Registration and Orientation Basics from Strategies and Practices for Effectively Serving All One-Stop Customers
Under programmatic regulations issued by ETA, One-Stop Centers and other organizations in the workforce investment system are required to provide intake and registration services as well as orientation to the information, services and supports that are available. The nondiscrimination/equal opportunity regulations issued by CRC include rules designed to ensure that the registration and orientation processes are open to all customers, including those in protected categories. These regulations also require that during orientations, customers and others, including members of the public, must be given information about their rights under the laws relating to nondiscrimination and equal opportunity.
The intake/registration and orientation functions and the legal requirements related to the functions are designed to ensure that everyone who enters the facilities of the One-Stop Centers or other organizations in the workforce investment system feels welcome, is informed about the array of services and supports that are available, and understands how he/she can take advantage of these services and supports. This section identifies specific strategies and practices relating to intake/registration and orientation that other One-Stop Centers and other organizations in the workforce investment system have found useful and successful. These examples include registration and orientation practices relating to:
- Offering general assistance,
- Using common forms, and
- Using an intake process that ensures an informed choice.
Offering General Assistance
One universal strategy that multiple One-Stop Centers and other organizations in the workforce investment system have found useful is the Offer of General Assistance. Under this strategy, when a member of the public enters the facilities of the One-Stop Centers or other organization in the workforce investment system, he or she is given general information about the array of services that are available and about how he or she may receive those services and supports. Specific examples of practices that have proven successful and that are consistent with the legal requirements related to voluntary disclosure and confidentiality (See Appendix A) include:
- Asking all registrants whether they need help with filling out forms or other aspects of the application or registration process.
- If a customer needs assistance filling out registration or intake forms, offering the customer the opportunity to receive the assistance one-on-one in a private room, where the job seeker's responses will not be overheard (i.e., in order to respect and preserve confidentiality).
- Offering a general packet of information to all new customers that includes information on core and intensive services and specialized services, such as customized employment. The packet should also inform customers that people of all abilities are welcome and that individual customers may receive specialized services and supports to help them participate effectively in the One-Stop Center's programs and activities.
- If the One-Stop Center has specific programs for customers with disabilities, providing information about these programs to all customers so an individual customer does not have to disclose the fact that he or she has a disability in order to learn about these programs.
- Ensuring that the information described in paragraphs (3) and (4) is offered in the languages other than English that are used by a significant number or proportion of the population served by your Center or organization.
Using Common Forms
Another universal strategy that has proven effective is to design the general intake process for all new customers, including application and intake forms, in a way that avoids the duplication of effort by customers who might benefit from multiple services within the One-Stop Center, while at the same time satisfying the rules regarding voluntary disclosure, confidentiality and privacy. Specific examples of practices related to common forms that have proven successful include:
- Using a common intake form for all new customers by the various partners within the One-Stop system - such as programs authorized under title I of WIA (serving, for example, dislocated workers and Veterans' workforce programs, programs authorized under the Wagner-Peyser Act, adult education and literacy programs authorized under title II of WIA), and programs authorized under parts A and B of title I of the Rehabilitation Act.
- Developing a universal release of information form that explains the individuals and partners to which the One-Stop or other organization in the workforce investment system may wish to disclose personal information about the customer and the reasons why such disclosure may be appropriate, and permits the customer to specify the personal information s/he will permit to be disclosed and the particular individuals and partners that may receive the information.
- Where legal and appropriate, sharing pertinent customer information among One-Stop partners.
Using an Intake Process that Ensures Informed Choice
A universal strategy that helps ensure that individual customers are able to make informed choices, and to take full advantage of the services and supports provided by the One-Stop Center and other organizations in the workforce investment system is to provide detailed information about those services and supports during the intake process. Examples of successful intake processes include an orientation to the layout of the One-Stop Center, a discussion of the Center's various services, and coverage of issues such as transportation availability, service hours, and building rules. Specific examples of successful practices related to using an intake process include:
- Training reception and service staff about specific ways of being courteous and welcoming to customers who may have special needs, such as older customers, customers with visible disabilities, or customers who have limited English proficiency.
- Offering a guided tour of the facility as part of the standard orientation to services, highlighting the modifications/assistance/accommodations that are available for customers who may have special needs.
- Providing information during general orientation sessions about the types of individualized assistance/accommodations that are available.
- Providing all customers with information regarding additional services for which they may be eligible (such as services for persons with disabilities or persons with limited English proficiency or opportunities for learning about and addressing non-apparent employment challenges) and how they can apply for and receive such services and supports.
- Establishing an internal mechanism, consistent with legal requirements, for staff to identify customers who may be eligible for or need specialized services.
- Giving all applicants an information packet that includes a description of disability disclosure rights, considerations, and obligations by the Center; why staff ask medical or disability-related questions; and what staff may and may not do with the information. The packet also includes explanations of why an individual may not want to disclose the information (e.g., fear of prejudicial decisions) and why disclosure may be beneficial (e.g., entitlement to reasonable accommodations/modifications or auxiliary aids and services).
- Providing the "Equal Opportunity is the Law" Notice to all customers, in appropriate languages as well as in alternate formats for people with varying types of disabilities.