Working With WIBs

CAMEO is the number one California resource to introduce entrepreneurial training in a Workforce Investment Board (WIB)

Microbusiness, Self-Employment and Workforce Investment Boards (WIBs)

Companies aren’t creating as many jobs as they used to, so to create more jobs, we need to create more companies, lots of small businesses. We believe supporting entrepreneurship and assisting individuals create their own jobs should be a core component of modernizing any workforce training program opportunities. Now, in an almost post-pandemic world, self-employment will be a part of many people’s economic recovery trajectory.

CAMEO developed a training module – “Understanding Entrepreneurship“- that provides a substantive orientation to entrepreneurship training and business assistance services for economic development and workforce professionals who are interested in local business development or are responsible for assessments and referrals of persons likely to succeed in self-employment. Staff training is key to integration of self-employment opportunities into the workforce system.

If interested in learning more about the “Understanding Entrepreneurship” Program, contact Heidi Pickman, VP, Programs and Policy.

In partnership with the California Workforce Association, we have held three “Understanding Entrepreneurship” workshops for seven WIBs in the Central Coast, Sacramento and Redding. CAMEO is the number one California resource to introduce entrepreneurial training in a WIB/One Stop with it’s workshop and connections to entrepreneurial training programs and lenders who are leaders in training and promoting self-employment as a workforce strategy. (Find a local provider near you.)

CAMEO member organizations are poised to contract with local WIBs to provide vital training, technical assistance and access to small business loan programs. CAMEO members are encouraged and supported to initiate and build relationships with their local Workforce Investment Boards (WIBs).

Now is the time for more integration.

CAMEO worked for half-a-dozen-years-plus to overcome a major obstacle that inhibited the incorporation of self-employment and entrepreneurship into the Workforce system – the establishment of performance measures.  (Read the history of  CAMEO’s Self-Employment-Workforce Project.)

The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), was signed by President Obama on July 22, 2014.  We are pleased to announce that WIOA directs the Department of Labor to issue performance measures for self-employment.  When these regulations are issued, it will be easier for WIBs to contract with entrepreneurship training programs. As of the beginning of 2018, we are still waiting for regulations to be issues and performance measures to be defined.

CAMEO’s ultimate goals are to 1) to fund CAMEO members to provide vital training, business technical assistance and access to loan programs and 2) to influence WIBs and the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) to permanently adopt and integrate self employment training for the unemployed.



The Workforce Investment Act (WIA) of 1998 created a system that encouraged local businesses to participate in the delivery of workforce development services. The principal vehicle for the delivery of services is the local Workforce Investment Boards (WIBs) which are required, under the WIA, to be chaired by members of the local community working in the private sector and/or representing business interests.

In 2010, the Department of Labor (DOL) released directives encouraging WIBs to integrate entrepreneurial training as a vital workforce development strategy:

  • TEGL-12-10: Supporting Entrepreneurship and Self-Employment Training through the Workforce Investment System
  • DOL Study: Think Entrepreneurs: A Call to Action; Integrating Entrepreneurship into the Public Workforce System throughout America

Rationale for Funding Micro Enterprise Development

The U.S. Department of Labor estimates that 5% of the unemployed have entrepreneurial potential, meaning there are an estimated 120,000 people in California who could benefit from self-employment training offered through the 100 Micro Enterprise Development and Small Business Development Corporations throughout the state. If only half of those unemployed entrepreneurs obtained help in starting a business (60,000), they would create a total of 144,000 jobs over 3-5 years (the owner plus two employees).

Additional CAMEO Activities to Encourage Partnerships

Read the history of  CAMEO’s Self-Employment-Workforce Project.

CAMEO is working to ensure entrepreneurial training as a job creation strategy in the workforce development system by:

  • Advocating for California state WIA Discretionary Funds to be allocated for entrepreneurial training via CAMEO members as a key job creation strategy;
  • Consulting with the U.S. Department of Labor on alternate performance measures for WIOA to standardize self-employment tracking;
  • Partnering with California Workforce Association (CWA) – a trade association of statewide WIB directors – to provide conference presentations, education, connections, statistics and storytelling of successful entrepreneurship; and
  • Collaboration and information sharing with Association for Enterprise Opportunity (the national equivalent of CAMEO) and its member organizations to demonstrate national best practices in WIB-Micro Enterprise partnerships.