Subcommittee met on January 9, 2002, in Albany. Labor Commissioner chaired the meeting which was attended by subcommittee member Joe McDermott (CWE) and chairs from Tompkins, Capital Region, Oswego, Fulton-Montgomery-Schoharie, Genesee-Livingston-Orleans-Wyoming, Chenango-Delaware-Otsego, Orange and Jefferson-Lewis. The chair from the Finger Lakes Board was not in attendance but sent written correspondence outlining issues he would like to see addressed.
Agenda items included a variety of topics raised by chairs at previous meetings, including staffing for local boards, MOUs, marketing, timeliness and responsiveness. The local board chairs and subcommittee members engaged in a dialog around these issues.
Local chairs stressed a need for on-going training for board members, especially as membership fluctuates on local boards. A number of chairs expressed a concern that their boards had dedicated a lot of time and effort to implementing change at the local level and they felt they were facing a critical juncture in this process. If they could not demonstrate to their local constituencies and to their board members that this effort could actually result in change, they felt boards would continue to lose members and the process would revert to what it had been prior to WIA.
A local chair felt that marketing the system was key, regardless of whether or not a local area had all its pieces in place.
The Commissioner indicated that the state marketing plan is ready to go and would be kicked off in Tompkins County in early February. She indicated six areas had made application for state certification and several more were expected. As areas were certified, marketing would be rolled out in those areas.
Several chairs noted the difficulty around partner problems: getting the right organization and the right person at the table. This was particularly a problem with partner programs that are state-level based. They stressed that at times there have been conflicting interpretations of central policies as they were implemented at the local level. A number of chairs stressed that empowerment of staff at the local level was key.
A presentation was provided by Fredda Peritz, Director of the Division of Employment Services for the NYS Department of Labor. Ms. Peritz gave an overview of the services provided by the local DoES staff around New York State and the opportunities for local boards to utilize those services more fully in their one-stop systems. She also distributed to the chairs present the MOU matrix asked for at the last State Board meeting. (Note: This matrix completed by the state-level partners has been sent to all Local Board contacts via electronic means and will also be posted on the website.)
Local board chairs and staff also discussed WIA performance, WIA expenditures, labor market information and revisions to and the use of the demand occupation lists. Board chairs were provided with charts on their local performance, expenditure levels across three program years, and their current demand occupation lists. Board chairs asked for explanations about the terms used in WIA expenditure reports (accrued expenditures, obligations, etc). A discussion ensued as to the relationship between WIA expenditures and the numbers reported as part of the WIA annual performance report. It was acknowledged that Congress will look closely at issues of expenditures as they make future WIA funding decisions and that local boards need to ensure that their policies are helping to facilitate the expenditure of dollars.
Local board chairs asked, and the Commissioner agreed, that they be able to shape future agendas. They were provided with staff email to provide suggestions for those agendas. A letter will be sent to all board chairs advising them of this, along with including the material disseminated at the meeting.
Items for which further follow-up is needed or required: