- III. Operational Planning Elements
The Unified or Combined State Plan must include an Operational Planning Elements section that supports the State’s strategy and the system-wide vision described in Section II(c) above. Unless otherwise noted, all Operational Planning Elements apply to Combined State Plan partner programs included in the plan as well as to core programs. This section must include—
- b. State Operating Systems and Policies
The Unified or Combined State Plan must include a description of the State operating systems and policies that will support the implementation of the State strategy described in section II Strategic Elements. This includes—
- b. State Operating Systems and Policies
III. b. 4. D. Evaluation
Describe how the State will conduct evaluations and research projects on activities under WIOA core programs; how such projects will be coordinated with, and designed in conjunction with, State and local boards and with State agencies responsible for the administration of all respective core programs; and, further, how the projects will be coordinated with the evaluations provided for by the Secretary of Labor and the Secretary of Education under WIOA.
As outlined in Workforce Services Directive WSD16-20, WIOA establishes a framework under which Local Boards are responsible for maintaining a network of high-quality, effective AJCCs. To assist in these efforts, the CWDB, in consultation with an AJCC Certification Workgroup comprised of state-level core program partners and Local Board representatives, developed objective criteria and procedures for Local Boards to use when certifying the AJCCs within their Local Area.
Under WIOA, there are three key requirements for AJCC certification: effectiveness of the AJCC, physical and programmatic accessibility for individuals with disabilities, and continuous improvement. California’s certification process is centered on these key requirements and sets a statewide standard of service delivery that ensures all customers consistently receive a high-quality level of service.
California established two levels of AJCC certification: Baseline and Hallmarks of Excellence. The Baseline AJCC Certification is intended to ensure that every comprehensive AJCC is in compliance with key WIOA statutory and regulatory requirements. The Hallmarks of Excellence AJCC Certification is intended to encourage continuous improvement by identifying areas where an AJCC may be exceeding quality expectations, as well as areas where improvement is needed. The Hallmarks of Excellence were developed in alignment with Training and Employment Guidance Letter (TEGL) 4-15, State Plan, and the AJCC Certification Workgroup’s vision for California’s One-Stop delivery system.
Baseline AJCC Certification - In order to receive Baseline AJCC Certification, an AJCC must meet all of the following requirements:
- The Local Board has implemented a signed MOU with all the required AJCC partners.
- The AJCC has implemented the board-defined roles and responsibilities of the AJCC Operator and Title I Adult and Dislocated Worker Career Services Provider
- The AJCC meets all regulatory requirements to be considered a comprehensive AJCC as identified in the WIOA Joint Final Rule Section 678.305.
- The AJCC ensures equal opportunity for individuals with disabilities in accordance with the American with Disabilities Act, WIOA Section 188, and all other applicable federal and state guidance.
Hallmarks of Excellence AJCC Certification - In order to highlight areas where AJCCs can continuously improve their service delivery, California identified eight Hallmarks of Excellence, with each one ranked on a scale of 1- 5. In order to receive a Hallmarks of Excellence AJCC Certification, an AJCC must meet Baseline AJCC Certification and receive a ranking of a least 3 for each of the following:
- The AJCC physical location enhances the customer experience.
- The AJCC ensures universal access, with an emphasis on individuals with barriers to employment.
- The AJCC actively supports the One-Stop system through effective partnerships.
- The AJCC provides integrated, customer-centered services.
- The AJCC is an on-ramp for skill development and the attainment of industry-recognized credentials which meet the needs of targeted regional sectors and pathways.
- The AJCC actively engages industry and labor and supports regional sector strategies through an integrated business service strategy that focuses on quality jobs.
- The AJCC has high-quality, well-informed, and cross-trained staff.
- The AJCC achieves business results through data-driven continuous improvement.
Since the goal is for Local Boards to work with each of their AJCCs to continually improve and progress within each Hallmark of Excellence, all Local Boards must also develop a continuous improvement plan, with target dates, for each AJCC that outlines how they plan to increase their ranking for each Hallmark of Excellence or maintain their ranking for any Hallmark of Excellence in which they have already achieved a score of 5.
California will be conducting an evaluation of the AJCC system through a third party. The purpose of the evaluation is to support the AJCC system’s efforts to effectively and efficiently provide workforce and education services to those who need it most, while advancing the policy goals of the State Plan. WIOA significantly changed the workforce system in California. As a result, the AJCC system needs to be evaluated to ensure it continues to meet the needs of its stakeholders, and has the ability to support future workforce development service delivery models. The AJCC Evaluation will have three overarching objectives:
Objective 1 - To understand how different service delivery models affect the overall access to services and the mix of services provided to the client population served.
- Do Local Board decisions pertaining to the competitive procurement of AJCC Operators and the contracting-out of Title I Adult and Dislocated Worker Career Services systematically affect access to services and the propensity to offer some types of services rather than other types of services (including basic and individualized career services, supportive services, training, and AJCC partner services)?
- Are some models associated more with lighter touch interventions while others are associated more with the provision of more intensive (and possibly more expensive) services?
- What are the trade-offs and pros and cons of using the different models?
Objective 2 - To understand how investment decisions pertaining to AJCC infrastructure, staffing levels, and number of locations affect overall access to services and the mix of services provided to the client population served.
- Do Local Board decisions pertaining to AJCC investment in infrastructure, staffing levels, and number of AJCC locations affect access to services and the propensity to offer some types of services rather than other types of services (including basic and individualized career services, supportive services, training, and AJCC partner services)?
- Are some investment decisions associated more with lighter touch interventions while other investment decisions are associated more with the provision of more intensive (and possibly more expensive) services?
- What are the trade-offs and pros and cons of different kinds of investment decisions pertaining to AJCC infrastructure, staffing levels, and number of locations?
Objective 3 - To understand whether there is any relationship between participant program outcomes and the mix of services provided to the client population served. Are service delivery models and/or investment decisions pertaining to AJCCs systematically related to participant program outcomes?
Regional Plan Implementation Evaluation
California has utilized WIOA statewide funds to evaluate Regional Plan Implementation (RPI) efforts in the fourteen RPUs. The purpose of the evaluation is to help California assess and evaluate the RPI efforts and the lessons learned from that process by answering the following questions:
- How do Local Boards and their partners in a region work together to define problems, set goals, identify and implement solutions, and assess outcomes? What are those outcomes?
- How do regionalism and local operational authority co-exist? How has regional work impacted the service delivery systems at the local level?
- How have the regions evolved over time, and how can the state support regions in achieving and sustaining their goals in the future?
The RPI evaluation is designed to take a formative approach to the implementation of regional planning across the fourteen RPUs. The goal is to understand the ways each part of the state is approaching regional work and how their efforts to date align with California’s overall vision. By understanding the implementation process of each region, California hopes to identify promising practices being used in various regions as well as gaps or challenges in implementing regional strategies and structures.
To standardize findings across the regions, the evaluation will use and build upon the Regional Coordination and Alignment Indicators which were developed as a framework for assessing regional implementation progress in achieving the objectives of the State Plan.