Madison-Bond Workforce Investment Board Overview
Simply put, the Madison-Bond Workforce Board “works to ensure the integration of workforce services to meet the needs of business and job seekers.”
In 1997, Madison and Bond counties renamed the Private Industry Council, the Workforce Development Board. The purpose was to begin to craft a true local workforce investment system out of various local, state and federal programs at work in our community.
A few months later, Congress passed the federal Workforce Investment Act of 1998 (WIA), which formalized the creation of similar bodies across the country. The foundations of the federal shift in the policy landscape are: (a) recognition that structural changes in the U.S. economy are fundamentally changing business’s labor needs, and (b) widely held concerns about the workforce’s continuing ability to supply adequately trained workers for higher-skilled jobs.
As envisioned, the Workforce Investment Act created local boards that take a broad, policy-oriented approach to workforce investment and generally work to coordinate and integrate these programs. Their goal is to eliminate the duplication of services and maximize the use of available local resources for workforce investment. To assist in this effort, several federal programs are consolidated by the Act.
In January of 2000, the Governor approved the Madison-Bond Workforce Board and its initial meeting was held the following month. The Board developed a set of bylaws at its second meeting, establishing a 38-member business-led organization. A majority of the members (51%) are from the business sector, and the remaining members represent labor, education, community-based organizations, One-Stop partners, economic development and other interested groups.
During its first two years, the Board guided the development of an entirely new workforce investment system for Madison-Bond Counties. This system has been fully operational for more than a year and is producing remarkable results for both our employer customers and job-seeking customers through a wide array of partner services.
In 2002, the Board embarked on a new initiative, a Regional Strategic Workforce Plan, in cooperation with the Mid-America Workforce Board, which serves Clinton, Monroe, Randolph, St. Clair and Washington Counties. In October of 2002, a kickoff event was held to introduce the team from the Workforce Associates that will support the Board through this process. The Boards have recruited many key stakeholders in the past year to help direct the actions of the Workforce Associates to complete a first class strategic plan to be entitled “21 st Century Workforce: Southwestern Illinois.” A preliminary draft of this initiative was presented to the Steering Committee on June 17, 2003. The final report was delivered to the Workforce Board at its September 18, 2003 meeting. A copy of this report can be found in the publications section of this web site.
On September 16, 2004 the findings of the report were introduced to the community during the “Workforce21 2004 Summit.” A second summit was held in 2006.
A companion effort, the One-Stop Business Plan initiative, began in June 2003. The heart of the network is a comprehensive “One-Stop” center. The center is a joint business venture among the partners designed to bring all services together at one location for the convenience of customers. The Alton One-Stop Business Plan gives direction for the One-Stop and serves to create a cohesive, efficient system.
Once the challenges facing the southwestern Illinois region were identified, two task forces/committees, “Connecting Business and Education” and “Supporting Economic Development,” were established to address the challenges. The Connecting Business and Education created the Partners in Progress Interactive Website/Database. The site tells school officials what work-based employment opportunities are available in the area, and tells businesses what educational opportunities are available.
The “Supporting Economic Development” Committee has been concerned with the development of entrepreneurial opportunities in Southwestern Illinois. In October 2005, the committee hosted the “Entrepreneurial Summit 2005: Southwestern Illinois Bridge to Economic Growth.” The Committee is also concerned with the impact “brain drain” has on the region and seeks ways to encourage professionals to stay or return to the area. The Madison-Bond and Mid America Workforce Investment Boards, along with the Job Center Board, began addressing this shortage through the “Critical Skill Shortages Initiative” (CSSI).
The Madison-Bond Workforce Investment Board will continue to play a vital role in the workforce and sincerely appreciates the support and efforts of all of its many members and associates. The Board anticipates even greater accomplishments in the future.