McHenry County Workforce Network Board
Who We Are And What We Do: Our MISSION
To provide the leadership and direction to develop a world class workforce that addresses the needs of the employers and residents of McHenry County through the coordination and integration of the partners comprising the local Workforce Investment Board (LWIB) and the McHenry County Workforce Center.
To lead an active, committed, involved, and respected board and a Workforce System that meets and exceeds employment and workforce needs, thus improving the quality of life in the county.
WHO WE ARE:
The Workforce Network Board (the Local Workforce Investment Board (LWIB)) for McHenry County is an organization governed by a volunteer board of directors responsible for developing policy and overseeing local workforce development initiatives in partnership with the local elected officials. In Illinois, there are twenty-six local WIBs with representatives appointed from 102 counties.
Members of the LWIB are appointed by the Chief Elected Official of their respective county in accordance with criteria established by the Governor. LWIB membership includes representatives from business and industry, education agencies, community-based organizations, economic development agencies, public vocational rehabilitation, and labor organizations. Membership is drawn from individuals who have optimum policy-making authority from their organization.
The authority of the LWIB is established in Federal and State legislation that provides funding to support the operation of the workforce investment system. The LWIB's role is to ensure that the local workforce investment system is market-driven and responsive in meeting the employment and training needs of employers and job seekers alike.
WHAT WE DO:
- Serve as a point of contact for business, industry and the public sector to communicate their workforce needs.
- Provide a forum where private and public sector leaders jointly consider workforce investment needs of the region.
- Promote strategies to encourage lifelong learning and improve workplace skills.
- Assist in the development of new training programs to benefit the region's workforce.
- Offer advice regarding workforce policy and programs to local elected officials, employers, education and employment agencies, and citizens.
- Coordinate with economic development efforts and activities to promote the region's availability of qualified workers and promotes cooperation and coordination among public organization, education agencies, and private businesses.
- Review local agency plans and grant applications for workforce development programs to ensure coordination of services and achievement of local goals.
Major Functions and Activities of the LWIB
The McHenry County Workforce Network Board is composed of thirty-eight (38) members representing McHenry County. The responsibility of the Board does not derive from the handling of funds or operating programs, but comes from the establishment of local workforce investment priorities, and most importantly to measure the results of those plans and publicly report the results.
The following discusses basic responsibilities and how our LWIB can govern and oversee a comprehensive workforce investment system for our county. the activities of the Board can be divided into five major categories:
The Board works to define the size, shape, and direction of the local workforce investment system and its own role within that system.
- The Board develops a broad strategy and shapes programs into a comprehensive system.
- The Board has room to negotiate what it will do and what its priorities will be. The Board can define its own "playing field". With this in mind, the Board establishes a clear definition of what constitutes its particular areas of concern. Of course, the Board cannot make these decisions alone. Elected officials, business and community leaders, and managers of existing programs may all have their own ideas and input. Ultimately, the Board must seize this opportunity in order to establish its authority within the workforce investment system.
- The Board also assesses and evaluates the capacity and ongoing operations of existing local education and training institutions. to assist in this process, the Board recruits community leaders and program practitioners as members of committees to capture their specialized knowledge for the Board.
- The Board identifies gaps between the present and future workforce needs and evaluates the capacity of local programs and service providers to handle those needs.
The Board establishes or approves operational structures and makes operational policies for the workforce investment system as a whole.
- The Board authorizes the McHenry County Workforce Center to operate the Local Workforce Investment System.
- The Board authorizes the McHenry County Workforce Network to oversee and operate youth programs.
- The Board, using state negotiated performance standards, sets mandatory minimum levels of service to be provided by all of its program operators.
- The Board creates system-wide policies on the use of training vouchers -- Individual Training Accounts (ITAs) including which customers are eligible to receive training, which agencies / training institutions are certified as eligible to redeem vouchers, and the cost of services that can be covered. This allows customers to choose needed services through vouchers or other means.
- By creating system-wide policies, the Board ensures that programs work effectively. The Board oversees the provision of services by service providers / grantees and vendors.
The Board oversees the performance of the system.
- The Board approves quality performance standards for the Workforce Center and for service providers.
- The Board reviews customer satisfaction data from employers and job seekers that use the Workforce Center.
- The Board ensures that continuous improvement techniques are implemented at the Workforce Center and are used to improve service in the workforce investment system.
- The Board reviews state policies for the establishment of a local measuring system to ensure that standards and benchmarks are met.
The Board has a role in external relations, public relations, and marketing for the workforce investment system.
- The Board publicizes the workforce needs of both the business community and local job seekers. The Board markets the entire system, improves communication between service providers and business, and brokers specific needs of employers.
- The Board develops a close working relationship with local elected officials. Since the local county Board chairman appoints Board members, it is imperative that the LWIB members keep elected officials and others (city and county managers, state and national legislative elected officials, etc.) informed on the activities of the Board.
- The Board builds support for workforce development programs and for its own policies and priorities among the business community and the general public.
- The Board conducts active public relations campaigns -- making speeches, holding meetings/forums in the community, preparing media advertising.
- The Board develops relationships with other business organizations such as local chambers of commerce, economic development agencies, and personnel associations.
The Board encourages new ideas and works to find additional resources to advance its mission.
- The Board sets policy on exploring new types of services, new techniques, and the use of new service providers. it may set limits on such endeavors. It may recommend or approve specific demonstrations or pilot projects.
- The Board may seek to diversify the funding base of the local workforce development system through new grants, foundation funding, fee-for-service strategies, or private fundraising. the Board sets policies and limits on these activities and approves projects / services associated with such funding.