PA Workforce Development Association (PWDA) serves as the voice of the Pennsylvania workforce development system and a clearinghouse for workforce development information statewide. Known for Pennsylvania’s premier annual workforce development gathering every spring, we provide development and capacity building opportunities to workforce development professionals, local workforce development boards (WDBs), and other stakeholders while continuing proactive advocacy efforts on behalf of Pennsylvania’s workforce development system.
At the FEDERAL level, PWDA…
- Works with federal policymakers to shape legislation that reinvests in a dynamic and efficient workforce system
- Educates policymakers about the high-performing Workforce Development Boards (WDBs) in Pennsylvania and how to continue to invest in our system
- Advocates for Pennsylvania’s workforce development systems and the business and individual customers served
At the STATE level, PWDA…
- Collaborates with state agencies to advance working partnerships with Pennsylvania’s workforce development system and WDBs
- Advocates for smarter performance and accountability standards that reflect the excellent workforce development efforts at the regional and local levels
- Partners with advocacy groups and service organizations in economic development, education, youth, human services, and vocational rehabilitation
Meet the PWDA team
Director of Workforce Initiatives
Member Services & Events Coordinator
Board of Directors
Pennsylvania’s Local Workforce System
The federal government funds a nationwide infrastructure to assist all individuals looking for a new job or to advance their careers, as well as employers who need to fill vacancies with skilled workers or to train their workforce.
These federal programs provide a vast array of services to fulfill these functions. They are based on a community implementation model to ensure that programs are locally driven to serve their communities with guidance from employers, as well as other community stakeholders.
Workforce Development Areas – Pennsylvania’s workforce development system is divided into 23 countywide or regional Local Workforce Development Areas (LWDA). Each LWDA has a Workforce Development Board (WDB), with the exception of the City of Pittsburgh and Allegheny County, which share one WDB. Local WDBs develop workforce policies and regional strategies. They provide oversight and coordination for the workforce services provided in their region and the overall operation of the storefront delivery of these services, the state’s 60+ PA CareerLink® centers. Nationally, these centers are referred to as “one stops,” because they were created to serve as local one-stop centers for the delivery of a multitude of government services that support the employment and training of individuals. These centers are part of the nation’s American Job Centers.
Workforce Development Boards (WDBs) are regional entities created to implement the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act of 2014 (WIOA), which authorizes and funds employment and training programs in the United States. Every community in Pennsylvania is associated with a local WDB. For each WDB, a chief elected official (a county commissioner or the mayor of a major city) appoints members to sit on the WDB. These appointed positions are unpaid. A majority of a WDB’s membership must come from private businesses. There are also designated seats for representatives of labor and educational institutions, such as community colleges. Beyond these basic guidelines, many aspects of how an individual WDB operates can vary.
The WDB’s main role is to direct federal, state, and local funding to workforce development programs. WDBs conduct and publish research on the needs of the regional economy. They also oversee the PA CareerLink® locations, where job seekers can get employment information, find out about career development training opportunities, and connect to various programs in their area.