ERIE COUNTY, NY— Today, Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz was joined by City of Buffalo Mayor Byron W. Brown in addressing the local impacts of the federal government shutdown, which occurred following Congress’ inability to reach a budget agreement last night. While overall impacts to the County and the City are still being assessed, the Workforce Investment Board (“WIB”), Workforce Development Consortium (“WDC”), Buffalo Employment & Training Center (“BETC”), and One-Stop Employment and Training Centers will see immediate cutbacks for all workforce development-related programs, with employee furloughs ordered. Funding for these programs comes from the Workforce Investment Act, with grants made by the U.S. Department of Labor (“USDOL”) to states who then allocate the funds to the WIBs. Without a budget in place, there is no guarantee that any expenses incurred by these entities would be reimbursed once Congress does pass a budget.
“With this irresponsible shutdown of the government, residents who had been working to get jobs and rejoin the workforce have had the door slammed in their face, while the hard-working men and women who were assisting them with job training and workforce development also find themselves out of work,” said Poloncarz. “It is a sad time for all Americans when a small, dysfunctional element of the House can wreak so much havoc on the rest of the nation. Real people are being affected by this myopic action that deprives people who want to work from obtaining the skills they need to join the workforce. Our community needed leadership from the majority in the House of Representatives, but what we got instead was self-serving posturing and a leadership vacuum that resulted in injury and uncertainty to those among us who can least afford it.”
“I am extremely concerned about the devastating impact this government shutdown is having on our residents,” said Mayor Byron Brown. “I’m hoping that both sides can reach some common ground so that vital services provided by the government can continue.”
Throughout the WIB/WDC/BETC/One Stop system there are 63 employees, serving approximately 1,500 customers per month. 39 of these workers will be furloughed immediately and 2 will be reduced to part-time status. These decisions were based on funding sources and worker function. Select WIB programs that were fully funded prior to October 1 will continue. Youth programs will continue but will move to a new location yet to be decided; service to customers already in the Health Professions Opportunity Grant Program (“HPOG”) and Career Pathways programs will continue; and the WIB/WDC office at the Larkin building will stay open but only with staff for Youth, HPOG, and Career Pathways programs.
The Buffalo and Erie County Workforce Investment Board is charged with developing, coordinating and overseeing publicly funded workforce development training and initiatives. Established in 1998, the WIB is a private-sector driven Board working to develop and maintain a high-quality workforce in Erie County and the City of Buffalo.
The Buffalo and Erie County Workforce Development Consortium provides job-seekers services including vocational assessment, career counseling, mentoring, basic educational services, and more. The WDC also provides business services, youth services and resources, and workforce training partnerships to link regional training providers with industry to provide a skilled workforce.
The Buffalo Employment & Training Center brings together a variety of workforce development organizations and agencies with a primary goal of assisting residents of Buffalo and Erie County in finding employment while assisting employers in finding qualified workers. The center offers Priority of Services to veterans and their eligible spouses.
One Stop Employment and Training Centers are located throughout Erie County and provide a variety of resources, information, and employment & training services to job seekers. These centers allow job seekers to access a multitude of agencies and services all under one roof, free of charge.