PA Workforce Development Association (PWDA) serves as the voice of the Pennsylvania workforce development system and a clearinghouse for workforce development information statewide. PWDA develops and provides professional training to local workforce development boards (WDBs) while continuing proactive advocacy efforts on behalf of the workforce development system.
PWDA works to improve a unified, seamless system of delivery of workforce services by:
- Communicating to state and federal authorities on workforce issues
- Enhancing the cooperation of WDBs in developing regional and statewide policy, links and partnerships
- Providing professional staff development and the promotion of best practices
- Telling the Workforce Story to stakeholders
History of PWDA
In January 2013, Pennsylvania Partners and PA Association of Workforce Investment Boards merged to become the PA Workforce Development Association, or PWDA. The new association was developed to represent all stakeholders in Pennsylvania’s workforce development system.
Pennsylvania Partners was well known for organizing the first statewide workforce development conference in 1984, which grew to become one of the pre-eminent workforce conferences in the United States. The Annual Employment, Training & Education Conference continues each May under PWDA as the premier training conference for all partners and stakeholders in the workforce development system.
The association conducts a second conference in October, the PA WDB 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 groundbreaking research and out-of-the box strategies. In recent years, a focus of the Symposium has been the strengthening of Pennsylvania’s Industry Partnership program, with a specialized Industry Partnership Roundtable being held as a pre-conference event.
The PWDA board of directors 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 WDBs. Three additional representatives are elected by the Operations Council. The Executive Committee is comprised of the chair, two vice chairs, secretary/treasurer, Finance Committee chair, and the immediate past chairs.
PWDA has two councils reporting to its board: Policy and Oversight, comprised of WDB executive directors; and Operations, comprised of senior staff responsible for Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act program operations. Each council elects its own co-chairs and makes recommendations to the PWDA Board for actions to ultimately improve the delivery of workforce services. Technical workgroups represent communities of practice and are coordinated through each council.