SNJBP’s October Impact Award Winner: Camden County Workforce Investment Board Recognized with SETC Certification
The Camden County Workforce Investment Board (CCWIB), a 501c3 nonprofit organization, is a local partnership of representatives from the public and private sector who provide the coordinated planning, oversight and policy guidance for all of the workforce readiness programs in Camden County.
WIB chair Gregg DeBarre, who is the President of Atlantic Coast Communications in Pennsauken and has served on the WIB board for a decade, says that the organization’s vision is to try to make sure the WIB is “enhancing the quality of life for the residents of Camden County by supporting the development and retention of a world class workforce.”
Working with a paid staff of five, the CCWIB coordinates existing federal, state and local workforce readiness programs and policies into a single, labor market driven system that delivers needed services to our local workforce in a cost effective manner.
According to WIB Executive Director Jeff Swartz, “the WIB's role is to understand the needs of those job seekers and employers who can benefit from the services provided - career counseling, pre-employment screening, certificate training, etc.
The organization does that job so well that it earned State Employment and Training Commission certification in April of this year. And in 2008 it was also recognized for Outstanding Achievement in Economic Development.
Swartz and DeBarre are especially proud of the organization’s Youth One-Stop, which is the state’s first—focusing on the specific employment needs and challenges faced by young County residents in the 16 to 21 age cohort.
In August. 17 students in that age group completed the second year of the WIB’s Summer Youth Employment program, which was developed by the WIB’s Youth Investment Council, chaired by Stewart Rosenberg. Sixty-seven young County residents applied for the program, 44 were interviewed, 21 were selected and 17 completed the program—an 81% success rate.
Swartz told SNJBP that he and his WIB colleagues were “excited” at being named an SNJBP Impact Award winner because “many of our business customers and residents are not aware of the many tools available for free at our One Stop career center at 2600 Mt. Ephraim Avenue in Camden.”
Led by a 36-member, all volunteer board, “the WIB strives to create a vision for success for the local workforce and continues to ensure services are of value to our customers by utilizing all available resources to improve the customer experience,” says Swartz.
Swartz notes that the WIB is a 501-C-3 corporation and NOT part of a county agency and he adds that all WIB services are free, including resume writing, job search, referral and remedial training.
The Camden County One-Stop Career Center, with which the WIB collaborates and which it supports, services all populations—the underemployed, unemployed, disabled, ex-offenders, and the dislocated, among others.
At least 51% of the WIB’s board must come from the private sector and “our mission is to create the BEST customer-driven delivery system for employment, training and education-related programs and services by providing strategic management, planning, implementation, and evaluation to enhance the region's long term economic success for all citizens and organizations,” says Swartz.
“We do that,” DeBarre adds, “ by:
• Providing leadership in all workforce issues,
• Providing a holistic delivery of services,
• Continually improving the quality of services for all customers,
• Empowering customers to make informed choices and take control of their careers,
• Providing and guaranteeing universal access to employment opportunities,
• Providing quality workers for all of the region's employers, and
• Creating partnerships and collaboration with government, private and non-profit stakeholders.”
Swartz notes that the majority of the organization’s training resources are spent in two occupational areas—truck driving (17%) and entry level health care (47%).
One of the WIB’s goals is to increase the percentage of eligible customers who receive Request for Training Vouchers. In 2013, 206 RTVs were issued to an eligible customer pool of 492.
Pictured: Jeff Swartz