- 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—
III. 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—
The six (6) core programs under the major core components of WIOA are in four (4) different agencies: Title I is in the Alabama Department of Commerce; Title II is in the Alabama Community College System; Title III is in the Alabama Department of Labor; and, Title IV is in the Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services. These agencies, however, have partnered with each other since 1992 in providing coordinated or co-located services in the Alabama Career Center System. These agencies have met on a regular basis throughout WIA to provide and improve services to job seekers and employers through the system. WIOA has renewed these agencies to ensure coordinated and cooperative services.
Core program and optional plan partners’ activities to carry out the state strategies identified in the plan are based on unique partnerships between the partners, the Alabama Workforce Development Board, and the Governor’s Alabama Workforce Council. All core partners participate at the executive level and the senior management level and the volunteers participating on the Board. Also, the ACCS and the ALSDE participate during senior staff meetings and Board meetings. The activities funded to implement the State’s strategies includes enrollments in Title I activities for adult, youth and dislocated workers, adult education activities provided in the Comprehensive Career Centers, Wagner-Peyser employment services, and Rehabilitation Services staff referrals to any appropriate services.
However, the state has reorganized the local areas based on a newly developed plan that divides the state into 7 workforce regions. The 3 previous local areas (Jefferson, Mobile, and 65 counties) were re-organized and developed into 7 local areas that match the workforce regions. The purpose is alignment across all the partners. Not only Core Partner agencies, but all sub-partners will have access to local data and strategic decisions will be made in each local area regarding solutions to workforce needs and especially those populations to be served. This reorganization was fully implemented as of July 1, 2017.
Five of the new local workforce development areas, which were formerly part of the 65-county balance of state, operate policy-wise and with administrative support from the Alabama Department of Commerce ’s Workforce Development Division, which had administered the 65-county local workforce development area. Policy support and the coordination of services will continue from the other core partners for the five new local workforce development areas in order to ensure continuity of established policies such as priority of services to public assistance recipients. Senior level staff from core and non-core partners will continue to target groups of job seekers with the most significant barriers to employment. The five new local workforce development areas will not be without experienced senior level guidance and support.
SNAP E&T services will be expanded from 10 to 38 Alabama Career Centers across Alabama. The focus of the Career Centers will be on job search activities for Able-Bodied Adults without Dependents (ABAWDS). Referrals to the Career Center’s come to Alabama JobLink electronically and allow for any SNAP E&T ABAWD to have access to services immediately at any of those 38 Career Centers. The plan is to work with local DHR offices and Career Centers in those 38 counties to continue to establish policies, priorities, and outreach for this population within the first quarter of 2017. SNAP E&T is also in the planning stages of a partnership with the Alabama Community College System Adult Education program. This partnership started with a pilot program for 50/50 Administrative match program in Mobile County. This partnership will include two community-based organizations in this area, as well as the local Career Center. The focus of this partnership is to look at barriers ABAWDS may have to employment in this area and match the services needed to overcome employment barriers and match them to the local workforce needs of that area.
The TANF Program is a cash assistance and work program operated by the Alabama Department of Human Resources (DHR). There are approximately 5,000 clients receiving TANF and participating in DHR’s work program called JOBS. JOBS clients are required to register with Alabama JobLink (AJL). The plan is to create an interface with DOL whereby a record is automatically created or updated in AJL for JOBS clients. This will allow case managers to track TANF clients as they progress through the Career Center System and other workforce partner programs. The automated referral to DOL will expedite receipt of services for TANF clients and will not have to go to another office to register in AJL, and they will be clearly identifiable as TANF clients so they will receive assistance according to the mandated priority of service. As a result of the automated referral DHR will receive performance outcome data that will be used to modify policies and procedures as appropriate. In the interim, there will be monthly contacts between the JOBS case manager and Career Center case manager to ensure TANF clients are receiving full benefit of workforce services.
For clients that access the Career Center office first but may be interested in services provided by TANF, there are information packets available at the Career Centers for any clients who inquire about the TANF program. Additionally, the long-term goal is to develop an online application process for TANF which will be easily accessible by the client from any computer.