Virginia Memory, Library of Virginia


Daniel LeBlanc

The Workforce Investment Act (WIA), signed by President Bill Clinton in 1998, reformed federal job training programs and created a new comprehensive workforce investment system. The WIA did five things: created a state workforce investment system, created a local one stop delivery system, authorized three local workforce programs for adults, youth and dislocated workers, amended three related federal statutes (Adult Education and Literacy), (Wagner-Peyser) and (Rehabilitation Act) and authorized five national workforce programs - Job Corps, Migrant and Seasonal Farm Workers, Veterans, Native Americans and Youth Opportunity Grants.

A 2002 Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission review of Virginia's implementation of WIA recommended the creation of a workforce development coordinator, reporting directly to the Governor, whose sole responsibility would be statewide coordination of workforce development services. When the General Assembly did not pass this recommendation in 2003, Governor Mark Warner, took executive action and on 17 June 2003 appointed Dr. Barbara Bolin as Special Assistant to the Governor on Workforce Development.

In 2004 the General Assembly codified the position (renamed Special Advisor to the Governor for Workforce Development) and clarified the advisor's specific duties. The advisor is responsible for serving as the liaison for workforce training with state and local government, the Virginia Workforce Council (VWC), local work investment boards, as well as the general business community. The advisor is also responsible for reviewing fund allocation, helping the VWC implement policies for the Virginia Workforce System, monitoring federal workforce-related legislation, and reporting annually on the condition of statewide workforce training programs. Dr. Bolin resigned her position in May 2005, and Dolores Esser of the Virginia Employment Commission was appointed to fill the vacancy in November 2005.

In 2006 the General Assembly passed legislation creating the Chief Workforce Development Officer. The Governor is the Chief Workforce Development Officer and he may delegate that responsibility to a senior person on his immediate staff. The Chief Workforce Development Officer is responsible for the coordination of workforce development across Secretariats and ensuring that the Commonwealth's workforce development efforts are implemented in a coordinated and efficient manner. This position replaced the Special Advisor to the Governor for Workforce Development created in 2004.

On 21 March 2006, Governor Tim Kaine named Daniel C. LeBlanc, former President of the Virginia AFL-CIO and Kaine's failed nominee for Secretary of the Commonwealth, as Senior Advisor to the Governor for Workforce. Executive Order 25 issued by Governor Kaine on 23 June 2006 delegated his authority as Chief Workforce Development Officer to the Senior Advisor to the Governor for Workforce and further clarified the Advisor's duties and responsibilities. This order was issued to ensure that initial transition steps occurred to implement the 2006 legislation. Kaine's Executive Order 61, issued on 4 January 2008, rescinded Executive Order 25 and was issued to ensure that the next phase of transition occurred including: the creation of a Workforce Sub Cabinet to ensure Cabinet collaboration regarding workforce development as required by state and federal statute; listing of the duties of the Cabinet Secretaries and designating the Virginia Community College System (VCCS) as the designated state agency for the WIA, including that of grant recipient and fiscal administrative agency.

Per § 2.2-126 of the Code of Virginia, records of the Office of the Governor will be made accessible to the public after they have been processed by the Library of Virginia.

Workforce Office Email – Now Available.

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