EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR'S MESSAGE
In October 2014, the NYS Department
of Labor reported a 5.7% unemployment figure, compared with 6.8% in
October 2013. Although many factors contribute to this decline, I
believe that a critical component has been the One Stop system in
Buffalo and Erie County.
The One Stop system provides services
to unemployed and underemployed job seekers, such as resume writing,
career exploration and access to training dollars to improve skills.
It assists businesses by providing staffing resources and Human
Resources administration assistance, and connects businesses with
valuable statewide assistance in the form of tax credits and
on-the-job training. Customers can access the services of the One Stop
system in any of the five Career Centers in Buffalo and Erie County.
The Buffalo & Erie County Workforce
Investment Board (WIB) oversees this system, which is publicly funded
by federal workforce investment dollars, and is operated by the
Workforce Development Consortium (WDC). Our overall goal is to develop
and sustain a unified, cost effective, labor market-driven system that
facilitates economic development and business growth in our community.
We work closely with local and
regional economic development agencies to ensure the resources we
provide align with the priorities designated by the Regional Economic
Development Council, and that we are responsive to the needs of area
businesses. We also work closely with community-based organizations to
eliminate barriers faced by job seekers, such as transportation,
dependent care and educational requirements.
The upcoming year will be an exciting
time for workforce development in our region. The Workforce Innovation
and Opportunity Act (WIOA) will be implemented, and replaces the
Workforce Investment Act (WIA) as the legislation that structures and
funds the federal workforce system. Key highlights of WIOA include
fostering regional collaboration to meet the needs of local economies,
streamlining Center-based processes for job seekers to provide easier
access to training resources, and improving services to job seekers
We will continue to develop career
pathways and training opportunities in demand industries, such as
healthcare, construction and hospitality/ tourism. We will also expand
services provided to out of-school youth while strengthening our ties
with organizations that provide enrichment services to in-school
I would like to thank Erie County
Executive Mark Poloncarz, Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown and our board
members for their support, and the staff of the One Stop system for
their hard work and dedication to serving our customers. I look
forward to working with all of you in 2015.
Heather Gresham, JD
Workforce Investment Board