PA Workforce Development Association (PWDA) serves as the voice of the Pennsylvania workforce investment system and a clearinghouse for workforce development information statewide. PWDA develops and provides workforce professional training to local workforce investment boards (WIBs) while continuing proactive advocacy efforts on behalf of the workforce development system.
In January 2013, PA Partners and PA Association of Workforce Investment Boards, two long-standing workforce organizations, merged to become the PA Workforce Development Association. The two previous organizations shared management resources since 2006 as well as a common commitment to enhancing the workforce development system in Pennsylvania. The newly merged organization was developed to better serve these common stakeholders and serve as the voice on behalf of the local system.
Pennsylvania Partners began as an informal group of workforce development professionals who came together in 1983 to develop a statewide organization to foster the sharing of information among workforce development professionals and provide liaison with state and federal government agencies and other workforce partners. The association formally incorporated as Pennsylvania Partners in 1989.
The association's first statewide workforce conference was organized in 1984 and has evolved into the PA Workforce Development Association's Annual Employment, Training & Education Conference, one of the largest statewide workforce conferences in the United States. This conference, held each May, attracts nearly 1,000 professionals from all facets of workforce development and is cosponsored by federal and state agencies that are partners in the workforce development system, including Labor & Industry, Education and Public Welfare.
The Pennsylvania Association of Workforce Investment Boards was formed in 2003 to represent Pennsylvania’s local workforce investment boards (WIBs). The association has sponsored the annual PA WIB Symposium, a yearly networking and educational conference held in State College, Pennsylvania. This conference brings together professionals from across the state to discuss the implications of state and federal workforce policy and share promising practices at a strategic level. In recent years, a focus of the Symposium has been Pennsylvania's Industry Partnership program, with a specialized Industry Partnership Roundtable being held as a pre-conference event.
The PA Workforce Development Association has two councils: Policy and Oversight, comprised of WIB directors; and Operations, comprised of senior staff responsible for WIA program operations. Each council elects its own leaderhip structure, which reports to the PWDA Board. Technical workgroups represent various communities of practice within the workforce system and are coordinated through each council.
The PA Workforce Development Association board has 25 voting members and 25 alternate members. Twenty-two voting seats are designated by the chair of each of the state's 22 local WIBs. Three additional representatives are elected by the Operations Council.
The Executive Committee is comprised of the chair, vice chairs, secretary/treasurer, Finance Committee chair and the immediate past chairs (ex-officio).
Workforce Investment Areas
Pennsylvania’s Workforce System is divided into 23 Local Workforce Investment Areas (LWIA). Each LWIA has a Workforce Investment Board (WIB), with the exception of the City of Pittsburgh and Allegheny County, which share one WIB. Local WIBs oversee workforce policies and develop regional strategies. WIBs provide oversight and coordination for the services provided through PA CareerLink®.
Workforce Investment Boards
Workforce Investment Boards (WIBs) are regional entities created to implement the Workforce Investment Act of 1998 in the United States. Every community in Pennsylvania is associated with a local WIB. For each WIB, a chief elected official (for example, a county commissioner or the mayor of a major city) appoints members to sit on the WIB. These appointed positions are unpaid. A majority of a WIB's membership must come from private businesses. There are also designated seats for representatives of labor and educational institutions like community colleges as well. Beyond these basic guidelines, many aspects of how an individual WIB operates can vary.
The WIB's main role is to direct federal, state and local funding to workforce development programs. WIBs conduct and publish research on these programs and the needs of the regional economy. They also oversee the One-Stop Career Centers (called PA CAreerLinks®) where job seekers can get employment information, find out about career development training opportunities, and connect to various programs in their area.