Workforce Wednesday: Reauthorizing Workforce Services

Today marks the start of the new state fiscal year, but it’s also the day House Bill 21 goes into effect. The Utah legislature passed H.B. 21 “Department of Workforce Services Sunset” this past session, thus affirming the mission of our agency in helping Utah’s economy thrive by supporting our workforce. We thought it fitting to take a brief look back on our department’s work.

The Department of Workforce Services was created in 1997 when the state legislature combined five existing state entities: Office of Family Support, Department of Employment Security, Office of Job Training, Turning Point, and Office of Child Care. At the time, a sunset of July 1, 2015, was included in the bill.

This past session, legislators reviewed the department’s work and accomplishments over the past 18 years. Since being created, Workforce Services has always played a role helping Utahns overcome barriers to financial stability and employment. We were there as a resource during two recessions, including the Great Recession that followed the economic collapse of 2008. Amidst these challenges we’ve streamlined our services to be more efficient and more effective, all while reducing budgets.

We’re now no longer experiencing a recovering economy — we’re enjoying an expansionary economy. As the state’s workforce agency, we’re looking forward to see how we can continue to fuel Utah’s economic engine. Focusing on certain pockets of poverty, helping Utahns transition from the “any job” post-recession mentality into a desire for more lasting career opportunities, and building a better pipeline from education to employment are just a few of the things we’re working on.

We appreciate legislators’ validation of our mission that came with renewing our department. And, this time, with no sunset date in place. We’ll continue to do all we can to efficiently serve Utah’s workforce.

*Click here for the ceremonially signed bill

*Every Wednesday, Workforce Services takes a special look at issues or initiatives that affect Utah's workforce. Hop on Twitter to follow the latest innovations that help Utahns take their careers to the next level: #WorkforceWednesday