Workforce Investment Boards have for too long produced substandard websites. The message on the website is diluted because WIB's are trying to speak to more than one audience. Additionally, WIB's are not engaging the website viewer appropriately because quite frankly, they do not know who they are talking to. Therefore WIB's are not delivering information on the website that is desired by those who should be the target audience for the website (employers). This presentation helps workforce investment boards retool their message so that the message addresses the needs and wants of employers. Knowing who the audience for the website is will also allow WIB's to set measurable objectives regarding engagement.
How to Turn Your WIB Website into
an Engine of Economic Development and Job Creation
Presented By: Colleen LaRose
North East Regional Employment and Training Association
We are going to go where no WIB
has gone before….
What is required to be “Revolutionary.”
Recognize self as change agent and leader
Open to new ideas
Belief in possibilities
“The NERETA Revolution”
You can’t be
Please fix these issues!
Low Literacy Levels
Laziness/poor work ethic
Youth employment needs
Older worker employment needs
Veterans employment needs
Offender employment needs
Person’s w/disabilities employment needs
Everybody else’s employment needs
Transportation /child care needs
Articulation between schools
We will have more for you to fix
DEAR WIB DIRECTOR:
Stakeholders vs. Target Market
Stakeholders – Those who are invested in
Target market – Those who you need the
attention of in order to be a success.
Who should be your priority?
Which are your stakeholders? Who is your “target market?
Politicians, Jobseekers, Local Board, USDOL, State DOL, State WIB, Staff
Contractors, Partners, Economic Development, Chambers of Commerce, Employers
What is Success for a WIB?
Invited to sit on other boards?
Quoted often in the media?
Acquired many grants?
Respected by state/federal officials?
Fix lots of issues/problems?
Positive financial impact on the
If the WIB’s Product
is a Quality Workforce....
Have you looked at the workforce through
the “marketing” lens?
Product - quality, usability
Place – available when and where I need it
Price – relative value, competitive
Promotion – Benefits are known by potential users
Have you ever sold a product?
What is our unique selling
(What makes our cupcakes
unique, special, different, memorable?)
Does the look and feel of
the website matter when
ordering a cupcake?
Do testimonials about
our cupcakes matter?
Let’s say we are starting a company
Which is most powerful?
FEATURES (telling -marketing)
How big is the cupcake
How tasty is the cupcake
How attractive is the cupcake
BENEFITS (believing -persuasion)
You will attract attention when holding the cupcake
People will think you are smart/powerful/wealthy when
you are holding the cupcake
People will be jealous of you when they see you have
Sell the Benefits of your region’s
Close to major university
Low cost labor
Large youth population
Close to major university – Great minds at your doorstep to
help you with your business challenges
Low cost of labor - You can afford a larger staff to get more
hands and minds working for you
Large youth population – Youthful vigor with up-to-date
technical skills and fresh ideas
Why does your WIB have a website?
Because we were told to have a website
To explain who we are and what we do (justify our
To provide a place where people can see public reports,
meeting minutes, meeting schedules, etc.
To provide information about workforce services and links
to local employment and training providers
To entice businesses to locate or expand in the
region based on our workforce capabilities
So then, who is the target
audience for your WIB website?
System partners and other stakeholders?
State and/or federal officials?
Of course not…the priority and target audience of the WIB is
Again….who is the WIB’s priority?
Why concentrate efforts on
WIB’s are Demand Driven
WIB’s are 51% private sector
Employers create jobs
Employers grow the economy
When employers are happy, so are:
◦ System partners
◦ Board members
“All Employers” are not the WIB’s
Can the WIB “position” the local workforce in the
marketplace to retain and attract strategic “buyers?”
Which employers should your WIB target?
Which employers is economic development trying to
Which employers are growing?
Which employers are crucial to retain in the community?
Think like an employer!
(or the site selector they hired)
If you were evaluating
a region to determine
relocation or growth
potential for a company,
what would you
want to know
about the workforce?
What is special
Who are you marketing to?
Proud history of strong work ethic
Strong technical capabilities
Superior training facilities
Older, experienced workforce
Is this what is on your WIB website?
Strategic plan and other reports
List of your members
List of your committees
Minutes of meetings/Calendar of future meetings
Incentives, tax credits that can benefit employers (that are really
about hiring the down and out…not about helping employers)
Information about some training programs
WIB policies and procedures
Telling vs. Doing
Are you explaining why the WIB is
valuable? (Playing defense)
Are you demonstrating that the local
workforce is valuable? (Playing offense)
A quality workforce is the number one reason that
businesses now choose their location…surpassing tax
incentives, low cost of business, transportation, and even
quality of life!
Economic Developers say,
“Workforce Quality is #1”
Communicating with Employers
What you are telling
What employers say
What employers want
What is provided to
Learning to speak the language of
Quantify, Quantify, Quantify!
How much does it improve their profitability?
How much does it reduce their costs?
(Not as important)
Would you rather have a dollar bill or a dollar
Would these topics
What is special about your region’s workforce capabilities?
(unique selling proposition)
What are the existing workforce characteristics?
How are training needs met in the region?
What are the existing employer characteristics?
What are the emerging employment trends and economic
What other supports can you provide employers ?
What are the
How large is the local labor pool?
What are the prevailing wages? How are wages meeting living expenses?
(How does cost of living compare to the national average?)
What are the skills possessed by the local labor pool?
◦ Basic skills?
◦ Workforce readiness certified?
◦ PC Literacy?
◦ High school graduation rate?
◦ Percent in remedial education in 1st year of college?
◦ Percent with BA degree? MA degree? PhD’s?
◦ Turnover rates?
◦ Absentee rate?
met in the
Are k-12 and colleges participating in the economic vision and solutions?
Is there one point of contact for employers to get information they need
about finding and training workers?
Are employers surveyed regularly about their training needs?
What Colleges, voc schools, and private training providers located within
How are the training providers and colleges doing on their “scorecards?”
Who provides which kind of training?
Worker training programs?
◦ Incumbent worker training?
◦ Apprenticeship programs?
◦ On the job training?
What are the
What are the major industries?
Who are the local major employers?
Which companies are unionized? Is this a “right-to-
Who are the newest employers? Home grown?
What are the
Are there untapped/hidden pools of labor?
Is the region attractive to talent who may
need to be recruited nationally?
What other supports can
you provide employers?
Recruitment, LMI, UI, Compliance, Incentives
Human resources, Labor relations, Wellness
Being/becoming a value to the community?
◦ How to achieve/maintain preferred employer status in the community?
◦ Civic involvement/corporate giving?
Industry specific initiatives?
Economic gardening program? (business expansion/CEO training)
Jobseekers Resources RfP’s About Us
RECOMMENDED MENU (Employer Focused)
TYPICAL WIB MENU (Board Focused)
Which Menu draws the attention of employers?
Which Menu has the best chance of driving economic development
and job creation?
Which menu entices businesses to locate or expand in the region
based on the region’s workforce capabilities?
How to get “There” from “Here”
Will require some additional research
(Labor market assessment and annual
Will require a commitment to engaging
Will require NEW thinking!
Able to see the benefits.
Willingness to be “revolutionary.”
Labor Market Assessment (Objective)
◦ Population and Demographics Overview
◦ Labor Location (commuting distance)
◦ Labor Demand
◦ Industries rising/Industries falling
◦ Education and Training
◦ Labor Costs (regulatory, unions, etc)
◦ Draw to recruit workers (Quality of Life)
Annual Employer Survey
Employer Self-Report (Subjective)
◦ Workforce reliability
(Availability, Stability, Productivity, Quality)
◦ Training (in house, consultants, providers)
◦ Employee type (ft, pt, temp)
◦ Company plans
(growing, merging, exporting, new
A Step by Step Online Guide
How will politicians, system
partners, board members and even
jobseekers feel about a WIB website that
sells the benefits of the local workforce as
its dominate message?
Fresh, Attractive, (balance of graphics and text)
Interactive, easy to navigate and intuitive
Uses effective language for target audience (No Jargon)
Define mission of organization and clearly explain products/services BENEFITS
Calls to action/opt-in - take our survey, sign-up for newsletter, connect on
social media, sign-up for online workshop, send questions/suggestions
Pertinent and up-to-date news (local unemployment rate, plant closings,
business openings…what this means for jobs)
Strategic partner links and information (economic development, education,
industry associations, etc)
Tracking and responding to analytics, SEO Plana
Don’t overwhelm with too much
information. (Keep the information “quippy”
You want them to call for more information)
Don’t combine the One Stop and WIB
Don’t limit WIB information/offerings to
currently funded programs.
Do make the WIB website employer centric
Do Highlight the positive Labor Force aspects of your region
Do a Labor Assessment! Listen to Employer Needs and Try to
Respond to their Needs (not just give them what you already have
Do explain the many training options available for staff and
executives that encourage opportunities for business growth and
Do use the website and social media to regularly stay in touch with
Do offer Industry focused opportunities for employers to engage on
topics about the local workforce with other local employers in their
Need further assistance? We can help!
President and CEO
North East Regional Employment and Training Association (NERETA)
P (908) 995-7718