for                                        312 people completed the training from the fall of 2009 through
statewide grants, which came from                                  January 2011, including 30 dislocated workers, and 281 additional
WIA Governor’s set-aside funds,                                    students had enrolled for 2011 summer/fall academy classes.
according to initiative staff. Staff                         •      Benefits for employers: According to initiative staff, MAGMA will
said they also used WIA formula                                    serve 15 companies in the summer and fall of 2011, including
dollars from several boards,                                       Chrysler, Ford, and General Motors. Initiative staff said they
employer contributions, and
                                                                   believe that, because employers continue to encourage their
another state grant for incumbent
                                                                   workers to participate in training, this is evidence that the process
worker training.
                                                                   is meeting their needs. Furthermore, employers continue to
                                                                   provide information on their training needs.
Funding sources                                              •      Benefits for workforce system and other partners: According
WIA formula funds                                                  to board staff, employers have now embraced the local workforce
WIA Governor’s set-aside                                           system, which they had not done in a sustained way in the past.
                                                                   Also, according to board staff, the initiative has helped the
Recovery Act                                                       workforce system better align its resources with employers’
State grants or funds                                              information about their workforce needs in a way that is more
                                                                   directly associated with employment opportunities. In addition, a
Employer cash or in-kind
                                                                   state official noted that the effort spurred other similar initiatives,
contributions
                                                                   such as convening employers to discuss their skill needs in the
Source: Southeast Michigan Community Alliance Michigan
Works! staff.                                                      area of battery storage technology.




                                                         Page 59                                            GAO-12-97 Workforce Collaboration
                                                               Appendix II

                                                               NoVaHealthFORCE
                                                               Northern Virginia Workforce Investment Board


Workforce investment area                                      Overview
Total labor force: 998,815                                     The goal of this initiative, known as NoVaHealthFORCE, is to establish a
Unemployment rate: 4.6%                                        long-term, sustainable, business-driven strategy to address the area’s
Source: GAO analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics data from   shortage of nurses and allied health professionals. The initiative’s
March 2011.
                                                               partners—the board, local hospitals, and educational institutions—
                                                               commissioned a report to study the problem and developed an action
Initiative characteristics                                     plan to address it in different ways. They sought to increase capacity
Key sector: Health care                                        within the health care training and education system, develop and sustain
Additional partners:                                           an ongoing supply of persons interested in entering health care careers,
      •      Chambers of Commerce                              and nurture innovation, such as by developing a forum for best practices.
      •      Local school districts                            Officials cautioned that merely providing subsidies for additional students
      •      Multiple local health care                        to receive training would have been an insufficient response to the
             employers                                         workforce shortage: they needed to address the lack of available faculty
      •      Regional colleges and                             for training, increase the availability of clinical training sites, and improve
             universities
                                                               the preparedness of youth interested in health care careers. Since 2006,
      •      The Commonwealth of Virginia
                                                               the Virginia General Assembly and six regional health care providers
                                                               have provided financial support to increase the number of nursing faculty.
Workforce challenge                                            The initiative’s participating employers contributed other forms of support
Northern Virginia’s health care                                as well. For example, employers provided subsidies to develop new
employers faced a workforce                                    radiation oncology and sonography programs. Education officials said
shortage of nurses and 23 other                                these programs could not have been developed without those subsidies.
health occupations, including
therapists and technicians in a                                Initiative partners said they had integrated new partners, such as local
variety of fields. Vacancy rates of 5                          elected officials and the Chamber of Commerce, by citing the business
percent or higher are significant in                           costs incurred with increased health care costs. Meanwhile, they
the health care industry, and the                              identified the following areas as some of the elements that supported
area’s vacancy rate had reached                                their collaboration:
10 percent for nonmanagerial                                       •     Limited or action-oriented meetings: Biannual, roundtable
registered nurses, for example. As
                                                                         meetings provide chief executive officers, educational leaders,
a result, employers faced an
                                                                         and other partners the opportunity to talk about results and about
increasing cost of labor as they
                                                                         the next stages of implementation without over-burdening their
tried to hire the limited number of
workers away from one another.                                           schedules.
Moreover, officials noted that some                                •     Program manager: Partners said that having a full-time program
hospital units might be forced to                                        manager for the initiative was important to the initiative.
close in the event of a staffing
shortage.                                                          •     Streamlined data collection: The initiative’s quarterly data
Sources: GAO analyses of interviews and
                                                                         collection and reporting system focuses on key metrics to
PriceWaterhouseCoopers, The Health Care Workforce
Shortage: An Analysis of the Scope and Impact on Northern
                                                                         generate discussions about partners’ needs.
Virginia (2004).


                                                               The workforce investment board’s role
                                                               The board helped the other partners prepare an action plan, and a
                                                               nonprofit arm of the board served as the initiative’s fiscal agent. Partners
                                                               said that the board was perceived as a neutral arbiter that could bring
                                                               people together to solve regional problems. Officials said that the board’s
                                                               neutrality was critical to ensuring the participation of competitors within
                                                               the business and education communities.


                                                               Page 60                                         GAO-12-97 Workforce Collaboration
                                                        Appendix II

                                                        NoVaHealthFORCE
                                                        Northern Virginia Workforce Investment Board


Key federal and state                                   Reported results
support                                                 The initiative partners have been able to collect basic quarterly data from
Hospitals pledged money to                              participating institutions of higher education, such as enrollment and
support new programs at local                           graduation rates in health care training programs. Specifically, each
colleges if the state would match                       institution provides the program manager with a financial report, a
the funds, which it did. Labor’s                        narrative, and a data report with admissions, enrollment, and graduation
Community-Based Job Training                            information. The partners also collect data on participants who obtained
grant supported efforts to expose                       training subsidies through the one-stop.
secondary students to careers in
health care, among other activities.                        •     Benefits for jobseekers or workers: While the partners did not
                                                                  track job placements for participants, they reported that, between
                                                                  2006 and 2011, the number of registered nursing graduates
Funding sources                                                   across all participating institutions increased from 586 to a
Community-Based Job Training                                      projected 743, and that 180 individuals received training in the
grant                                                             newly created program for sonography, radiation oncology, and
                                                                  related occupations. Also, jobseekers had increased opportunities
WIA formula funds
                                                                  for training, as a result of the newly created programs of study.
State grants or funds
                                                            •     Benefits for employers: Employers benefited from an expanded
Employer cash or in-kind                                          supply of skilled workers, as reflected by education partners’
contributions                                                     expansion of their capacity to train nurses by approximately 35
Local funds                                                       percent. In addition, to help meet employers’ needs, two
Source: Northern Virginia Workforce Investment Board.
                                                                  institutions developed an accelerated program of study in nursing.
                                                                  Generally, the partners agreed that the urgency of employers’
                                                                  needs had abated, although they anticipated future needs as
                                                                  retirements of existing workers begin to accelerate.
                                                            •     Benefits for workforce system and other partners: The
                                                                  workforce system benefited from strengthened relationships with
                                                                  employers, as indicated by one former hospital executive’s
                                                                  appreciation for the role the board had played in helping to identify
                                                                  qualified workers. Also, partners reported that the strategies they
                                                                  had developed could be applied to other sectors.




                                                        Page 61                                           GAO-12-97 Workforce Collaboration
                                                          Appendix II

                                                          Composites Kansas WIRED Initiative
                                                          Workforce Alliance of South Central Kansas (Workforce
                                                          Investment Board)

Workforce investment area                                 Overview
Total labor force: 323,133                                According to a local official, the region around Wichita, Kansas, is one of
Unemployment rate: 8.3%                                   five global aviation centers. As early as 1999, however, local aviation
Source: GAO analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics from   companies anticipated a critical need for workers to help them keep pace
March 2011.
                                                          with the industry’s transition to composite materials; the companies
                                                          worked with local government, eventually culminating in the opening of
Initiative characteristics                                the National Center for Aviation Training in 2010, according to local
Key sector: Manufacturing                                 stakeholders. While planning was under way, the board applied for and
Other workforce boards involved:                          Labor awarded a WIRED grant in 2007, which supported training,
      •      Kansas WorkforceONE                          curriculum development, and supplies and equipment. The initiative
                                                          involved a career pathways approach, in which training is broken down
Additional partners:
                                                          and sequenced so that workers can acquire skills and advance in an
      •      Adult education providers                    occupation as they complete successive levels of training. Participants
      •      Local school districts                       received hands-on training in specialized equipment (see photo). The
      •      Multiple manufacturing                       initiative targeted incumbent workers, while also serving some low-skilled
             employers                                    adults and dislocated workers. In addition, certain components targeted
      •      Wichita Area Technical College               limited-English workers and youth: local adult education providers
                                                          developed vocabulary for key terms and concepts for participants with
      •      Wichita State University
                                                          limited English, and over 200 youth participated in career exploration
                                                          activities. Some key factors that facilitated collaboration included:
Workforce challenge                                           •     Single point of contact: Partners said that establishing a single
Local companies, including Boeing,                                  point of contact for employers was key to facilitating collaboration.
Raytheon, Cessna, and
Bombardier, identified an                                     •      Employer input into curriculum: Employers had direct input into
impending shortage of skilled                                       the curriculum, and aimed to accelerate the integration of
workers, driven both by imminent                                    research findings into training and production.
retirements and by the need to
upgrade workers’ skills and
maintain competitiveness as a
result of the increasing use of
composite materials in aircraft
manufacturing, according to local
stakeholders.
Source: Analysis of GAO interviews.




                                                          The workforce boards’ role
                                                          The boards provided case management and career guidance, screening
                                                          and placement in training, and convened community partnerships.



                                                          Page 62                                           GAO-12-97 Workforce Collaboration
                                                      Appendix II

                                                      Composites Kansas WIRED Initiative
                                                      Workforce Alliance of South Central Kansas (Workforce
                                                      Investment Board)

Key federal and state                                 Reported results
support                                               Board staff and other partners provided information about the results of
Labor’s WIRED grant supported                         the initiative for jobseekers and workers, employers, and for the
training, equipment, and curriculum                   workforce system overall:
costs. The U.S. Departments of
Commerce and Housing and Urban                            •      Benefits for jobseekers or workers: Of the 1,195 individuals
Development, and the Small                                      who participated in WIRED-funded training, 1,180 completed it,
Business Administration provided                                and 1,008 were placed in jobs. In addition, of those who
funds for the facility. The state also                          completed the training, 146 earned a degree, certificate, or
provided funding for construction.                              industry credential. Additionally, an official said that, during the
                                                                economic downturn, hiring of workers with skills in composite
                                                                materials had increased by 7 percent.
Funding sources
                                                          •      Benefits for employers: Partners said that the initiative had
WIA formula funds
                                                                significantly increased the skill set of entry-level workers in
WIA Governor’s set-aside                                        aviation. Also, an official said that the initiative had helped identify
Recovery Act                                                    the best candidates for additional training.

WIRED                                                     •      Benefits for workforce system and other partners: Partners
                                                                said that employers now see the workforce system as more
Other federal grants or funds                                   valuable than before, and that one-stop staff provide better advice
State grants or funds                                           to individuals on careers in aviation. Additionally, according to the
                                                                partners, the experience gained during the initiative was applied to
Employer cash or in-kind
                                                                other activities, such as the establishment of a center for
contributions
                                                                advanced manufacturing and an effort to leverage the new skills in
Foundation grants                                               composites to grow a new medical device industry cluster, based
Local funds                                                     on the use of composite materials in orthopedic devices, such as
Source: Workforce Alliance of South Central Kansas.
                                                                knee and hip replacements.




                                                      Page 63                                             GAO-12-97 Workforce Collaboration
Appendix III: Comments from the
              Appendix III: Comments from the Department
              of Labor



Department of Labor




              Page 64                                      GAO-12-97 Workforce Collaboration
Appendix III: Comments from the Department
of Labor




Page 65                                      GAO-12-97 Workforce Collaboration
Appendix IV: GAO Contact and Staff
                  Appendix IV: GAO Contact and Staff
                  Acknowledgments



Acknowledgments

                  Andrew Sherrill (202) 512-7252 or sherrilla@gao.gov
GAO Contact
                  In addition to the individual named above, Laura Heald (Assistant
Staff             Director) and Chris Morehouse (Analyst-in-Charge) led the engagement.
Acknowledgments   Aron Szapiro and Alison Hoenk also made significant contributions to this
                  report in all facets of the work. In addition, Jean McSween assisted with
                  methodology, Rhiannon Patterson lent subject matter expertise, Jessica
                  Botsford provided legal support, Susan Bernstein and James Bennett
                  provided assistance with writing and graphics, and Charles J. Ford and
                  Kathy Leslie also made significant contributions to this report.




                  Page 66                                      GAO-12-97 Workforce Collaboration
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             Page 67                                     GAO-12-97 Workforce Collaboration
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