More than 200 organizations in thirty-nine states responded to a recent survey that described their use of workforce intermediary approaches. Most organizations participating in the survey are just a few years old, but two-thirds of them each serve more than 500 job seekers and workers annually.
While workforce intermediary organizations take many forms, not every education, training, or economic development entity plays this role. Efforts that are single-purpose in character -- attend to one particular activity or attend to the needs of a single employer -- do not meet the workforce intermediary definition. The power of the workforce intermediary approach is its multifaceted nature, and its potential impact goes beyond the sum of its component parts.
Indeed, many public workforce development agencies -- including local Workforce Investment Boards (WIBs), economic development agencies and community colleges-act as workforce intermediaries. More often, however, workforce intermediary efforts work to complement these public systems by expanding their reach through new partnerships and adding depth in industry sectors.
Consistent with the mission of the public workforce development systems, workforce intermediary efforts seek to:
- Expand economic opportunity for workers and job-seekers and enhance the competitiveness of firms and regions by identifying the needs of a variety of stakeholders;
- Invite firms, civic institutions and leaders to address these needs;
- Integrate services and funding streams in ways that enhance effectiveness;
- Leverage new resources;
- Engage in systematic and rigorous assessment of outcomes.
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