LOS ANGELES – The Board of Supervisors today approved a motion authored by Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Chair Hilda L. Solis, Supervisor to the First District, and co-authored by Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, to take the necessary steps in establishing a new County Department of Economic and Workforce Development (EWDD) by July 1, 2021.
In July 2020, the County’s Chief Executive Office (CEO) submitted a report that explored ways to optimize economic and workforce development service delivery and recommended several alternative paths, including an option for a standalone economic and workforce development department. The Optimization Report recommended integrating the economic development functions of several separate County departments and agencies with existing workforce development functions to create a new EWDD. The report recommended combining the workforce development services in the County’s Workforce Development, Aging and Community Services (WDACS) department with the CEO’s Economic Development Division, the Office of Small Business from the Department of Consumer and Business Affairs (DCBA), and the Economic Development Unit of the Los Angeles County Development Authority (LACDA). Following submission of the report, the Board of Supervisors approved motions on August 4 and September 1, 2020, to move forward with an implementation plan to establish a new EWDD.
On March 8, 2021, the CEO, in consultation with County Counsel, WDACS, LACDA, and DCBA, as well as the County departments of Mental Health, Health Services, Public Social Services, and Human Resources, submitted a memo to the Board of Supervisors titled, “Report on Establishment of the Aging Department and the Economic and Workforce Development Department,” (link memo) which proposed a phased implementation plan to establish the two new County departments: the EWDD and Aging Department.
“As former Secretary of Labor, I am committed to identifying and creating innovative workforce systems to help both job seekers and those currently employed. With many in need during the COVID-19 crisis, we must ramp up our response to provide fast, efficient, and effective services to job seekers,” said Chair Solis. “By breaking down silos and integrating our workforce development programs and goals under the auspices of a new County Department, we are establishing a foundation to more effectively train and equip our workforce for long and successful careers. Today’s motion is another step forward in reducing barriers to employment and making it clear that career pathways and priorities in our local economy are important.”
The onset of COVID-19 has laid bare the need for a department to coordinate an equitable economic recovery and further economic development in the Los Angeles County region.
“What could be more important than ensuring the continued economic health of the region and job training for sectors that will anchor our prosperity in the future,” said Supervisor Sheila Kuehl. “By taking steps to create a new department for workforce and economic development, today’s motion reflects the County’s commitment to economic opportunity and good jobs, particularly in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
The passage of today’s motion adopts the recommendations in the March 8, 2021 memo and directs the CEO to work with County Counsel, the Department of Human Resources, the Auditor Controller, WDACS, LACDA, DCBA, and any other relevant County departments to take all necessary and appropriate actions to immediately begin the process to phase in the creation of the new EWDD, with phase one to begin on or before October 1, 2021; appoint a supervisory administrator by July 1, 2021; provide a recommendation to the Board of Supervisors on the appointment of an executive director for the Economic and Workforce Development branch of the EWDD by July 1, 2021 to immediately begin work, in close collaboration with the supervisory administrator, on developing the vision, purpose, and goals of the EWDD under phase one – the motion also outlines other logistical directives to establish the new department.
To view the motion, click here.
Kimberly Ortega, Acting Communications Director, (213) 361-6435 or KOrtega@bos.lacounty.gov
Stephany Villaseñor, Communications Deputy, (213) 308-9017 or SVillasenor@bos.lacounty.gov