Posts Tagged ‘U.S. Department of Labor’

Labor Department Rejects Proposed Nevada Workforce Investment Board Consolidation Plan

By Sean Whaley | 2:11 pm September 13th, 2012

CARSON CITY – The U.S. Department of Labor has rejected Nevada’s request for a waiver to consolidate its three workforce investment boards into one, due largely to opposition to the plan by the Southern Nevada panel.

Frank Woodbeck, director of the state Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation had proposed the plan to consolidate the three separate boards that oversee workforce development, which was expected to reduce administrative expenses by $5 million.

DETR Director Frank Woodbeck.

“The waiver request was submitted in July, and we received a response in August to our request and that request was denied,” he told the Governor’s Workforce Investment Board at its meeting today. “The denial was based on the fact that the members of the southern board were in opposition to the waiver and the consolidation.”

The Northern Nevada and state boards supported the consolidation effort.

But Woodbeck noted that the consolidation effort has produced some positive results, including a significant reduction in administrative expenses incurred by the southern Nevada board, called Workforce Connections, under the leadership of Executive Director Ardell Galbreth.

Galbreth, who took over initially as interim director in April, reduced several top six-figure salaries and the size of the agency’s staff by more than half.

Woodbeck said the effort at consolidation has improved communications between his agency and the two local boards.

“So the work at trying to do board consolidation, etc., has not gone for naught,” he said. “It has been successful to a great degree in that we have a much greater line of communication with the directors of the two local boards, and I think we’ll make progress as time goes on.”

Woodbeck, with Gov. Brian Sandoval’s support, had sought the consolidation in part because of excessive administrative costs identified in audits of Workforce Connections.

The most recent audit, performed by the state Division of Internal Audits and released in May, found that Workforce Connections spent nearly twice as much on administration and monitoring of its programs than its northern counterpart.

More than $27 million in federal job training funds were awarded to the two local workforce development boards by the Board of Examiners in August, before the decision on the waiver had been made by the U.S. Department of Labor. The Southern Nevada board received more than $19 million in funding for the coming two years.

-

Audio clips:

DETR Director Frank Woodbeck said the effort to consolidate the workforce boards has been rejected:

091312Woodbeck1 :15 and the consolidation.”

But Woodbeck says the effort has produced some positive results:

091312Woodbeck2 :20 time goes on.”

 

Local Workforce Boards Awarded Funding Despite Ongoing Concerns Over Excessive Administrative Costs

By Sean Whaley | 4:50 pm August 14th, 2012

CARSON CITY – More than $27 million in federal job training funds were awarded to two local workforce development boards by the Board of Examiners today despite ongoing concerns about how the money is being spent by the Southern Nevada board, called Workforce Connections.

The Southern Nevada board will get more than $19 million in funding over the next two years despite the findings in an audit released earlier this year that it was spending nearly twice as much on administration and monitoring of programs than its Northern Nevada counterpart, Nevadaworks.

Dennis Perea, deputy director of the Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation (DETR), told the Board of Examiners that the funds are being awarded to the two local boards until such time as the U.S. Department of Labor grants a waiver to the state to have the funds administered instead by one statewide board. That decision is expected within the month, he said.

Gov. Brian Sandoval, a member of the Board of Examiners, asked for assurances from Perea that the money would be spent on job training efforts and not excessive administrative expenses.

Sandoval and DETR are pushing for the new funding distribution plan that would replace the two local boards.

“There’s a lot of money involved here in these contracts, and are you confident that if these contracts were to be approved that the dollars would be spent wisely?” he asked Perea. “There was an audit, it didn’t go well. It sounds like there hasn’t been much improvement.”

Perea said the new management at Workforce Connections has made improvements, but there are still concerns about the amount of money being spent on administrative expenses.

“They are budgeting at about 20 percent of the funds being held at the board level for board expenses,” he said. “We’re in the process of talking about ways to limit that even further. But we do believe they are moving in the right direction, maybe not quick enough.”

The contracts were in front of the Board of Examiners because the two local boards are the vehicles to spend the job training funds at the current time, Perea said.

After the meeting, Perea said that if the waiver is approved by the U.S. Department of Labor, the grant funding would be redirected to a newly constituted state workforce board, possibly as early as January. The grant funds are paid out as they are spent by the local workforce boards, and so a transition would occur redirecting the funding to the new state board, he said.

The statewide and Northern Nevada workforce boards have approved the new proposal from DETR to administer the funds through one statewide board, but Workforce Connections has opposed the recommendation.

“As we sit here today we need to approve these contracts to get the money out because at the end of the day we need to help people,” Sandoval said. “But I just want, I’ve said this before, I want to make sure as many possible dollars get to the people that actually need it, than having it all eaten up with administration.”

DETR Director Frank Woodbeck has proposed the plan to consolidate the three separate boards that oversee workforce development into one, which is expected to result in $5 million more in federal funds directed annually to helping train job seekers to find employment.

The plan, “Moving Nevada Forward: A Plan For Excellence in Workforce Development,” was submitted to the Department of Labor last month.

Currently, funding is provided from the federal Department of Labor to the Governor’s Workforce Investment Board and funneled to the two local boards. These boards in turn contract with public and private organizations to offer workforce training programs to youth and adult and dislocated workers.

But a recent audit of this system by the state Division of Internal Audits revealed that too many federal dollars are lost to administrative and duplicative costs.

“This new plan will result in a significant amount of funds being spent directly for much-needed services, as we are essentially removing an administrative layer of expense,” Woodbeck said when the plan was released in May. “Administrative functions would be moved to DETR and community service providers will continue to deliver direct services to job seekers.”

-

Audio clips:

Gov. Brian Sandoval asks for assurances the money will be spent appropriately:

081412Sandoval1 :20 be spent wisely?”

Sandoval says the money has to get into the hands of those people who actually need it:

081412Sandoval2 :17 up with administration.”

DETR Deputy Director Dennis Perea says too much money is still being spent on administration by the Southern Nevada board:

081412Perea :12 that even further.”