National Association of State Workforce Board Chairs
Workforce Council Chairs

About the Association

Officers, Staff and Members

Chairs' Meetings

State Workforce Investment Boards

Online Resources and Links



General Background on the Association

Articles of Association
(in PDF)

The Association
State Boards

Association Objective, Vision Statement, and Mission:

The National Association of State Workforce Board Chairs equips the chairs, members, and staff of gubernatorially-appointed councils responsible for overseeing state workforce development systems to build their leadership capacity, collectively influence federal workforce policy, and become catalysts for state workforce development system reforms.

The purpose of the association is to provide a unified voice for state workforce councils on national policy issues, to strengthen the nation's employment, training, and education systems, and collaborate with other national organizations engaged in areas of common interest.

The mission of the association is to:

  • To build strategic alliances among stakeholders, including education, employers, labor, and government, at the state and national levels.
  • To assist state boards chairs build more effective boards capable of achieving state workforce development goals.
  • To effectively influence national workforce policy.

The Association

Overall, the National Association of State Workforce Board Chairs provides its members with opportunities to:

  • learn about accomplishments of other state boards;
  • explore leading-edge state workforce development strategies to:
  1. foster customer-friendly systems and programs,
  2. overcome barriers to reform,
  3. adapt quality practices, and
  4. engage the employer community;
  • gain a greater understanding of federal programs and initiatives;
  • influence and examine the impact of relevant federal legislation and policy;
  • build the capacity and improve the effectiveness of state boards; and
  • network with colleagues from across the country who are charged with similar responsibilities and are facing similar challenges.

The primary vehicle for the exchange of information are the three meetings convened in the winter, summer, and fall of each year. The summer meeting, which is the association’s annual meeting, is hosted by the workforce board of the state in which the meeting is held.

The association is led by a chair and vice chair, each of whom is selected from among the membership during every other annual meeting. Each officer serves a two-year term beginning at the conclusion of the meeting at which they are elected.

Much of the work of the association is conducted through the Executive Committee, which is comprised of the association chair, vice-chair, most immediate past chair, and two other members selected by the chair and who serve at the pleasure of the chair. There are currently two committees: the Legislative Committee and the Marketing and Membership Committee. In addition, the association chair appoints ad hoc committees and task forces whenever deemed necessary. Currently, there is one ad hoc committee: the Quality Task Force.

Staff support to the chair’s association is provided by the Employment and Social Services Policy Studies Division of the National Governors’ Association Center for Best Practices. The Center plans and coordinates the association’s three meetings, supports the work of the committees provides regular updates on federal legislation and policy, and maintains the association’s Internet Website.

Chairs’ Orientation Manual


Formerly the National Association of State Job Training Coordinating Council Chairs, the association was originally organized in 1988 by the private sector chairs of state job training coordinating councils authorized under the Job Training Partnership Act (JTPA). The association expanded its membership in 1993 to include the gubernatorial appointed chairs of state human resource investment councils authorized under the 1992 amendments to JTPA and other similar state boards with broad oversight of state workforce development policy and programs.

In recent years, the National Association of State Workforce Board Chairs has been actively promoting the restructuring of the fragmented mix of federal employment, training, and education programs into a comprehensive workforce development system that is both customer driven and result-oriented. The association has called for state flexibility to establish, through partnership with local communities and the private sector, a state based system with locally designed service delivery. To advance this goal, the association published three policy papers. The first, Bring Down the Barriers, highlighted the fragmentation and overlap within the current system and recommended steps to begin addressing these issues. In its second paper, Advancing America's Workforce, the association proposed a framework for a restructured workforce investment system and recommended steps to achieve this end. In 1996 the association issued its most recent policy paper, Employing Our Resources, in which the chairs’ association explored how to finance the lifelong learning system by employing public and private resources through a partnership between business, government, and individuals.

The Members

The members of the association are the gubernatorialy-appointed chairs of state-level boards charged with advising their governors on workforce development policy. In addition, each state workforce board chair may designate a member of their state workforce board to serve as their alternate. Alternates are entitled to nearly all of the privileges afforded to chairs and may attend association meetings and participate in task forces and committees in the place of the chair. The executive director or chief staff liaison of each state workforce board is an associate member of the association. They may also attend association meetings and participate on task forces and committees, but may not vote, unless granted a written proxy by their state chair.

State Boards

The state boards chaired by the association members include state human resources investment councils (HRICs), state workforce development boards/councils, state job training coordinating councils (SJTCC) and other similar state level policymaking or advisory bodies. Most state workforce boards are comprised of business and labor leaders, the heads of relevant state labor, education, economic development, and human service departments and agencies, representatives of the K-12 and postsecondary education communities, the heads of community-based organizations, representatives of key constituency groups, and state or local elected officials. Typically, state workforce boards oversee federally-funded workforce development programs, including the employment service, the Job Training Partnership Act (JTPA), vocational education, and adult basic education. In addition, to these federal programs, many state boards oversee state-funded workforce initiatives, enhancing the connection between federal and state efforts. Though most serve an advisory role, many boards promote and enable state-level coordination and collaboration among workforce development programs. The most common responsibilities of state boards include:

  • advising their governor,
  • identifying workforce needs,
  • reviewing services and the use of funds,
  • conducting broad-based planning,
  • and developing standards and measures to evaluate workforce development programs.

Many of the boards are led by private sector leaders and are majority private sector. The boards therefore provide a key forum for key employers and labor to contribute to the oversight and governance of state workforce development systems. In addition, several states boards are chaired or co-chaired by the Lt. Governor. In many states, the boards guide major cross-cutting workforce initiatives that require high-level state agency collaboration and substantive employer input, such as the one-stop career networks, school-to-work/school-to-career systems, and welfare-to-work initiatives.

Many boards have also spearheaded or advanced state workforce development reform initiatives by championing:

  • Broad-based strategic planning. By bringing the relevant stakeholders together and taking all parts of the workforce development system into account, state boards have developed goals, objectives, and strategies across agencies and programs.
  • More efficient use of resources. State boards have worked to improve efficiency by encouraging the elimination of duplication and overlap in existing programs and encouraging the pooling available resources.
  • Improved service delivery. State boards have improved service delivery by fostering collaboration and integration among various workforce development agencies and streamlining access to the system for job seekers, incumbent workers, employers, and its other customers.
  • Outcome-based accountability. State boards have spearheaded the development of outcome-based accountability measures for the entire system.
  • Increased employer involvement. State boards serve as a forum for employer input so that the needs of employers are addressed throughout the workforce development system.

The roles and responsibilities of state boards will increase as a result of the enactment of the Workforce Investment Act of 1998.