CARSON CITY – Gov. Brian Sandoval said today he plans to move forward with the consolidation of two local workforce investment boards even though several Southern Nevada officials testified in opposition to the plan at a public hearing on Monday.
Sandoval said an audit by the state Internal Audit Division showed that not enough of the U.S. Department of Labor money was going to train the unemployed in Southern Nevada so they can find jobs. He said Southern Nevada officials will be well represented on the state board, which would assume control of the funding if the Labor Department gives its OK to the plan.
“That wasn’t surprising,” he said of the testimony in opposition from Southern Nevada officials, including Ardell Galbreth, interim executive director of the Southern Nevada board called Workforce Connections. “I think everybody recognizes that that audit was conducted, and a lot of money was not getting to the people who need it the most.
“This effort is not to punish anybody,” Sandoval said. “It is to ensure that the monies that are collected, as much of that money can get to the beneficiaries, the people of the community. The folks in Southern Nevada will be very well represented on the statewide workforce investment board. And I think as they come to learn more (about) what I’m trying to accomplish, they will see that it is in the best interests of all of those people that they serve.”
The goal is to get as many dollars as possible to those who need training so they can find employment, he said.
The audit found that Workforce Connections spent nearly twice as much on administration and monitoring of its programs than its northern counterpart. Following the release of the audit, the state Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation announced its plan to consolidate the two local boards with the state board.
Currently, funding is provided from the federal Department of Labor to the Governor’s Workforce Investment Board and funneled to two local boards, one in Southern Nevada and the other in Northern Nevada. These boards in turn contract with public and private organizations to offer workforce training programs to youth and adult and dislocated workers.
The U.S. Department of Labor provided about $29.5 million in fiscal year 2011 to Nevada for the programs that supported over 26,000 participants. The programs are intended to help improve the employability of participants.
Galbreth said when the audit was released that the agency’s 2012 budget was revised to ensure that no more than 20 percent of the funding would go to program and administrative costs. The staff of 72 at the board is also being reduced to 34 by the end of the year if not before, he said. The six-figure salaries provided to five of eight staff have been cut, said Galbreth, who took over as interim director in April.
In announcing the plan to change the operation of the boards, Sandoval said: “This new plan calls for greater collaboration between workforce development and the newly restructured Governor’s Office Economic Development, which earlier this year released its plan under the ‘Moving Nevada Forward’ label as well. A key area of focus for my administration is building the type of trained workforce that will support economic diversification.”
Gov. Brian Sandoval says he was not surprised at the opposition to the consolidation plan:
Sandoval says the proposal is not meant as punishment but to get the money to where it is needed most: