(1) The needs of employers are rapidly changing and training providers must be more responsive or the state economy will suffer;
(2) Information specific to West Virginia, once again emphasizes the critical link between education and economic development that empowering youth and adults with the knowledge and skills they need to succeed in the competitive work world also results in a workforce which enables businesses and communities to prosper;
(3) Although employers are generally satisfied with the quality of the West Virginia workforce and the study provides additional support that the measures adopted in the Jobs Through Education Act will bring continued improvement, workforce needs are not static, critical skill shortages currently exist, and the establishment of a workforce development system that responds more quickly to the evolving skill requirements of employers is needed.
(b) The Legislature further finds that a study of community and technical education in West Virginia performed by the national center for higher education management systems called attention to problems in providing needed workforce education and found that there is a need to:
(1) Jump-start development of community and technical college and post-secondary workforce development initiatives;
(2) Provide incentives for existing public post-secondary providers to respond jointly to both short and long-term needs of employers and other clients;
(3) Provide funding for explicit incentives for partnerships between employers and public post-secondary institutions to develop comprehensive community and technical college and workforce development services; and
(4) Allocate funds competitively on the basis of proposals submitted by providers.
(c) It is further the intent of the Legislature that the granting of funds under this article will promote the development of comprehensive community and technical colleges as set forth in article three-c of this chapter.
(d) It is the intent of the Legislature through the grant of funds under this article to provide limited seed money to address some of the specific areas where improvement is needed, including:
(1) Improving employer awareness and access to services available through the state's education institutions;
(2) Providing designated professionals and resources to support workforce education through the state's education institutions;
(3) Assisting with the modernization and procurement of equipment needed for workforce training programs: Provided, That any equipment purchased or upgraded with grant funds awarded under the provisions of this article may not be sold, disposed of or used for purposes other than those specified in the grant without prior approval of the development office;
(4) Increasing the capacity of the state's education institutions to respond rapidly to employer needs for workforce education and training on an on-going basis through the development of a client-focused, visible point of contact for program development and delivery, service referral and needs assessment, such as a workforce development center; and
(5) Maximizing the use of available resources for workforce education and training through partnerships with public vocational, technical and adult education centers and private training providers.
(e) It is further the intent of the Legislature that consideration and partnering opportunities be given to small businesses on an equal basis with larger businesses for the purposes of this article and that the seed money will assist providers in becoming self-sustaining through partnerships with business and industry which will include cost-sharing initiatives and fees charged for the use of services.
(f) The Legislature intends that grants of funds made under the provisions of this article will be competitive among applicants who meet all of the criteria established in this article and such other criteria as may be specified by the development office. Subject to the availability of funds, more than one competition may be held during the same fiscal year and the dollar range of awards granted in successive competitions shall be prorated based on the number of months remaining in the fiscal year. Subject to annual review and justification, it is the intent of the Legislature to renew grant awards made under this article each year for not more than five years following the initial grant award.
(b) It is the responsibility of the council to administer the state fund for community and technical college and workforce development, including setting criteria for grant applications, receiving applications for grants, making determinations on distribution of funds and evaluating the performance of workforce development initiatives.
(c) The chancellor, under the direction of the council, shall review and approve the expenditure of all grant funds, including development of application criteria, the review and selection of applicants for funding and the annual review and justification of applicants for grant renewal.
(1) To aid in decision making, the chancellor appoints an advisory committee consisting of the Executive Director of the West Virginia Development Office or designee; the Secretary of Education and the Arts or designee; the Assistant State Superintendent for Technical and Adult Education; the Chair of the West Virginia Council for Community and Technical College Education; the Chair of the West Virginia Workforce Investment Council, the Executive Director of Workforce West Virginia, two members representing business and industry and one member representing labor. The advisory committee shall review all applications for workforce development initiative grants and make recommendations for distributing grant funds to the council. The advisory committee also shall make recommendations on methods to share among the community and technical colleges any curricula developed as a result of a workforce development initiative grant.
(2) When determining which grant proposals will be funded, the council shall give special consideration to proposals by community and technical colleges that involve businesses with fewer than fifty employees.
(3) The council shall weigh each proposal to avoid awarding grants which will have the ultimate effect of providing unfair advantage to employers new to the state who will be in direct competition with established local businesses.
(d) The council may allocate a reasonable amount, not to exceed five percent up to a maximum of fifty thousand dollars of the funds available for grants on an annual basis, for general program administration.
(e) The council shall report to the Legislative Oversight Commission on Education Accountability and the Legislative Oversight Commission on Workforce Investment for Economic Development on the status of the Workforce Development Initiative Program annually by the first day of December.
(f) Moneys appropriated or otherwise available for the Workforce Development Initiative Program shall be allocated by line item to an appropriate account. Any moneys remaining in the fund at the close of a fiscal year are carried forward for use in the next fiscal year.
(g) Nothing in this article requires a specific level of appropriation by the Legislature.
(b) The mission of any community and technical college accepting a workforce development initiative grant is to:
(1) Become client-focused and develop programs that meet documented employer needs;
(2) Involve and collaborate with employers in the development of programs;
(3) Develop customized training programs that provide for the changing needs of employers and that are offered at flexible times and locations to accommodate employer scheduling;
(4) Develop partnerships with other public and private providers, including small business development centers and vocational, technical and adult education centers, and, with business and labor, to fulfill the workforce development needs of the service area;
(5) Establish cooperative arrangements with the public school system for the seamless progression of students through programs of study that begin at the secondary level and conclude at the community and technical college level, particularly with respect to career and technical education certificates, associate of applied science and selected associate of science degree programs for students seeking immediate employment, individual entrepreneurship skills, occupational development, skill enhancement and career mobility; and
(6) Assist in the on-going assessment of the workforce development needs of the service area.
(1) Participate in a community and technical college consortia planning district as required by article three-c of this chapter. Consortia representatives participate in the development of and approve applications for funding grants under the provisions of this article and approve the workforce development initiative budget;
(2) Develop, as a component of its institutional compact, a plan to achieve measurable improvements in the quality of the workforce within its service area over the period covered by the compact. The plan is developed in partnership with employers, local vocational schools and other workforce education providers; and
(3) Establish a special revolving fund under the jurisdiction of the community and technical college dedicated solely to workforce development initiatives for the purposes provided in this article. Any fees or revenues generated from workforce development initiatives funded by a competitive grant are deposited into this fund.
(b) To be eligible to receive a workforce development initiative grant, a community and technical college shall provide at least the following information in its application:
(1) Identification of the specific business or business sector training needs that will be met if a workforce development initiative grant is received;
(2) A commitment from the private or public sector partner or partners to provide a match of one dollar, cash and in-kind, for each dollar of state grant money received except:
(A) In cases where the community and technical college can demonstrate that it would be a hardship for the private sector partner or partners to provide a dollar-to-dollar match, the match may be reduced to one dollar for each three dollars of state funding.
(B) In cases where the grant award is to be used to modernize equipment, the council may establish a separate match requirement not to exceed one dollar, cash or in-kind, for each state dollar awarded.
(C) Beginning in fiscal year 2006, the commitment required by this subdivision may be provided by a public sector partner using state or federal dollars to provide the required match if funding for this initiative in the fiscal year exceeds six hundred fifty thousand dollars in which case, one-half the amount exceeding six hundred fifty thousand dollars may be granted using a public sector match;
(3) An agreement to share with other community and technical colleges any curricula developed using funds from a workforce development initiative grant;
(4) A specific plan showing how the community and technical college will collaborate with local post-secondary vocational institutions to maximize the use of existing facilities, personnel and equipment; and
(5) An acknowledgment that acceptance of a grant under the provisions of this article commits the community and technical college and its consortia committee to such terms, conditions and deliverables as specified by the council in the request for applications, including, but not limited to, the measures by which the performance of the workforce development initiative will be evaluated.
(c) Applications submitted by community and technical colleges may be awarded funds for programs which meet the requirements of this article that are operated on a collaborative basis at facilities under the jurisdiction of the public schools and utilized by both secondary and post-secondary students.
(b) The Legislature finds that an emergency exists and,
therefore, the council shall propose an emergency rule to implement
the provisions of this article in accordance with section six,
article one of this chapter and article three-a, chapter twenty-
nine-a of this code by October 1, 2011.
(c) Any rule promulgated by the council pursuant to previous enactments of this section and in effect on the effective date of the amendment and reenactment of this section in the year 2011 remains in effect until amended, modified, repealed or replaced by the council.
(1) The Legislature finds that many West Virginians, particularly young adults, cannot enroll full-time in a community and technical college technical program because circumstances require them to maintain full-time employment. It is critically important that technical programs leading to high-wage occupations be more accessible and affordable for all West Virginians.
(2) The Legislature further finds that cooperative education programs are successful in providing access to these technical programs while providing students enrolled full-time in a community and technical college with the financial benefits they need to continue their education. These cooperative education programs provide opportunities for students to work with West Virginia companies while in college, thus increasing the likelihood that they will complete the program, find gainful employment and choose to remain in West Virginia upon graduation. They provide students with hands-on, real world work experience with a salary while they complete a technical program of study and, at the same time, provide employers with a cost-effective tool for recruiting and training.
(b) The purpose of this section is to establish a cooperative education program, under the jurisdiction of the council, as a component of the Workforce Development Initiative Program established pursuant to this article. The program shall be known and may be cited as the "Learn and Earn Program".
(c) The program requires a dollar-for-dollar cash match from participating employers or groups of employers from which the student receives a salary from the employer or employers while participating in the program. Participants may not substitute a match in-kind for the cash match required by this section.
(d) An institution is eligible to apply for a program grant in cooperation with one or more employer partners if it meets the definition of a community and technical college provided in section two, article one of this chapter. The council shall define the application process in the rules required in section five of this article.
(e) The council may expend funds available through the
Workforce Development Initiative program to implement the
provisions of this section.
Note: WV Code updated with legislation passed through the 2015 Regular Session
The WV Code Online is an unofficial copy of the annotated WV Code, provided as a convenience. It has NOT been edited for publication, and is not in any way official or authoritative.