Family-Centered Approaches to Workforce Program Services

Research Report

Family-Centered Approaches to Workforce Program Services

Findings from a Survey of Workforce Development Boards


Access to stable employment with adequate pay is critical for families’ stability and livelihood. The public workforce system helps job seekers access training and jobs and can contribute to the economic stability of children, yet we know little about how the system meets families’ needs. This report provides a picture of workforce program services for parents under the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), the primary law authorizing programs under the public workforce system, which was signed into law in 2014. To explore this issue, the Urban Institute fielded a survey in 2017 of workforce development boards (WDBs) in partnership with the National Association of Workforce Boards and Innovate+Educate, which are collaborating on the Family Centered Employment Initiative. Although not representative, the survey provides an understanding of implementation of family-friendly services in six areas: planning and oversight, data, partnerships, delivery of services, funding, and policy. We found that although many WDBs are targeting families and putting in place partnerships, funding, and services to meet their needs, there are opportunities to expand these efforts, to collect better data to inform services and improve state and federal policies that were reported as barriers to serving families.

Cross-Center Initiative

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