Louisiana Task Force on Workforce Competitiveness

WHEREAS, Louisiana must have a well-educated and skilled workforce to compete in the 21st century global economy. As the Southern Growth Policies Board notes, "as Southern businesses face world-wide competition, we have a choice of learning to work smarter or being willing to work cheaper. Since the second option is unacceptable, we must make sure that our workforce is always globally competitive;"

WHEREAS, a recent report released by the Louisiana Workforce Commission indicated that, when looking at the high school freshman class of 1999, sixty-seven percent attempted to enter the workforce without any training or education beyond high school;

WHEREAS, Louisiana Department of Labor's workforce projections indicate that eighty-two percent of jobs available in 2010 will require some advanced skills training or education and the trend is for jobs of the future to continue to demand more and more advanced skills and education;

WHEREAS, in December 2004, The Council for a Better Louisiana released a survey of employers that showed how access to a strong trained and skilled workforce is one of their greatest business challenges; and

WHEREAS, the above stated survey results are indicative of the gap between the skill sets and education possessed by our citizens seeking employment and the skill sets and education required by employers in available jobs;

WHEREAS, as future jobs demand more and more advanced skills and education, it is essential for Louisiana to strategically develop public policy that encourages, facilitates and rewards the continued skills training and education of our citizenry, thereby improving the competitiveness of our workforce;

WHEREAS, an available competitive workforce is a critical element to a vital and growing economy;

WHEREAS, to develop a competitive workforce, Louisiana's workforce development system must align, coordinate and leverage federal, state and local resources, both public and private, toward common goals;

WHEREAS, to encourage a competitive workforce, Louisiana's workforce development system must promote advanced skills training and education in a variety of environments that is readily accessible, affordable and accommodating to traditional and nontraditional students;

WHEREAS, to promote a competitive workforce, Louisiana's workforce development system must reward, or provide incentives, for desirable behavior for all stakeholders to the system;

WHEREAS, to ensure success of the system, Louisiana's workforce development system must be heavily influenced by Louisiana businesses so that the training and education are meaningful and geared toward current and jobs of the future found in businesses seeking to establish, grow and expand in Louisiana;

WHEREAS, to achieve global competitiveness, Louisiana's workforce development system must be aligned and coordinated among state and local partners, both public and private, to ensure that Louisiana's citizens have the opportunity to acquire the skills and education necessary for economic prosperity and Louisiana's business have a strong supply of skilled workers;

WHEREAS, the state of Louisiana has made substantial progress in improving options for workforce training through such initiatives as the Incumbent Worker Training Fund, Program, Industry-Based Certifications and the Work Ready! Certificate;

WHEREAS, Act 1 of the 1977 1997 Regular Session of the Louisiana Legislature established the Workforce Commission in the Office of the Governor to develop a multi-agency approach to job training and education and to advise the governor of workforce education and training policy;

WHEREAS, the Federal Workforce Investment Act of 1998, 29 U.S.C.A. §2801 et seq., requires a state workforce board to serve as the coordinating and policy entity for the implementation of the Workforce Investment Act (hereafter "Act");

WHEREAS, the Workforce Commission has been named the state board for the purposes of the Act and assumes the duties of the state board as outlined in the Act;

WHEREAS, the Workforce Commission and partner agencies are leading the development of a workforce education and training infrastructure which recognizes the need for public/ and private sector cooperation and coordination;

WHEREAS, workforce competitiveness still remains a critical issue of importance to Louisiana businesses;

NOW THEREFORE I, KATHLEEN BABINEAUX BLANCO, Governor of the state of Louisiana, by virtue of the authority vested by the Constitution and laws of the state of Louisiana, do hereby order and direct as follows:

SECTION 1: The Louisiana Task Force on Workforce Competitiveness (hereafter "Task Force") is hereby created within the executive department, Workforce Commission, Office of the Governor.

SECTION 2: The duties of the Task Force shall include, but are not limited to, the following:

A. Identifying the necessary components to produce an effective and responsive statewide workforce development system that is responsive to the needs of employers and job seekers;

B. Defining the state of Louisiana's workforce vision (hereafter "Louisiana's Workforce Vision"); the type of system desired by the business community and job seekers;; the system qualities that are valued;; and the outcomes to be achieved;

C. Assessing the competitive environment, including relevant state and national economic, employment, occupational and educational trends and the overall quality of the Louisiana workforce;

D. Developing and understanding the current system, including its efficiency and effectiveness, its strengths and weaknesses and opportunities for improvement;

E. Researching the best practices of workforce development systems in other states;

F. Developing an understanding and assessment of the statewide capacity of workforce development services, including programs offered, administrative funds, training funds and administrative/ and government structures;

G. Recommending strategies to achieve the Louisiana Workforce Vision by: 1) creating an organizational structure and system of funding to better enable employers and workers to gain easy access to workforce training; 2) prioritizing workforce needs resources in support of economic development efforts of the state; 3) establishing appropriate accountability measures; and 4) establishing policy or statutory changes; and

H. Supporting efforts to implement the governor's workforce development reforms.

SECTION 3: On or before April 15, 2005, the Task Force shall submit a preliminary report of its recommendations that may require legislation to the governor and by August 31, 2005, the Task Force shall submit to the governor a final report of its findings and recommendations to the governor.

SECTION 4: The Task Force shall be composed of a maximum of twenty-three (23) members who, unless otherwise specified, shall be appointed by and serve at the pleasure of the governor. The Task Force members shall be selected as follows:

A. The governor or the governor's designee;

B. The president of the Louisiana State Senate, or the president's designee;

C. The speaker of the Louisiana House of Representatives, or the speaker's designee;

D. The secretary of the Department of Labor, or the secretary's designee;

E. The secretary of the Department of Economic Development, or the secretary's designee;

F. The superintendent of the Department of Education, or the superintendent's designee;

G. The commissioner of Higher Education, or the commissioner's designee;

H. The president of the Louisiana Community and Technical College System, or the president 's designee;

I. The chair of the Louisiana Workforce Commission, or the chair's designee;

J. The president of the Louisiana Police Jury Association, or the president's designee;

K. One (1) mayor who is a member of the Louisiana Municipal Association;

L. One (1) representative of the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Independent Organizations (AFL-CIO);

M. One (1) representative of the Council for a Better Louisiana (CABL);

N. One (1) representative of the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry;

O. One (1) representative of the Louisiana Hospital Association;

P. One (1) representative of the Restaurant Association;

Q. One (1) representative of the Louisiana Chemical Association;

R. One (1) representative of the National Federation of Independent Businesses;

S. One (1) representative of the Association of General Contractors;

T. One (1) representative of the Louisiana Automobile Dealers Association;

U. One (1) representative of the Public Affairs Research Council (PAR);

V. One (1) representative of a local chamber of commerce; and

W. One (1) representative of a regional/ or local economic development entity.

SECTION 5: The chair of the Task Force shall be appointed by the governor. All other officers, if any, shall be elected by and from the membership of the Task Force.

SECTION 6: The Task Force shall meet at regularly scheduled intervals and at the call of he chair. The Task Force shall hold its first meeting no later than January 21, 2005.

SECTION 7: A. Task Force members shall not receive additional compensation or a per diem from the Office of the Governor for serving on the Task Force.

B. Task Force members who are employees or elected public officials of the state of Louisiana or a political subdivision thereof may seek reimbursement of travel expenses, in accordance with PPM 49, from their employing and/or or elected department, agency and/or office.

C. Task Force members who are also members of the Louisiana Legislature may seek a per diem from the Louisiana State Senate or House of Representatives, as appropriate, for their attendance.

SECTION 8: Support staff, facilities, and resources for the Task Force shall be provided by the Office of the Governor, Workforce Commission.

SECTION 9: All departments, commissions, boards, offices, entities, agencies, and officers of the state of Louisiana, or any political subdivision thereof, are authorized and directed to cooperate with the Task Force in implementing the provisions of this Order.

SECTION 10: This Order is effective upon signature and shall continue in effect until amended, modified, terminated, or rescinded by the governor, or terminated by operation of law.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have set my hand officially and caused to be affixed the Great Seal of Louisiana, at the Capitol, in the city of Baton Rouge, on this 12th day of January, 2005.

Kathleen Babineaux Blanco

Fox McKeithen
Secretary of State