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Workforce Board

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Governor's Workforce Investment Board

Flathead Valley Community College
Kalispell, Montana
Minutes, July 16, 2002

Board Members Present: Chair Haley Beaudry, Vice-Chair Becky Erickson, Leroy Bingham, Cristina Boyle, Caroline Brown, Webb Brown, Susan Christofferson, Vicki Cocchiarella, Bill Crismore, Jim Davison, Jerry Driscoll, Ellen Engstedt, George Erickson, David Gibson, Gail Gray, Lew Grill, Diane Harkins, Verdell Jackson, Wendy Keating, Dennis Lerum, Joe Mathews, Scott Mendenhall, John Musgrove, Jon Oldenburg, Chuck Olson, Lyle Phillips, Diane Ruff, Gary Willis

Board Members Absent: Carol Brooker, Dick Brown, Bill Case, Dick Crofts, Cary Hegreberg, Jim Hollenback, Susan Knedler, Linda McCulloch, Byron Roberts, Jeff Rupp, Jim Swan

Guests: Gordy Higgins, Connie Kinsey, Norma Boetel, Elisa Mitchell, Jodi Smith, Lisa Stith, Virginia Sloan, Melody Downs

I. Welcome

Lisa Stith and Jody Smith from Flathead Valley Community College welcomed everyone and invited all to take a look at the campus and Flathead Valley. Lisa explained that Jane Karass, President of Flathead Valley Community College, has addressed the community over 14 times in the last year to provide community awareness and gather information. A fundraiser recently produced $14,000 for equipment and facilities for the arts programs. She noted the success of the Flathead Business and Education Council partnership with the college and mentioned some of the successful partnerships with new and incumbent businesses in the area.  Jody Smith emphasized the excitement regarding their partnerships with education and business. She highlighted two programs: customized training and Flathead Business and Education Council, noting that last July through this May almost 900 participants in were enrolled in customized training. This included partnerships with 15 private companies and 10 non-profit companies. The training encompassed everything from conflict management to technical computer skills. She noted that the Flathead Business and Education Council was partially responsible for the addition of 13 workstations dedicated to continuing education at the college. The Flathead Business and Education Council meets quarterly to look at ways to set up educational tracks for what businesses need. They are currently making changes in high school and Flathead Valley Community College curriculum.

II. Roll Call

Chair Haley Beaudry welcomed everyone and called the meeting to order at 10:45 AM.

Roll call was taken and a quorum was established.

III. Review of Minutes

The committee approved the April 16, 2002 minutes.

Chair Haley Beaudry invited Gail Gray to speak about the newly received High Performance Bonus.  Gail explained that Montana was recognized in three of four categories and received 2.2 million dollars. The successful areas included job entry, success in the workforce relating to retention, improvement in the numbers entering from TANF and improvement in placement. She added that she is particularly appreciative right now due to the massive cuts in supportive services. She anticipated that most of the funds would go to supportive services, childcare and the budget deficit.

IV. Office of Economic Opportunity Update

David Gibson, Chief Business Officer, for the Office of Economic Opportunity explained that one of the problems is that the jobs that pay in Montana are going down gradually. He added that though Montana has had 300% growth in the economy, it has not been the needed kind. If you want to increase wages you have to increase the employees productivity. This means improving skill levels, increasing the use of technology and reducing under-employment. One concern area is that Montana is ranked 36th in the nation for innovation by a number of surveys and is continuing to lag behind. He further explained that traded or primary companies are the ones that drive technology because they demand training and innovation.

Dave described the three pieces in economic development as:

Recruit and attract new businesses

Retain and expand existing businesses

Foster entrepreneurship and business startup

Dave stated that resources should be focused on a cluster strategy: identify existing clusters and focus on growing the groups, identify the common components and which will be viable in a global market, work on workforce skill level improvement and technology. There is a need for a coherent marketing strategy so the Office of Economic Opportunity has developed a five-year plan to go after specific industries (supporting existing clusters) and businesses. They will also work to create an environment that fosters business startup and a clear organizational structure.


Cluster: Clusters will focus state efforts to fill gaps in groups.

Research & Development: Research & development are important because companies are attracted by technology. Will attempt to encourage the Montana University System to do more research that supports business.

Workforce: Will complete a workforce study, create a state workforce training fund directed toward incumbent worker training and constitute a two-year System Task Force to evaluate the existing two-year education system and possibly make changes.

Business Climate: Will work to improve access to capital, regulatory and permitting processes, tax structure to eliminate capital gains and ensure that K-12 education remains competitive. Will place the Small Business Administration in the Montana University System.

Recruitment: Will attend conferences to recruit businesses. .

Dave went on to explain that Montana needs additional funds without all of the program requirements other than the $139 million currently being received.


V. EDAG Update

Carol Donaldson gave a PowerPoint presentation explaining what the Economic Development Action Group. The presentation also touched on current partnerships between business and education.

Chair Haley Beaudry asked Governor Stevens to say a few words:

Governor Stevens explained that he feels Montana's people are industrious and that there is great respect for the quality of workers in Montana. He feels confident that education will be given a top priority in Montana during the special session.

VI. Committee Reports

  • Regulatory

Regulatory Committee Chair, Leroy Bingham explained that the Workforce Development Programs for Individuals & Programs for Business document is an attempt to encompass Montana's workforce development system. The document is in draft form but the committee wanted to present it to the full board to provide awareness and ask for input. They will be adding performance measures to the program profiles. Will present final document at the October full board meeting.  Leroy also reported that the committee is working on guiding principles for One Stops. One issue they will be tackling is providing common definitions for "collocation" and "itinerant services". Desiree is currently collecting information from other states to help with this task.  In the next year the committee will be looking at the TANF reauthorization and how the tribes have been able to combine some programs.

Arlene Parisot briefly explained that the Carl D. Perkins funds are to be used for secondary and post-secondary education and that the post-secondary portion is a mandatory partner of the Workforce Investment Act.

Leroy concluded by explaining that the committee will also be considering any possible benefits of completing a unified strategic plan.

At 1:00 pm the full board approved the Regulatory Committee report as presented by Leroy Bingham.

  • Economic Development & Business Retention

Economic Development and Business Retention Committee Chair, Scott Mendenhall explained that the committee is working on the labor availability study and designing a state workforce-training fund.  The labor availability study should be complete in October. This study will be coordinated with industry clusters.  The committee is looking at possible sources of program funding for workforce training. Scott explained that 45 states have general fund appropriation for these efforts and some states have multiple funding mechanisms. The committee expects to make a recommendation by October. One option being discussed is an income tax increment fund.

Board Chair, Haley Beaudry inquired about what the next step will be in preparing legislation. Dave explained that the information should be presented in a compiled - comprehensive way for someone to carry. The board should draft the legislation.

Senator Vicki Cocchiarella stated that the board should be proactive and suggested that some "place holder" bills be submitted to help speed up the process.

The full board approved having Vicki put in 5 draft bill requests on behalf of the board at 1:13 pm.  At 1:15 pm the board approved the Economic Development and Business Retention Committee report as presented by Scott Mendenhall.

  • Accountability

Accountability Committee Chair, Cristina Boyle thanked Leroy and the Regulatory Committee for providing the programs document. She stated that it would be very helpful to her committee. She touched on the committee tasks and explained that,  "Sometimes the good things don't get out - so the committee will be working on developing a scorecard."

At 1:20 pm the full board approved the Accountability Committee report as presented by Cristina Boyle.

VII. Local Board Reports

Bob Henry, Chairman of the Concentrated Employment Program, reported as follows:

The Montana Job Training Partnership Board held it's annual planning last month. The plan will be presented when it is approved by the local boards and made available in October. Bob invited everyone to attend the local board meetings on October 9-10. He explained that earlier this year the a designee for the Concentrated Employment Program accompanied the listening sessions put on by the Office of Economic Opportunity across the state. With the information gained, three focus groups were held including 26 employers. The employers were asked to outline the soft-skills most important to them. In September they will conduct a "train a trainer" session at Caroll College in an effort to meet the soft-skills training needs of employers.

Norma Boetel, Chair of the Balance of State, invited board to meet in conjunction with the local board meetings in October. She explained that in the recent planning session there were not many changes made to the strategic long-term plan. As soon as it is accepted copies will be available. She reported continuing to see communities and agencies develop One Stops. She explained that there is still much work left to do, especially in integration. She added that within the local boards there has been talk of using business reserve funds for training. As system builders, the local boards look forward to working with the state board.

Leroy Bingham took a moment to thank Governor Martz and the Western Governor's Association for their work on Education and Workforce Development Policy.

VIII. Other Business

George Erickson asked if anyone knew anything about a "Unified State Plan". Arlene Parisot and Wendy Keating explained that it is a state plan that includes many partners and that the benefits of doing one before looked at currently.

Verdell Jackson explained that some states have petitioned the Federal Department of Education for more freedom in how to use their education funds and asked the board to consider this as a possibility.

IX. Montana Child Care Resource & Referral Network

Janet Bush, Executive Director of the Montana Child Care Resource & Referral Network, provided an overview of the system and how it intersects with the workforce development system.

X. Public Comment


XI. Adjourn

Chair Haley Beaudry adjourned the meeting at 2:20 pm.

The next board meeting will be held October 15, 2002 in Lewistown. navigation footer
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