Palm Beach County Commission Passes Resolution Opposing Legislation to Reduce Local Control over Workforce Alliance, Regional Workforce Boards

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The Palm Beach County Board of County Commissioners has unanimously passed a resolution against proposed state legislation that would significantly affect the operation, responsiveness and local control of Workforce Alliance and Florida’s other regional workforce organizations. This proposed legislation (HB 7023 and SB 1398) would remove the ability of local officials to choose and retain area board members who have a good understanding of Palm Beach County and its workforce issues, and would place that authority into the hands of the Governor.

“This unnecessary change in control is contrary to the spirit and intent of the federal legislation." -- Steve Craig, Workforce Alliance President and CEO

The Palm Beach County Board of County Commissioners has unanimously passed a resolution against proposed state legislation that would significantly affect the operation, responsiveness and local control of Workforce Alliance and Florida’s other regional workforce organizations.

This proposed legislation (HB 7023 and SB 1398) would remove the ability of local officials to choose and retain area board members who have a good understanding of Palm Beach County and its workforce issues, and would place that authority into the hands of the Governor.

“This unnecessary change in control is contrary to the spirit and intent of federal legislation. Local control is specifically provided for by the Federal Workforce Investment Act that was passed by Congress in 1998,” said Steve Craig, president and chief executive officer of Workforce Alliance, the nonprofit organization chartered by the state of Florida to lead workforce development in Palm Beach County.

The unanimous approval of the resolution at the commission’s Jan. 24, 2012, board meeting places Palm Beach County among the 26 counties in Florida that have passed similar resolutions. Resolutions with at least 10 more counties are pending.

“Under the current structure, Workforce Alliance has become one of the best-performing regions in the state and the commission’s approval of this resolution helps us continue to help the many people in Palm Beach County who so desperately need our services,” Mr. Craig added.

Examples of recent performance at Workforce Alliance include:

  •     Placing a record 12,771 candidates in jobs during one of the most challenging economic years in the history of Palm Beach County – a 19 percent increase compared to the previous year.
  •     In December, for the first time in more than 2-1/2 years, the county’s unemployment rate was in the single digits and down for the fifth consecutive month.
  •     Assisting an average of more than 11,000 visitors at its three career centers each month, and forging partnerships with numerous organizations to provide our clients with the job training and personal development skills they need to succeed in the workplace.
  •     Being recognized at the national and state levels for two ground-breaking initiatives – forming working partnerships with industry, governmental and educational leaders to increase employment in the hospitality industry (Palm Beach County’s largest nongovernmental employment sector) and the western communities that include the cities of Belle Glade, Pahokee and South Bay.

Three Workforce Alliance Career Centers in West Palm Beach, Boca Raton and Belle Glade offer more than 100 classes and workshops each month for job search and job skills training, career development and consulting. Workforce Alliance also helps employers compete in today’s challenging marketplace by providing recruitment, assessments and referrals of qualified job candidates; space and staff assistance for screening/interviewing candidates; grants for training new or existing employees; and outplacement assistance. More information is available on the organization’s website at http://www.pbcalliance.com.

Note to editors: The complete resolution is available at http://www.pbcalliance.com/Portals/0/Documents/News%20Releases/120126%20Resolution%20Continued%20Local%20Control.pdf.

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Patrick Cannan

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