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New local plan for the Northern Indiana Workforce Board

NIWB announces new local plan for Region 2


    The Northern Indiana Workforce Board oversees workforce development activities in a five county region in Northern Indiana. The region encompasses both metropolitan and rural areas. The two largest workforce areas are centered on South Bend and Elkhart. We are blessed with many educational partners (especially higher ed) in the region that all have a strong and growing focus on solving workforce/employer needs in the region. Recent activity on the Governor’s Regional Cities Initiative brought the board closer together with our regional partners.

    The NIWB decided five years ago that job placement was the most important metric that we could pursue for Adults and Dislocated workers. Consequently our mission has been and continues to be focused on the needs of our regional employers. We expanded businesses services into a fully functioning team that integrates our internal business services activities, veterans’ team, external business consultants, youth team, disabled individuals, seniors, ex-offenders and adult education representative. Most recently after building trust and cooperation with our regional partnership consortium we have agreed to “share” business services activities allowing the regions resources to be maximized. Partner agencies now represent each other with our area employers. This means that we will leverage existing strong relationships with employers but allowing the holder agency of the relationship to represent the others at that employer. DWDs plan to add additional Business Consultant staff will strengthen this strategy and allow us to cover a larger cross section of our many employers in the region.

    While our team focused on filling employer needs as quickly as possible with the best possible candidates our board recognized the need to serve the most difficult clients. This doesn’t always provide the most attractive performance metrics but the board resolved that we should address this segment of the population. As a result, in the youth service area we took on two facilities that are deemed “last chance” facilities for the community school corporations and placed JAG programs there. We also have worked with the Juvenile Justice system and have placed both male and female specialist at the juvenile justice correctional facility. We recognized what a challenge many of the out of school youth had relative to education and we have hired direct adult ed instructors to shore up specific areas. We are working in cooperation with our school partners in this area. The board also enthusiastically embraced the DEI program and was one of the first adopters of an expanded ex-offender program. We have worked hard in the region to provide work transportation opportunities for these individuals. Region two also agreed to be the pilot region for Operation Job Ready Vets to evaluate the possibilities for integration of this program with the services offered within the WorkOne offices and also out into the community with the VA. The program has been very successful in the region.

    Potential concerns over funding and a reliance on Federal WIA/WIOA funding caused the board to look at funding alternatives to serve special groups of individuals and employers very early on. This has resulted in special grants from the Cities of South Bend, Mishawaka and Elkhart for specialized manufacturing training. We also received a SCSEP grant that is separate from that operating in other areas of the state to serve seniors in our region and re-introduce them to the workforce when circumstances beyond their control make it necessary. This has already allowed the board to spend over $1.5 million dollars in the region providing work/training experiences for these individuals. We have recently received an Americorps grant to allow us to prepare for an even larger grant to serve difficult to serve and senior individuals. The city of South Bend has entrusted the board with a Pathways grant to develop additional career pathways for our clients. These are just a few of the ways that the board is looking to continue to provide a high degree of client service both individuals and employers while facing reduced funding in the Federal allocation stream.

    The board will be focused on increased reliance on community service partners, educational partners and our business partners in the very near term.


    Relevant Documents Downloadable for Public Comment

    Region 2 Local Plan Partners Consortium Regional Plan NIWB Review Forms
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    Region 2 Oranizational Chart NIWB Training Acct. Policy NIWB Demand Driven Flow
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    Joint Partners MOU NIWB Procurement Policy Career Pathways Update
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