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 The Public Workforce System


The public workforce system is a network of federal, state, and local offices that function to support economic expansion and develop the talent of our nation’s workforce. In order to meet the challenge of the 21st century global economy, the public workforce system works in partnership with employers, educators, and community leaders to foster economic development and high-growth opportunities in regional economies. This system exists to help businesses find qualified workers to meet their present and future workforce needs.

 How the Public Workforce System Is Organized

Although the public workforce system is federally funded, most of the services for businesses are available at the state and local levels. Under the Workforce Investment Act of 1998, each state establishes a state workforce investment board, which determines strategic priorities, identifies high-growth industries, develops a workforce investment budget, and establishes local workforce investment areas across the state. Each state must also create a strategic plan, which is publicly available and can provide insight into opportunities for your business. For more information on particular state workforce investment contacts visit State & Local Contacts or to view strategic plans visit WIA State Strategic Plans (2005 - 2007).

 Workforce Investment Boards

To ensure that the workforce system is focusing on the regional economy, each state is divided into one or more workforce areas, controlled by a local workforce investment board. Workforce investment boards have several important functions in the public workforce system. They determine how many One-Stop Career Centers are needed in their area, where they will be located, and how they will be operated. The boards analyze workforce information to identify targeted industries and plan for future growth.

By law, more than 50 percent of each workforce investment board is made up of employer representatives from the community. Each workforce investment board represents businesses like yours and is interested in hearing from employers like you about your workforce needs, your growth opportunities, and ways you would like to partner. To find out more about your local workforce investment board, visit

 One-Stop Career Centers

The heart of the public workforce system is the One-Stop Career Center, your access point to qualified workers as well as federal, state, and local resources and assistance. There are more than 3,200 One-Stop Career Centers located in all 50 states and Puerto Rico.

One-Stop Career Centers place a multitude of resources for businesses and for job seekers under one roof. The typical One-Stop serves thousands of individuals who are seeking employment, changing jobs, reentering the workforce, or learning new skills. That makes One-Stops an ideal source of workforce solutions for many companies.

To start working with One-Stop Career Centers or to find out more about services that are available at a One-Stop near you, visit or call 877-US2-JOBS.

Find out more:
 Make the Connection

Once you have educated yourself about the public workforce system and the workforce investment boards in your local area, we urge you to get connected and find out about partnership opportunities that can help you meet your workforce goals.

Consider these steps that can help you make the most of your connections:

  1. Perform a self-assessment of your company or division, including your largest workforce challenges, areas of opportunity, and existing or potential partnerships. Consider such factors as your means for recruiting workers, your internal training and staff development processes, and your human resources structure.
  2. Based on this self-assessment, create a snapshot view of your company or division that you can share with your partners in the public workforce system. Valuable elements of this snapshot can include your size and extent of operations, jobs in greatest demand and their wages, career ladders in the company, human resources structure, and key points of contact.
  3. Gain an understanding of the public workforce system, economic development, and other resources in your area. In addition to understanding what you have to gain from partnering, you may also consider what resources you can bring to the table.





Created: June 05, 2007
Updated: July 09, 2007