About Workforce Development Boards
Workforce Development Boards, sometimes called Workforce Investment Boards, provide leadership and direction on their local strategic workforce issues and develop strategies to address them. Often, WDBs are responsible for federal programs designed to help job seekers access employment, education, training, and support services to succeed in the labor market. They also match employers with the skilled workers they need to compete in the global economy.
WDBs support the expansion and development of the nation’s workforce by serving as the connection point between workers, job centers, businesses and the Department of Labor. Board members include business sector representatives, labor organizations, training providers, and others.
Workforce Development Boards have deep influence and connections with the employer communities in their regions. This includes guidance over local workforce priorities and how certain federal and state funds are spent, as well as the ear of employers across industries in their jurisdiction.
With such considerable influence and the ability to set local priorities, engaging with Workforce Boards has the potential to influence how employers engage with their workers around COVID health and safety and vaccine promotion. This can be especially important in certain workplace sectors that have a large number of Refugee, Immigrant and Migrant (RIM) workers, who may have unique considerations including language access.
Build and cultivate partnerships with your local Workforce Development Board that can be leveraged for COVID-19 workplace health and safety education with the following strategies:
- Learn about and understand the workforce development landscape in your area. Research your local WDB, by exploring their website and learning more about them, along with their committee structure, projects, events and priorities, and members’ company affiliations. Read the minutes of the meeting notes from the last year or two of your local Board’s meetings. These should be available to the public and accessible on the website. Get familiar with the workings of the board.
- Learn about the members of your area’s Workforce Development Board. Research the members of the WDB. What companies or sectors do they represent? What is their job title at their company or organization? What is their contact information and email? Research all the committees and members of the WDB.
- Get involved by attending WDB meetings or volunteering for groups or committees. Volunteering to be on a committee and representing your organization is a great first step to gaining access and trust. Perhaps there are opportunities to advise on LEP (Limited English Proficiency) plans, or consult on language access issues, or other employment issues related to supporting refugees, immigrants and migrants whom you serve.
- Network with your local community workforce partners. Reach out to your existing community workforce partners to connect to members of the WDB or new employers. Email organizational contacts to introduce yourself, your organization, and your resources and services. Attend job fairs, interagency meetings, workshops, webinars or other events that are sponsored by your local WDB or workforce partner agencies
Sample Email to State Employment Commission Career Center Manager
The goal of this template is to connect and build awareness of your organization’s resources and services to be seen as a worthy and trusted partner.
Thanks for being part of the LEP Webinar yesterday (or other connection)! Appreciated your updates and the perspective from your area.
By way of introduction, I work at the (name of CBO), helping our refugee and SIV (special immigrant visa) clients with career development, and advancement through education, certification, and training. We work closely and collaboratively with our workforce partners down here, including the (name of org) with (name of individual) and his/her team.
I am assuming you are familiar with the IRC? We are an international nonprofit organization and a leader in the field of global humanitarian relief and aid to refugees worldwide. Located in 40 countries, we have 26 offices in the U.S, including here in (name of area).
As part of our economic empowerment efforts, we have a number of resources for employers, including flyers and videos that are industry-specific, reviewing risks and how to stay safe working during Covid. The one-page flyers are in five languages: Spanish, Arabic, Swahili, Dari, and Pashto, and include the following industries: Hospitality, Retail & Gig, Light Manufacturing & Food Manufacturing, Warehousing, Logistics, Finance & IT, Healthcare and Environmental Services, Agriculture, Construction, Childcare and caregiving. We also have access to some wonderful in-language videos related to vaccine education and promotion that might be helpful for employers to share with their employees.
Our goal is to improve the well-being of RIM (Refugee, Immigrant and Migrant) communities during Covid. One of our strategies is partnering with local Workforce Development Boards (WDB) to engage employers with a significant number of RIM workers to utilize culturally and linguistically appropriate COVID-19 resources, including vaccine promotion. We have been working locally with (name of WDB Director) and our WDB partners nearby, and interested in providing these materials to other employers who might benefit and be interested in them from other areas in VA.
We would so appreciate your input, and any ideas you might have for how we might support more employers with access to helpful resources for their refugee, immigrant and/or migrant workers. If you have a few minutes to chat, or would refer me to a colleague(s), member of your team, would be great too, and most appreciated. Thanks, and look forward to hearing from you!
Sample Email to Existing Employer Partners
The goal is to expand your partnership with core partners with whom you already work.
I am reaching out from the International Rescue Committee (IRC) in Charlottesville where I serve as the Career Development Specialist on our Economic Empowerment team. I have the pleasure of working with (name of colleague/s) whom you may already know.
While my colleagues assist with early employment, I focus on career advancement by supporting clients with obtaining skills, certifications, credentials, or further education to assist them on their career path, and help them be better employees.
We are always looking for ways to strengthen our clients’ work readiness and soft skills, as well as provide individual career counseling, navigation, and other support where needed. This past year has certainly highlighted a need for many new resources, particularly around health, safety, and vaccine education and promotion.
I’m writing to inform you of some new resources and services that may be helpful for you to share with your English language learners (ELL) who work with you, whether they are refugees, immigrants, or migrants. These include in-language flyers, videos and other materials in several languages including Arabic, Spanish, Swahili, Dari, and Farsi. I’m more than happy to meet with you to discuss what you might need for your ELL employees, and then connect you with appropriate resources.
IRC hopes to be a “one-stop shop” for you to support your employees with linguistically and culturally-appropriate materials and resources.
Attached is more information and a sample of some of the resources that we have, and languages available. Please feel free to contact me if we can be of service, and thanks for your continued partnership and support of our work here in Central Virginia!
Sample Email to New Employers (Introduction)
The goal is to reach out and introduce your organization as a potential partner who can provide helpful and valuable resources.
I am reaching out from the International Rescue Committee (IRC) in Charlottesville where I am the Career Development Specialist on our Economic Empowerment team. Are you familiar with the IRC? We are an international nonprofit organization, and a leader in the field of global humanitarian relief and aid to refugees worldwide. Located in 40 countries, we have 26 U.S. offices, including one in (your area).
We serve refugees, asylees and individuals with special immigrant visas (SIV) with resettlement here in the US. Here in (name of your city), our office assists up to (number) refugees, asylees or SIV holders each year. Our economic empowerment team assists with employment, and career development through providing assistance with things like education, certification, and trainings. We work closely and collaboratively with workforce development partners, companies, and other community partners.
I’m writing to inform you of some new resources and services that may be helpful for you to share with your English language learners (ELL) who work with you, whether they are refugees, immigrants, or migrants. These resources include in-language flyers, videos and other materials in several languages including Arabic, Spanish, Swahili, Dari, and Farsi.
I’m more than happy to meet with you to discuss what you might need for your ELL employees, and then connect you with appropriate resources. IRC hopes to be a “one-stop shop” for you to support your employees with linguistically and culturally-appropriate materials and resources.
Attached is more information, and please feel free to contact me if we can be of service in any way.
Promote COVID-19 Testing and Vaccines in Job Readiness Training
Job readiness training can be an impactful place to share information on COVID-19 and vaccine options due to the frequency of meetings and the relationship of trust developed between the instructor and participants. This library of in-language, client facing resources provides step by step guidance and tools for incorporating COVID-19 vaccine promotion information into these trainings.
Use Multilingual Vaccine Campaigns to Improve Vaccine Confidence Among Workers
We created three campaigns that support vaccine confidence in refugee, immigrant and migrant communities, complete with translations in 40+ languages and easy drag-and-drop templates. With our tools, you can easily conduct a mass communications campaign for your broader community, as well as develop targeted messaging for those who are hardest to reach.
Educate Workers About Vaccines Using Conversation Guides
Dispelling myths and alleviating apprehensions around vaccination requires a trusted relationship and a safe, non-judgmental environment for individuals to voice their concerns and ask questions. These guides equip readers with the skills to answer questions about COVID-19 vaccines and participate in conversations with others, ultimately supporting vaccine confidence in their communities.