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Historical Perspective

Workforce Investment Boards were preceded by Private Industry Councils (PICs) which had a narrower function than the Boards. PICs were first created in 1978 under the Private Sector Initiative Program to increase private sector involvement in federal job training programs. Four years later, they became the key local governing bodies under the Job Training Partnership Act of 1982.

Legislation was passed relating to the training and placement of welfare recipients, federal funding of vocational education, and programs for dislocated workers that invested PICs with additional oversight responsibilities. In 1998, the entire federal approach to workforce development was reformed under the Workforce Investment Act. In the process Private Industry Councils were eliminated and Workforce Boards authorized.

Local WIA Board Composition

Private employers must comprise a majority of a Workforce Investment Board (WIB) and the chair must be elected from the private sector membership. Workforce Boards should be representative of the employer mix in the community, in terms of both size and type of industry. Employers bring to the table practical knowledge of the skills required by workers to satisfy the needs of area businesses. Working in conjunction with business members on the board are representatives of local government, education agencies, organized labor, economic development and community-based organizations, and social service agencies.

Approximately 10,000 business volunteers serve on the nation's Workforce Boards, with the average local Board consisting of between 25 and 50 members.

Workforce Boards: Leading the Way in Workforce Development

A key means by which Workforce Boards create local workforce development systems is through one-stop career centers that combine multiple federal, state, and local program funds. The policy and oversight responsibility invested in Workforce Boards aims to ensure that this system:

  • is market-driven
  • is easily accessible to any individual who wants or needs a job, education, or training
  • supplies well-trained people for all employers
  • provides employers with assistance and support for life-long learning initiatives and for the creation of a high-performance workforce

Youth Programs

WIA funded youth programs are for:

  • Low income youth
  • Ages 14 through 21 - 5% who are not low-income may receive services if they face certain barriers to school completion of employment.

Youth program participants must face one or more of the following challenges to successful workforce entry:

  • School dropout
  • Basic literacy skills deficiency
  • Homeless, runaway or foster child
  • Pregnant or a parent
  • An offender
  • Need help completing an educational program or securing and holding a job

At least 30% of local youth funds must help those who are not in school.

Youth participants in funded programs will receive a mix of the following services:

  • Be prepared for postsecondary educational opportunities or employment
  • Link academic and occupational learning
  • Service providers will have strong ties to employers
  • Tutoring
  • Study skills training
  • Instruction leading to completion of secondary school (including dropout prevention)
  • Alterantive school services
  • Mentoring by appropriate adults
  • Paid and unpaid work experience (i.e., internships and job shadowing)
  • Occupational skills training
  • Leadership development
  • Appropriate supportive services
  • Guidance and counseling
  • Follow-up services for twelve months
  • Year-round and summer activities are left to the discretion of local WIBs


National Association of Workforce Boards

A directory of local and state Workforce Investment Boards can be used by JAG affiliates to contact WIBs and Youth Councils.

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