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Iowa Valley: Long-term partner to Workforce Development

May 2, 2012
By Jennifer K. Fuchs - Director of Workforce Investment Act and Promise Jobs , Toledo Chronicle, Tama News-Herald

Iowa's local workforce infrastructure is designed with partnerships between locally identified partners and Iowa Workforce Development. Iowa Valley Community College District serves as a partner for Marshall, Hardin, Poweshiek and Tama counties.

The partner is selected locally by the Regional Workforce Investment Boards, which identify the organizations best suited for providing federally funded Workforce Investment Act (WIA) services. The current system represents a 30-year partnership history of shared services between Iowa Valley and the state of Iowa.

The value of these partnerships cannot be overstated the co-located One-Stop service center in Marshalltown capitalizes on the collaboration by engaging businesses, elected officials and community partners in an efficient delivery system to serve job-seekers, employers, and the community.

As the partner, Iowa Valley provides services that combine local economic development and job training strategies to provide a comprehensive approach to meet the specific needs of the region. Through the connection to local partners, customers have access to a variety of workforce-related services and employment training across the Iowa Valley district with Marshalltown Community College, Iowa Valley Continuing Education, Iowa Valley Grinnell, Iowa Valley Education and Training Center, and Ellsworth Community College.

The partnerships between Iowa Valley's programs, Workforce Investment Act (WIA) and Promise Jobs (PJ) and the state are imperative to putting Iowans back to work. Through these partnerships, workers have access to high quality services, and the skill needs of businesses are met. This occurs through skilled workforce professionals working locally to address local needs.

Our region has experienced numerous layoffs that have resulted in hardships for local families. On the positive side these programs have been able to provide career guidance and re-training, making these individuals employable once again.

Unemployment rates, however, remain at all-time highs nationwide for youth. Both the WIA and PJ program provide employment and training services to teenagers in the region. Participants of the WIA and PJ program benefit from one-on-one, in-person services with skilled counselors, located in each of the four counties.

Employer services are also offered through the partnership with skill matching services, on-the-job trainings, and screening resources. Local employers are also called upon to provide worksites for participants to gain basic employment skills.

Additional information on job seeking services, employer services and local partnerships can be obtained at the local One-Stop center.

Jennifer K. Fuchs is the Director of Workforce Investment Act and Promise Jobs.



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