Workforce, Economic Development Merge Under New County Department
In a move to streamline and consolidate resources and services offered to Bucks County’s businesses and workers, the Workforce Development Board is being brought into county government, merging with Bucks County’s existing Economic Development program to form a new department.
The newly constituted Bucks County Office of Workforce and Economic Development, approved by the county commissioners on June 3, officially opened today.
The department will be led by Executive Director Billie F. Barnes (right), who had served as Directorof the non-profit Workforce Development Board since last summer, and who has more than a quarter-century of experience in the workforce and training industry.
“This transition / merger will provide a streamlined and consolidated organizational structure,” Barnes said, “with a focus on eliminating duplication of effort, and efficient and effective delivery of services to maximize our support of Bucks County businesses and workers.”
The new department will operate from the county government offices at 1260 Almshouse Road in Doylestown. The workforce development staff is relocating there from its previous office on Veterans Highway in Bristol.
The combined office was strongly recommended by the Bucks County Transition Team report released last month. The transition team’s Economic Development Subcommittee endorsed the move after analyzing Bucks County’s economic programs and the Workforce Development Board.
Absorbing the Workforce Development Board into county government will enable tighter fiscal oversight and control of the board’s infrastructure, and enhance management of all grants and funding, Barnes said. Merging it with the county’s economic development program, she added, will help in coordinating braided funding, data systems and information sharing.
The Bucks County Office of Workforce and Economic Development will collaborate with PA CareerLink Bucks County to offer programs and services to both job seekers and employers. Not only will the office provide market-driven information and services that align with regional and statewide workforce development planning, but it will help designate available funding to stimulate economic development by strengthening Bucks County’s workforce.
Assisting Barnes in these efforts will be:
- Dianna Kralle, Assistant Director
- Alice Colyar, Youth and Employment, Advancement and Retention Network (EARN) Programs Manager
- Deanna Giorno, Economic Development Program Manager
- Frank McGovern, Finance Manager