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Universal Design System Development Tool

12/2007

Section 1: Introduction

Universal Design System Development Tool (UDSDT)

The goal and purpose of this tool is to assist workforce development system partners, customers, and stakeholders in the instituting of practices and policies that reflect the best principles of Universal Design in the Workforce Development System. The principles of Universal Design are those that allow the workforce development system to best meet the needs of businesses and career seekers in their communities. The principles and practices on which this tool is based are the result of identified promising practices employed by local workforce development systems nationwide.

Universal Design for the Workforce Development System is rooted in the following concepts:

  • The best practices invariably serve the most customers. By providing the best possible services to career seekers and to businesses, organizations will naturally be inclusive of the broadest range of potential career-seeker and business customers. A single set of high-quality services can be more effective, and far more efficient, than a boutique of specialized services designed for small sub-groups of job seekers and businesses.
  • Every agency and organization can benefit from collaboration. Local systems that engage in significant collaborations are invariably more effective than those that conduct their work alone, or with a limited range of partners. Further, the One-Stop Career Center is, in most cases, the natural hub for collaborative activities in any given community.
  • Businesses and career seekers are equal customers of the workforce development system. Better service for one means better outcomes for both.
  • Highly coordinated services are essential for all customers. Given the complexity of the workforce development system and the wide range of services available to businesses and career seekers, it is necessary that systems, agencies, and organizations build a network of robustly coordinated services across the community that are accessible at multiple points and in a highly seamless fashion.
  • Greater alignment between Workforce Development and Economic Development will benefit both systems. To provide a full array of effective and coordinated business development services, workforce development organizations should align themselves with economic development organizations.

The Workforce Development System

Broadly speaking, workforce development includes every organization, agency and staff person engaged in assisting career seekers to find, maintain, and develop their careers, as well as complementary professionals who seek to assist businesses in finding, maintaining and developing their own human resource capacity. While this system within a state, region, or community would ideally be unified in its operation; it is typically fractured across agency and organizational lines. One-Stop Career Centers have been introduced to the workforce development landscape as an important means of unifying these various organizations, and, in many communities, they have begun to act as a hub around which many of these organizations partner.

The Workforce Development System is not a single entity, but, rather, an evolving and transforming combination of partners and working relationships. The principle goal of this tool is that these collaborative planning efforts can begin to unify the various aspects of this system, and allow its combined resources to act with far greater potency than they could on their own.

The UDSDT process is collaborative. As the process continues, leaders should constantly seek to expand the scope of its constituents and, by so doing, expand the scope of workforce development in you community.

Directions for using the Universal Design System Development Tool

These instructions are divided into three categories: those for the process leadership, those for group facilitators, and those for individual participants.

Instructions for Leadership

These instructions are intended for system leaders seeking to implement the process of Universal Design System Development in their state or local area. We have also included instruction to be disseminated to group facilitators and participants

1. Gather your partners

  • Decide who will be involved; include as many partners as possible and remain open to inviting new constituents as your priorities evolve.
  • From this larger group, assemble a smaller core leadership group of partners to assist in coordinating the UD planning process.
  • In every case, the planning and implementation process should include:
    • One-Stop leadership
    • Workforce Investment board members and staff
    • Mandated and non-mandated partners
    • Service providers
    • Community leaders
    • Customers (business and career seekers)
    • Economic development leaders

2. Prioritize your goals

  • Using the Universal Design Matrix as a summary sheet, your core group of partners should decide which UD categories are of the greatest priority for the group to address. The UDSD process has been designed so that each identified category is addressed on one page, thus allowing you to customize the tool to your exact needs by only selecting the pages you wish to use.
  • Still using the core partnership group, decide on a schedule of meetings to address each issue chosen, and the order in which each category will be addressed. Please note that, depending on the frequency of the partnership meetings you schedule, the process can take many months, and sometimes a year or more. Given the complexity of the issues involved, it is recommended you address one section (i.e., one page) per meeting.

3. Invite and prepare your partners

  • Send out a blanket invitation to the broadest possible group of partners and encourage them to suggest or invite other stakeholders. Describe the process and the tool to them, and present the schedule you have determined. A sample invitation letter is attached as Appendix.
  • In the invitation, include the first section you will be addressing and ask that stakeholders take the time to review it individually. Determine their feedback. Include the attached 'Individual Instructions' in this e-mail. Depending on how many sections your group will address, you might decide to send stakeholders all of the sections at once. Please still make clear they need only review one section in depth, in preparation for the first meeting. Be prepared to re-send further sections, in preparation for later meetings.

4. Assign a facilitator and note-taker

  • For each group addressing these issues, we recommend a neutral facilitator be assigned who will be empowered to direct the meeting, to ensure timeliness and task-orientation for the meeting. That this facilitator be 'neutral' is important, particularly as the discussion moves toward issues of resource sharing and joint planning. The facilitator should be knowledgeable enough to direct the discussion, but not be perceived as partisan to any particular concern represented at the table. If possible, it will benefit the process that the facilitator remains constant throughout the process of planning and implementation.
  • A separate note-taker should be assigned to report back to the group and summarize its findings. In a dynamic discussion, it can be challenging for participants to produce comprehensive notation.

5. Assemble and disseminate stated goals

  • The UDSD process is designed to first assist the group in determining major gaps or needs in the system, and then to provide the group with resources, tools and processes to collaboratively fill those gaps. At the end of each meeting, the facilitator should call on the group to agree upon a set of tangible goals that the note-taker will record and disseminate back to the group.
  • As such, each planning meeting will likely require follow-up to accomplish the goals decided upon. This can either be accomplished through your pre-established schedule (recognizing that it will likely displace further planning meetings) or it can be assigned to sub-committees of partners who volunteer to pursue the issues separately and report back to the larger group

6. Be prepared to be flexible

  • In addition to always seeking a wider constituent base to include in the planning process, you and your leadership group should also be dynamic in your response to the development of the process. For each stage of the planning, significant follow-up and implementation work will be required. The leadership group must be prepared to accommodate this need throughout the process, so as to adequately accomplish the goals set by the stakeholders. Since change is the goal of the process, change should be expected and accommodated.

Instructions for Group Facilitators

1. Review all materials in advance

  • While it is important that facilitators be neutral in the process - meaning they should not represent and of the constituencies directly impacted by the system change process - they should be thoroughly knowledgeable of the process and should have reviewed the materials in depth.

2. Reinforce to the group that the process is meant to be flexible

  • The tool you will be using throughout the UDSD process is meant to trigger creative and expansive thinking on the part of stakeholders, while also guiding them through the complicated process of system change. The tool is not meant to restrict the conversation or to mandate a direction to the group. The facilitator should allow the conversation to proceed in whatever direction is necessary, so long as progress is being made.
  • This is not a regulatory tool. It is assumed that the systems participating in this process already conform to the minimum standards of various federal and state regulations. This tool is designed to promote excellence, not ensure compliance. This point should be made repeatedly lest stakeholders feel they are being forced to fulfill a requirement, rather than being afforded an opportunity to build a better system.

3. Direct the group around redundant points

  • Given the extent to which these topics interrelate, a certain amount of repetition was unavoidable in the design of the tool and might cause the group to be brought back to similar questions, depending an which sections your leadership group chose to address. Feel free to direct the group around points you judge to be redundant in the interest of moving forward.

4. Allow time for adequate discussion and ensure the participation of all stakeholders

  • It will be important for significant discussion to occur on each point, but equally important that the discussion not dissolve into common complaints about unchangeable aspects of the various systems. Keeping the discussion goal oriented, balanced, and productive will be the facilitator's most difficult and important task.

5. Arrive at a consensus of the perceived capacity for each issue area to be discussed in a given day. Suggest compromises where opposing views cannot be resolved.

  • For each point under review and after allowing discussion to occur and ensuring that all voices are heard, the facilitator should call upon the group to arrive at a consensus score for the given capacity and ensure that the note-taker has recorded the observations that caused the group to arrive at this score.

6. Guide the group in the creation of a list of actionable goals with as much detail as possible concerning priority, responsibility and tangible next steps.

  • The most significant outcomes of the planning day will be detailed, actionable goals for which responsibility can be taken by a representative, an agency or organization, or a sub-committee of stakeholders. Failures to arrive at these goals and to make the goals detailed and salient will likely cause stakeholders to abandon the UDSD process.
  • If necessary and helpful, groups can employ the attached 'Universal Design Implementation Tool (Section III)' to assist them in translating their broad goals in the salient, actionable items.

Instructions for Individual Participants

1. Review and respond to materials thoroughly in advance

  • The leadership group for the UDSD process in your area will have distributed a variety of materials, including sections of a self-assessment tool designed to assist you in evaluating your system.
  • The goal of this tool is to assist you in providing your perspective of the overall workforce development system in your area, including the agency or organization that you represent. We hope you will review these sections thoroughly and, in preparation for the meetings scheduled by your leadership group, make notes on each section and on the feedback on the current state of your system. Once participants have individually provided their responses, the group will then be asked to come to a consensus and to determine a set of goals to meet the agreed upon needs.

2. Recognize that the process is meant to be flexible

  • The tool you will be using throughout the UDSD process is meant to trigger creative and expansive thinking on the part of stakeholders, while also guiding them through the complicated process of system change. The tool is not meant to restrict the conversation or to mandate a direction to the group.
  • This is not a regulatory tool. It is assumed that the systems participating in this process already conform to the minimum standards of various federal and state regulations. This tool is design to promote excellence, not ensure compliance.

3. Work around redundant points in the tool

  • Given the extent to which these topics interrelate, a certain amount of repetition was unavoidable in the creation of the tool. Depending on which sections you leadership group selected for consideration, you may encounter similar points. Feel free to work around elements you feel are redundant, in the interest of moving the process forward.

4. Seek the involvement of further partners and stakeholders

  • The UDSD process is designed to be collaborative on every level. The more involvement the process has from various agencies, organizations, employers, and career seekers, the more successful you will be in creating a system that benefits the citizens and economy of your area. Participants should make it their responsibility to recruit further stakeholders to the process.

Overview of Sections

The Universal Design Implementation tool is divided in to four systemic functions:

I. State and Local Strategic Planning

Formal and informal strategic planning efforts, including those mandated by local, state, and federal entities, are viewed as opportunities to engage partners to collectively overcome workforce and economic development challenges. Leaders recruit diverse groups and organizations, including those focused on the community's economic development, to develop policies, direction, and practices to meet the needs of the workforce development system's business and career seeking customers.

II. Partnerships

The Workforce Investment Board (WIB) and operational One-Stop Career Centers strive to be the hub of the community's collaborative workforce development system. Expansion of partnerships is an ongoing activity for both frontline staff and systems leaders, and includes active and coordinated outreach to both workforce and economic development agencies active in the community. Community organizations and leaders with complementary agendas are recruited for collaboration, alignment of resources, and the creation of innovative opportunities.

III. Capacity Building

Management and staff continually strive to improve the overall organizational capacity of the workforce development system to serve the diverse community. Staff are supported in professional development activities to improve service for customers with a variety of needs. Training options include both skill development and knowledge regarding how to work with community agencies to meet the career development needs of their business and career-seeker customers.

IV. Administration/Management/Evaluation

Workforce development system planning groups include partners with a focus on creating an integrated workforce system. Workforce and economic development partners address administrative structures, system organization, operations, policies, evaluation mechanisms, and procedures (e.g., site selection, the development and implementation of strategic planning initiatives) that build the capacity to serve all customers.

The UDSD is also divided into six operational headings:

I. Marketing and Outreach

Workforce development systems use various methods to make themselves known to the general public, specific subgroups, and the employer/business community through consultation with community groups, general and targeted marketing, and presentations to the public. Such efforts increase participation in planning and/or service provision, shape internal and external perceptions, and contribute to the diversity of business and career-seeker customers who engage the system.

II. Orientation

All customers who utilize the system are informed about the array of available services and how best to access them. Workforce development partners use various means to introduce their services and the processes involved in engaging customers with the system.

III. Assessment

The workforce development system adopts a number of methods and services beyond standardized assessment systems, to assist business and career-seeker customers in determining competencies, employment support needs, and goals. These methods may be used throughout career development, exploration and planning, and job matching processes.

IV. Service Coordination

Various workforce and economic development partners cooperate to provide a seamless experience for business and career-seeker customers by sharing the planning and responsibility for employment services and by collaboratively funding support needs to achieve a customer's employment objective. Service coordination includes both operational collaboration and joint planning.

V. Service Delivery

A wide array of employment services is available to all workforce development system customers. Service delivery includes: strategies for funding and supporting a variety of support, training and career advancement services to meet the needs of the community's businesses and career seekers, and ensuring the adequacy of employment provider networks.

VI. Business Services

Workforce and economic development partners and the local employer community continually strive to expand their relationships and better coordinate their services to business. Business services are guided by the same principles of excellence as those provided to career seekers. Workforce development partners strive to meet the diverse workforce needs of businesses, including human resource consulting, incumbent worker training and developing sector strategies.

Section II: Universal Design Self-Assessment Questions

I. Strategic Planning

A. Outreach and Marketing

The workforce development system's marketing strategy or plan accounts for outreach to the broadest possible range of businesses and career seekers; often those most in need of the system's services will be those who are hardest to reach.

  • Does the marketing plan account for the full range of languages used in a community?
  • Does the marketing plan account for various habits of accessing media across a community by advertising and sending press/information releases to radio, print and television, as well as "new media" including Web sites, list servs, blogs, and so forth, that target the full range of demographics, cultures, and sub-populations within the service area?
  • Are representatives from a variety of business types and sizes—including those that specifically serve an ethnic customer base—incorporated into focus-group market research to determine their needs, and what would encourage them to use the workforce development system as a resource for hiring and growth?
  • Does the marketing plan account for outreach to key industry sectors in the community, including small businesses that do not have formal Human Resource representatives?

Workforce development system strategic planning efforts include a 'market study' of the community's business and career-seeking demographic, including both a thorough knowledge of the area's industries and business trends, as well as a sense of the population and its needs.

  • Are the Chamber of Commerce, the Small Business Association, and other local business resource groups engaged in the process of creating a market study?
  • Are community groups that serve or provide resources to various groups—including but not limited to immigrants and refugees, people with disabilities, and the recently incarcerated—engaged to provide an accurate census of various groups and their likely needs for workforce services?
  • Do marketing plans include a clear strategy for outreach to businesses and career seekers who have not historically used the system's services?

Groups identified in the market study are proactively incorporated into the workforce development system's strategic outreach and marketing efforts, and marketing and strategic plans reflect their input and contribution to the process.

  • Does the workforce development system establish relationships with community and resource groups for businesses and career-seekers as established conduits of information to their constituent groups?
  • Are members of these groups, as representatives of business or of specific demographic groups, engaged directly in the formal strategic planning process to determine the best means of outreach to them?
  • Are community and business groups and their members engaged to determine their needs and the means by which the workforce development system can be a meaningful resource to them?

B. Orientation

Workforce development system policies and procedures for customer orientation reflect the priority to be consistently welcoming toward all customers and to support pre-screening techniques, which are designed to proactively determine and meet the needs of all customers.

  • Are basic customer service skills valued in the process as a necessary element of workforce development system services from orientation onward?
  • Is the orientation process for businesses and career seekers strategically regarded as the first and most important step in the navigation of the system?
  • Are formal and informal 'pre-screening' activities available to determine the learning and support needs of customers—such as preferred language and the potential need for accommodations—so that the workforce development system can effectively respond to the employment and training needs?
  • Are further priorities of a 'universal' greeting, orientation and intake process identified, such as a common intake process across multiple partners?

Orientation is viewed strategically as the gateway to the full range of the community's workforce development services for career seekers and businesses.

  • Do the workforce development system's policy and procedures for orientation include a priority to disseminate information on various community services?
  • Are referrals to outside or specialized resources handled in such a way that the customer also remains connected to the workforce development system and its services, rather than being referred 'out' of the system?
  • Are the relevant services of internal and external partners, rather than just their names or agency affiliations, identified for customers in the orientation process?

Orientation is strategically regarded as the first impression made by the workforce development system, and valued as such.

  • Are greeter, reception, and other frontline staff trained and compensated properly, to reflect their professional value to the organization?
  • Are the roles of partners identified strategically in the creation and maintenance of an intake and orientation processes, potentially including the sharing of costs for common staff who conduct intake and orientation, rather than sharing the roles between partner staff who do not regard them as their primary function?
  • Are steps taken to ensure that businesses are welcomed through the same means as career-seekers, and that equal professionalism is applied to the greeting and orientation of both groups?
  • Do formal strategic plans identify the range of possible 'next steps' after the orientation process for career-seeking and business customers?
  • Have partners developed a plan to share customer information acquired through intake and orientation in a way that ensures access to the best combination of services to meet customer needs, while ensuring confidentiality of personal information?

C. Assessment

State and local strategic plans provide a clear means to encourage or require local systems to develop and maintain assessment processes that aid career seekers in attaining better career outcomes, and businesses in finding and maintaining a workforce that meets their ongoing business needs.

  • Are accommodations, assistance or multiple formats provided to career seekers who require them (such as non-English speakers and career seekers with learning disabilities) to appropriately access the assessment process?
  • Do a broad range of community groups, career seekers and businesses advise the system on its assessment process, and are these groups also engaged to provide accommodations and assistance to career seekers, where appropriate?
  • Do state and local strategic plans include a means of evaluating the community's prevailing needs and demographics (i.e., for large numbers of non-English speakers) to allow the workforce development system to design its assessment process appropriately?
  • Does the Strategic Plan identify the need for assessment techniques that identify business customer needs?
  • Do career-seeker assessment processes reflect the human resource talent needs of the community's small-, medium-, and large-sized businesses?

State and local strategic plans require the development of an overall intake process, and clear requirements for the sequence and location of the assessment process.

  • Has a pre-screening process for assessment and other services been created that accounts for a diversity of needs and assures that mechanisms are in place for individuals with potential barriers (such as language, literacy and non-apparent disabilities) to fully benefit from all services?
  • Is the intake process for businesses clearly identified and outlined as an element of the strategic plan?
  • Is the career seeker informed of the purpose of the assessment and its potential impact on future career-search activities?
  • Is the career seeker given clear means to access services and supports indicated through the assessment process?
  • Do policies exist that ensure that assessment results will not bar career seekers from further training or intensive services?
  • Given that many forms of assessment do not work equally well for all customers, does the plan detail the means by which assessment outcomes can be used to market career-seeker skills without potentially hindering the career search of those for whom the assessment is not appropriate?

D. Service Coordination

State and local strategic planning processes involve all formal partners, along with potential community-based partners, to ensure strategic coordination between multiple partners from the planning stage forward.

  • Do the members of the Workforce Investment Board and other workforce leaders make planning sessions public, and is their scheduling widely disseminated?
  • Are key community leaders, who represent a cross-section of the needs and demographics of both businesses and career seekers within the service area, actively recruited for the ongoing planning process?
  • Is seamlessness between systems emphasized in state and local strategic plans, and underwritten with the need for common forms, processes, and case management?
  • Are economic development and business resource groups, which fully represent a cross-section of the business needs and entities within the service area, included in all state and local strategic planning meetings and processes?
  • Do strategic planning efforts include resource mapping, to establish a definitive listing of the scope of services available within a community?
  • Do strategic planning efforts include a sense of the standard customer flow through the workforce development partners systems, and the points at which different resources, both internal and external, can be introduced to the career seeker or business customer?

State and local strategic plans formally encourage or require the development of common processes between the workforce development system's constituent partners.

  • Do strategic plans call for the development of common forms, information tracking systems, case management, and coordinated business outreach strategies?
  • Do economic development representatives participate in the planning, and assist in defining common and shared processes between economic and workforce development entities?
  • Does state-level strategic planning guidance provide information, including potential model examples, of progressive shared-service delivery scenarios for career development, planning, or business services?
  • Does state-level strategic planning guidance outline means by which the One-Stop can and should relate to community partners who are not located in the facility?

State and local strategic planning processes make use of demonstration projects - experimental projects that involve multiple partners and a time-limited budget - to test new methods and to include new partners in collaborative activities.

  • Do strategic plans call for using special funds for progressive, partner-based demonstration projects?
  • Do multiple partners, including economic development entities, commit funding, staff, and planning resources to these projects?
  • Do methods exist to incorporate the progress made and lessons learned through special projects, including the shared partner activities, into the standard operation of workforce development services?

E. Service Delivery

Strategic plans clearly state the priority of service to the broadest possible range of a community's career seekers and businesses.

  • Do strategic plans clearly state the priority of service to groups that have the most significant barriers to employment, such as past offenders, TANF recipients, individuals with disabilities, and non-English speakers and others who typically might not use or benefit from workforce development system services?
  • Do strategic plans detail methods of service to both large and small businesses, and present a clear scope of the service area's business makeup?
  • Do both economic and workforce development strategic plans clearly state the parity of mission between the two development efforts?

Strategic plans present, encourage and enforce a mindset of inclusion in all services.

  • Is the process of eligibility determination viewed as a means of discovering how to serve an individual within given eligibility rules, rather than determining if services should be provided for them?
  • Is referring a career seeker to an outside partner agency viewed as referral 'out' of a system, or are multiple services delivered in tandem through partner systems?
  • Are all customers tracked to determine their success, including those who are referred to partner agencies, and is this data used in conjunction with standard means of performance measurement in evaluating systems' effectiveness?
  • Is the value of small business customers clearly stated in strategic plans, and are they able to access the same or similar services available to larger businesses?
  • Is the 'braiding' or inter-agency sharing of fiscal and other resources around jointly-managed cases and projects encouraged in strategic plans that are agreed upon by multiple partners?
  • Is the need for an adequate provider network for various intensive services identified in state and local strategic plans, and are allocations for adequate resources secured from various partners?

Strategic plans state the priority of designing and presenting services to business and career-seeker customers not based on partner affiliation (i.e., Employment Service or Veteran's Administration), but by the type of service available.

  • Are business and career-seeker customers being introduced to the comprehensive workforce development system shown a list of available services, rather than a list of agencies or funding authorities?
  • Are career-seeker customers routed by partner type (e.g., are veterans referred directly to the Veteran's Employment Service, and people with disabilities to public Vocational Rehabilitation), or are they presented with these services as part of a larger scope of available resources?
  • Are customers receiving services from one workforce organization within the system likely to be easily introduced and referred to other workforce entities, as needed?

F. Business Services

The state and local strategic planning process includes research conducted to determine the key needs of the business community, including the growth needs of smaller businesses.

  • Do state and local strategic plans clearly state the 'dual-customer' philosophy of the workforce development system, wherein businesses and career seekers are viewed as equal customers of the system?
  • Do state and local strategic plans include details on how the concerns of these two customer groups will be balanced, and how resources will be committed to their separate and complimentary concerns?
  • Are Workforce Investment Board members and other business advisors recruited from the full cross-section of local businesses (including minority business owners), and are they invited to be active in determining the nature of services available to the business community?

The workforce development system's method of service delivery to the business community (often a business service unit) is designed to work closely with the career-seeker services available through the system and to avoid creating a perceived division between services to businesses and those to career-seeker customers.

  • Do business service unit staff advocate for businesses by screening out qualified candidates based on disability, use of the TANF system, a history of incarceration, or other stigmatizing factors?
  • Do state and local plans define if communication with businesses is solely the purview of business service staff, or do all staff members have the ability to communicate with business as necessary? Is this question addressed in the hopes of providing a single, simple point of contact to business, while also allowing for necessary communication between case management staff and hiring companies?
  • Do multiple partners commit strategically and with set resource contributions to the priority of shared business services?
  • Do local and state strategic plans define how business services are managed and paid for? Do the management plans imply an agency affiliation for the services, or are they representative of the larger workforce system partnership?
  • Has planning included a marketing strategy to businesses that will present the workforce development system as a unified entity, and that will prevent duplicative marketing and service delivery contacts?

Community economic development organizations are Workforce Investment Board partners and participate fully in the Workforce Strategic Planning process.

  • Are economic development agencies recruited for joint Strategic Planning to assist in the design of business and other system services?
  • Is workforce development a key feature of the area's economic development plan, and are workforce development leaders partners in crafting that plan?
  • Do economic and workforce development plans include joint service provision to local businesses, including possible co-location and jointly funded services?

II. Partnership Development

A. Outreach and Marketing

The workforce development system actively markets its services to a wide variety of businesses, service providers and customer groups.

  • Does marketing material include means by which businesses, community groups, and service providers can take advantage of workforce development system services and participate in partnership with it through a range of mechanisms (e.g., through the Workforce Investment Board, informal partnership projects, MOUs, and other means of partnership)?
  • Are marketing materials distributed in large quantities to business groups, community groups, and service providers who can pass them on to their membership base?
  • Are marketing efforts developed and executed in tandem with economic development agencies?

Public messages and forums disseminated by the workforce development system reach a wide range of potential partner organizations and their constituent members, staff, or individuals, and are designed to be welcoming and accessible to all of them.

  • Does the workforce development system advertise through a broad range of media sources, including those geared towards individuals from diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds, individuals with limited English proficiency, people with disabilities, and other groups?
  • Do marketing materials and messages state that auxiliary aids and services are available for people with disabilities, non-English speakers, and other applicable groups?
  • Do all workforce development system materials, including the Web sites, include information on public transportation and the full range of options open to the traveling customer?
  • Is information presented in languages that represent the major linguistic groups within the service area?

The Workforce Investment Board and One-Stop are able to guide potential partners through the process of collaboration.

  • Do the One-Stop's marketing materials to agencies, organizations, and businesses include basic information on the benefits of partnership with the One-Stop?
  • Is information and guidance on the various forms of partnership (including contracting with service and training providers, MOUs, and co-location) readily available to potential partners?
  • Are staff in the One-Stop broadly trained and empowered to provide this information, and encouraged to seek partnerships as an element of their career duties?

B. Orientation

Orientation to the workforce development system's services reflects the broadest possible range of services available through its partnership network in the community, in a fashion that is easily accessible.

  • Do the orientations for career seekers present the services available (e.g., career placement assistance, training, etc.) rather than just the titles of partner agencies involved in offering these services?
  • Do customers clearly understand that electing to use services offered by a partner agency does not preclude them from the use of other workforce development system partner services?
  • Do orientation materials include a complementary orientation for businesses, including the variety of services available to them through the One-Stop?

Partner agencies assist the workforce development system in ensuring the accessibly and appropriateness of orientation materials to the full scope of business and career-seeker customers.

  • Do agencies and organizations with expertise assist the workforce development system in crafting orientation materials that are appropriate, accessible, and appealing to career seekers with a variety of needs?
  • Do organizations and agencies that offer services to businesses assist the workforce development system in crafting the orientation materials for businesses, to ensure their appeal to that audience?
  • Do a variety of partner agencies sponsor secret shoppers to assist the workforce development system in crafting its orientation and overall service methodology?

The One-Stop has a comprehensive process of orientation for potential partners, including service providers and community organizations.

  • Does the One-Stop offer tours to agencies and organizations, along with their customer constituents?
  • Does the One-Stop offer the use of meeting space and conference rooms for businesses and agencies that require them, as a means of introducing those groups to their services?
  • Does an orientation of community partners include the benefits of partnership with the One-Stop, as well as a guide to the types of collaboration available to community organizations?

C. Assessment

The workforce development system engages the business community as a partner in crafting its career-seeker assessment policy and practices.

  • Are Workforce Investment Board members, business partners, and the Chamber of Commerce and other groups enlisted to determine the most essential and in-demand skills for career-seekers?
  • Are business partners engaged to market the career-seeker skills to businesses, and does the marketing procedure highlight the skills and abilities of the career-seeker, rather than their potential barriers to employment?
  • Do business partners assist in and benefit from alternate assessment practices, such as work trials, mentorships and career exploration?
  • Are the results of assessments used to assist business in creating a work environment that is most appropriate to the career-seeker they choose to hire?

Community groups and workforce development system partners are enlisted to advise on and assist in the assessment process.

  • Do various community groups review the assessment process to gauge its effectiveness for their constituent populations?
  • Are community groups engaged to inform the workforce development system of the needs of the overall community, based on demographic data, and so forth?
  • Do resources exist within the system to refer some customers to outside assessments, when needed?

Partners are engaged to create a broad, inclusive, and consistent assessment process that shares a common language and set of standards between the multiple community agencies and organizations that are involved in workforce development.

  • Does a clear means exist for securing customer consent to share assessment results with partners, where appropriate? Are customers thoroughly informed of the benefits and potential consequences of consent and their right to refuse them?
  • Assuming customer consent, are the results of assessments conducted within the workforce development system readily sharable with other community groups, and will the 'language' of the results be equally meaningful within their system?
  • Do community partners who do not focus on workforce development coordinate with the system to craft assessments that indicate life needs that, while not directly related to employment, are nonetheless essential foundations to a successful career search (i.e., transportation, child care, housing, etc.)?
  • Do partners agree on a means by which assessment results can be used for positive marketing of career-seeker skills to businesses, while not disadvantaging customers who use non-standard assessments?
  • Do policies exist to prevent screening career seekers 'out' of a system, based on assessment outcomes? Are assessments designed to discover and provide the supports necessary to include more career seekers in training and intensive services?

D. Service Coordination

Workforce development system partners collaborate to design common processes, including intake, MIS, case management, and resource allocation.

  • Are these shared or common systems designed in a way that allows for easy transfer of customer data between partners, and thus greater access on the part of the customer to the widest possible range of service?
  • Are the customers' rights to confidentiality factored into the design of this system, and is a customer's meaningful, written consent acquired before information is transferred or made available to a wider audience?
  • Do these processes factor in differences between confidentiality guarantees, between public agencies and confidentiality to potential employers, and are these differences thoroughly explained to the customer?
  • Are business services designed and implemented collaboratively, on the basis of shared processes?

The workforce development system encourages joint case management between agencies as a means of maximizing the effectiveness of services and the depth of the collaboration with and among its partner agencies.

  • Are customers thoroughly evaluated to determine the full range of services available to them, and, thereafter, encouraged to engage as many of these services simultaneously as is appropriate?
  • Does referral to an outside partner agency mark the 'exit' of customers from the system (i.e., the One-Stop), or does that system continue to offer its services in their career search?
  • Do ground-level and middle-management staff from multiple partner and provider organizations regularly meet to discuss their caseloads—particularly career seekers with the most significant barriers to employment or those requiring multiple means of support—and determine means by which the partners can be of assistance to one another and to their customers?
  • Do managers encourage their case management staff to seek resources from partner agencies, and are the rules for sharing resources across agencies clearly defined and understood?

Middle-management staffs of various partner agencies meet and communicate regularly to review procedures, case loads, and the means to increase productivity of the overall workforce development system through stronger collaboration.

  • Are meetings between partner management both regularly scheduled and strongly goal-oriented with clear objectives?
  • Are the participants in these meetings empowered to affect the goals arrived at in these meetings in their own agencies, within reason?
  • Are these meetings the foundation from which both systemic and ground level collaborative efforts are proposed and encouraged?

E. Service Delivery

The workforce development system fosters an attitude of inclusion and an expectation of success for all of its customers, and requires this philosophy be shared by its partners, sub-contractors, and affiliates.

  • Are all customers, including customers with limited English proficiency, low literacy, and others offered every possible opportunity to participate in workforce development system partner programs for which they are eligible?
  • Does the workforce development system enforce this expectation through its partner programs and its referral of career-seekers to businesses?
  • Are career-seeking customers allowed broad control of their own career search, including decision-making regarding the resources applied to it?

Workforce development system partners recognizes significant gaps in the services they offer, and seek partners to fill these gaps as needed.

  • Do workforce development system partners engage in formal or informal Resource Mapping, to gauge the range and effectiveness of the services offered across partner programs and to determine required additions?
  • Does the workforce development system encourage shared case management as a means of expanding the services available to each career seeker?
  • Do the LWIB and One-Stop develop and maintain a dynamic and ever-evolving partner (formal and informal) and service provider network that responds to the service gaps identified and the ongoing needs of the service delivery area?
  • Do partners collaborate, to recruit and fund a broad range of services through a provider network?

The workforce development system actively seeks to assist each customer to bring together all of the various funding streams, incentives, and resources that might be available to them.

  • Do shared case management techniques extend to sharing funding and resources from multiple agencies around a single career seeker?
  • Are resources such as Work Incentives Planning and Assistance (WIPA) organizations, the IRS Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Program and tools, such as individual resource mapping, used to assist customers to identify the various resources and funding streams for which they might qualify in their career search?
  • Is the expectation of collaboration around shared funding (consistent with the set policies of each partner organization) clearly stated in the workforce development system's partnership-building process?
  • Have workforce development system staff and partners explored the full range of funding resources open to their customers, including non-traditional funding streams, such as Individual Development Accounts, Earned Income Tax Credits and others?

F. Business Services

Each partner agency within the workforce development system's collaborative network is involved in the creation and design of business services.

  • Does the workforce development system's business services unit coordinate the employer outreach activities of the community's various career-search assistance organizations—particularly those of its mandated and non-mandated partners—to create a single point of contact for business, and to ensure that the individuals represented by these organizations have access to the widest possible array of career leads?
  • Do partners ensure that all career-seeking customers are treated equally through this unit, and that the needs of the diverse career-seeking community are met effectively?
  • Do business service organizations, such as a Chamber of Commerce and a Small Business Development Center, work to augment the services offered to businesses through the workforce development system?

Business partnerships established through the Workforce Investment Board and other means are an important and meaningful aspect of the local workforce development system's overall collaborative network and play an important role in designing both career-seeker and business services.

  • Do Workforce Investment Board meetings, sub-committees, and events provide a meaningful engagement for business members, rather than a limited capacity to approve or disapprove of policies for which they have a limited context?
  • Are business partners on the Workforce Investment Board actively sought for assistance in the design of business and career-seeker services?
  • When marketing to businesses and when attempting to engage businesses as WIB members or partners, do workforce development system staff ensure that their communications are appropriate to them (i.e., without policy of systemic jargon).
  • Have representatives of various business sectors been engaged to determine the key needs of that business sector and the best means for the system to meet those needs?

Economic development agencies and organizations coordinate with the workforce development system's Business Service Units and the Workforce Investment Boards to create a coordinated plan for local and regional economic development.

  • Is the workforce development system used effectively to meet the training needs of companies recruited by economic development efforts?
  • Does the workforce development system work closely with the small business associations and Small Business Development Centers to ensure that its business services are a key element of local efforts to assist small business growth?
  • Are workforce development system business services a pipeline to economic development and small business assistance services, as necessary and appropriate, in the same sense that core services can lead to further referrals for the career seeker?

III. Capacity Building

A. Outreach and Marketing

Every workforce development system staff person is engaged in the system's comprehensive Outreach and Marketing plan.

  • Are all staff provided an appropriate degree of training on the workforce development system's outreach priorities, including outreach to diverse career seekers, a variety of businesses, and potential partner agencies?
  • Are staff empowered with sufficient time in the community to effectively learn about and provide outreach to career seekers, potential partners, and businesses that have not yet engaged the workforce development system?
  • Are all staff aware of the One-Stop's capacity as a collaborative organization, and are they able to provide at least basic information to potential business, service and community partners on the benefits of collaboration with the One-Stop?

The workforce development system commits equal resources to outreach to a diverse range of career seekers, businesses, community groups, and service providers.

  • Does the workforce development system design and enact a business marketing campaign that is appropriate to a wide variety of audiences?
  • Do workforce development system partners commit resources to enacting a comprehensive market study of their community, including both their business and career-seeking customers as foci?
  • Are staff trained to recognize the necessity of providing services to the broadest possible range of career-seeking and business customers, and their role in that effort?

Workforce development system partners provide adequate resources to accomplish the various strategic goals of outreach and marketing.

  • Do workforce development system Web sites reflect and respond to the needs of the diverse cultures and sub-populations within the service area?
  • Do marketing materials account for individuals who prefer or require alternate formats, such as non-English, Braille, or close-captioning?
  • Do workforce development system partners commit funding and staff resources to the system's joint outreach strategy?
  • Are staff roles imbued with the flexibility necessary to enter the community, and to act as ambassadors for the workforce development system and its services to various community groups, businesses, and career seekers?
  • Are staff adequately trained to perform the outreach function appropriate to their position?
  • Is time to perform outreach and marketing duties factored into staff schedules and into their career descriptions?

B. Orientation

Staff are broadly trained on the workforce development system's varied internal and external resources, including those available through partner agencies and organizations.

  • Does internal training frequently include cross-training from partner agencies, to keep all staff updated on available resources, eligibility, and referral mechanisms?
  • Has the workforce development system created an internal 'cheat sheet' or a summary of organizations, their services, eligibility, and referral rules?
  • Does the workforce development system training and policy include a standard technique for helping customers determine which services and partner organizations would provide them the best benefits and how best to introduce these services?
  • Are workforce development system staff trained to orient businesses to the system, and to provide them with summaries of the various available services?

Workforce development system staff are able to effectively orient all customers - including career seekers, businesses, and potential partners—to the system and guide them effectively through the system.

  • Are all staff trained on the use of various intake materials, equipment, and procedures that might be preferred by non-English speaking customers or those with disabilities?
  • Are staff trained to provide a limited degree of informal pre-screening, to assist customers in determining their best path through the workforce development system?
  • Are staff trained to understand various business sizes and models and what effect these factors might have on the services provided to them, and can staff accurately orient and refer businesses to these services?

Adequate funding and staff time are allotted to orientation to ensure the quality of this element of service.

  • Are staff assigned to the greeter (front desk reception) function as their sole role within the workforce development system, or is the duty shared between multiple partner staff members that primarily focus on other functions (i.e., case management, business services, etc.)? If the latter, is the greeter function viewed as an important role or as a distraction from more significant duties?
  • Are greeter staff (whether full or part time) instructed on the priority of good and courteous customer service as an element of their role?
  • Are greeter staff trained to both refer customers adequately and to provide explanations of the services available throughout the workforce system?
  • Are funds appropriated, as necessary, to purchase equipment, materials, and training that would improve the orientation experience of customers engaging the workforce development system?

C. Assessment

Staff training standards include information on administering assessments to a wide range of career seekers, including knowledge of alternate assessment models, accommodations, and assistance available through community groups for eligible career seekers.

  • Are staff trained to understand that assessment and screening tools are intended to highlight the strengths of career seekers, and, potentially, to gauge their eligibility for additional services, rather than to screen them out of services based on barriers to employment?
  • Are staff trained in a variety of alternate assessment models and the circumstances under which each should be administered? Does this training include knowledge of cultural and linguistic issues relevant to their community?
  • Are staff trained in the appropriate means of discussing these options with career seekers, including information on ensuring confidentiality in the questions they ask, in the information that staff document and retain, and in the setting in which the discussion is held?
  • Are staff competencies in this area measured in the formal staff review process, and is excellence in this area incentivized with potential advancement?

Workforce development system management and leadership teams consider the effectiveness of the assessment process and its implications on other services in their regular meetings.

  • Has a plan been developed and disseminated that details the career-seekers path to and from the assessment process, including outreach, intake and pre-screening, the provision of additional training services and other resources, and the means by which assessment outcomes will be used in the process of marketing the career seeker to the business community?
  • Does a clear plan exist for staff to pursue additional accommodations, assistance and resources that might be indicated by the assessment process, such as adaptive equipment, educational resources, or alternate/additional funding and resource streams?
  • Have materials been developed that detail, in multiple languages and accessible formats, the purpose of the assessment process, the customers' options in engaging in it, and their next steps, which might result from it, as a means of increasing their self-sufficiency in engaging in the process?

Formal agreements are developed with specialized community-based service providers (i.e., service providers for veterans, TANF recipients, and career seekers with limited English proficiency or disabilities) to provide services indicated to career seekers and businesses on the basis of the assessment process.

  • Do the agreements provide the means for rapid additional assessment and testing for career seekers?
  • Do the agreements provide a means to meet the costs of the additional services?
  • Do the agreements include the means for community groups to assist in and influence the delivery of assessment and future services to the career seeker?

D. Service Coordination

The workforce development system allots staff time and resources to the creation and maintenance of shared functions between partners, such as common intake forms and a shared MIS System.

  • Are staff from various partners assigned to spend a portion of their time exploring potential for common procedures between agencies and initiating the process of creating them?
  • Are staff broadly trained on the use of common processes and on the potential for shared case management and resources?
  • Are all staff roles inclusive of a degree of flexibility, and are all staff specifically encouraged to work collaboratively around case management, business services, and other projects?
  • Do funds exist to assist in redevelopment of shared procedures where it is required (e.g., software revisions, re-generation of materials, etc.)?
  • Do joint ventures contemplated for funding by workforce development system partners include a comprehensive Business Services Unit?
  • Do inter-agency collaborative efforts include the capacity to share funding and resources around career seekers, business services, or other projects?

The workforce development system has ensured that its information-sharing system is respectful of the career seeking customer's legal rights to confidentiality.

  • Does all information sharing, particularly with businesses, comply with legal requirements (e.g., non-disclosure of disability information) and is it respectful of the career-seeker's right to confidentiality?
  • Are staff trained regarding the career-seeker's legal rights around confidentiality?
  • Are staff trained in how to discuss issues of confidentiality and disclosure with their customers, and to explain both their rights and the way information is used within the workforce development system?

Workforce development system partner management is cognizant of the policies that guide each system, specifically in regard to each system's capacity to collaborate meaningfully and share time, functions, and resources, including money.

  • Have resources been committed to understanding the policies that guide agencies in shared functions and resources (including spending policies, performance measurements, etc.) rather than assuming that policies likely discourage such collaboration?
  • Are policies that seem to restrict collaborative function thoroughly researched, to determine their actual scope and meaning?
  • Do managers know where, within their system, locality, state and/or region, the locus of decision-making actually lies, and are these decision-makers contacted in instances where policies seem to stand in the way of progress?
  • Are staff trained on the nature of policies—including the policies that might restrict their activity—in a way that nonetheless focuses on the potential of the system for collaborative and progressive activity?

E. Service Delivery

The workforce development system, whether through its staff, partner agencies, or contracted provider network, is capable of offering a wide range of individualized career development services.

  • Are One-Stop staff and partners trained to monitor the resource area and other Core Services, to approach and assist customers who are struggling, and to provide or refer them to more individualized services?
  • Are staff trained on the use and practice of various individualized assessment and career development techniques, such as discovery, person-centered planning, career carving, and career negotiation?
  • Are staff trained to perform these functions, or are they knowledgeable of the procedure involved in acquiring them from a provider or partner when it is deemed appropriate for a career seeker?
  • Are staff trained to present the business benefits of career carving and negotiation, and to the extent to which these functions serve to economize and refine the hiring and staff management process?

The workforce development system includes a comprehensive provider network, capable of offering a wide range of services to career-seeker and business customers.

  • Is adequate payment for subcontracted services—including but not limited to training services—available through agreements with workforce development system partners?
  • Do workforce development system partners actively provide training and best practice information to sub-contracted providers, to ensure the highest level of quality in the services they provide?
  • Are workforce development system partner staff trained to understand the scope of services available through the provider network and the appropriate circumstances and means of engaging and paying for their services?

Workforce development system partners are knowledgeable in the use of shared resources and funding, and promote the use of this practice to their staff.

  • Are staff trained on different instances of shared monetary and non-monetary resources, including providing best practices in the use of this strategy?
  • Are staff positions allotted the time and flexibility necessary to collaborate with partners around shared case management and resource braiding?
  • Do workforce development system partners disseminate information on how their funding is allotted and distributed, and how partners and customers can easily access these resources?
  • Are staff trained to recognize the importance of providing the broadest possible leverage to customers in making independent choices in the use of funds and resources in their career search?

F. Business Services

Workforce development system staff are trained on the priority of quality business services, as necessary, to the success for their business and career-seeker customers.

  • Are staff and partners trained on a consistent policy for serving business customers, and/or for referring them appropriately to specified workforce development system partner staff?
  • Are all staff trained on a consistent policy for contacting business customers, to avoid redundant contact between partners and staff?
  • Are staff trained on the key economic sectors active in their community, and the needs most commonly felt by businesses operating in these sectors?
  • In referring candidates to employers, are business service representatives trained to provide inclusive services to all career seekers and not to discriminate on the basis of disability, language, or other barriers, assuming they do not interfere with the necessary function of the position?

Staff engaged in service to businesses are trained in progressive job carving, task negotiation and talent allotment practices as an aspect of exemplary service businesses.

  • Are business service staff trained to enact an individualized assessment of the needs of a business, wherein staff determine the nature and needs of their business and offer solutions and services (including placement services) in response to identified needs?
  • Are business service staff trained in career-carving techniques that both assist career seekers in attaining positions that are the best fit for their personal strengths and goals, and that also economize and organize the functions of individual career descriptions and overall departments?
  • Are staff trained to market these job-carving techniques and negotiations as a service to the business (akin to 'On the Career Training' monies or similar incentives)?
  • Are all staff trained on how best to coordinate and mediate career-seeker assessment, planning, and career development work done by case mangers, with the intensive relationship built between businesses and business service staff?

Adequate resources from the workforce development system partners are allocated to form a meaningful business service capacity representative of the system's partners.

  • Are specific staff assigned the duties of business services as their sole or primary function, and do multiple partners contribute to fund these positions?
  • Are staff allotted to this department assigned to territories (as determined by business sector, size, geographic placement, etc.) based on the prevailing economies of the community?
  • In the same sense that case management staff frequently interact and collaborate with community agencies, do these staff have close relationships with business service organizations and agencies, such as the Chamber of Commerce, Small Business Administration, and the like?
  • Are business service staff positions given the flexibility necessary to frequently work with businesses and organizations in the community?

IV. Administration, Management and Evaluation

A. Outreach and Marketing

Workforce development system leadership is demonstrably committed to the priority of outreach and marketing to a broad range of career seekers, businesses, and organizations in the community.

  • Are Workforce Investment Board members and workforce development system managers active on other community boards and in community planning?
  • Are staff roles defined in such a way that allow staff to spend time in the community for purposes of outreach and marketing to career seekers, community organizations, and businesses?
  • Has capacity been identified (i.e., specific staff, a team, or a lead agency) to focus on outreach and marketing, with a stated focus on outreach to underserved career-seeker populations, and to small businesses and community groups that would not otherwise have been engaged with the workforce development system?

Workforce development system administrative policies reflect the priority of outreach to a diverse range of career seekers and businesses.

  • Are managers and staff held accountable for the effectiveness of their outreach and marketing efforts, and is this function incorporated in their review process to an extent commensurate with the time they were asked to focus on it?
  • Are the workforce development system's priorities around outreach to diverse communities of career seekers and to a wide range of businesses and community groups established as an actionable expectation in all relevant Requests for Proposals, Sub-Contracts, MOUs, and other formal agreements?
  • Do local performance measurement and evaluation systems reward progressive outreach efforts that are demonstrably inclusive of the widest possible range of career seekers and businesses, rather than rewarding simply to attract a sufficient number of customers?

Outreach and marketing efforts are evaluated internally and externally, to ensure their success in broadening and diversifying the system's customer and partner base.

  • Are customers, particularly those belonging to underserved elements of the community, asked how they heard about the workforce development system, and are marketing efforts adjusted according to the findings?
  • Do service reports break out career-seeker and business customer demographics?
  • Are community groups that work closely with segments of the workforce development system's potential customer base sought out for their input in the effectiveness of the system's outreach efforts?
  • Is intake information reviewed, to determine if the workforce development system's customer base is similar to the community as a whole or if certain community groups or demographics are not engaging the system's services?
  • Does the composition of the workforce development system's business customers fairly reflect the composition of the business community in that locality?
  • Does a feedback loop exist, which ensures that information determined through these means has a tangible effect on future Outreach and Marketing Strategy?

B. Orientation

Leadership within the workforce development system is committed to the priority of an effective, welcoming, and informative orientation process for career seekers, businesses, and potential partners.

  • Are the outreach priorities, as defined through strategic plans, supported with the funding and staff resources they require to be effectively accomplished?
  • Have Workforce Investment Board members, as leaders in the workforce development system, received information and presentations on the importance of these issues?

Workforce development system administrative policies reflect the priority of orientation to a diverse population of career seekers and businesses.

  • Are managers and staff held accountable for the degree to which orientation is effectively welcoming to a diverse range of customers, and is this function incorporated in their review process to an extent commensurate with the time they were asked to focus on it?
  • Are the workforce development system's priorities around orientation to diverse communities of career seekers, and to a wide range of businesses and community groups established as a actionable expectation in all relevant Requests for Proposals, Sub-Contracts, MOUs, and other relevant formal agreements?
  • Do performance measurement and evaluation systems reward orientation efforts that are welcoming to the widest possible range of businesses and career seekers?

Orientation efforts are evaluated to ensure their success in welcoming a diverse range of business and career-seeking customers and in introducing them to workforce development system services.

  • Are business and career-seeking customers asked about their orientation experience and their opinion of its effectives?
  • Do evaluations of orientation efforts factor the length of customers' engagement in the system, the diversity and appropriateness of the services they use, and their overall eventual success?
  • Are community groups that work closely with segments of the workforce development system's potential business and career-seeker customer base sought out for their input in the orientation process?
  • Do evaluation of the orientation efforts include reviews of the scope of services in which most customers engage (i.e., are most customers acquiring a single service and disengaging, or do they engage a wide range of the workforce development system's constituent agencies)?
  • Do policies exist that ensure evaluation feedback has a tangible effect on future orientation strategy and method?

C. Assessment

Workforce development system leadership is committed to the priority and methodology of an assessment process that meets the diverse needs of the community's career seekers, and that assesses them for the skills needed by local businesses.

  • Have Workforce Investment Board members been exposed to presentations on the importance of this issue?
  • Have Workforce Investment Board sub-committees or other leadership authorities been created to address this issue and its complexities, and to provide leadership both through their perspective as members of the community and through their connections to other leaders in the community?
  • Have workforce development system leaders authorized spending to underwrite an appropriate assessment process?
  • Have workforce development system leaders sought to form and cultivate partnership with other community groups that could provide resources to the assessment effort, and solidified these partnerships with MOUs?

Workforce development system administrative policies reflect the priority of effective assessment of a diverse population of career seekers and businesses.

  • Are managers and staff held accountable for the degree to which assessment efforts are effectively inclusive and result in referral to appropriate services?
  • Is the workforce development system's need for inclusive assessment practices, which account for the needs of a wide range of businesses and career seekers, established as an actionable expectation in all relevant Requests for Proposals, Sub-Contracts, MOUs, and other relevant formal agreements?
  • Do performance measurement and evaluation systems reward assessment efforts that are demonstrably inclusive of the widest possible range of career-seekers and businesses?

Assessment efforts are evaluated to ensure their inclusiveness and the extent to which they assist customers in accessing the broadest possible range of applicable services.

  • Is this aspect of the evaluation based on clear and measurable goals that are consistent with the overall performance of the workforce development system?
  • Are both career seekers and businesses surveyed for their satisfaction with the process (i.e., do career seekers feel the assessment is useful in identifying their skills and further appropriate services, and do businesses feel the candidates they have interviewed and hired had talents and experiences that were comparable to their needs)?
  • Does a clear feedback loop exist to ensure that the results of the evaluation have an influence on the way services are provided in the future?
  • Are there consequences - either positive or negative - for workforce development system organizations and staff based on the outcome of these evaluations?
  • Do internal evaluations also examine the methods used to 'assess' the explicit and discreet needs of businesses, and the best means by which these needs can be met?

D. Service Coordination

Workforce development system leadership is demonstrably committed to the priority of service coordination between multiple partners, services and staff.

  • Do workforce development system leaders clearly state the priority of partnership and coordination between agencies and their staff, and is this priority reflected in the language of career descriptions and administrative policy?
  • Are affirmations of partnership backed up with clarifications of the policies and practices that allow for progressive and coordinated services?
  • Are specific staff assigned to inter-agency teams to develop better coordinated services?
  • Does workforce development system leadership also participate in these collaborative efforts?

The priority of service coordination is clearly backed by official policy, including the verbiage in service agreements, MOUs, and RFPs.

  • Are all requests for proposals and bids from operators, contract service providers, and others inclusive of language that encourages or requires strong service coordination, including collaborative case management and shared processes, funding and resources?
  • Does a model MOU exist to guide organizations that is inclusive of language encouraging or requiring strong coordinating elements?
  • Do MOUs and RFPs, where appropriate, make explicit the possibility of sharing resources for cooperative functions around intake, information, and case management?
  • Do policies exist that ensure career seekers of remaining active customers of each agency they engage, despite being referred to a partner agency?

Service coordination efforts are evaluated based on clearly stated goals and measures established by leadership and made clear to all staff and partners.

  • Is customer information reviewed to determine the frequency with which multiple agencies collaborate around a single individual?
  • Do mechanisms exist to identify when a career seeker has failed to receive needed services due to insufficient coordination?
  • Are customers, partners and community groups asked about their experiences with the workforce development system and the degree to which these services seem genuinely 'seamless' between partners and organizations?
  • Are records reviewed to determine the difference in efficiency, career acquisition, quality of career, rate of pay, and retention that exists for customers accessing two or more resource streams, versus those who engage only a single agency?
  • Are the time and monetary efficiency of shared processes evaluated, versus non-coordinated processes, including an ongoing measurement of efficiency over time, as staff grow accustomed to coordinated functions?
  • Are findings from these evaluations fed back into the system to spark real changes in the way organizations and staff collaborate?

E. Service Delivery

Workforce development system leaders are demonstrably committed to the use of progressive and individualized service delivery techniques.

  • Do the workforce development system leaders allocate funding to meet the strategic priorities of progressive and individualized service delivery?
  • Are staff allotted to provide, directly or through contractors, individualized assessment, career development, and career negotiation services?
  • Are business services offered in a fashion that allows for strong negotiation around career duties, for the benefit of the business and the career seeker?
  • Is an adequate provider network for intensive services cultivated, trained, and contracted for with the workforce development system partners, and is adequate funding made available between partners to pay for services as needed?

The priority of intensive and individualized service delivery is clearly backed by official policy, including the verbiage in service agreements, MOUs, and RFPs.

  • Are all requests for proposals and bids from operators, contract service providers, and others inclusive of language that encourages or requires the provision of, or a fiscal allotment for, individual and intensive service delivery, including collaborative case management, shared processes, and braided resources?
  • Is there a model MOU to guide organizations that is inclusive of language encouraging or requiring provision of allotments for individual and intensive service delivery?
  • Do the Business Service Unit policies and agreements include provisions for intensive services to businesses, provided through workforce development system partners, such as the SBDC?

Intensive and individualized service delivery efforts are evaluated based on clearly stated goals and measures established by leadership and made clear to all staff and partners.

  • Is the success of customers with significant barriers (lack of English proficiency, past incarceration, etc.) evaluated by the same standard as customers without such barriers?
  • While ensuring that customers with significant barriers have the same expectation of success applied to them, are additional incentives for service to these populations included in the workforce development system's performance measurement system?
  • Is the overall diversity of 'successful' career seekers reviewed, to ensure that it reflects the range of diversity in career seekers that exists in the community?
  • Are customer and partner responses to providers of intensive services factored into the evaluation?
  • Are partner agencies evaluated on the extent to which their resources are available to multiple career seekers, and available for braiding with resources from other agencies?
  • Are the results of the evaluation fed back into the system in a fashion that compels systemic change and progress?

F. Business Services

Workforce development system leaders are demonstrably committed to the use of business service practices that are highly coordinated and inclusive of the efforts of both community employment providers and economic development organizations.

  • Does workforce development system leadership allocate funding to meet the strategic priorities of progressive business services?
  • Are staff allotted to provide, directly or through contractors, intensive business services, including career carving and negotiation?
  • Are business services offered in a fashion that allows for strong negotiation around career duties, for the benefit of the business and the career seeker?
  • Is a provider and partner network for business services cultivated, trained, and contracted for with the workforce development system partners, and is adequate funding made available between the partners to pay for services as needed?
  • Does leadership take an active hand in ensuring the absence of a 'rift' between career seekers and business services and promote the extent to which each service is complementary?
  • Are workforce development system leaders actively involved in recruiting partners in the economic development field, and do they seek to involve the workforce development system and its partners in economic development efforts?

The priority of business services are clearly backed by official policy, including the verbiage in service agreements, MOUs, and RFPs.

  • Are all requests for proposals and bids from operators, contract service providers, and others inclusive of language that encourages or requires the provision of, or a fiscal allotment for, resources to be provided to shared business services efforts?
  • Does a model MOU exist to guide organizations that is inclusive of language encouraging or requiring provision of, or allotments for, shared business services?
  • Does administrative policy regarding the formation of a business service unit ensure a single management of what is likely to be a collection of partner resources and staff?
  • Is the manager of business service activities involved in determining the organization strategic leadership in all of its aspects?

Business service efforts are evaluated based on clearly stated goals and measures established by leadership and made clear to all staff and partners.

  • Do criteria exist for the 'success' of a business customer in the same sense that it exists for a career seeker?
  • Is the diversity of the career seekers recommended to and hired by employers evaluated along with other factors?
  • Are businesses, career seekers, and partners queried for their feedback on business services, as part of the evaluation?
  • Does a 'feedback loop' exist, to ensure that evaluations result in needed changes in the workforce development system's business service facility?

Section III: Universal Design Implementation Process

For each priority identified through the use of the Universal Design System Development Tool, detail the following:

  1. Identify one significant priority resulting from the Universal Design planning process, along with 3-5 relevant sub-goals:
  2. What steps should be taken to achieve these priorities?
  3. What barriers exist to achieving this goal? For each, are they a matter of practice or policy, and, if applicable, where is the practice or policy in question housed?
  4. What resources will be required, at what cost, and for what duration?
  5. What outside and partner resources can assist you in meeting these goals? Include agencies and organizations who are not currently active partners in this process, or in the workforce development system.
  6. Who will be the 'Steward' who coordinates this effort; i.e., who will take the lead role in ensuring that the process is followed through, and that partner resources are coordinated to meet the goal?
  7. Based on the responses of partners, what resources have yet to be allotted to this effort?
  8. Based on these responses, what are the next steps the Steward or identified partners will take to meet these goals?
  9. What indicators and measures will you use to know when this measure has been successfully enacted?
  10. Administratively, what policy or practical measures will you take to ensure that the gains made by this measure are sustained in the system after the period of initiation?
  11. What other initiatives (arrived at through this process or otherwise) will either benefit from or contribute to the achievement of this goal?

Resources

For additional information or assistance on Universal Design for the Workforce Development system, contact the following centers:

Adult Services

National Center on Workforce and Disability/Adult
Institute for Community Inclusion
UMass Boston
100 Morrissey Blvd.
Boston, MA 02125
888/886-9898 (toll-free voice/TTY)
contact@onestops.info
www.onestops.info

Youth Services

National Collaborative on Workforce and Disability/Youth
Institute for Educational Leadership
4455 Connecticut Avenue NW, Suite 310
Washington, DC 20008
877/871-0744 (toll-free voice)
877/871-0665 (toll-free TTY)
contact@ncwd-youth.info
www.ncwd-youth.info