Workforce Investment Board: Change is the name of the game

Jul 26, 2016 by

By David Augustinho
news@barnstablepatriot.com

Posted Jun. 24, 2016 at 10:53 AM

“It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.” -Charles Darwin, naturalist and author.

“In a time of drastic change it is the learners who inherit the future. The learned usually find themselves equipped to live in a world that no longer exists.” -Eric Hoffer, philosopher and author.

Those of you who have been following the Workforce Investment Board for a while know that I like to headline our annual report with a quote that has some relevance to our program year. Well, this year the theme of change is our headline. The change is also significant enough that I feel the need to double up on the quotes.

The Workforce Innovation and Opportunities Act (WIOA) changes have been phasing in since last July 1. They have caused some challenges, especially in trying to attract vendors for our youth programs. Our Out of School Youth program is being implemented by our Career Center operator (JTEC) due to the lack of vendors interested in bidding to provide these services. We offered contracts for approximately $300,000 but did not receive any legitimate bids for the funding. Due to the failed bid process, we were late in spending down the funds so we will have more funds in the next fiscal year for our Out of School programs.

Other changes brought about by the new WIOA legislation are being rolled out slowly. The WIB does have a WIOA implementation committee that will be dealing with a few issues as we enter the next fiscal year. We will be signing an interim memorandum of understanding with our mandated partners to start the new fiscal year, and eventually a permanent MOU that will include cost sharing if the state leaders can work out some guidelines. We will also be designing an RFP process for career center management. The process will play out over most of the next year and culminate with a career center manager in place on July 1, 2017.

Other changes in our local system include the hiring of a new director for the ACCCESS program at Cape Cod Community College. This is the adult basic learning program which also offers ESOL training. Jhon Valencia is the new director and we are working very closely on the Adult Pathways Grant that we partner on with ACCCESS.

We also welcome a new area director for the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission office on the Cape. JP Moriarty is the director and we are currently working on MOUs for next year. Both Jhon and JP are members of the WIB board of directors.

This year I served on two state committees which were dealing with the business engagement aspects of implementing WIOA. A wide-ranging series of potential activities was proposed by the WIOA Business Services Committee that met for several months leading up to the development of the state plan for WIOA. Recommendations were made in November and the final version of the state plan was submitted in April. I can tell you that the Massachusetts plan was one of the first submitted and is considered a model for other states to follow.

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