What is a Workforce Development Board?

Local Workforce Development Boards (WDBs), in partnership with the State Employment and Training Commission – the state WDB, work to enhance the global competitiveness of New Jersey’s businesses by developing a world-class workforce.

The WDBs are business-led boards, serving a county or multi-county area. A WDB acts like a Board of Directors, to identify the needs of the local job market, leverage resources, oversee One-Stop Career Centers, and direct workforce investment programs in their area. They work in conjunction with economic development and related organizations to promote economic growth and the full utilization of the workforce.

WDBs are charged with integrating publicly funded workforce services and job training programs into a system that is flexible, seamless, accountable, and responsive to the needs of both workers and businesses.

Based on local community needs, WDBs define a vision, mission, and goals, as part of a strategic plan that establishes the local one-stop service delivery system to serve unemployed job seekers, businesses, incumbent workers looking for a better job, and young people entering the workforce. Since labor markets extend beyond county lines, contiguous WDBs also collaborate to facilitate regional initiatives.

In 1996, New Jersey Executive Order #36 created workforce investment boards in New Jersey. Subsequently, the federal Workforce Investment Act of 1998 mandated them within all states and U.S. territories. Under the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act of 2014 (WIOA), these boards were re-named workforce development boards (WDBs).  

The Governor of New Jersey certifies the local WDBs and local elected officials appoint WDB members to serve as volunteer board members. The majority of members must be private business representatives. Other required membership includes representatives from Organized Labor, Community-Based Organizations, Education, Human Services and others.