Workforce Development – What is it?

Workforce Development – What is it?
In its broadest sense, WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT is
an economic and educational development approach that attempts to enhance economic
stability and prosperity by focusing on individuals. It is essentially a human resources strategy.
Workforce development has evolved from a problem-focused approach, addressing issues such
as low-skilled workers or the need for more employees in a particular industry, to a holistic
approach considering participants' many barriers, the overall needs of the region, and the
potential for success of the emerging pool of workers. Today workforce development often is
seen as a solution to issues of social equity. (Adapted from Wikipedia – a useful broad definition)
Why we should care…
The basis for individual and social stability and progress rests largely the ability of the population to
meet essential needs while having the opportunity to augment life priorities (e.g., education, economic
security, freedom of expression, creativity, and humanitarian work, for instance).
Furthermore, businesses, industries, and institutional interests rely on qualified and efficient employees
to operate, innovate, and succeed.
As educational institutions, a large part of our mission is to facilitate the achievement of these goals.
Workforce development is of keen interest to our stakeholders, communities, administrators, parents,
businesses, employers, decision makers, costumers, and students.
Libraries and the Workforce
Libraries of all types are integral in developing an effective and competitive workforce.
Libraries help achieve broad economic and educational outcomes by:
1. Providing programs, technology, educational resources, and services to help people of all ages,
students in all areas and levels of study, and businesses of all types meet their goals.
2. Offering professional staff and facilities that allow learners to access services and information,
either onsite or remotely.
3. Partnering with other organizations, agencies, and businesses to broaden awareness, strengthen
programs, increase efficiency, and extend opportunities to individuals and business.
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Goals of WIN at the Library
Define and highlight the role of libraries in workforce development through discussion, best practices,
and new programming.
Learn about and collaborate with workforce solutions stakeholders to broaden the reach of workforce
development programming and resources.
Strengthen the role of libraries, improve efficacy of program and services delivery, and avoid needless
duplication through collaboration while increasing access to effective services and resources.
Increase public awareness as well as knowledge within the library and workforce field about resources,
services, and programs through the development of resource and promotional materials.
Opening up pathways for partnerships and outreach with other allied groups.
Create energy and shared messaging to build a case for additional local and state investment in
workforce development training and resources for all types of libraries.
The Role of LIBRARIES: Talking Points
Libraries PROVIDE a broad network of SUPPORT TO ALL OTHER AGENTS, as well as individuals – even
those using services provided directly by other organizations.
Libraries collectively PROVIDE facilities, computers, Internet access, workforce resources, skills
development materials, training, job-seeking programs and resources, and much more.
Libraries are open most days a week, evenings, and weekends to all age groups.
Libraries are trusted institutions. Whether in a school or college campus or in large or small cities,
libraries are universally recognized as centers for learning and support.
Local workforce boards, literacy groups, businesses, and other stakeholders often depend on the library
for facilities, resources, training venues, support services, and partnerships to promote, fulfill, or extend
Libraries also PROVIDE an adaptive and responsive forum for meeting workforce challenges, supporting
individuals and businesses, and partnering for greater efficiency and reach.
Who Are Our Allies: Other Workforce Development Stakeholders
The landscape of workforce development interest is large and diverse, with many stakeholders and
programs currently in place.
Local Workforce Development Boards PROVIDE access to information about state and federal
compensation support and programs; skills training; job searching skills training; matching job seekers to
jobs; guidance and counseling to job seekers; referrals for additional services and training; some daycare
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support; resources and services to businesses needing new workers or training existing workers; funnel
state and federal funds for workforce training programs.
Texas Workforce Commission PROVIDES funding for local workforce development boards, guidelines for
statewide workforce programming funded by TWC, statistics on workforce and market conditions, and
programmatic resources.
Texas State Library and Archives Commission PROVIDES grants and training that can be used to deliver
workforce-related training and resources to Texans.
Texas Education Agency PROVIDES adult education and through the State Board of Education develops
curriculum standards to help ensure that children are prepared to meet the demands of higher
education and entering the workforce.
Community Colleges PROVIDE formal higher education training to individuals, credentialing them to
work in many areas. They also provide many specialized training programs, working in partnership with
businesses and industry, to meet specific needs.
The K-12 Public Education System PROVIDES the building block of educational and economic
attainment. The school system is often the first and most critical component of preparing individuals for
a fulfilling and sustaining work life.
Universities PROVIDE the foundation of research, innovation, and sustenance for a growing economy
populated with qualified workers in many spheres of industry as well as social and economic activities.
Literacy Boards and Organizations PROVIDE training on the most fundamental component needed for
an upwardly mobile work life – literacy.
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