Why Florida's Workforce Investment Works

Dear CareerSource Florida Board Members and CareerSource Florida Network Stakeholders,

Whether a volunteer or paid professional, those of us who are part of the CareerSource Florida network are inspired by the personal stories of success by the Floridians and businesses we help. Stories like that of a South Florida accountant who was able to rebound from losing her job to pursue and achieve her dream of training for and launching a new career in healthcare or the small Miami logistics and distribution company that was able to upgrade the skills of its employees resulting in higher productivity, averting a layoff and supporting the creation of another new position. These successes demonstrate the value Florida has created through our state’s innovative, market-focused implementation of the federal Workforce Investment Act.

Building Florida’s Skilled Talent Pipeline
In Florida—and similarly across the U.S. — WIA is the primary driver for funding and policy directed by state and local workforce boards to help job seekers and workers enter, remain and advance in the workforce by building and sustaining the skilled talent pipeline businesses need to compete and thrive in the marketplace. Job seekers, ranging from those with entry-level skills to experienced professionals with degrees, turn to the CareerSource Florida network for a range of services including help with resumes and interviewing preparedness, job search and placement and training. With a focus on connecting employers to qualified, skilled talent, employers are able to access training grants, promote their openings and receive assistance with candidate recruitment and screening, among other services that are often customized to meet their specific needs.

Last year, the CareerSource Florida network assisted more than 489,000 Floridians who found jobs. Through very strategic state and local efforts aimed at increasing the number of businesses we assist we also provided services to more than 101,300 employers, which represents a historic high for our statewide network.

Workforce Investment Works
You may have seen the recent New York Times article “Seeking New Start, Finding Steep Cost: Workforce Investment Act Leaves Many Jobless and in Debt,” which focused on the personal story of a Kentucky resident and raised important and familiar issues regarding higher education student loan indebtedness and the troublesome practices of some of the nation’s for-profit colleges. Both are critical and much needed policy discussions that continue to play out across many states, including Florida, and the nation. However, the article mistakenly attempts to place WIA, which authorizes the business-driven (federal, state and local) public employment and training system, in the crosshair of this significant higher education debate. Perhaps most important for our efforts, it also serves as a reminder to those of us who know firsthand the value of and gains made through WIA that we must continue to seize every opportunity to educate and inform our stakeholders and the public about why and how workforce investment works in Florida and across the U.S.

Since the inception of WIA, Florida has established a track record and national reputation for being an innovator in areas including:

  • investing in skills-upgrade training for employees to support job retention and business competitiveness;
  • integrating services and programs available to job seekers and businesses to enhance program effectiveness and efficiency;
  • developing performance measurements and delivering strong outcomes; and
  • creating and deploying strategies—both statewide and locally—to address the needs of industries targeted for economic growth and diversification, such as advanced manufacturing, aviation and aerospace and logistics and distribution, as well as infrastructure industries such as healthcare and energy.

Florida uses WIA to support academic and career achievement, along with industry certifications, for middle and high school students in career academies as well as job-driven strategies, career development services and training programs that result in new skills for job seekers and workers and more productive and valuable employees for businesses.

Measuring Effectiveness
We measure program effectiveness by evaluating and reporting on federal, state and local performance metrics such as daily and monthly job placements, the number of people who complete training with assistance from the CareerSource Florida network and find jobs, the earnings of those assisted and whether they continue to be employed six months, one year or even longer following their training, and employer engagement. Our network contributes to, and uses in its own program evaluations, data from the nationally recognized Florida Education and Training Placement Information Program (FETPIP), which tracks employment, wages and other information for people who complete a public education or training program anywhere in the state.

Driving our workforce investment success throughout Florida are the thousands of dedicated workforce professionals and volunteer business leaders, government officials and education, community and economic development leaders who are developing strategies, directing investments and delivering services to address the state’s workforce needs. Our efforts are guided every day by our network values: business-driven, continuous improvement, integrity, talent focus and purpose-driven.

More to Do
With every successful job placement, our economy grows stronger and Florida families have new opportunities. Still, we recognize there is much more to do and remain firmly committed to our vision to make Florida the global leader for talent.

If you are interested in learning more about why and how “WIA Works in Florida,” please visit our CareerSource Florida website where you will find a Florida WIA FAQ, CareerSource Florida network fact sheet, WIA Works in Florida key messages that you can use to help us tell the story of Florida’s WIA success, and examples of the Floridians and businesses helped by WIA-funded initiatives. You can also find out more about Florida’s workforce investment success by connecting with the CareerSource Florida network regional board in your community by clicking here.

We want to take this opportunity to thank you for your ongoing contributions to our collective effort as CareerSource Florida continues to collaborate, innovate and lead.

Sincerely,

Dwayne Ingram, Chairman
Chris Hart IV, President/CEO