WASHINGTON, March 7, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- As the House and Senate begin considering reauthorizing the Workforce Investment Act, a new report from the National League of Cities (NLC) underscores concerns that NLC has long conveyed to Congress and the Administration about the relationships local workforce investment boards have with cities. Specifically, greater collaboration is needed between local workforce boards and local elected officials in ensuring a productive and effective workforce development system.
The report, State of America's Cities: Special Section on Workforce Development, finds that nearly one in three officials are becoming more involved in workforce development in light of the recession. As a result of the still-high unemployment rate and increasing poverty in cities, local officials understand the importance of workforce development and are pursuing workforce efforts to actively combat unemployment and poverty. However, less than one in four (24 percent) officials report collaborating with local workforce investment boards for workforce development activities. Consequently, the services provided by the workforce investment boards are missing the opportunities and resources city governments bring to the table.
While cities and local workforce investment boards seem to not be collaborating to their fullest potential, the report shows that cities understand that workforce development is an integral component to economic development. According to the report, cities are collaborating with local chambers of commerce (68 percent), community colleges (56 percent) and businesses (55 percent) most frequently to develop workforce development activities.
NLC is helping city leaders increase postsecondary completion rates and strengthen collaborations among workforce boards, city and county agencies, community colleges and universities, school districts, nonprofit organizations and employers to build a stronger workforce.
NLC has and will continue to urge Congress to recognize the important role that elected officials play in the development and implementation of workforce development programs. Along with local workforce boards, elected officials should have a strong and important voice in the development and implementation of local workforce programs, including the scope and focus of job training programs, one stop centers and other services for disadvantaged, dislocated and underemployed workers.
This report documents results from a special section of the 2010 State of America's Cities Survey.
The National League of Cities is the nation's oldest and largest organization devoted to strengthening and promoting cities as centers of opportunity, leadership and governance. NLC is a resource and advocate for 19,000 cities, towns and villages, representing more than 218 million Americans.
SOURCE National League of Cities