Economic Development white paper


The Governor of the State of California, pursuant to the Workforce Investment Act of 1998, has designated the County of San Bernardino as a Local Workforce Investment Area for the operation of comprehensive workforce investment system activities and provides funding for such activities.  San Bernardino County supports guidance for employment services at the private sector level through the Local Workforce Investment Boards (LWIBs).  LWIBs are strategically charged to address major workforce issues and build a community based on community leaders, business investment in human capital, a strong and diverse economy, an integrated infrastructure, effective and articulated education system and clearly defined and accessible career pathways to prepare a ready, willing and able workforce.  The role of the LWIBs is to convene appropriate parties around these issues, create dialogue among relevant parties and generate creative, innovative solutions through consensus and to enlist community commitments to action.  LWIBs are the secure pulse of the communities they serve and have influential insight to guide communities to address the needs of our region to meet the economic needs of the State.


  • The current downturn in the economy has, more than ever, increased the need for employment services to operate under the guidance of the LWIBs to effectively fuel the current economic recovery, rapidly respond to businesses that are downsizing, service employees who are laid off, put people back to work quickly and prepare communities for future growth.  The current economic insecurity and the need for change in economic career paths greatly increases the need for private sector LWIBs to be the foundation for local communities as the secure employment agency that local businesses and residents can depend on for stability and guidance.


Legislative Position:   Support legislative and regulatory efforts that will support private sector Local Workforce Investment Boards.



The Workforce Investment Act (WIA) of 1998 (Public Law 105-220) was signed into law August 7, 1998.  It was enacted to induce businesses to participate in the local delivery of workforce development services.  Authorized by Congress for a five-year period, it has been up for reauthorization since 2003, and has been funded only by continuing resolutions from Congress pending reauthorization.


  • The nation is facing its worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, with the unemployment rate rising to its highest level since April of 1983.  Under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act signed into law February 17, 2009, Congress set a goal of creating or saving as many as four million jobs through investment in a broad range of industry demand sectors.  The reauthorization of WIA would provide an opportunity to meet this goal by ensuring our workforce receive the services and support they need to go back to work and develop the necessary skills to begin rebuilding our economy.


  • ·         As Congress debates reauthorization of the program for the 112th Congress, San Bernardino County’s Workforce Investment Board believes that the locally administered workforce development system established under WIA has been effective and should be continued.  In addition, the roles and responsibilities of the chief local elected officials and locally appointed Workforce Boards should continue, as the local Boards determine how local public-private partnerships can best support and enhance local workforce development.  Any reauthorization of the program should ensure that workforce development activities continue to support career growth and job advancement opportunities to meet economic development initiatives.  The One-Stop Centers should be continued, as should the Individual Training Accounts (ITAs), which provide individuals a range of choices in selecting occupational training.  Local Boards should have discretion in establishing ITA funding levels in an effort to maximize the use of available resources in the local area, and local areas should have the flexibility to match training investments to the needs of local demand.  Career pathway programs to meet strategic planning goals for building a workforce customized to meet the demand should be encouraged.  The current required sequence of services should be eliminated so local WIA systems can offer services (core, intensive, training) in any order or combination as required by the individual job seeker and local market demand conditions.  Finally, a program should be established that ensures every worker has access to life-long learning opportunities at all ages and in numerous contexts.

Legislative Position:   Support reauthorization of the Workforce Investment Act and support legislative and regulatory efforts that will include the above recommendations in any reauthorization of the Act.