PROMISING PRACTICE SUMMARY
Town of Hempstead


Category:  #4, One Stop Design and Management

Application Contact:  Clinton C. Boone

Title:  Commissioner

Organization/Address:
Town of Hempstead Workforce Investment Board
c/o Department of Occupational Resources
Hempstead Executive Plaza
50 Clinton Street, Suite 400
Hempstead, New York 11550

E-Mail Address: ekenny@hempsteadworks.com

Phone: (516) 485-5000


The HempsteadWorks Whatever It Takes (HWWIT) Project is a continuous improvement initiative that evolved from the Town Of Hempstead Workforce Investment Board’s Quality Assurance Program for the local One-Stop System. The purpose of the project is to increase access to and usage of the HempsteadWorks System by individuals with disabilities through system enhancements, increased funding and efficient leveraging of resources.

A consortium, consisting of the New York State Education Department Vocational Educational Services for Individuals with Disabilities (VESID), Abilities, Inc. of the National Center for Disability Services, the Town of Hempstead Department of Occupational Resources (local Workforce Investment Act Title I-B Grant Sub- recipient) and the Town of Hempstead Workforce Investment Board operates HWWIT. The project is funded by a federal Customized Employment Grant that was awarded to the WIB by the United States Department of Labor Office of Disability Employment Policy (USDOL/ODEP), along with leveraged resources from the One-Stop partners and affiliates of the HempsteadWorks System.

Under this project, the local WIB links these disabled jobseekers with businesses who provide them with work experience, career exploration and employment. Businesses benefit from recruiting new workers and training incumbent workers to address skill shortages and increase their profitability and productivity. Through the technique of job carving, the HWWIT Project develops job opportunities that are customized to individuals with disabilities, while reorganizing tasks in the workplace that would increase efficiency of business processes.

In the first nine (9) months of the project, the number of individuals with disabilities who utilized the HempsteadWorks System increased 37.4% from that of the previous nine (9) month period. The number of disabled individuals who entered employment through the system also increased 14.3% during the same period.

PROMISING PRACTICE PROCESS STEPS

Name of Promising Practice: HempsteadWorks Whatever It Takes Project

Category: One-Stop Design and Management

Step I:  Identifying and Analyzing the Issue/Problem

  1. The Town of Hempstead Workforce Investment Board (WIB) utilizes the HempsteadWorks Quality Assurance Program (HWQAP) to evaluate its market penetration rate to a variety of jobseeker groups.

  2. In the course of a routine evaluation, the WIB determined that the percentage of individuals with disabilities being served by the HempsteadWorks One-Stop System was significantly lower than the portion of the local population that this group represented.

  3. The WIB assigned its staff to solicit One-Stop partners to collaborate on a project aimed at enhancing the services of the local One-Stop System in order to increase accessibility to services for individuals with disabilities.

  4. A consortium was formed, consisting of the New York State Education Department Vocational Educational Services for Individuals with Disabilities (VESID), the Abilities, Inc. of the National Center for Disability Services, the Town of Hempstead Department of Occupational Resources and the Town of Hempstead Workforce Investment Board to address the problem identified by the WIB.

  5. The consortium determined that in order to adequately enhance the HempsteadWorks One-Stop System and Full Service Center to increase accommodations to the desired level, additional funding was required. The challenge of accessing the necessary funds was made more daunting by reductions in federal allocations to partner programs.

Step II:  Stating the Goal and Desired Outcome

  1. The goal and desired outcome of the consortium was to increase access to and usage of the HempsteadWorks System by individuals with disabilities through System enhancements, increased funding and more efficient leveraging of Resources under a project entitled HempsteadWorks Whatever It Takes (HWWIT).

  2. Through increased usage of HempsteadWorks by individuals with disabilities, the WIB planned to link these individuals with businesses who would provide them with work experience, career exploration and employment. Businesses would benefit from recruiting new workers and training incumbent workers who would address skill shortages and increase their profitability and productivity. Through the technique of job carving, the HWWIT Project would develop job opportunities that were customized to individuals with disabilities, while reorganizing tasks in the workplace that would increase efficiency of business processes.

  3. In order to gauge success, the WIB established the goal of increasing the participation of individuals with disabilities in the HempsteadWorks System by five (5) percent per year, over a five-year period.

  4. The following additional measures were developed to gauge success:

    1. Measures of Increased One-Stop System Capacity

      • Increased outreach and marketing
      • Increased collaboration and coordination
      • Increased partner and employer participation
      • Increased use of resources, services, programs
      • Increased referrals and shared access
      • Increased employment services targeting people with disabilities

    2. Measures of Increased Staff Effectiveness

      • Increased disability staff knowledge and awareness
      • Increased One-Stop staff effectiveness in delivery of customized employment services

    3. Measures of Service Delivery Model Effectiveness

      • Increased consumer choice and control
      • Increased consumer employment, wages, benefits, promotions
      • Increased employer hiring of people with disabilities

    4. Measures of Constituent Satisfaction

      • Jobseeker Customer Satisfaction
      • Jobseeker Rating of Importance of Services

Step III:  Identifying Resources Needed/Critical Partners

  1. In order to fund its initiative, the consortium identified a solicitation published by the United States Department of Labor Office of Disability and Employment Policy, which offered an opportunity to compete for a Customized Employment Grant under the Consolidated Appropriations Act. The purpose of the grant opportunity was to increase the integration of individuals with disabilities into local One-Stop Systems.

  2. The consortium developed a proposal in response to the solicitation on behalf of the WIB. The proposed project was approved for funding in September of 2002 (see press release included as Attachment 1).

  3. The HWWIT proposal was developed as a One-Stop System initiative. Each of the HempsteadWorks partners committed resources from their programs to augment the USDOL/ODEP Customized Employment Grant Funds.

  4. The WIB appointed a Strategic Planning Team (see Attachment 2), whose members are also critical partners to the project.

  5. DOOR was assigned as the Grant Recipient/Fiscal Agent on behalf of the WIB;

  6. The WIB selected Abilities, Inc. through a procurement process to serve as the major service provider under the grant;

  7. The National Center for Workforce and Disability/Adult, under a separate USDOL/ODEP Grant, was assigned to provide technical assistance to the HWWIT Project.

Step IV:  Developing the Action Plan

  1. The strategy for implementing the HWWIT Project is as follows:

    1. Establish a Strategic Planning Team to provide program guidance and evaluation;
    2. Review, refine and implement a conceptual service delivery model that is user-friendly to individuals with disabilities;
    3. Design and execute a comprehensive marketing and outreach campaign;
    4. Conduct ongoing training, education and technical assistance to facilitate customized employment;
    5. Maintain and expand business development to assess employer needs and increase employment opportunities;
    6. Implement create strategies to develop employment opportunities, including Person-Centered Planning and Job Carving;
    7. Expand linkages with public and private providers to leverage funds, utilize programs and coordinate services;
    8. Develop performance measures to assess outcomes and evaluate project activities;
    9. Document increased use of resources from system partners and programs;
    10. Disseminate exemplary strategies and best practices;
    11. Develop statewide initiatives to integrate successful strategies and promising practices into policy and practice.

  2. In accordance with the Customized Employment Grant criteria, the HWWIT Project was required to be implemented by October 1, 2002 and completed by September 30, 2003, with an option for renewal for four consecutive years, depending upon performance.

  3. Processes that were involved and had to be considered were related to strategic planning, leveraging of funds and customer flow. The Strategic Planning Team would be established as a WIB subcommittee in a manner that would augment and not duplicate the work of the full Board and its subcommittees.

  4. A budget for the project was developed to allocate the resources to the most appropriate funding stream. The budget development process incorporated procurement and property management systems. One-Stop customer flow was refined to ensure full choice for individuals with disabilities and honest brokerage of services to this population by One-Stop staff.

  5. Customers contributed to the development and implementation of the project plan through responses to customer satisfaction surveys and participation on the Strategic Planning Team.

Step V:  Carrying Out the Initiative

  1. Start up costs associated with the project were funded by the Customized Employment Grant. The grant was funded at $714,742 in Year One, with a progressively reduced funding amount for subsequent years. These funds, along with additional funds leveraged through the HempsteadWorks One-Stop Resource Sharing Agreement, were utilized for operations.

  2. In June of 2002, prior to the award of the Customized Employment Grant, the New York State Department of Labor had issued a Notice of Obligational Authority, in the amount of $10,000, authorizing HempsteadWorks to purchase a handicapped accessible workstation. This equipment was deployed in the Resource Room of the Full Service Center where it would enhance the project.

  3. The planning process that preceded the award of the grant took approximately nine months. Once the grant was awarded the project was implemented in approximately three months.

  4. The greatest difficulty encountered in the early stages of the project was reconciling actual budgetary needs with those that were projected. Another challenge involved balancing the categorical program requirements of the Customized Employment Grant with the bigger picture system-building objectives that it embodied. In addition, HWQAP had to be adjusted to accommodate the new project.

  5. The lessons learned from this project, like most lessons, were best learned through the actual experience of implementation. Most importantly, we learned that collaboration, communication, resource sharing, proper leveraging of funds, honest brokerage of partner services and joint strategic planning all lead to a better product and service to the consumer.

Step VI:  Measuring and Sustaining Success

  1. Our automated HempsteadWorks Quality Assurance Program (HWQAP) was utilized to collect and report data in order to measure the success of HWWIT Project. Additional data was obtained from quarterly reports that were submitted by the WIB to USDOL/ODEP, in accordance with the grant requirements. The WIB established a goal of increasing the participation of individuals with disabilities in the HempsteadWorks System by five (5) percent per year over a five-year period. Table I measures the progress of the project toward achieving that goal.

    Table I:  Participation by Individuals with Disabilities

    PeriodOne-Stop System
    Customers with Disabilities
    % Increase
    9 Months Prior to Grant122N/A
    9 Months After Grant19537.4%

    Additional outcomes achieved are listed below, according to the same categories of the “Desired Outcomes,” which are included under Section II above.

    1. Measures of Increased One-Stop System Capacity

      • Increased outreach and marketing through field visits, enhancement of the HempsteadWorks web site, press releases, newsletters and development of literature;
      • Increased collaboration and coordination through interaction among HWWIT staff, the WIB and its subcommittees, including the Youth Council, the One-Stop Partner Team and the Strategic Planning Team, as well with One-Stop and affiliate staff;
      • Increased partner and employer participation through co-location, training and joint continuous improvement initiatives, such as streamlining customer flow processes;
      • Increased use of resources, services, programs through cross-training of staff and facilitation by staff for customers;
      • Increased referrals and shared access through deployment of assistive technology and physical accommodations;
      • Increased employment services targeting people with disabilities through business involvement on the Strategic Planning Team.

    2. Measures of Increased Staff Effectiveness

      • Increased disability staff knowledge and awareness through training, including “Disability Jeopardy,” developed and presented by Abilities, Inc.
      • Increased One-Stop staff effectiveness in delivery of customized employment services through training, team-building, leadership and continuous improvement activities;

    3. Measures of Service Delivery Model Effectiveness

      • Increased consumer choice and control through improved literature and signage, partner collaboration, staff capacity building, etc.;
      • Increased consumer employment from the outcomes achieved during the nine (9) month period prior to the implementation of the project, to those achieved from October 1, 2002 through June 30, 2003, as indicated in Table II below:

        Table II:  Employment Outcomes

        #MeasureOutcome 9 Months Prior to ProjectOutcome After First 9 Months Of Project% Increase Or Decrease
        1.Number of Individuals with Disabilities who Entered Employment607014.3%
        2.Return-On-Investment Rate*N/A$11.40 

      • Achieved a projected Return-On-Investment of $11.40 for each dollar expensed in providing shared system services to individuals with disabilities. Attachment 3 describes how the Return-On-Investment rate was calculated.
      • Increased employer hiring of people with disabilities as indicated by Item 1 of Table II above.

    4. Measures of Constituent Satisfaction

      • Jobseeker Customer Satisfaction: 90.5%
      • Jobseeker Rating of Importance of Services: 98.3%

  2. Outcomes/improvements and enhancements were communicated to stakeholders, customers, partners and staff through press releases, newsletters, at meetings and on the web.

  3. To ensure sustainability, the WIB is focusing on achieving the best possible results in Year One of the Customized Employment Grant. By demonstrating these results, we hope to meet the USDOL/ODEP criteria for continued funding over the next four years. The HWWIT Project has been designed to leverage funding from sources other than the Customized Employment Grant in order to ensure that it is sustained beyond the five-year life of the grant. The Strategic Planning Team is working to ensure that the leveraging process continues.

Attachments:

Attachment 1: Press Release
Attachment 2: Strategic Planning Team
Attachment 3: Return on Investment Report