Effective Workforce Leaders Can Play Many Positions

Feb 25, 2011

Football shots.

Differences as a Source of Strength..


Workforce leaders – even those holding the same positions, such as Executive Directors of Local Workforce Boards – play different roles across jurisdictions, and the roles can very over time as priorities evolve. This variation can be challenging to manage (what does it add up to from a systems point, of view?), but because it means workforce leaders can put their community's needs first, it is one of the system's greatest assets.


Risk – a Subject Too Little Discussed


But workforce leaders candidly told us that gaps remain in partners' understanding of each others' roles, priorities, commitments, and statutory responsiblities. Particular gaps exist between state and local workforce leaders. For example, state workforce board members or staff can perceive local workforce investment boards as uncooperative if they resist a particular state strategy. But these local leaders often answer to local elected officials who have statutory and fiduciary responsiblity for public resources in a way state workforce board members do not. Role clarity and frequent and open discussion about risks were named by workforce leaders as critical to a healthy foundation for building effective partnerships within and across jurisdictions.



"Since the downturn, mayors have asked for more workforce services, delivered more locally – I have 34 municipalities in my one-county region." – Jennifer, WIB Director


"It's critical for people to work together across boundaries, constituencies, but we still have issues of organizations not understanding what each other do...how they fit together." – Shari, VP, Member Association


"The big, collaborative table is really important." – Howard, State Legislative Staff