Labor leaders serving on regional workforce boards play an important role. The WSLC helps them be effective.
OLYMPIA (Feb. 15, 2023) — The public workforce system is complicated.
It’s a patchwork of federal, state and regional programs and funding streams that aims to help employers fill jobs and help jobseekers find work. But the system’s effectiveness in serving working families depends on how these programs are designed, how the policy-shaping boards implement them, and how frontline case managers and counselors deliver services.
That means that labor leaders in the workforce system, particularly those who serve as state and regional workforce board members, step into a landscape that’s difficult to navigate. But their leadership and advocacy is vitally important to ensure the workforce system works for workers, and does so equitably across race, gender, urban and rural communities, and abilities.
That’s where the Workforce Development Department of the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO offers critical support. Made up of Kairie Pierce, Emmanuel Flores, Chelsea Mason-Placek, Rachel McAloon and Laurel Poplack, the WSLC Workforce Development Department provides labor leaders in the workforce system with tools, guidance and networking to help them be informed and influential in their roles. Their efficacy helps ensure workers gain economic mobility; enjoy rewarding, safe careers; and contribute to the growth of industries that provide quality jobs in our communities.
Within that work, the WSLC Workforce Development Department produces a toolkit — Introduction to Serving on a Local Workforce Development Board — for navigating the workforce system. While geared toward union leaders serving on Washington’s 12 regional Workforce Development Boards, or “Workforce Development Councils,” this toolkit can be a helpful guide more broadly. It’s also a living document and feedback is welcomed.
The toolkit includes:
▪ High-level information about the workforce system and how it’s governed
▪ Links with additional information
▪ Labor’s key values in workforce development
▪ Tips to be successful as a workforce board member
▪ A glossary of workforce acronyms
▪ And more…
Other ways the WSLC supports labor leaders in workforce development include hosting quarterly networking meetings and working with regional Central Labor Councils to recruit and train incoming labor workforce board members.
“Labor is a vested and valued partner in workforce development in our state. We bring extensive knowledge about industries, occupations and workers to programmatic and policy decisions,” said Kairie Pierce, Lead WSLC Workforce Development Director and Washington State Workforce Board Member. “By tapping into the lived experiences of our tenured labor leaders in the workforce system and giving our newer labor board members additional support from the WSLC, we ensure labor continues to help center workforce development equally around businesses and workers.”
WSLC Wednesdays is a feature of The Stand where different departments of the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO describe their recent activities and the services they are providing to WSLC-affiliated unions.