Victoria Biondolillo (Executive Director, State Workforce Development Board) testified to the House Commerce Committee on Wednesday, saying that the data collected by the Workforce Development Board illustrates two major issues:
- The current shortage of labor and need to fill jobs.
- Long term trends and demographic decline.
Their vision is a sustainable and nimble workforce system that can bolster our economy for generations to come, while effectively matching employers with workers to fill open jobs today. The board’s strategy to achieve this is to invest in the existing workforce, retain graduates, add net new workers, and continuously monitor and improve to ensure system efficiency
State funding supports recruitment, retention, training, wrap around services, and business supports. Federal funds focus on the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) priorities: low income, marginalized, or disabled adults; disadvantaged youth; and unemployed workers.
Key players in the effort include government agencies, including the Department of Labor, the Agency of Education, Hireabiliy, and the Agency of Commerce and Community Development. Also involved in education are the Vermont Student Assistance Corporation, Vermont State Colleges, University of Vermont, Independent Colleges and Universities, and technical centers. Other private and local partners include Regional Development Corporations, the Vermont Business Roundtable, Advanced Vermont, the Vermont Futures Project, adult basic education, the Governor’s Institute, and other labor organizations.
Biondolillo shared several priorities areas of focus:
Priority area 1: WIOA
- Develop, implement and modify WIOA state plan.
- Select one-stop operator and monitor system improvement.
- Create and apply state performance accountability measures.
Priority area 2: Workforce system alignment
- Create and implement a warm handoff system.
- Foster and maintain regional business partnerships.
- Expand workforce services to marginalized groups.
Priority area 3: Workforce supports
- Solicit and apply workforce board policy input.
- Implement language accessibility plan for workforce related materials.
Priority area 4: workforce education and training
- Map career pathways.
- Host training and education provider round tables.
- Define eligibility and approve credentials of value.
Priority area 5: Relocation, recruitment and retention
- Facilitate collaboration and efficiency of recruitment and retention strategies
- Increase workforce diversity.
- Develop statewide New American Support Network (pending legislative approval).
After a brief update on Act 183, she dove into the investments they were asking for in FY2023:
- $1M for work-based learning and training funds.
- $3M for Upskill Vermont (UVM).
- $1M to VSAC for trades-based scholarships.
- $5M to the Vermont Training Program.
- $1M Reach Up benefits cliff pilot.
- $4M new and relocated worker grants.
- $3M in forgone revenue - military pensions tax exemption.
- $200K for the New American Workforce program.
- $3.2M for the Language Action Plan.
- $1M for refugee resettlement.
- $5.2M to increase income thresholds to $15,000 for the social security income tax exemption.
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