Frequently Asked Questions
Workforce Investment Boards are local partnerships of private and public sector participants that will provide coordinated planning, policy guidance and oversight for all workforce readiness programs in their designated area.
WIBs were established by Executive Order 36, signed on May 12, 1995, which stated that current county and multi-county Private Industry Councils (PICs), in cooperation with their chief elected officials, were to develop plans to be transformed into Workforce Investment Boards (WIBS). The WIBs would then assume additional responsibilities as listed in the executive order as well as others to be established by the SETC. Subsequently, Workforce Investment Boards were authorized by federal legislation: the Workforce Investment Act of 1998.
Private Industry Councils were also local partnerships of private and public sector participants, and were created under the auspices of the federal Job Training Partnership Act (JTPA). Their primary purpose was to provide oversight to the JTPA system. The WIB membership was not only expanded with new participants, assuming the mandated responsibilities of the PICs, but also providing similar oversight to all workforce readiness systems within its area.
There are 15 WIBs, of which 4 are multi-county. Executive Order No. 36 stated that where more than one PIC served a county, those PICs should work cooperatively to develop a single county-based Workforce Investment Board to meet the needs of the entire county workforce population.
Policy makers understood the need for local boards to look at all of the workforce readiness issues within their labor market areas, and recommend policies to improve the systems and quality of the workforce. The purpose of WIBs is to coordinate existing federal, state and local workforce readiness policies and programs into a single labor market driven system that can deliver needed services in the most cost effective manner.
The chief elected official(s) of each county, with full consideration of the needs of the municipalities they represent, appoints WIB members for staggered three-year terms. In multi-county WIBs, each county has full representation.
The membership composition of a WIB is mandated by the Workforce Investment Act of 1998 and the New Jersey State Employment and Training Commission (SETC) policy guidance.
- Private Sector (Majority of membership)
- Community-Based Organizations & Organized Labor (minimum 15%)
- A County Economic Development Agency
- Abbott School Superintendent
- Adult Education or Literacy
- County Superintendent of Vocational/Technical Schools
- County Superintendent of Schools
- County Board of Social Services
- Director of Local or Regional Employment Services Manager
- President of the Community College
- Chair of Human Services Advisory Council
- Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Services
- One-Stop Career Center Administrator
- Representative from Literacy and Adult Education Programs
The organizational structure varies from one WIB to another, but it is based on the requirement to fulfill their planning and workforce policy making obligations in the following areas:
- Leadership/Planning: developing policy recommendations for the overall strategic workforce plan and ensuring continuity of the WIB’s mission in all areas.
- Economic Development: work closely with city, county and state economic development agencies, as well as business leadership, to develop policy recommendations which will coordinate and strengthen all economic development in the WIB area.
- Labor Market Information Exchange: identify information available, identify information that is needed but not readily available, and develop a methodology to obtain the additional information, disseminate information to users of the system and develop profile of current and future workforce skill needs.
- School-to-Work Opportunities: develop an effective School-to-Work Opportunities system which serves all students in the WIB area using strong business leadership for guidance.
- One-Stop Career Centers: develop a strategy for the implementation of the One-Stop Career Center system, bringing all of the participants together at the local level, and providing continual oversight and evaluation to ensure success of this system.
- Marketing and Communications: Develop and implement a marketing strategy to clearly communicate the mission, goals and strategy of the WIB to the community at large.
- Resource Analysis: review all publicly-funded programs with the ultimate goal of collecting and analyzing sufficient data to direct funding to systems and programs where they will most effectively serve the customers of the workforce readiness system.
- Literacy: review all literacy programs and services in the area and make recommendations to better serve the customers.
WIBs have been asked to reach out to the broader community for additional committee and sub-committee members, based on their structure. You can let the WIB Executive Director of your area know which of the above areas you are interested in. If the committee is already full, you may be able to offer your services to the committee in carrying its message to the broader community.
The WIB serves as a mechanism to communicate local priorities to responsible state and local governmental agencies to influence the allocation of workforce readiness resources. At the core of this system of shared authority is a partnership among the various levels of government, the public and private sectors and citizens. WIBs will produce a locally delivered workforce readiness system in concert with the State’s overall economic development strategy, with each of the existing partners contributing to the fullest.
Executive Order No. 36 gives authority to both the Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development and the New Jersey Employment and Training Commission (SETC). The Commissioner has certification and final approval for WIB membership and plans, while the SETC guides the WIBs through the development of their planning process.
The WIB plans will be “living” documents. In other words, they will need to be continually revised to reflect changing labor market conditions.