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March 22, 2000

Ryan Meets With Local Workforce Board Chairs

SPRINGFIELD - Governor George H. Ryan today met with the chairs of the state's new Local Workforce Investment Boards to discuss Illinois' agenda for streamlining and improving the workforce development system under a new federal law that places a community emphasis on job training.

"The goal of Illinois' workforce development system is to increase employment, job retention and the earnings of workers," Ryan said. "By doing so, we'll sustain economic growth, enhance productivity and competitiveness and reduce welfare dependency."

In 1998, President Clinton and Congress enacted the federal Workforce Investment Act to replace the old Job Training Partnership Act. One requirement of the new act was to establish "local workforce investment boards" in each state to create a local, market-driven workforce development system that is led by business leaders throughout the state. Each local board is chaired by a leader from the business community and includes representatives from labor, education, community-based organizations and state and local workforce development agencies. Illinois has 26 local workforce investment boards established or in development.

"During my campaign for Governor, I pledged to reinvigorate the state's workforce development programs," Ryan said. "We're moving forward to that goal."

"We've started the 'Illinois Workforce Advantage,' a new place-based delivery system that will integrate human service programs into workforce preparation activities through new "Family Resource Centers" placed in selected communities," Ryan added. "We're also consolidating workforce development services in a "one-stop" delivery system to develop a single, customer-focused system in each community."

The Illinois Department of Employment Security currently operates 56 Illinois Employment and Training Centers in communities throughout the state. One-Stop Centers offer job training, employment counseling, outplacement services, and a variety of youth services.

"One-Stop Centers and the Illinois Workforce Advantage are the primary resource in each community where Illinois employers and job seekers turn to get workforce development services," Ryan said. "The local board chairs, business representatives and their colleagues are essential to the process of designing services that meet the needs of different communities and in building a statewide system that is responsive to employers and job-seekers alike."


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