Virginia’s human resource programs could undergo a major overhaul

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Virginia would get a new, centralized department responsible for the state’s efforts to bring employers and workers together as part of a sweeping reorganization proposed by Labor Secretary Bryan Slater.

The goal of the plan — which requires General Assembly approval — is to streamline access to labor market information for people looking for work or training, as well as to facilitate policy-making and data-sharing, Slater said.

The reorganization would also allow the state to set standard targets and measurements for the performance of different programs.

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The new staff development and promotion department would take on 13 separate programs from eight separate agencies.

They make up most of the state’s more than $485 million staffing effort, now spread across a dozen agencies.

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Slater said the result is a fragmented approach that thwarts efforts to coordinate and manage staffing efforts, a priority Gov. Glenn Youngkin mentions in virtually all of his public statements.

The current range of programs does not align well with industry desires, while job seekers can be confused and discouraged because the different programs have so many different avenues of entry, Slater said.

Outdated technology that doesn’t connect well between agencies and a lack of good data are other big problems, he said.

The reorganization would shift administration of key federal Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act programs, such as Job Corps and American Job Centers, from the Virginia Employment Commission and Virginia Community College Systems to the new division.

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The separate trade adjustment assistance program for workers who lose their jobs because of imported goods, as well as a job program for veterans and another program focused on re-employment services would be moved along with the Commission’s Labor Market Information Service, which collects detailed job market data and spread.

The commission would then be streamlined to focus on unemployment insurance.

The new department would also take over the apprenticeship program now operated by the Department of Labor and Industry, as well as the community colleges service that matches students with vocational training, and the State Council of Higher Education’s business-student matching service, who are looking for a job learning opportunities.

Employment data services from the Virginia Department of Education, the Virginia Office of Education Economics and the Community College System would also be moved to the new department.

Tax credit programs, economic development grants related to job creation, specialized vocational rehabilitation services for persons with disabilities, high school career and technical education programs, and the Virginia Values ​​Veterans program would remain with their current departments of state.

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