Workforce Success Story Submitted By:
Workforce Investment Board of Tulare County
Manufacturing Advisory Committee
The Workforce Investment Board of Tulare County was in need of better data and relevant input on the hiring and training needs of the county’s most impactful employers. Grant opportunities were sometimes lost and programs were developed based on funding opportunities and not necessarily the current needs of local businesses. Not only was the WIB not able to maximize its effectiveness and efficiency, but tangible, quantifiable hiring needs were going unmet in the county’s private sector.
The Directors of the WIB adopted an innovative, demand-driven strategy designed to directly identify the needs of private sector employers. Several business sectors were targeted, based on overall employment, growth potential, and economic impact, and advisory committees were established comprised entirely of representatives from businesses in those target sectors, particularly manufacturing. Those committees identified needs, developed objectives, and made recommendations to the WIB to address those needs.
The Manufacturing Advisory Committee, in conjunction with the WIB, implemented quarterly "Forums" -- meetings open to all county manufacturers to network, discuss common challenges, and receive updates relevant to in the industry such as economic forecasts, legislation, or trends like Lean/Green Manufacturing. This feedback resulted the development of a career ladder mapping out the various employment pathways in the sector. Finally, the committee identified several skills gaps in their existing workforce, and the WIB obtained funding to provide training to begin closing those gaps.
Outcomes & Benefits
The Forums began in January 2010, and have convened quarterly since. This new collaborative approach has had significant impact: the members developed a career ladder mapping out the various employment pathways in the sector for use with job candidates at the WIB; the advisory committee identified several skills gaps in their existing workforce; and the WIB obtained funding to provide training to begin closing those gaps.
Attendees and participants are surveyed at the end of each Forum, and results have been unanimously positive, on average 8.5 out of a possible 10.
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