An innovative website designed to make a wide range of materials available to Workforce Investment Boards (WIBs) is nearing completion, and represents a significant resource in an accessible format, according to early reviews.
The website WIB toolkit, “Racing for the Future,” is a CCST project developed as part of a workforce development project funded by a $15 million U.S. Department of Labor initiative called “Workforce Innovation in Regional Economic Development,” or WIRED. The California WIRED contract lead is the California Space Authority.
“The website offers a different way to provide a great deal of information in a relatively easy to access format,” said Virginia Hamilton, executive director of the California Workforce Association. “The toolkit is a potentially significant asset for California’s WIBs.”
The toolkit includes a variety of materials designed to assist WIB partners in addressing workforce needs. The resources in the toolkit include examples of roles that WIBs can play to respond to local workforce needs, case studies of successful partnerships that WIBs can emulate, and overviews of key high-tech industries including nanotechnology, advanced manufacturing, biotechnology, and intelligent transportation. It also contains analyses of economic trends in California. The toolkit is organized to facilitate rapid access to each of its principal categories of information, with extensive links to other parts of the toolkit and related resources elsewhere on the web. It also contains a library of documents for download.
“The challenge lies in the fact that WIBs are regional associations with a broad mandate, which include a variety of partners from local industry and government,” said CCST Director of Programs Donna Gerardi Riordan. “Consequently the needs vary significantly among WIBs in terms of what information would be most useful. Moreover, we quickly realized that the materials being assembled for the toolkit would comprise over a dozen separate reports, or one large report, if published conventionally. An online format seemed the most logical and efficient way for us to proceed.”
The toolkit received a positive reception from the WIB members who reviewed it during the final stages of production.
“The toolkit is very informative,” said Robert Mejia, employment services manager of the South Bay WIB. “The information on the site may represent the most in-depth description of the contemporary role of the workforce investment board as a policy body, broker, analyst, community voice and convener available to date any where…What is most appealing is that this information is tied to information on key California industries, which are sure to drive our state economy and our competitiveness as a state well into the 21st century.”