A healthy, prosperous region community is one that recognizes the power of its workforce and invests on the success of those seeking to enter it successfully. That’s what makes WAPDD’s role as administrator of programs under the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act in Western Arkansas so crucially important.
Some of the goals of this effort include:
- Increasing the incomes of Arkansans faster than the national average
- Expanding entrepreneurship, especially of knowledge-based enterprises
- Creating a competitive labor force for businesses, including an effective business retention strategy
- Approaching economic development in a way that meets the specialized needs of the various workers and businesses operating in the region
- Expanding post-secondary training so more workers enter the workforce equipped for the jobs of the future
We are proud to play such a central role in this effort, and are happy to provide more information to workers, business leaders and other community members interested in supporting a strong workforce for Western Arkansas.
Our activities in workforce development are in concert with the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act. WIOA is designed to improve job and career options for our area’s workers and jobseekers through an integrated, job-driven public workforce system that links diverse talent to businesses. It supports the development of strong, vibrant regional economies where businesses thrive and people want to live and work.
WIOA defines success by its commitment to the following principles:
- The needs of businesses and workers drive workforce solutions. Businesses inform and guide the workforce system and access skilled talent as they shape regional workforce investments and build a pipeline of skilled workers. This engagement includes leadership in the workforce system and active participation in the development and provision of education and training, work-based learning, career pathway and industry sector partnerships. This gives jobseekers, including those who face barriers, the information and guidance to make informed decisions about training and careers, as well as access to the education, training and support services they need to compete in current and future labor markets.
- One-Stop Centers (Arkansas Job Centers or AJCs) provide excellent customer service to employers, job seekers, and existing workers with a focus on continuous improvement. One-Stop Centers and partners provide jobseekers, including individuals with barriers to employment, such as individuals with disabilities, with the skills and credentials necessary to secure and advance in employment with family-sustaining wages. Additionally, AJCs enable employers to easily identify and hire skilled workers and access other supports, including education and training for their current workforce, while identifying which strategies work better for different populations.
- A workforce system that supports strong regional economies. Meeting workforce needs is critical to economic growth. State and local workforce development boards, in partnership with workforce, economic development, education, and social service organizations work to align education and training investments to regional economic growth strategies, ensuring that all jobseekers and businesses can access pathways to prosperity.