Workforce Development Professionals Month, held in September of each year, honors workforce development organizations, professionals, and partnerships that play a vital role in the U.S. economy. It was created by the National Association of Workforce Development Professionals to recognize the hardworking people who serve job seekers and employers by developing potential and connecting people with employers in their communities. If you live in the U.S., within 10 miles of your home is a Goodwill organization working to make your community stronger via workforce development opportunities that help people learn, earn, plan, and achieve their dreams.
A number of challenges currently face the workforce development field include funding, an increase in demand for services, questions regarding program effectiveness, and more job seekers with multiple barriers to accessing and completing education and work.
Long-term unemployment and systemic barriers to employment continue to keep capable people out of jobs, and research demonstrates that individuals who receive services through the workforce system show positive outcomes for both employment and earnings gains.
Programs like SNAP Education and Training, provided through the Farm Bill, leverage lifelines to engage the people with the most barriers to work. Programs like LifeLaunch, provided through the Department of Justice to Goodwills throughout the country, provide resources to help improve employment outcomes and reduce recidivism among justice-involved youth. As we enter the thick of federal budget appropriation season, cuts to these programs would mean a reduction in this crucial pathway to independence and success for people in your community.
America’s economic future depends, at least in part, on the skills of its workforce. Although policymakers face difficult decisions, our nation must continue to invest in those skills to maintain our competitiveness in the global economy.