Workforce Development Board FAQ

What is a Workforce Development Board?

Workforce Development Boards (WDBs) are part of the public workforce system under the U.S. Department of Labor. The system is a network of federal, state, and local offices that function to support economic expansion and develop the talent of our nation’s workforce. The public workforce system works in partnership with employers, educators, and community leaders to foster economic development and high-growth opportunities in regional economies in order to meet the challenge of the 21st century global economy. This system exists to help businesses find qualified workers to meet their present and future workforce needs.

How were WDBs created?

Workforce Development Boards were originally created in 1998 under the Workforce Investment Act (WIA), and re-authorized under the 2014 Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA). WDB’s have been created in all 50 States to oversee policy on workforce development and coordinate services through a network of 3,000 One-Stop Career Centers, implementing initiatives for potential workers and employers in one convenient location. The focus of federal law is to consolidate, coordinate, and improve employment, training, literacy, and vocational rehabilitation programs in the United States.

What is the One-Stop Career Center?

WIOA requires a “one-stop” delivery system where state and local agency partners are tasked with delivering a universally accessible, integrated system of labor market information and education/training programs – free of charge. Once the WDB and other state organizations determines a business need, personnel at the One-Stop Career Centers assist with recruiting and training employees. One-Stop Career Centers are accountable for the results of their work.

Who sits on a WDB?

WDB’s are required to maintain at least a 51% representation from the local business sector. The intent of this law is to develop a workforce development system based upon local business needs, which is accountable to all customers. The remaining board membership includes entities representing labor organizations, education and training providers, economic and community development, and the public sector. Diversity is sought between small and large businesses, type of services and industry, and geographical location.

How much money do WDB’s receive?

The federal government appropriates billions of dollars a year to the U.S. Department of Labor to be used towards different workforce development programs.

Where does the money come from?

Annually, the U.S. Department of Labor allocates funding to each state. Based on a formula, each state then allocates their funding to local WDB’s. Local WDB’s have opportunities to apply for additional grants on top of their state allocation.

Why should I get involved with my Workforce Development Board?

WDBs were created to help employers like you. The WDBs’ role is to develop regional strategic plans and set funding priorities for their area business community to develop and foster initiatives to help address labor shortage issues. Many WDBs facilitate partnerships between local businesses with similar training needs. WDBs also rely on labor market information to develop sector strategies that focus resources on a particular high growth industry for their area, often involving skills training for local businesses.

How do I get involved with a Workforce Development Board?

Contact your local WDB and start a conversation about how your company can help develop a program focused on training and hiring employees for the structural building component industry in your state. Find your WDB by going online and entering your company’s address.

What’s it going to cost me to get involved with my WDB?

The more time you can put into developing a relationship with your WDB, and contributing to an existing or new state program, the better off you and your company will be.

What information should I provide my WDB?

Before you start a conversation with your WDB, consider your workforce needs. If you need help recruiting employees, make sure you know how many you need, for what positions, salaries, benefits, opportunities for advancement, and any required training or education. If you need help retaining employees, write down why you think employees are leaving your company. Will there be a lot of paperwork to do? Possibly, but if you are working with your SBCA Chapter and SBCA Staff, it shouldn’t be too difficult. SBCA Staff is more than willing to help you navigate through the development of a local program as long as you commit to see it become successful.

How do I get started?

By reading this FAQ, you are on your way. Put together some facts and figures about your workforce needs, discuss the idea with other Component Manufacturers in your state, put some plans together, and meet with your WDB representatives to see what programs are currently available, or if you can help create a new opportunity in your state that can help address your Workforce Development issues.

For other questions regarding WDBs, please reach out to SBCA Staff.