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a. 1. B. Describe the process used for designating local areas, including procedures for determining whether the local area met the criteria for “performed successfully” and “sustained fiscal integrity” in accordance with 106(b)(2) and (3) of WIOA. Describe the process used for identifying regions and planning regions under section 106(a) of WIOA. This must include a description of how the State consulted with the local boards and chief elected officials in identifying the regions

Current Narrative:

The Department of Commerce has for many years worked directly with practically every business and all the business sectors within the state. Commerce is involved with small business development, export/trade, film/entertainment, industry recruitment and workforce training in all 67 counties. Commerce is involved with large municipalities and very rural communities statewide to include county commissions, city councils and mayors. Whether it is business leaders or community leaders and they are sending a very clear message, the current three local area designations are not working and citizens are not being served adequately. These leaders have been quoted as saying we do not know how to access WIOA to assist our local citizens.

The Governor appointed a business led, CEO level Workforce Council two years ago that made many recommendations. This group of business professionals represent all areas of the state and are a cross section of healthcare, manufacturing, banking, construction and government leaders. In their first set of recommendations, in January of 2015, they advised to review and change the current WIOA (WIA at that time) Workforce Boards to better and more effectively serve the citizens of Alabama. They recommended the Governor hire an outside independent third party vendor to survey state wide business leaders, employed workers, college students, unemployed workers and all potential stake holders related to the Alabama workforce and workforce programs. In 2015 companies from Orlando, Florida, The Ideas Group and an Alabama Company, Direct Communications was hired to perform this task over a several month period. As predicted, the recommendation was made by these companies in their report to the Governor to implement “a strong network of effective empowered regional workforce regions who should own the central role in bridging business needs with a talent supply chain.” In addition, the vendors recommended the Workforce System be driven by business and industry demand and criteria. In other words the decisions for workforce initiatives should be made locally and a 65 county local area of a 67 county state does not allow appropriate local representation or decision-making. 

Governor’s Workforce Innovation Directive PY2014-05 and PY2014-05, Change 1 (See other appendices) provided local areas the process for submitting local area designation requests. The policy was posted on the Alabama WIOA agency's website for public comment. Change 1 to GWID PY2014-05 defined “performed successfully” as the local area met or exceeded the levels of performance the Governor negotiated with local Board and Chief Elected official, and the local area has not failed any individual measure for the last two (2) consecutive program years before the enactment of WIOA. Sustained fiscal integrity means the secretary nor the Governor has not made a formal determination during either the last two (2) consecutive years preceding the determination regarding such integrity, that neither the grant recipient nor the administrative entity of the local area misspent funds under the Workforce Investment Act, Title 1 due to willful disregard of the requirements of the provision involved, gross negligence, or failure to comply with accepted standards of administration. State WIA Reporting and Fiscal staff verified performance measures and fiscal integrity for each local area that submitted a request for initial designation.