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|Thursday, December 16, 1999 |
Tommy G. Thompson
News Media Contact
COUNCIL CHARGED WITH FACING
CHALLENGES OF WORKFORCE TO MEET
MADISONThe Governors Council on Workforce Investment, which has been charged with confronting Wisconsins workforce challenges and building a unified workforce investment system, will meet for the first time today in Madison.
The council, composed of 41 members, including Gov. Thompson is made up of a contingency of business, union and education leaders. The council will be charged with identifying issues to deal with the challenges facing Wisconsins workforce and providing direction to determine how to build and sustain a solid workforce for Wisconsin to compete and succeed in the 21st century.
Gov. Thompson created the council in accordance with the federal workforce Investment Act of 1998 (WIA), which was passed by Congress to consolidate and coordinate many different federal workforce preparation and development programs.
The WIA gives each state more flexibility to tailor their own workforce development priorities through the state and local workforce investment boards that will direct the expenditure of $26.5 million in federal employment funds this year. In addition, WIA will give the Governor, state council and local boards the ability to achieve broad coordination through unified planning across 16 federal programs.
"Wisconsin is challenged with finding enough workers to fill the jobs being created by state businesses," said Stewart. "We need to deal with the challenges facing our workforce head on. The council will serve as a catalyst for helping Wisconsin build an even stronger workforce for the 21stcentury."
The cornerstone of this new workforce investment system is the Job Center System which consolidates the states training, education, and employment programs in a single customer-focused, user-friendly service system.
Under Gov. Thompsons leadership, Wisconsin was the first state in the nation to develop a comprehensive statewide system of job centers where various government programs and services were consolidated under one roof. Wisconsin currently has 78 job centers, which amounts to 10% of the 780 job centers nationwide. Wisconsin job centers are supported through the Department of Workforce Development.
The Governors Council on Workforce Investment will address needs of employers and identify workforce preparation activities for Wisconsins underutilized and hidden labor force. The board will identify innovative ways to help employers find workers by enhancing training efforts and making life-long learning an integral part of economic planning. In addition, the board will identify ways to help youth transition into technically skilled jobs and encourage the aging population to remain or return to the workforce and assist the transition of W-2 participants into good jobs.
"Effective economic development requires that the state be successful at workforce development," said Secretary Stewart. "Working together we have the opportunity to respond proactively to the workforce issues facing us."