At last Friday’s regular meeting, the full Board of Directors of the Workforce Investment Board of Santa Barbara County elected Karen Dwyer as its new chairwoman.

Karen Dwyer

Karen Dwyer

Dwyer succeeds Patricia Manfredonia, who due to business considerations notified the board in November that she would resign her chairmwomanship at the December meeting. Manfredonia expects to remain on the WIB until about March.

Dwyer has served on the WIB since 2007, and has been on the WIB Executive Committee since 2009. Dwyer, in accordance with federal law, is a private sector representative on the WIB, and is a local business owner in the City of Santa Barbara.

During her tenure on the WIB, Dwyer has chaired the WIB “Business Services” Standing Committee that fosters partnerships and collaborations between the WIB and the countywide business community. She has also been the lead WIB member in the development, dissemination and marketing of the WIB-funded workforce research studies. In addition, she has represented the WIB at numerous statewide workforce conferences, and most recently was part of the Santa Barbara team at the California Economic Summit in Los Angeles.

The WIB Board joined Dwyer in acknowledging the accomplishments and leadership of Manfredonia. During her tenure as chairwoman, the WIB has administered more than $36 million in federal funds, helping hundreds of adults find jobs; and $4 million in federal economic stimulus funding — that provided more than 400 young people with summer jobs.

Under Manfredonia’s leadership, the WIB also received a $240,000 state grant to lead a six-county effort to assess the regional job growth in green and environmental industry sectors. She also initiated and implemented a reorganization of the WIB’s Youth Council, as well as monitored the major redesign of the Youth Employment Program.

In accepting her new role as chairwoman, Dwyer pledged to continue the collaboration and partnership building that the WIB has chosen as a major goal: in-county economic vitality efforts; regional partnerships with targeted industry sector; and partnerships, as appropriate, with the state-level, California Workforce Investment Board, that sets statewide workforce policy.

Lastly, Dwyer voiced her continued support for the high-quality workforce research studies that the Santa Barbara WIB has performed in the recent past.

— Raymond McDonald is executive director of the Workforce Investment Board of Santa Barbara County.