WIOA requires that all One-Stop Centers (American Job Centers) leverage resources and program activities to support a workforce system designed to deliver and improve job and career options for workers and jobseekers while meeting the needs of businesses. WIOA was designed and regulations were developed to promote program enhancements by requiring mandated services and encouraging colocation of partners and service providers by leveraging resources to better serve customers.
WIOA requires that Local WDBs successfully execute a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with all required mandated and other partner agencies. It also requires the completion of Certification of all One-Stop Centers in accordance with federal, state and local policies.
The MOU establishes what services the partner will provide, how they are provided and financial support for center operations. At minimum, the MOU must define:
- Partners who are co-located
- Services and resources provided
- How partners will interact with each other
- Functional Supervision
- Administrative Support of Center Operations
- Funding Plan (cost-sharing) to support Center Operation
MOUs are required to be completed first. In some areas, the development, negotiation and execution of the MOU has been challenging. Some areas are still in negotiations with required partner agencies. The MOUs are required to be executed prior to obtaining One-Stop Certification. However, states can issue conditional certification based on an approved corrective action plan.
Certification of One-Stop Centers is the next critical step required under WIOA for all LWDBs seeking designation of One-Stop Centers.
Many states have yet to issue guidance on Certification of One-Stops for numerous reasons. However, this does not mean the Certification of Centers will not happen. It is required by law. One-Stop Centers must meet certification by demonstrating their effectiveness, program and physical accessibility and have a continuous improvement strategy.
The following are examples of key elements that many states have defined as requirements to obtain One-Stop Certification:
- Governance – all required documents in place prior to certification
- MOU executed
- One-Stop Center Operator has been selected
- Functional organizational chart
- EO provisions
- LWDB is certified and board members are current
- System in place to track customer satisfaction
- Professional Staffing
- Center staff roles and responsibilities are clear
- The Center provides staff development
- The Center has a system in place to assess staff members’ skills and core competencies
- Equal Opportunity Awareness. Center staff and program partners are familiar with applicable laws, regulations and policies regarding nondiscrimination and equal opportunity for all customers.
- Responsive to the Needs of Jobseekers
- Integrated service strategy
- Jobseekers have multiple paths to access services
- Customers are provided information about all services available in service-focused, customer-friendly manner
- The Center tracks customer activity, experiences and outcomes
- Responsive to the Needs of Businesses
- Identifies ways the centers respond to local and regional economic and workforce needs
- The Center has a Business Services Team
- The Business Services Team has processes for contracting employers in each targeted industry sector and can direct access to appropriate services or make referrals to other services
- The Business Services Team partners with employers to identify their needs and provide timely solutions
- Partners with the assistance of the One-Stop Operator to share performance information
- Systems are in place to identify and track service efficiencies and effectiveness
- Program Services: all customers have equal opportunity to access the Center services required by WIOA
- Program Coordination
- Prioritizes the development of integrated programs, services and activities
- Partner programs and services are coordinated in accordance with the MOU
- Best practices and internal communications are developed and maintained
- Integration of services
- Customers are provided information about all services available
- Best practices in internal communications are adopted
- Resource Room contains up-to-date, high-quality information about career services, training and supportive services
- Websites and resource materials are available
- Optimum business hours are offered
- Services are available through direct connection with onsite staff or technology consisting of the “direct linkage” requirement
- Physical Layout and Accommodations – The location and center layout eliminates barriers and is accessible to customers of all capacities
- The Center is inclusive and in compliance with federal, state and local laws and regulations
- The Center has adequate space and capacity
- The Center has technology to support functions of the center
- The Center has bilingual staff, materials or translation services
- Center Location – The center is accessible by public transportation, driving or walking
- Center Appearance and Safety
- The Center maintains a professional and welcoming appearance
- The Center provides a safe and secure environment for customers and employees
- The Center displays the one-stop system identifier
The onsite review is critical to the Certification. LWDBs must have a review team in place to complete the review and make recommendations for approval and/or corrective action. The team members need to understand their role and functions.
Is your LWDB ready to implement state policies and start the certification process of your One-Stop Center(s)? What steps have you taken to prepare your Board? What steps have you taken to ensure that your One-Stop Centers are ready? Do you need assistance? We are here to help you.
If you are interested in gaining more information regarding WIOA and Certification of One-Stop Centers, please contact me at Tkaufman@edsisolutions.com