Since our company’s founding in the late 70’s, job task analysis has been a cornerstone of our work. It started simple: with a pen capturing details on paper from a series of discussions and interviews with clients. A few things have changed over the years, but EDSI’s commitment to helping underserved populations transition to employment and self-sufficiency is still our number one priority.
Most organizations know that their employees are their most important asset. We agree, and we want to help ensure that you find, hire and keep candidates that are a great fit for not only a particular job vacancy, but for the company culture as well. We work with our client companies to incorporate job-specific assessments, cultural fit appraisals and/or behavioral/natural wiring (personality) reviews to efficiently and effectively evaluate potential candidates.
Roger Magdaleno served in the United States Army for over four years. Once he separated from the military, Roger had aspirations of becoming a truck driver. While exploring his career plan, he experienced legal problems and became incarcerated. Once released, he sought employment in a field that would give back to his community. Roger became a youth specialist in Detroit, assisting and mentoring at-risk teens. This was a valuable experience, however Roger still felt the desire to fulfill his true calling. To achieve this, he needed to obtain his CDL-A license.
On August 11, 2016, Roger arrived to the WIOA Orientation at the Michigan Works! Livonia Service Center, seeking options for CDL-A training. He was also receiving services from a Veteran Career Advisor located at the Service Center. As Roger proceeded through the WIOA Program’s eligibility process, he was a little hesitant about completing an assessment of math and reading skills. WIOA staff provided Roger with resources and onsite tutoring prior to the assessment. On testing day, Roger passed with flying colors! Shortly thereafter, Roger registered for the WIOA program.
The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) requires that each state must establish the minimum criteria for certification of One-Stop centers and the One-Stop delivery system. The certification criteria allows the State to set standards for customer-focused, seamless services from a network of partners that help individuals overcome barriers to becoming and staying employed. Certification is required to be done by local boards at least once every three years in order for One-Stop centers and the One-Stop delivery system to receive infrastructure funding. The certification process is critical in setting the minimum level of quality and consistency of services in One-Stop centers across each State. Local Workforce Development Boards (LWDB) are charged with assessing the One-Stop centers and the One-Stop delivery system within their region to ensure that they meet WIOA and state criteria.
Anthony Stoutermire is now driving his 48-seat DDOT bus in a safe, cool and calm manner. He sits tall and proud. He’s made a total comeback after four years of healing from serious injury, painful physical therapy, mental health therapy and job retraining.
Anthony first discovered his desire to drive while working full-time performing bus maintenance with Total Bus Company. He worked hard to ensure the buses in the maintenance yard were in tip top condition and couldn’t help but wonder about how it would feel to drive one.
I wasn’t expecting to be inspired by a field hockey office display, but that’s what happened recently during my visit to a local university. Are you wondering how recruiting and succession planning for your company could possibly relate to a University field hockey program?
Picture this: a striking, larger-than-life visual of a long-range “staffing” plan, highlighting each year from now until 2020, showing field positions, names of current players and potential recruits. It was color-coded and created to help coaches identify, by position, the talent needed to stay competitive and ultimately work toward their goal of building a championship team. It was obvious: they clearly understood they needed talented people to achieve that goal and all the particulars were captured in vivid detail.
That display got me thinking, “How many companies understand what their talent needs look like?” It made me realize that capturing the right kind of data, and making that data come to life visually, is crucial in setting the best goals and vision for the future. How close is your organization to understanding what your talent needs look like – today … in 3 years … in 10 years …?
Nakel Banks began participating with the WIOA Youth Program at the Livonia, Michigan Works! One-Stop location in March, 2014. She entered the program as a high school graduate in search of employment.
As Nakel engaged in program services, she took advantage of job fairs and attended career-focused informational sessions to explore opportunities for employment while considering her future profession. By summer 2014, Nakel had obtained employment as an assembly line worker. She also enrolled in college courses at Schoolcraft College to pursue a degree in forensic science. Nakel shared that “I was excited to study and to have a steady income while in school. I had and have a great balance between work and school. I think it makes a strong and well-rounded person to do both.”
Michelle Ceoux began participating in the Livonia PATH Program on November 9, 2016. When she entered the program, Michelle was employed part-time as a Medical Assistant at an urgent care facility, however she was not earning enough money to achieve self-sufficiency for herself and her family. Transportation was a source of concern; Michelle was relying on a mix of public transportation, family assistance and cab service to get to work. At her PATH orientation, Michelle met with her Career Development Facilitator (CDF) Dawn Mathis and received information about supportive services available to PATH participants. During the next several weeks, she completed her Application Eligibility Period (AEP), maintained her work hours, gathered estimates for a car purchase request and made contact with a previous employer about possible employment opportunities. Obtaining her own vehicle would allow Michelle to confidently pursue her employment goals, and in December, EDSI approved her request and provided PATH supportive services funds for a car purchase.
The Emperor’s New Clothes is a tale about an emperor who parades around a set of new clothes without realizing that he, in fact, isn’t wearing any. The townsfolk play along with the pretense, not wanting to appear argumentative or dumb. Then, a child in the crowd blurts out that the Emperor is wearing nothing at all, and the cry is taken up by others who feel freed to speak the truth.
This is a story about the courage of one’s convictions and speaking out for things that others can see, but may be too afraid to say anything about. Legacy practices are practices in business that are done over and over again because they are how things have always been done. A legacy practice in a bakery might be, "We always bake 40 cookies because that's always what we've done, even if we don't sell them all." This sounds familiar but is often wasteful and not necessary to satisfy a customer.
Many companies today face the ongoing challenge of how to retain good talent. The difference between EDSI and other companies facing this challenge is our innovative Career Sculpting program. It has enabled us to retain great employees and ultimately assist in reducing turnover.
The idea for Career Sculpting came to me about 15 years ago after reading an article on retention in the Harvard Business Review. I envisioned creating a way to get to know employees better and understand them on a more personal level; not just what their work positions dictated. Brainstorming and strategy meetings ensued where colleagues and I developed the process we know and utilize at EDSI called Career Sculpting.
When Samiha Sufyan began participating in the Livonia PATH program in February, 2016, she was facing several significant employability barriers. Samiha met with Career Development Facilitator (CDF), Dawn Mathis, and shared that she did not have a GED or diploma, a driver’s license, child care or work experience outside of the home. Additionally, her limited English language proficiency was a barrier, as was her housing situation. Samiha and her 3-month-old baby were living with relatives, and she was in the process of bringing her husband and other children to the United States. Despite all of these barriers, Samiha was determined to achieve success.
When St. Vincent de Paul, a charitable organization with several thrift stores in Southeastern Michigan, needed assistance with staffing their stores, they reached out to EDSI at the Michigan Works! Livonia Service Center. The employer was experiencing issues with high turnover and wanted referrals of interested individuals with great work ethics. It was also important that candidates be committed to the cause of helping others in times of need, because their organization takes pride in this value.
Kareem Hawkins began participating in the Livonia WIOA Youth Program on June 10, 2016, following his graduation from Redford Union High School. When Kareem met with the Youth Program’s Career Coach, he expressed a desire to pursue higher education and become employed.
Within the first few months of his participation with EDSI, Kareem prepared for employment through engaging in workshops as well as meeting one-on-one with staff. He worked to develop his resume and create cover letters as he searched for employment. In addition, he completed mock interviews with EDSI staff to learn how to best present himself to an employer. This preparation assisted Kareem as he attended job fairs hosted by EDSI at the Michigan Works! Livonia Service Center.
Ashley Wynn began participating with EDSI’s Livonia PATH Program on September 28, 2016. She was already enrolled in school at Schoolcraft College, working toward a degree in Nursing. She entered into her Application Eligibility Period (AEP) motivated to find employment that would lead her to self-sufficiency.
During her AEP, Ashley recognized her need to update and rework her resume. She met with EDSI’s Instructor, Pete Anthony, to complete this task and prepare herself for future interviews. During the meeting they discussed several options that might help her gain experience in the healthcare field. When Ashley learned of a job opening at a local healthcare company, Homestead Home Health Care, she jumped at the opportunity.
Every year, EDSI donates time, money and resources to numerous charitable organizations across the country. In order to help those in need, we participate in various volunteer opportunities and embed ourselves in the communities we serve by doing everything we can to help improve the lives of the diverse people in each community.
Thank you to all of our employees who lived our values of “Show Up, Smile and Support” and gave so generously to others this past year.
The following are a few pictures from our volunteer efforts:
Far Rockaway, NY Office Volunteers at Jacob Riis National Park
Employees from the Rockaway Workforce1 Career Center in Arverne, NY volunteered at Jacob Riis Park, a National Park located near the office on the Rockaway Peninsula. The team worked together to remove beach debris to beautify and restore the natural environment.
It never fails that when I’m at a social function someone asks “So, what do you do for a living?” I always pause, trying to decide how to explain what a workforce development consultant does, particularly in 30 words or less.
After a rather elongated explanation, they’re usually amazed by how much I must know about so many critical occupations. Well, that couldn’t be further from the truth. Personally, I don’t know very much about anything. My secret is talking to people who do know everything about the occupation I’m about to analyze.
So, is this what workforce development is all about?
What does Wikipedia say about workforce development? “It is an American economic development approach that attempts to enhance a region's economic stability and prosperity by focusing on people rather than businesses.”
Another definition would be that: “Workforce development has come to describe a relatively wide range of activities, policies and programs employed by geographies to create, sustain and retain a viable workforce that can support current and future business and industry.”
Try rolling those answers out in a social setting.
Lord-Xavier Taylor began participating with the Livonia WIOA Youth Program on August 25, 2016. Upon entering the program, he met with his Career Coach and shared his desire to pursue a career in hospitality.
As he engaged in the youth program, Lord-Xavier explored training programs that would equip him in restaurant management and culinary arts. After identifying a training facility, he completed assessment testing and discovered his need to improve his math and reading skills before acceptance into the program. In September, through one-on-one tutoring and educational workshops, Lord-Xavier began to work towards improving his math and reading skills.
Another year has come and gone. As I say goodbye to 2016 and welcome in 2017, I know I have so much to be grateful for.
In fact, this past Thanksgiving offered a unique opportunity to reflect. Unfortunately, the athletic activities of my past caught up with my body – and it was finally time to dive in for surgery on my ailing ankle. The two weeks following surgery were admittedly challenging. I strive to live an active lifestyle, and I’m not very good at asking for help; not a great combination for someone laid up for two weeks!
The experience did have a silver lining though … it provided a lot of great thinking time. Of course, I thought about how fortunate I was to have great friends and family in my life. I thought about the wonderful trips my family experienced in South America and Europe this year. I also thought about my career and how grateful I feel to work at EDSI, a company who cares about me as a person and really does put people before profits.
On June 28, 2016, Monica Wingate began the Application Eligibility Period (AEP) for the PATH program at the Michigan Works! Livonia PATH Office. She came to Michigan from Texas, leaving her home and steady job to care for her ailing mother. After her mother’s passing, Monica was forced to move from the apartment they had shared because she was unable to have the lease put in her name due to her lack of employment. Her life circumstances had changed again and Monica found herself without a home.
Diversify your workforce by hiring people with disabilities and you will not be disappointed. This is, bar none, my experience over the last five years. Before coming to EDSI, I had the opportunity to work on a team of which over 90 percent of the members were people with disabilities. Not only did I learn about business and the beauty of diversity, but I also learned about myself.
According to the United States Department of Labor Office of Disability Employment Policy, the unemployment rate for people with disabilities 16 years and older was 11.1 percent in July 2016 (https://www.dol.gov/odep/). This is over double the unemployment rate for people without disabilities, and many of people with disabilities have very marketable skills and qualifications.
A man is in a hot air balloon that is slowly losing altitude. He ends up hovering over the side of the road in the desert. Another man happens by. The man in the balloon calls down to him, "Sir, could you tell me where I am?" The man looks up, assesses the situation, and responds: "Yes, you are about 30 feet in the air on the side of the road in the desert." The man in the balloon, unamused at the response, calls down, "Thanks Einstein ... you must be a workforce development consultant." "What do you mean?" responds the other man. "You just told me everything that I already knew and were no help whatsoever." The fella looks up at the man in the balloon and says, "I would guess that you work for a company that’s in serious trouble." "Why do you say that?" responds the man in the balloon. "Because you have no idea where you are, no idea where you are going, and no idea how to get there from here."
This is a somewhat humorous anecdote for the application of Workforce Development (WD) strategies. I wouldn’t say that WD consultants only reveal everything that employers already know; nor are employers always totally in the dark about their plight. However, when information is qualified through a data-driven analysis, it usually comes as no big surprise for employers where their weakest workforce links are located. Lack of training (critical skills and basic skills) often haunt a company until data is presented that validates what many already suspected.
One of my goals is to make it to all 50 states by the age of 40, and all 7 continents by the age of 60. In order to achieve the domestic portion of this goal, about once a year I embark on an overly ambitious road trip. The goal is to cram as much as I can into a 4 or 5 day journey and see as much of this beautiful country as possible. To give you an idea, the last trip started in Boise, Idaho, and ended in Portland, Oregon, and included 5 states, 4 state capitals, 3 national parks, 2 flights, and 1 rental car. It also included a LOT of caffeine and very little sleep.
While a trip like this doesn’t allow me to fully experience any of these destinations the way I would like to, it does help me to understand which of these places I would like to revisit in the future … and how much time I would truly want to spend there.
During another recent trip, I visited Badlands National Park, Custer National Park, Deadwood, Mount Rushmore, and the Crazy Horse Monument. Fair, or unfair, there is some mental benchmarking that goes into deciding how much time I spend at each location, and whether or not I plan on revisiting that place. While both trips were great in their own right, I found myself comparing and contrasting the two. If I am being honest, I would much rather go back to Yellowstone than Mount Rushmore. If I were to make one of those drives again, I personally enjoyed driving through Idaho, Wyoming, Montana, Washington and Oregon more than I enjoyed driving through Indiana, Illinois, Minnesota, South Dakota and Iowa.
Have you heard the phrase workforce planning? What about strategic workforce planning? This catchphrase is changing the HR game and offering a glimmer of hope in the war for top talent. It’s also creating some important and interesting dialogue within the C-Suite.
How is this possible, you ask? Strategic workforce planning (SWP) helps connect a company’s core business goals with its most important asset: people!
In its most basic form, workforce planning determines what an organization needs in terms of the size, type, experience, quality, skills and knowledge of its workforce in order to achieve primary business goals. The term strategic further defines the timeframe of the planning activities. Think system-wide organization and strategy vs. work-unit issues at a supervisor level.
WIOA has placed an increased focus on serving the most vulnerable low-income adults and youth who have limited skills, lack work experience and face other barriers to economic success through Priority of Services.
WIOA focuses on individuals who are basic skills-deficient, low-income, recipients of public assistance – INDIVIDUALS WITH BARRIERS TO EMPLOYMENT. Priority of Services under WIA applied only when adult funds were limited; WIOA now requires that individuals receive automatic access to Priority of Services! Both adult and dislocated worker funds can be used to support these services.
WIOA allows Local Workforce Development Boards (LWDB) through their One-Stop Operators to provide career services to those individuals (they identify) who are not members of these groups. The goal is to have coordination between WIOA-funded and other programs available in the one-stop delivery system. For example, individuals receiving Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) should have access to a broader range of solutions. By leveraging services and funding resources, TANF recipients will have more comprehensive access that promotes employment retention and self-sufficiency.
Finding a job doesn’t always come easy, especially in today’s competitive job market. It can also be difficult to decide on a career. In fact, most of us never stop asking ourselves that age-old question: “What do I want to be when I grow up?”
With so many resources available, job searches aren’t just about the classifieds anymore. Jobseekers must use every resource possible to widen their job search: networking, social media, recruiters, job listings and employer contacts from workforce agencies.
State and local workforce agencies offer full-service, one-stop assistance with skill assessments, training, job counseling and job placement. Many non-profits also provide services. These organizations often offer assistance for those who need to overcome specific barriers to employment. Ultimately, what kind of job you decide is best for you depends a lot on who you are, and your satisfaction on the job. It pays to map out career goals and aspirations, and figure out exactly what steps are needed to get the job you want, because you really can make it happen!
In today’s world we are fortunate to have a variety of instructional delivery methods at our fingertips. Technology, being the ever-changing beast that it is, has afforded us the wonderful opportunity to explore professional development and educational initiatives that can replace, enhance, or supplement in-person or classroom instruction. Having such wonderful technology available has helped those of us in education address the concern of “lack of time.”
I cannot tell you how many times I am asked to deliver what should be a 5-day training program in only 2 days! Just like educators across the nation, I am being asked to constantly meet the demands of higher expectations, larger class sizes, and reduced instructional time for a group of learners whose knowledge base and experiences vary dramatically. What is an educator supposed to do?
Selling, to me, means presenting your product or service in the best possible light. It means presenting the features and benefits of the product or service as it relates to the needs, wants and values of the potential customer or client. I learned, long ago, when people are considering purchasing or buying into a product or service, everyone listens to the radio station WIFM which translated reads; What’s In It For Me? Before anyone makes a commitment, they ask themselves consciously or subconsciously that key question.
Let’s start first by selling the EARN program on the “inside.” By inside, I mean selling to our clients who are sent to EARN by their county case managers as part of the client’s agreement for receiving benefits like cash assistance, food stamps, child care and other resources from their county.
One of the most significant changes in WIOA is the requirement for the “integration of services” in One-Stop Centers. What does this mean? It means aligning services and resources to better service job seekers and employers. Integration of services in the One-Stop Center helps clients because it is customer focused, not program focused.
Why have an integrated One-Stop Center?
WIOA requires it
Provides better client services
All of the Above
Every partner within the center must support a common vision and support a process that is designed to serve clients (both job seekers and employers). Centers must focus on delivering high-quality career services that may require aligning and streamlining services. Centers must make this monumental shift to better service clients.
There’s been a national call-to-action for two-year community colleges and career and technical high schools. Ultimately, educators are responsible for meeting the demand for skills in the global economy.
There is consensus that the foundational academic knowledge needed for postsecondary education and for careers is virtually the same, with growing recognition that academic skills, employability and technical knowledge and skills are essential as well.
We’re seeing widespread agreement that lifelong learning and ‘learning how to learn’ are key drivers of success in college, careers and civic life.
Research shows collaborative efforts in states, districts and communities to strengthen their collective capacity to deliver results that matter.
The plan is for greater student success. It needs to be bolder and broader – “cradle-to-career” strategies – comprehensive, data-driven plans that begin early on and focus on improving measurable progress to career readiness. This new formula shows the most promise for success. Follow-up on the student’s outcome is also important to obtain the metrics to grow this philosophy.
The story of Earnest Shackleton is one of the most heroic leadership stories in history. Shackleton led an expedition to the South Pole during the early 1900s. Shackleton and his men ran into more trouble than just about any other expedition of the time. However, what makes this story heroic is not the obstacles they faced, but how Shackleton’s leadership helped them overcome these obstacles. During their voyage the crew of the Endurance became locked in a flow of ice and was drifting in the arctic sea for months. Finally, Shackleton decided that the only way they would survive would be to find help themselves. He and a few of his men fashioned a life raft, left a large portion of his crew on the ice and sailed for a nearby Island. Before he left Shackleton promised his men that he would return for them. It took him over a year but he made good on his promise and came back to his crew and took them home. There are many great leadership lessons that can be learned from Shackleton, but I want to focus on the most poignant.
Over the past 3 years, The Construction Association of Michigan (CAM) has been approached by several of its member companies about the lack of young people entering the construction industry. During a series of roundtable discussions, workforce development continued to be a trending topic. To address this growing concern, CAM joined forces with EDSI to develop a pilot program called “3D.” 3D stands for develop, design and deliver.
EDSI just completed the first 3D boot camp training at the UAW Ford building in Detroit, Michigan. The training was a 5 day training that taught juniors in high school more about the construction industry. They learned about careers in the industry, workplace readiness skills, communication, construction terminology and overview, the construction process (development, design, bidding, pre-construction, close out), money management and basic finance, technology in the construction industry and safety requirements. We partnered with 6 different schools throughout the city of Detroit to include both charter and public schools.
Raqia Alrobayi began participating with the EDSI Livonia Michigan Works! PATH office on October 7, 2015 when she entered into the AEP (Application Eligibility Period) process. After successfully completing her AEP, Raqia became a PATH participant.
Upon her enrollment into the program, Raqia's job focus was to return to the travel industry. Her education included an Associate's of Travel and Tourism degree from Centennial College in Toronto, and she expressed an interest in becoming a travel agent. While meeting with her Career Development Facilitator (CDF), Raqia shared concerns regarding her gap in employment. She recognized her need to remain relevant in the workforce and also to build on her computer and administrative skills. On January 5, 2016, she began participating at EDSI's onsite internship program.
Cornelius Davis Sr. shared these kind words of gratitude in a recent letter to EDSI staff at NCWorks in Henderson, NC.
I would like to take some time out to thank the employees at NCWorks of Henderson, NC and in particular, Ms. Sheila Long.
I came to NCWorks unemployed and unsure if I would find employment. Ms. Long sat down with me and helped me carefully map out a plan for a good path to gainful employment.
After carefully gathering some pertinent information, i.e., my strengths/weaknesses and my capabilities, Ms. Long came up with a program that was offering a Commercial Driver’s License and possibly a career in truck driving. I didn’t know if I would be able to complete the training.
On January 20, 2015, Riona Hunter began participating with EDSI when enrolled in the Partnership, Accountability, Training, Hope (PATH) program. During her orientation appointment, Riona met with a Career Development Facilitator (CDF) and shared her career goals. She explained that she was interested in attending Medical Assistant training in order to build upon her current certification as a Nursing Assistant. Her CDF assisted her with researching training options, and Riona decided to pursue her education at Dorsey Schools.
Although motivated to attend training, Riona shared with her CDF that reliable transportation could be a barrier to her attendance. She did not have a valid driver’s license as she was working to pay tickets and fees. Fortunately, Riona’s school of choice was accessible via public transportation, and EDSI provided her with SMART and DDOT bus passes. On February 12, 2015, Riona attended orientation at Dorsey Schools and began training in the Medical Administration and Billing Program. Throughout the training course, Riona shared her progress with her CDF as she gained knowledge in both administrative and clinical skill areas. She continued to receive assistance from EDSI staff with ongoing transportation and documentation needs, and she remained motivated to accomplish her goals.
Every day millions of people travel from one place to another using buses, trains, subways, ferries or other forms of public transportation. The larger the city or urban area, the more likely that public transportation is a major driver of the economy and the primary way for a significant portion of the population to get to jobs. Most people don’t realize the agencies that run public transit organizations are in desperate need of new workers to operate and maintain the current transit systems and build new systems to meet the growing demand for transportation options.
Over the next decade, it is estimated that more than 1 million workers will be needed just to replace the workers who retire. The transit industry is also experiencing a technological evolution. Buses and rail cars are able to troubleshoot themselves and send messages to technicians to let them know about potential problems. Computers are now the primary tool in a mechanic’s tool box.
Recently, I was researching different Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software systems. At one point, while making the comparisons, I just shook my head thinking customer relationship management is not software, it is a philosophy. Sure, CRM software can be a good tool, but that is all it is, a tool.
I think the key word in this philosophy is “relationship” and I can promise you, no software system out there develops relationships; people develop relationships. Developing business relationships is not much different than developing personal relationships. It takes time, trust and respect to build any kind of relationship. Once you have this mindset, I think the rest comes easy.
Micahh Scott began participating with EDSI on July 7, 2015, when she entered into the AEP (Application Eligibility Period). She entered the program with a year of administrative experience and a desire to return to work in the clerical field. Within her first weeks of participation with EDSI, Micahh took steps to enhance her job readiness. She met with staff to create a professional resume that highlighted her administrative abilities, and practiced her communication skills and business etiquette through mock interviewing. Micahh also applied for and received PATH supportive service funds to purchase professional clothing.
As she diligently searched for employment, Micahh recognized her need to remain relevant in the workforce by having current experience. She decided to participate at EDSI’s on-site internship in order to increase her skills. At the internship, Micahh improved her typing, increased her knowledge of Microsoft Office and acquired new skills while working in the scanning and business services departments. As she continued to seek ways to grow her skill level, she accepted the opportunity to job shadow EDSI’s administrative assistant. She learned how to manage front office duties, including tasks that made her resume more relevant and marketable.
My wife and I are currently in full-on nesting mode as we prepare for the arrival of our second child. Throughout this nesting process, I have had the chance to reflect on the twenty months that have passed since our first son, Alexander, was born.
If I am being honest with myself, I was terribly inefficient at so many things during those first few months after our son was born. Everything from changing a diaper, to installing a car seat, to setting up and breaking down a pack-and-play took WAY longer than it does today. So what changed? Practice, practice, practice.
Luckily for me (and probably 95% of new parents), you don’t have to pass an interview or a test to get the job.
As parents, most of us expect our children to go to High School, get good grades, go directly to college and earn their degree in 4-5 years. Although this thinking is logical, it often leads young adults down the wrong path. Did you know, only 34% of High School graduates actually earn a bachelor’s degree? More concerning is this fact; 51% of all young adults who attend college NEVER earn a degree!
Reasons why 51% never earn a degree include:
1) The cost of higher education is extremely high.
The total cost of getting a degree in 2010 was 4.5 times higher than the total educational cost in 1985. This is based upon inflation adjusted dollars. The financial burden on parents and students has more than quadrupled!
Jack Welch has a great quote, “The team with the best players wins.” For some, he could be referring to baseball or football, but in business we know the most important team is within the walls of your workplace. Your company likely spends lots of time and money finding people with the skill sets that most closely match your company culture, the challenge is keeping them.
What is the best approach keeping your best talent and avoiding having them swooped up by your competitors? What makes employees want to stay? Here are a few things to consider:
Sometimes, when I’ve tried 10 times to re-word a sentence in a resume, or I sit down with a customer who has a less-than-ideal work history, the opening lines from the famous Beatles’ song come to mind:
“Help, I need somebody Help, not just anybody Help, you know I need someone
In the course of writing a resume or speaking with customers, we might encounter any number of problems that can cause great difficulty. In order to provide the best and most effective resume advice to customers, as well as produce great results, we should seek help from all available resources. These can come in the form of people, books, websites…anything that gives us advice and helps us to break the resume stalemate.
I store my resources in my “tool box,” and I can fix most resume problems by reaching in and pulling out something I can use.
“Rapport is the ability to enter someone else’s world, to make him feel that you understand him, that you have a strong common bond.” - Tony Robbins, Author and Motivational Speaker
Building relationships with another person is all about connecting with him or her and creating a sense of trust and understanding. According to some research, we have only 7 seconds to make a good first impression! It is absolutely essential for us to build solid connections with our clients, and this relationship building starts the first time we meet.
When I began my career as a Job Developer with EDSI, I would conduct an initial interview with clients. I would ask questions about clients’ living situation, their children and partners, the kinds of jobs they had in the past and what they wanted to accomplish. The interview gave me some important facts, but I realized something was missing. I wanted to go a bit deeper, I needed to better understand their passions, hopes and dreams when it came to finding, obtaining and keeping a job.
Nedal Alshaibany began participating with EDSI at the Michigan Works! Livonia PATH Office on May 5, 2015 when he entered into his AEP (Application Eligibility Period). During his initial meeting with a Career Development Facilitator (CDF), Nedal discussed his past employment experience. He expressed a desire to learn about computers or become trained as a truck driver. EDSI’s onsite internship program presented a perfect opportunity for Nedal to develop computer skills while meeting his PATH participation requirements in a work experience activity. After completing the AEP, Nedal enrolled in PATH and began in the internship’s Scanning Center. He quickly learned the processes and demonstrated his knowledge by training other interns.
In its basic form, succession planning is a way to identify and develop professionals entering a leadership position. Transition is undoubtedly something every organization experiences - the ebb and flow of people entering and exiting various roles. Some organizations have mastered a process of continuous succession planning. Yet, many small and medium size businesses remain unprepared for sudden or imminent changes that require immediate action.
EDSI has identified a succession planning process to successfully address changes like retirement and loss of key people. The process focuses on the collection and analysis of specific data, allowing for highly customized solutions. One major focus of this process is certainly communication. Communication builds trust and subsequently reinforces a message to employees that their skills and experience are valued.
Alexandra Favors enrolled in the Application Eligibility Period/Partnership, Accountability, Training, Hope (AEP/PATH) program at the Livonia Michigan Works! on October 10, 2015. She had recently relocated to Westland, Michigan from Florida, and along with learning how to navigate a new area, Alexandra had a transportation barrier that was affecting her ability to secure employment. At her PATH orientation, Alexandra met with EDSI’s staff to discuss her employment goals and develop a plan to achieve them. She needed to obtain a Michigan driver’s license, and she received PATH supportive services funds to get the license. Alexandra also utilized EDSI’s van shuttle service to travel to the PATH office for job readiness activities. Resolving her transportation barrier moved Alexandra closer to her goal of employment.
I have been part of many conversations recently about young professionals: being a young professional, how to attract young professionals to specific employers, what do young professionals want in a position, etc. A common theme I heard in each of these conversations was the varying definition, view, and expectations of a young professional. I found it interesting that this term is used so frequently in the workforce, yet is shaped by perspective, which is then key to understanding someone’s view. From here, I turned to a few college seniors to hear their perspectives and asked them to refrain from using the internet.
Abeer Wahdan began participating with EDSI at the Livonia Michigan Works! PATH Office in August 2015. Earlier in the year, Abeer had accepted a relocation assignment from her employer and moved from Illinois to Michigan. Shortly after arriving here, the company closed down Abeer’s new location, and she found herself unemployed. Abeer obtained part-time employment, however she was unable to support her family with the hours offered. She applied for cash assistance and entered into her Application Eligibility Period (AEP) motivated to find full-time employment that would lead her to self-sufficiency.
"All great and inspiring leaders of the world think, act and communicate in the exact same way, and it's the complete opposite as everyone else."
This is the premise of Simon Sinek's classic TEDx talk "How Great Leaders Inspire Action." During Sinek's TEDx talk, he delves into the biology of human decision-making, and explains why we are inspired by some people, leaders, messages and organizations over others.
Sinek references "The Golden Circle" (shown), and talks about the fact that most organizations/people usually communicate from the outside in.
EDSI has given me a chance for a new beginning. I was a 26-year employee at a Fortune 500 company. Through changes and acquisitions, the company was sold and I needed to make a life decision – should I retire, or move to a new company? As the saying goes, “when the going gets tough, the tough get going,” so I decided to seek a new career. I joined EDSI in August 2015 as a Talent Engagement Specialist in North Carolina.
The casino floor at Soaring Eagle Casino and Resort offers many gaming options for its loyal patrons; its variety presents the opportunity for customers to choose the way they may “hit it big.” At the Michigan Works annual conference, there was only one option that participants were able to bet on – PEOPLE. The clear message from Michigan Works was that employers and agencies must focus their efforts on developing, utilizing and retaining top talent to ensure future success.
Conference speakers provided constant reminders that employees and jobseekers need to be looked at individually to determine what strengths they bring to the organization. Jim Abbot told the crowd that talent can come in all shapes and sizes, and it’s the responsibility of the employer to utilize the unique talent properly. This thinking reminded workforce development professionals in attendance to see through the eyes of the jobseeker and to search for the true needs of the employers they assist.
WIOA requires states and local Workforce Development Boards to work with adult education, post-secondary education and other community-based organizations to develop career pathways that will make it easier for all Americans to attain the skills and credentials needed for jobs.
What are career pathways? The US Department of Labor defines career pathways as a new way of doing business which operates at both a systems and an individual level. At the systems level, a career pathway is a broad approach for serving populations that may experience significant barriers to employment. The career pathway can substantively alter the way the workforce system delivers its services and the system’s relationship with partner organizations and stakeholders to better prepare the worker.
Career pathway programs should offer a sequence of education courses and training credentials which are aligned with work-ready standards and competencies which are validated by employers. Career pathways can also provide greater customer service at all levels by engaging employers, adult basic education, training providers, community organizations and service providers to design services that meet the needs of employers and job seekers.
Ms. Nakigudde Lukwago began participating with EDSI on July 7, 2015 and entered her Application Eligibility Period prior to enrollment in the Livonia, MI PATH program. Nakigudde met with a Career Development Facilitator and explained that she had arrived to the United States from Uganda a few years ago, and was now residing in a shelter with her four-month-old baby after leaving an abusive marriage. She came to the program with the desire to secure permanent housing and reliable childcare, as well as to pursue her career goals in the healthcare field. Nakigudde shared with us her feelings upon entering the program: "When I was given an invitation letter from MDHHS (Michigan Department of Health and Human Services), I had lost everything. I was jobless. My car was not drivable at all. To make matters worse, I was homeless with nowhere to go. Yet, I had a baby who depended on me. When I went to EDSI for my orientation, the moment I entered I was greeted with a smile which made me feel comfortable and welcomed. Throughout the orientation day, the staff was ready to work with me through everything so that I could get back on the right track."
WIOA provides Local Workforce Development Boards (LWDBs) the opportunity to expand training and educational opportunities. The goal is to help low income individuals, dislocated workers, individuals with limited skills and barriers to employment, and youth earn industry-recognized credentials and advance in the workplace.
LWDBs now can offer more training specifically targeted for high-demand occupations or industry sectors in addition to Individual Training Accounts (ITAs). Local WDBs can now use WIOA funds to provide new training models that will lead to:
integrated educational/training approaches
LWDBs can now use a portion of their local Title I funds for pay-for-performance contracts for specific targeted populations. They will be required to evaluate how each targeted population was selected, along with outcomes of training.
Eligible Training Provider List (ETPL) Requirements
WIOA has established an Eligible Training Provider process that will help support and ensure customer choice, performance accountability and continuous improvement. States and LWDBs will identify Eligible Training Providers qualified to receive WIOA funds to train adult/dislocated workers and youth.
An Eligible Training Provider is one who has met the eligibility requirements to receive WIOA Title Adult and Dislocated Worker funds to provide training services to eligible individuals. In order to receive WIOA funds, the training provider must meet numerous ETPL numerous requirements and must be:
Institutions of higher education that provide training that leads to post-secondary credentials
Apprenticeship programs registered by the USDOL Office of Registered Apprenticeship
Public or private training providers, including joint labor-management organizations, pre-apprenticeship programs and occupational/technical training providers
Providers of adult education and literacy activities
All training providers will be required to meet performance outcomes and ensure accountability, quality, and labor market-relevant programs and offerings.
Training providers (both existing and new) will be required to submit an online application that includes all the documentation required by the states and LWDBs such as:
Information supporting a claim that an applicable training program leads to a post-secondary or industry-recognized credential, and a detailed description of the credential
Evidence of ability to provide services to incumbent workers and individuals with barriers to employment
Evidence of state licensure requirements and licensing status
Program completion rate for all individuals participating in applicable programs
Employment and earning outcomes
Cost of training (including supplies, books, fees)
Post-secondary credentials offered
Program costs per student by type of training
Pre-Apprenticeship Program offerings
Training providers on the ETPL will also be required to report performance outcomes. Each year they will be required to submit, at a minimum, the following:
Total number of participants enrolled in the program
Total number of participants completing the program
Entry into unsubsidized employment at second quarter after exit
Entry into unsubsidized employment at fourth quarter after exit
Attainment of post-secondary credentials
Measurable skills gains
Effectiveness in serving employers
All LWDBs are required to have training providers on the approved ETPL that are offering training programs aligned with their state and region in-demand occupations and sectors. They will be required to ensure training providers make all the above information available to their One-Stop Centers so eligible clients can make informed decisions on training offerings. They will be required to report performance and outcomes on training offerings, while ensuring individuals with barriers to employment are served.
Is your LWDB ready to review and advance training provider course offerings? How are you going to determine if training is meeting the needs of in-demand occupations and sectors? What steps are you taking to ensure that training services are meeting the requirements of WIOA? We are here to help you.
EDSI is an ISO-certified company. Did you ever wonder what that actually means? Most of us think ISO is something used for an organization (like a car company) to ensure they produce a quality product. For a company like EDSI, it means that we can take proven processes and use them as we start new offices across the country. We provide a quality service for our customers, in part because of our ISO system. The CEO of EDSI, Kevin Schnieders, has often stated that the success of EDSI is due to people, process and perspective. The process is defined and driven through the ISO system.
In 2015, EDSI opened 6 new offices throughout North Carolina and Ohio. A team looked at ISO documentation from similar programs to develop the forms and flow charts for the new offices in order to ensure success in each location. Because of our mature ISO system, start-ups are quick and require much less effort than what would be expected from opening a new location.
Recently, EDSI had an external ISO audit where documentation and processes were reviewed by an outside auditor to ensure compliance to the standard. Because the system is such a part of the way we do business, the audits are just another step in the process each year – not something to be scared of! :) We use the procedures and work instructions to help the company work better, smarter and faster. Unfortunately, many companies just want to have the certification for advertising purposes. If they don’t use the system to improve their business, it’s just a waste of time and money.
I know what everyone is thinking – a quality system is just another thing I would need to do. To the contrary, a system like ISO makes work easier and can end up saving countless hours and dollars for your business. Over my 10 years as an ISO Management Representative, I have truly seen the value of the system when it is used correctly. I’m excited to implement the new standard that will be released at the end of 2015. The new standard promises to make things more streamlined and to give users more latitude to create a system that is meaningful for their organizations.
EDSI continues to be a successful organization that is growing every year. I am excited that ISO has been a part of that growth for the past 17 years. We were the first ISO-certified workforce development company and continue to be one of the only companies with this important certification!
In June, I had the opportunity to represent EDSI at the 5th annual Clinton Global Initiative America (CGI America) meeting in Denver, Colorado. This year’s meeting convened nearly 1,000 leaders from business, foundations, Non-Governmental Organizations and government sectors to advance solutions that encourage economic growth, support long-term competitiveness, and increase social mobility in the United States. I was thrilled to represent EDSI and be a part of this energizing and solution-driven initiative.
EDSI is excited to launch a new Commitment to Action, Virtual Career Sculpting. EDSI proposes to pair 50 of our clients across all populations with 25 employers - one employer per two clients is the intended ratio. The employers will meet with the clients once a week for the first month to facilitate a positive and sustainable rapport. Monthly meetings will be scheduled for the balance of year. EDSI will provide the tools and guidelines for conducting successful meetings, and video teleconferencing will be leveraged when possible. EDSI will also provide a virtual platform to use for blogging client experiences. Additional tools will be deployed, such as EDSI’s proprietary software Skilldex to understand unique skills, and AcuMax Index to best understand how clients are hardwired.
It was an honor and privilege to meet President Clinton at the CGI meeting. I had the opportunity to thank him for all of his work and told him that because of his push for welfare reform in the late 90’s, I found a profession and company that changed my life!
We look forward to participating in the Clinton Global Initiative for years to come!
WIOA requires Local Workforce Investment Boards (WIBs) to work with representatives from secondary and postsecondary education providers to develop and implement Career Pathways. This occurs by aligning employment, training, education and supportive services to meet the needs of adults and youth, focusing on those with barriers to employment.
What is a Career Pathway?
The National Career Pathways Network has defined a Career Pathway as a coherent, articulated sequence of rigorous academic and career/technical courses, commencing in ninth grade and leading to an Associate’s degree, Baccalaureate degree and beyond, an industry-recognized certificate and/or licensure. The Career Pathway is developed, implemented, and maintained in partnership with secondary and postsecondary education providers and employers.
Why Career Pathways?
Career Pathways can help Local WIBs, educators, jobseekers, youth and employers identify career options and the knowledge and skill requirements that individuals need for their careers. Career Pathways also help in identifying skill sets and job functions/roles needed across job families.
Local WIBs need to be committed to working with educators, industries and economic development partners to develop a shared vision and strategy to support sector-based Career Pathways for youth and adults.
Career Pathways Strategies
There are many strategies that Local WIBS can use to support the development of Career Pathways:
Working with employers to determine their hiring needs
Working with educators to design training programs that meet the hiring needs of employers
Utilizing labor market data (local, state and national)
Measuring the success of existing training programs and outcomes
Measuring employer and earnings outcomes
Promoting seamless progress from one education step to another
Eliminating barriers to accessing training
Providing guidance through career coaching
Creating and supporting partnerships between workforce development, education, labor and non-profit organizations
Supporting industry partnerships
What steps are you taking to ensure that your education and training providers, operators and partners are supporting Career Pathway services as required in WIOA? Do you need help getting started or help in completing the processes? Please let us know how we can assist you in your efforts.
On May 26, 2015, the second full year of EDSI's Delaware County in-school youth program came to a close with a celebration featuring a raffle for prizes as well as a Student of the Year Award. This year, the program enrolled and served 22 youth between the ages of 14-18 and offered career coaching and mentorship through weekly workshops. Other features of the program included guest speakers from various career fields, field trips to networking events and to view county operations, and dozens of opportunities for part-time employment and internships.
Outcomes of the program:
all 18 seniors are graduating
all 18 seniors have been accepted into post-secondary institutions
11 students with part-time employment/internships
potential for many students to gain employment in the summer months
The program is scheduled to resume in August, 2015 with a fresh group of 25 students looking to build toward their futures.
Here's what a few students said they learned through their experiences in the program:
I've learned how to view things from different perspectives when it comes to handling people in professional and personal settings." ---- Ronna'e Cottrell
It's important to stay humble, recognize that things don't always come easy, and no matter what you're going through you have to stay positive." ---- Naje Scott
I learned that in order to get a job you have to sell yourself and that it's important to follow up with employers because not everyone will call you." ---- Donta Sheppard
Being successful is not all about what you know or who you know. It's also about your attitude and how you carry yourself." ---- Diesheer Davis
During this program, I have learned how to get out of my comfort zone, so I decided to face my fears and did something I always said I was going to do, go to college." ---- Brittany Connor
The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) requires four Core Program Partners to provide expanded services at One-Stop Centers. These four Core Program Partners include:
WIOA Title I. B: Adult, Dislocated Workers and Youth
WIOA Title II: Adult Education and Literacy
WIOA Title III: Wagner-Peyser
WIOA Title IV: Vocational Rehabilitation
Other required One-Stop partners who must participate in the operation of the One-Stop system include:
Career & Technical Education
Title V Older Americans Act
Native American Programs
Migrant Seasonal Farmworkers
Community Services Block Grant (CSBG)
Housing and Urban Development (HUD)
Second Chance Programs
Additionally, Governors can elect to include Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) as a Core Program Partner.
All partners must also be identified within in a “Memorandum of Understanding” (MOU). Information regarding the financial support partners will provide to the One-Stop, as well as the services they will provide, is required. Partners must identify:
How services will be coordinated and delivered in the Center (integration of services)
How service costs and operating costs of the Center will be funded
How individuals will be referred between the One-Stop operator and partners for appropriate services and activities
How they will ensure that workers, youth and individuals with barriers to employment will be adequately served
How individuals will be provided immediate access to training (no sequence of services)
How technology and materials will be made available across the Center
Required WIOA Career Services
New to WIOA, One-Stop Center services must now include career services. No longer are there separate core and intensive services. Additionally, Centers must expand their labor exchange services to meet in-demand industry sectors and occupations and include information on non-traditional employment. Centers must identify other business services available for employers (including small businesses).
Labor exchange services must also provide labor market information to the individuals seeking services. The information must be accurate and include information on local, regional and national labor market areas such as:
Job vacancies in labor market areas
Information on job skills necessary to obtain the jobs
Local, in-demand occupations and related earning potential
Opportunities for advancement in those occupations
All One-Stops must provide the following career services:
Outreach, intake and orientation
Labor exchange services
Eligibility for services
Referrals to programs
Performance and cost information
Information on unemployment insurance
Financial aid information
Additionally, One-Stops and partners must provide appropriate services for individuals to obtain or retain employment. These services include, but are not limited to:
Individual Employment Plan (IEP)
Career planning and counseling (no longer called case management)
Short-term prevocational services
Internship and work experience including transitional jobs and industry partnerships
Out-of-area job search
English language acquisition
What steps have you already taken to ensure your One-Stop Centers, operators and partners are ready to deliver required WIOA career services? Do you need help getting started or completing the processes?
Congress and the President recognized the challenges and risks that employers face without a sufficient pipeline of workers to meet current and future needs. It is estimated that by 2022, the United States will be facing a shortfall of 11 million workers with postsecondary education.
Working together, Congress and the President introduced bipartisan legislation that will improve the nation’s workforce development system and educational services. The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) was signed into law last July. WIOA aligns federally-funded services to help job seekers access employment, education, training and support services to succeed in the labor market and helps match employers with the skilled workers they need to compete in the global economy.
Did you know WIOA requires Local Workforce Investment Boards (LWIBs) to design and deliver services that are based on business and industry needs?
Did you know employer engagement is one of the key metrics that LWIBs will be evaluated against?
The challenge: how do LWIBs and employers work effectively with one another?
A solution is Industry Partnerships!
The WIOA legislation references Industry Partnerships over 74 times as a means to engage employers to identify and address their current and future needs by working with LWIBs.
Industry Partnerships bring together multiple employers from the same industry sectors to identify and address both current and future workforce needs. These partnerships can strengthen participating companies by identifying the specific needs of their current and future workforces, identifying and analyzing the gaps between the skills needed to perform jobs and the skills of incumbent workers or job seekers, and then matching skills needed to training providers.
Industry Partnerships provide a targeted approach to education and training that is data-driven, needs-based and employer-focused. Partnerships are designed not only to identify local human resource needs and skill gaps, but also to address regional skill needs. By implementing regional strategies, LWIBs can improve the skills of incumbent workers, job seekers and youth.
Industry Partnerships can help LWIBs, employers and workers to:
Identify skill needs
Align educational curriculum to meet industry needs
Develop cost-effective training solutions for companies
Develop new career pathways
Help companies identify and address organizational and human resource challenges
Identify barriers to “entry level employment” and develop strategies to remove those barriers
Collaborate with youth initiatives to connect with careers in demand
Promote communication networks between companies, between managers and workers, and between companies and their communities and educational institutions
Your success is critical to the success of your LWIB! If you haven’t already, reach out to your LWIB and start the conversation about building your industry partnership!
If you are interested in learning more about WIOA, Employer Engagement, Industry Partnerships or working with your Local Workforce Investment Board, please contact me at email@example.com.
I recently had the opportunity to attend the National Association of Workforce Development Professionals (NAWDP) Annual Conference in Las Vegas, NV with several EDSI colleagues. It was great to reconnect with EDSI team members from all over the country; Jessica Johnson, Susan Oney, Terri Kaufman, Ray Eibel and Ken Mall, to name a few.
For me, this conference was different from the ones I’ve attended in the past. This year, instead of hoping to one day obtain my Certified Workforce Development Professional (CWDP) certificate, I was attending as a CWDP and looking to increase my knowledge in all fields of workforce development.
Reflecting on my experience, I appreciated the conversations with many workforce professionals from across the nation. Specifically, I enjoyed listening to and sharing ideas around implementation of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA). During my time at the conference, I had the opportunity to attend a great presentation; one that engaged everyone in the room, titled “Motivation to Meet Your Measures.” The presentation was primarily geared toward understanding today’s youth, and it really put everything into perspective for me, especially having one pre-teen and two teenage children.
The presenters considered generational gaps, what motivates us, what motivates today’s youth and strategies to continue to engage and motivate today’s youth. One of the successful youth participants, Justin Lockard, was quoted as saying “You too can reach this level of success, in these ways, no matter the struggle – it’s all in the determination!” A simple equation to consider: Motivating our Clients + Motivating our Staff = Meeting our Goals.
Thanks to NAWDP for another great conference this year. Surprisingly, Elvis made an appearance at the conference as well, so we didn’t want to miss out on a photo opportunity! :)
July 1, 2015 is less than 30 days away! Are you ready for WIOA implementation?
Many local Workforce Investment Boards (WIBs) will need to restructure their board membership to meet the provisions identified in the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act. This restructuring may require changes in legal documents and downsizing of boards. Local areas have until July 1, 2016 to complete this restructuring.
WIOA requires that local WIBs set priorities for, and oversee, the workforce development system in their region. Further, local WIBs must have a local plan approved by July 2016. This means that WIBs have 1 year to develop a plan that promotes communication, coordination and collaboration among employers, economic development, community-based partners and other service providers who will help support the economic growth of the region, while meeting the needs of employers and jobseekers.
Historically, WIA workforce development services focused on finding jobs for individuals struggling to find employment - the jobseekers. WIOA, on the other hand, focuses on aligning workforce development and economic development services to meet the needs of employers - key customers.
Businesses create jobs, and we must be responsive to their needs. Local WIBs must now develop strategies and put plans in place to meet the needs of local employers.
Specifically, local plans must identify and describe how the local area will:
Engage employers of all sizes
Design a system that meets the needs of local employers (both large and small)
Design a system that provides opportunities for people with barriers
Better coordinate workforce development programs and economic development efforts
Develop and implement activities such as incumbent worker training programs, industry partnerships, on-the-job training programs and career pathway programs
Partner with business intermediaries and design other business services to meet the needs of employers
Ensure the support of quality jobs
Create entrepreneurial opportunities for new business growth
Prepare youth for both current and future jobs
Local WIBs need to start the planning process now for the design of their local plans. If you are interested in gaining more information regarding WIOA, or if you would like help in thinking though your local plan, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For the past twelve years I have had the pleasure of representing EDSI at the annual National Association of Workforce Boards Conference in Washington, D.C. This year, Terri Kaufman, Ken Mall and I had the opportunity to attend this premier event where workforce development professionals and leaders in business, government, labor and education gather to discuss the current state of our nation's workforce system and consider the goals and policy framework affecting the future of human capital development. Although the final numbers are not in, over 1,200 people registered for the conference which far exceeds last year’s attendance.
Why do we exhibit at events like this? For one reason, it is a learning opportunity for us, especially with the implementation of WIOA right around the corner. Another reason to attend is the opportunity to talk with many of our current customers over the three-day period. Of course, we also appreciate the opportunity to talk with Workforce Board Executive Directors and board members in areas where we currently do not have contracts to learn and discuss best practices.
This year’s opening speaker was none other than Tom Perez, Secretary of the US Department of Labor. I was very glad to hear that Secretary Perez focused on the need for employer-focused training to assist in closing the skill gap. He spoke in detail about training being the number one concern for almost all employers and put an intense emphasis on developing an increased understanding of data-driven regional approaches to create sector strategies and coordinated partnerships. Consistent with the Secretary’s message, our own Ken Mall was part of a panel discussion about the skilled worker shortages plaguing the transportation industry.
Based on the people we talked with, the workforce board attendees came away from the conference looking for ways to incorporate industry partnerships, incumbent worker training, on the job training programs and youth programs that lead to steady employment. The good news is that EDSI has numerous programs to meet this demand.
This conference generated a very positive energy; something I hadn’t felt in recent years when unemployment was high and clear direction seemed to be lacking. Perhaps it has something to do with WIOA.
WIOA will not provide direct funding support of the operations of One-Stop centers. However, WIOA does require the mandated partners to collaborate in the cost of operations and services at the One-Stop centers.
Who are the mandated partners?
Office of Vocational Rehabilitation (OVR)
Older Americans Act Programs
Veterans Employment and Training
Housing and Urban Development Employment & Training
All the mandated partners must provide the core services directly related to their programs and must use a portion of the funds available to support the infrastructure costs of the One-Stops. They are required to enter into a MOU with the local Workforce Investment Board (WIB) and participate in the daily operations of the One-Stops.
Why does WIOA require these partners to collaborate in the One-Stop operations? This approach provides greater coordination of services and leveraging of federal dollars for direct training costs.
Local areas may also consider partnering with any of the numerous organizations in the following categories:
WIOA requires that local areas enter into voluntary MOUs to fund the infrastructure costs. Local areas must have their MOUs in place by July 1, 2016. If local areas are unable to reach agreement, then state-mandated funding levels will be imposed on local areas.
Local WIBs should be actively looking for other partners that could enhance services and leverage funds to better serve job seekers and employers.
It is estimated that over six million 16-24 years olds are currently not employed or not in school. 75% of WIOA youth program funds now focus now on out-of-school youth (OSY) and 25% on in-school youth (ISY). The Employment and Training Administration is aware of the challenges that states and local Workforce Investment Boards (WIBs) will encounter transitioning to the 75% spending requirement for OSY activities.
States and local WIBs should be receiving notification of the first WIOA allotment for youth programs in April 2015, with operational implementation on July 1, 2015. States and local WIBs are encouraged to use allowable transition funds to begin preparation for WIOA youth programs.
The Employment and Training Administration understands this is a significant shift, and they will provide technical assistance and guidance on recruiting and serving OSY. All states and local WIBs will be required to spend a minimum of 75% of PY 2016 youth funds on OSY.
While final WIOA regulations will not be published until 2016, the Employment and Training Administration has issued TEGL WIOA No. 23-14 to assist local WIBs to prepare for implementing WIOA Youth Programs July 1, 2015.
WIOA eliminates the requirement for local WIBs to establish a Youth Council. However, local WIBs are encouraged to establish a standing committee to provide planning, operational and other services for both OSY and ISY. WIOA has 14 program elements (which include the consolidation of the 10 original WIA elements). Five of the new elements are: financial literacy education; entrepreneurial skills training; services that provide labor market and employment information about in-demand industry sectors or occupations available in the local areas; activities that help youth prepare for and transition to post-secondary education and training; and education offered concurrently with and in the same context as workforce preparation activities and training for a specific occupation or occupational cluster. Additional activities may include: paid and unpaid work experience; leadership development; supportive services; and adult mentoring and guidance.
Work experience is a critical component of WIOA. 20% of OSY funds must be used for work experience. It is important to note that program expenditures can include wages as well as staffing costs for the development and management of work experiences.
ISY must be attending school, not younger than 14 or older then 21, low income, and have one or more of a list of barriers:
Basic skills deficient
An English language learner
A homeless youth or runaway, in foster care or has aged out of the foster care system
Pregnant or parenting
Requires assistance to complete an educational program or to secure or hold employment
Local WIBs are encouraged to work with local schools to coordinate services in areas such as career preparation, career awareness, employer presentations and employer visits.
The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) requires local workforce areas to provide priority of services and funding support to individuals with low income and barriers to employment. This creates a unique opportunity for Community Based Organizations (CBOs), education providers and Health and Human Service providers to work with Local Workforce Investment Boards (LWIBs) to develop and provide workforce development services to help individuals obtain self-sufficiency.
WIOA will help numerous CBOs and other human resources agencies work together in local One-Stops to better service clients. Working together, agencies and individuals can have access to and leverage additional resources and services. Local areas can help disadvantaged and unemployed adults and youth receive supportive services and provide education and training opportunities across multiple programs.
Did you know, it is estimated that nearly one third of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) recipients who are considered work eligible under the age of 24 may qualify for WIOA services and training support?
WIOA has also increased the eligible youth age to 16-24 years old for out-of-school youth and 14-21 years old for low-income youth with disabilities and English Language Learners (ELL). Additionally, 75% of youth funds must be focused on serving at-risk youth, and 20% of those funds must focus on work ready activities.
State and LWIBs will be required to report the number of individuals they serve with barriers to employment. They must develop plans on how these services will be provided and report outcomes!
This is a unique opportunity for Community Based Organizations and Health and Human Service Providers to reach out to your Local Workforce Investment Board. You can help LWIBs to develop plans for youth and adults with barriers to succeed by working together to design training services and programs. Take the time to contact your Local WIB.
WIOA requires that federal agencies, states and local WIBs with employment and training programs develop job-driven training services to ensure that employers and jobseekers know what to expect when they participate in a training program. The services must include the following:
ENGAGING EMPLOYERS – Work upfront with employers to determine local hiring needs and design training programs that are responsive to those needs
EARN AND LEARN – Offer work-based learning opportunities with employers – On-the-Job Training, internships, pre-apprenticeships, and registered apprenticeships – as training paths to employment
SMART CHOICES – Make better use of data to drive accountability, describe what programs are offered and what is taught, and offer user-friendly information for jobseekers to choose programs and pathways that work for them
MEASURING MATTERS – Measure and evaluate employment and earnings outcomes
STEPPING STONES – Promote a seamless progression from one educational stepping stone to another, and across work-based training and education, so all efforts result in progress
OPENING DOORS – Break down barriers to accessing job-driven training and hiring for any American who is willing to work, including access to supportive services and relevant guidance
REGIONAL PARTNERSHIPS – Coordinate activities between American Job Centers, local employers, education and training providers, economic development agencies, and other public and private entities, to make the most of limited resources
We can help!
EDSI understands WIOA implementation requirements and the impact they will have on the local WIB operations and service activities. We have been at the forefront of aligning service integration and building partnerships with states, community-based organizations, education, business and economic development organizations, and industry partnerships, which provides a strong foundation for implementation of WIOA. We look forward to sharing our experience and services, and see numerous opportunities to assist you in implementing WIOA. These opportunities include, but are not limited to:
Implementing integrated services at the One-Stop Centers and Access Points
Aligning programs and ensuring that customers have access to quality services and can make smarter choices
Expanding industry partnerships by working with employers, training providers, community-based organizations and economic development organizations to promote OJTs, incumbent worker training opportunities, internships and apprenticeship opportunities
Working with employers to determine their hiring needs by using tools such as Skilldex JTAs, which identify the skill set requirements of the job. Skilldex is EDSI’s task-based software and methodology utilized for job matching and measuring skill acquisition
Using Skilldex JTAs to identify and refer jobseekers who meet the skill requirements of the job
Promoting work-based learning opportunities with employers. We are experienced in managing and promoting OJTs, internships, pre-apprenticeships, and registered apprenticeship programs in multiple states
Reviewing training programs to ensure they are responsive to employer needs
On February 19, 2015 the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration Advisory System issued an Advisory: Training and Employment Guidance Letter No. 19-14 (TEGL), the vision for the workforce system and initial implementation of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) of 2014.
TEGL No. 19-14 lays out the vision of how the workforce development system will be transformed as a result of implementation of the WIOA. The notice provides a summary of the vision, goals and objective of the Act. It also provides an overview of the upcoming guidance and technical assistance to be issued in the near future (Spring 2015). Although guidance, rules and regulations have not yet been released, the key message of this notice is the feds are strongly encouraging states and local workforce investment boards to take action and begin planning and implementing WIOA transition activities now!
TEGL No. 19-14 recommends that local workforce investment boards, leaders and partners begin to start moving forward to full implementation of the law. Local areas are encouraged to assess their own situations and requirements to determine what steps they need to take to support the transition. These can include but are not limited to:
Identify and allocate funding for transition activities
Per TEGL 12-14, States and Local Workforce Investment Boards may use up to two percent of the WIA’s Fiscal Year 2014 funds for WIOA Transitional Activities.
Build new, and strengthen existing partnerships
States and local areas should enhance and coordinate partnerships with local entities and supportive service agencies to strengthen service delivery.
Develop transition plan
States and local areas should start developing transition plans and an implementation process which can be used to guide the implementation of WIOA.
Prepare for fiscal and program changes for transition across legislation
TEGL15-14 was issued on December 19, 2014. Management and fiscal staff must become familiar the requirements of this TEGL and its impact on the state system and the transition from WIA to WIOA.
Assess state laws
It is recommended that states review existing legislation and identify areas that are in conflict with WIOA and develop plans to resolve these conflicts.
Review Eligible Training Provider processes
Review Eligible Training Provider Lists processes and assess how they will need to be updated to meet new eligibility criteria.
Ensure new or existing youth service contractors support 75% out-of-school youth and 20% work experience expenditure rate requirements
Reassess One-Stop delivery system
Local areas and WIOA partners should start to reassess the One-Stop delivery system and what is needed to achieve seamless service delivery models that place the “Customer” at the center of program design and delivery.
Develop plans to ensure workforce investment boards become WIOA compliant
Chief elected officers should review the new requirements to reconstitute and certify boards.
Many of the provisions of the law go into effect July1, 2015. However, states and local areas need to start the planning and implementation process now to ensure success.
We know there is certainly a lot to digest with WIOA implementation. If you would like to learn more, or if we can help you in any way, please contact me at email@example.com.
The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) requires local Workforce Investment Boards (WIBs) to design and deliver services based on business and industry needs. Employer engagement is key for local WIBs to meet regional workforce needs and is one of the key metrics that local WIBs will evaluated against. The challenge - how do local WIBs effectively engage employers? Did you know that WIOA referenced “Industry Partnerships” 74 times?!
WIOA enables states and local WIBs the opportunity to support Industry Partnerships. These partnerships will strengthen services of the local WIB and companies by identifying the specific needs of their current and future workforces, identifying and analyzing the gaps between the skills needed to perform jobs and the skills of incumbent workers or job seekers, and then matching skills needed to training providers.
Industry Partnerships can help local WIBs, businesses and workers to:
Identify skill needs
Align educational curriculum to meet industry needs
Develop cost-effective training solutions for companies
Develop new career pathways
Help companies identify and address organizational and human resource challenges
Identify barriers to “entry level employment” and develop strategies to remove those barriers
Collaborate with youth initiatives to connect with careers in demand
Promote communication networks between companies, between managers and workers, and between companies and their communities and educational institutions
Lehigh Valley wanted to show their deep love and support for one of their EDSI coworkers, Eva Echevarria, who is battling breast cancer. On November 5, 2014, EDSI staff, the Lehigh Valley Workforce Investment Board and the Bureau of Workforce Partnership and Operations greeted Eva in the morning wearing scarves on their heads. After a memorable group photo was taken, each staff member handed over his/her scarf to Eva, one by one, and embraced her with a hug. Eva is a hardworking, strong woman with a positive influence in Lehigh Valley. Everyone is so happy she has returned to work so they can see her smiling face again!
Muneera Safieddine entered her Application Eligibility Period (AEP) at EDSI’s Westland PATH Office on June 24, 2014. She was willing from the first day to do whatever was asked of her and accepted any suggestions to assist in moving forward with her career goals. Muneera expressed her interest in being a Patient Care Technician (PCT), and she planned to enroll at Henry Ford Community College in their PCT program. After much discussion regarding finances and the supportive services available to PATH participants, Muneera researched several training programs, identified a PCT training with three national certifications that are state-transferable if she ever relocates, and submitted a request for financial assistance.
Muneera was focused on gaining employment or a volunteer work opportunity that would increase her work experience and skills. She received supportive services for the purchase of interview clothing and met with staff to review openings. Within three days, Muneera had an interview for a Tour Guide position with the Arab American National Museum in Dearborn. Her pleasant personality and bilingual ability were a great fit. The museum provided Muneera with a book about Arab American history to study and memorize, and when she returned to our office, she was excited to share what she had learned about her culture. In addition to her studies, Muneera shadows museum staff when time allows and attends museum events. Her study program will be completed in December, and Muneera may then be considered for a paid position.
Along with her activities with the museum, Muneera continued with her PCT career path. She received her supportive services and enrolled in PCT training at Phlebotomy Career Training located in Garden City, MI. On August 8, 2014, her classes began. Muneera is enjoying the training and was happy to share her first test results with EDSI; she received an A in memorizing 120 medical term acronyms.
Balancing vocational training, pre-employment activities, and her family responsibilities is not easy, but Muneera has approached each opportunity with an extremely positive attitude and enthusiasm. When asked about her collaboration with EDSI-Michigan Works! and the PATH program, she had this to say:
“My name is Muneera Safieddine, and I would like to tell you about my experience with Patricia Hindman, who I am very lucky to have as my worker; she took out a lot of her time and energy to help me. I am a single mother of five children and have been having a hard time obtaining a job, so I had to reapply for cash assistance. I was sent to PATH, and I was lucky enough to have met her. I feel like she went out of her way on everything to help me look for a job and asked me about what kind of job I wanted. The program has helped me a lot, even helping to assist with interview clothes and making sure I can reach my dream of being in the medical field. I am now in training, and I feel very blessed and very thankful. I just wanted to give my gratitude for her and PATH. Thank you very much for the respect and time to help me get into the medical field. Thanks!”
Another October is in the books, which means another Michigan Works! Annual Conference too has passed. I wanted to take a few minutes to reflect on this year’s conference, hosted at the Soaring Eagle Casino & Resort in Mt. Pleasant, MI October 12-14.
For the past five years, EDSI has been a silver sponsor of the conference. Each year, we look forward to connecting with workforce development professionals and partners from Michigan and the surrounding region to listen, learn and brainstorm unique solutions together. Specifically, we appreciated the engaging conversations we shared surrounding the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) signed into law earlier this year. I know our team is looking forward to partnering with workforce development agencies around the country as they implement the new WIOA legislation in the coming calendar year.
Personally, I’ve had the pleasure of representing EDSI at the conference for the past four years, and I walk away from the conference each year feeling inspired and smiling from all the fun we have! I find inspiration throughout the conference, and I was particularly motivated by the keynote presentations this year. One of these presentations was delivered by a spoken word duo known as Kinetic Affect- http://www.100poemsforhope.com/about/. Check out a short clip I recorded here!
Of course, we always manage to have some fun at the conference as well. And although we didn’t have the courage to get up and "rock out” on the karaoke stage during the opening session, we did have fun with the photo booth! Evidence is provided below:
Thank you to the Michigan Works! Association for hosting another exceptional and inspiring conference this year. We look forward to continued partnership with Michigan Works! and workforce development agencies all over the country in the year to come.
Our participants need to take a one-week break during Job Search to participate in another activity such as Community Service. Since it is only one week, we came up with community service activities our participants can complete either in the office or in the community themselves. One activity includes writing a letter to the troops. The letter below, written by Yolanda, brought tears to our eyes. Her children colored the pictures themselves. Yolanda, a single mother of three, is currently ready to take on two jobs, all while going to school to obtain her bachelor’s degree in nursing. She is truly remarkable.
I want to begin by saying thank you for your selfless and courageous effort to serve and protect the citizens of our great country. Without great individuals like you, we would not have all that we have today, such as our country’s independence, freedom and constitutional rights which rest in your hands. Like angels, you and thousands of others like you, watch over us and protect us all as we share and create lasting memories with our families and friends, as we commute to and from work and school each day, and as we rest our heads to sleep each night.
I am a single mother with a 9-year-old son named L.J. I also have two daughters, Amya who is 8, and Tamia who is 7. I explain all the great things that I know of that you do for us as one of their bedtime stories. Whenever we talk about “The Heroes,” my son likes to tell me how cool and awesome he thinks you guys are! He actually wants to be an engineer when he grows up. Amya wants to be a doctor, and Tamia wants to be the Pink Power Ranger (chuckling within). I am still working on her, so you have to excuse her. I mention this not only to tell you about the most important people in my life, but to inform you that I know that you and other people who fight by your side are the keys to our future. It is such a prestigious honor to have people like you watching over my children.
I may not know the colors of your hair, eyes or skin, but one thing I can say is that none of that matters to me. What you do for us emits a vision of love that is priceless. The countless hours you devote to your country each day to train and strategically plan ways to enforce or improve the safety of civilians in and around the United States of America is more than just commendable. In my opinion, it’s beyond words.
Each time you deploy, my prayers go with you, your fellow troops, family and friends who supply you with a reason to care and eliminate any threat to our home. Like great guardians, you watch over my brothers and sisters, and elected officials who dedicate their time to filter ways to continue to maintain life’s cycle.
Although there is nothing that I can give you in material possessions or wealth that you can hold in your hands to thank you for your service, that which I can give you is a promise that now and forever I give you my love, my respect and my eternal gratitude for all that you do for us.
I hope my words, although few, give you an idea of how I feel inside. I pray for your health and safe return home to your loved ones as soon as possible, and in my heart your personal sacrifices will never be forgotten or mistaken for anything else but love.
Do you have the right people on the bus and are they in the right seats?
In today’s workforce, the answers to these questions can often be the difference between success and failure. Having the right people on the bus, a term coined from Jim Collins’ book “Good to Great,” is one of the key factors. It is important that your employees fit your culture and have the necessary skill sets.
In any employer setting, the culture and values for your organization are paramount. A culture whose foundation is constructed on training and professional development helps to build and sustain a high performing organization. Understanding the skill sets of your employees allows an opportunity for targeted, deliberate recruitment and creates a mechanism for professional growth.
Having a balanced, diverse workforce is critical; by truly understanding the skills sets of your current employees, your recruitment efforts can be deliberate. Hiring is an expense and by targeting for specific needs, you can reduce that expense. Conducting a Job Task Analysis for the positions to be filled will clearly define and clarify the skills needed to be successful in a job.
Have you ever spent thousands of dollars on training for your employees only to find out later that half of them already knew the information? Focused training on the specific skills that are critical to a job position will decrease training time and free up your budget. On-the-Job training is a great way to increase the skill level of employees! Identify a subject matter expert for that job and pair him/her with an employee that needs more experience.
Professional Growth and Development
In many of our training projects, the initial need discussion has stemmed from employees asking for more training and development. The majority of employees want to learn more, become an integral part of the company and pursue appropriate career paths.
While at a conference this past week on Workforce Planning and Analytics, I heard a lot of statistics presented and discussed regarding training, skill gaps and hiring. Out of all of the numbers, percentages and key information, the one critical piece to hiring that many executive level HR professionals agreed upon was “did they fit the company culture?” You can train almost anyone on the skills needed to perform a job well, but once you find that potential hire who fits your company culture and sees your vision and mission statement, hire him/her and invest in the training time.
Do you have the right people on the bus and are they in the right seats? If not, what are you planning to do about it?
Did you know that as of January 2nd, 2014 the GED® is no longer the only high school equivalency assessment available? For as long as anyone can remember “the GED” was the only option—but not anymore! This year, two more players entered the game, offering their versions of a high school equivalency assessment (Test Assessing Secondary Completion™ (TASC™) and HiSET®).
The good news is that all of the 2014 tests are aligned with the same set of the standards, the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) for K-12, which have been adopted by the majority of states in the country. These standards are supposed to help better prepare our students for college and career success. The alignment of the high school equivalency assessments with these standards will help ensure that all students receiving a diploma or equivalency are well prepared for the world of work and higher education.
To find out which assessment(s) your state has selected, check with your local adult education program. For more information on the high school equivalency assessment options, check out the sites below!
Using the process laid out by EDSI helped us to create the right gatekeeper responsibilities and tasks, so we can ultimately focus more on the fit of candidates to the Cornerstone culture. Tom Willis; CEO - Cornerstone Charter Schools