A Look Back at the 2017 WIOA National Convenings
Posted 8/24/2017 7:43 PM by Brandon Carter
This blog was submitted by Byron Zuidema, ETA Deputy Assistant Secretary.
In April and May of 2017, the U.S. Department of Labor, in collaboration with its Education and Health and Human Services partners, hosted three national convenings at different regional locations on the West Coast, East Coast, and in the Midwest. These convenings were intended to support ongoing implementation of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) by building upon the regulations and guidance, virtual training, and resources already available to the system.
It was our hope that attendees at these 2017 national convenings would walk away with a thorough understanding that:
- The regulations are the framework for the progress and change that we can make as a system.
- Program integration is not only a critical component of WIOA but a best practice for serving our customers.
- Designing and delivering services for those customers—job seekers and businesses alike—should be the foundation for accountability
As we reflect back on these three events, which drew nearly 1200 attendees from across the country, we want to share with you what we know about the people who came, a little about the events themselves, and our takeaways:
- The majority of attendees self-identified as connected to State and Local Workforce Boards.
- 49 states were represented across the 2017 convenings; we also had representatives from Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands.
- Financial and Grants Management and Performance Accountability sessions had the highest average attendance across the three convenings, and according to post-event survey responses, performance measures and infrastructure funding agreements are two areas where additional technical assistance would help with continuing WIOA implementation.
Overall, the convenings were a resounding success, but attendees did raise the same issue Federal staff identified along the way—people are at various stages with implementation. The system is made up of many “end-users” of information, making it difficult to ensure the content meets everyone’s needs. We will keep this in mind as we continue to develop resources to aid you in your WIOA implementation journeys.
Another thing that became very clear to our Federal team through the convenings is that the work you are doing to implement and operate WIOA is not only changing the system, but also changing individual lives. It is clear that your commitment to innovation and service delivery provide opportunities that have a real and measurable impact.
Thank you—for all that you have done and all that you will continue to do.
If you are interested in hearing some of your convening colleagues discuss what innovation means to them and how they are using it to implement WIOA, you can check out the newly released WIOA Innovation Station videos here: https://ion.workforcegps.org/resources/2017/06/20/13/50/WIOA_Innovation_Station.