Marin, Napa, Lake counties form Workforce Alliance of the North Bay

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Napa, Marin, and Lake counties have pooled their job-growth efforts to form the Workforce Alliance of the North Bay.

The Napa-Lake Workforce Investment Board (napaworkforce.org) is combining with the Employment and Training Branch of Social Services in the county of Marin’s Department of Health & Human Services (marinhhs.org/etb). The Napa-Lake board’s WorkforceNapa and WorkforceLake consortia of local service providers run business and career centers in both counties and the Voices program for youth in Napa and Sonoma counties. Among Marin’s efforts is Marin Employment Connection (marinemployment.org).

“Marin has a long and successful history partnering with Napa-Lake as part of the North Bay region,” said Racy Ming, division director for the Marin County Employment and Training Branch. “By formalizing our partnership, we will be able to achieve greater economies of scale while maintaining our creative edge, as we strive to meet the workforce needs of our communities.”

The counties decided to merge for various regions including common industries, labor pool and workforce and a desire to consolidate both the administrative and the planning functions from the three counties into a single governance structure, according the joint May 23 announcement.

“Activities such as industry sector engagement, labor market analysis and career pathway development are among the areas a regional policy board can have a more substantive and positive impact on,” said Bruce Wilson, director of the Napa-Lake Workforce Board. “Additionally, forming a regional workforce policy board reflects the reality of our labor market. Our businesses recruit regionally, and our job seekers commute.”

The new group was formed when each county’s board of supervisors recently signed a joint powers agency agreement in response to the federal Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, or WIOA. President Obama signed it July 23, 2014, and the enhancements to the existing system of workforce investment boards is set to take effect this July.

Two board members from each county will serve on the agency’s governing board. Napa-Lake’s board had 30 members, and Marin’s, 25. The new agency will submit certification documents in June and seek endorsement by Gov. Jerry Brown in July.

WIOA (doleta.gov/wioa) replaced the Workforce Investment Act of 1998 with updates to the Adult Education and Family Literacy Act, Wagner-Peyser Act, and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.

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