What are Workforce Development Boards (WDBs)?
WDBs are part of the Public Workforce System, a network of federal, state, and local offices that support economic expansion and develop the talent of the nation’s workforce.
State and local WDBs serve as connectors between the U.S. Department of Labor and local American Job Centers that deliver services to workers and employers. The WDBs’ role is to develop regional strategic plans and set funding priorities for their area.
Think of your local WDB as your link to the public workforce system. As one of their many functions, 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 skill training for local businesses.
More than 50 percent of each WDB’s members must come from the business community. In addition, WDBs are required to have representation from local community colleges and other training providers, as well as elected officials and workforce program leaders. This ensures that current skill needs of local businesses are communicated to relevant training programs.
A successful WDB partnership
Through their local WDB, Tacoma, Washington area manufacturers collaborated with their local college to develop a manufacturing skills training program.
“The net result is that we enjoyed 50% growth in the midst of a recession, we were able to keep people on the job – in fact we were able to hire. It all began with Workforce Investment dollars that were channeled into that community.”
Tacoma-Pierce County, Washington WDB Chair Eric Hahn, VP of Human Resources for General Plastics
For more on this story, watch this video.
Learn more and get involved
Your local WDB wants to hear from you—to learn about your workforce training needs, growth opportunities and challenges, and ways you’d like to partner. Some ways to connect and learn more:
- Locate your local WDB to learn about available services and how to join.
- Learn more about WDBs through the National Association of Workforce Boards.
Want to learn more about business partnerships and other workforce issues? Contact your local American Job Center and connect with a Business Services Representative or other resources that can help.