On February 14, NACo partnered with the National League of Cities (NLC), National Association of Workforce Boards (NAWB) and the U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM) to host a congressional briefing titled: Love Your Workforce: Local Innovations in Workforce Development. The briefing highlighted best practices at the local level in workforce development and the importance of federal funding for employment and training programs, and featured Supervisor Pamela Lancaster from Hall County, Nebraska.
Supervisor Lancaster, who chairs NACo’s Workforce Development Subcommittee, provided a rural perspective for local workforce development efforts. Supervisor Lancaster also chairs the Greater Nebraska Workforce Development Area, which oversees finances and program services for 88 rural counties.
In her remarks, Supervisor Lancaster urged lawmakers to continue investments in the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), a key federal program that assist counties with providing employment and training options for jobseekers and a skilled workforce for local businesses. She emphasized that it takes federal, state and local investments and partnerships to meet workforce development needs in rural areas, and she shared how Platte County, Nebraska partnered with Cargill corporation, the local community college and the Nebraska Department of Labor to retrain and develop new skills in the existing workforce to keep Cargill and 240 jobs in the community.
Enacted in 2014, WIOA is bipartisan legislation that reauthorizes federal employment, workforce and training programs and formula funding to states and localities. WIOA provides the needed framework for a modernized, demand driven workforce development system to meet the needs of business and jobseekers alike. It is a vital funding source for workforce development that helps counties tackle and overcome the challenges facing job seekers and employers. NACo supports continued federal investments in WIOA to increase opportunities for jobseekers, meet business needs and increase economic competitiveness.