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  • III. Operational Planning Elements
    The Unified or Combined State Plan must include an Operational Planning Elements section that support 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—
    • a. State Strategy Implementation
      The Unified or Combined State Plan must include—
      • 2. Implementation of State Strategy
        Describe how the lead State agency with responsibility for the administration of each core program or a Combined Plan partner program included in this plan will implement the State’s Strategies identified in Section II(c). above. This must include a description of—

III. a. 2. D. Coordination, Alignment and Provision of Services to Employers

Describe how the entities carrying out the respective core programs, any Combined State Plan partner program included in this plan, required and optional one-stop partner programs will coordinate activities and resources to provide comprehensive, high-quality services to employers to meet their current and projected workforce needs. The activities described shall conform to the statutory requirements of each program.

Current Narrative:

The Alabama Workforce System partners will ensure that there is a coordinated, aligned, delivery model for services to employers. Partners, who meet on a regular basis, will continue to meet and align their resources and support to the local needs of employers. The melding of the partners and employers safeguards the coordination of educational and training services in alignment with the performance measures established by the boards and through each partner’s governing authority under WIOA.

With this in mind, and in order to provide comprehensive, high-quality services to employers to meet their current and projected workforce needs, and to achieve the goals of industry sector partners in the state, Alabama Work Force System (WFS) core partners will coordinate their activities and resources to determine a set of “core principles” in regards to the collaborative delivery of business services. The core principles will include the following: 1. WIOA Core Partners will serve as the lead, and equal, providers of services to business, particularly in each programs’ area(s) of expertise 2. Business partner input will be an important consideration in the collaboration and alignment of services 3. No core partner will be excluded from direct interaction with the business customer, as needed and appropriate 4. Existing partnerships with business will be respected in order to address the preferences and needs of the business within the purview of that partnership 5. Whenever possible, collaboration and alignment will drill down to the local level but will consider recommendations from each core partner’s leadership in regards to this focus.

WIOA core partners will form an executive level leadership team with a representative from each partner’s program who have expertise in, and responsibility for, the design and delivery of services to business customers at the state, regional and local level. • This executive team will meet quarterly to address collaborative strategies and alignment with business customers. • This executive team will also identify agency local representatives with similar expertise to serve on regional or local teams that focus on collaboration and alignment of engagement with existing or potential business customers. • This executive team will also initiate on-going cross training to enhance core partners’ understanding of each partners’ expertise so that the core partners are aware of the “go-to” agency to best address the unique needs of the business customer. In order to make it easier for businesses to access these unique services, while developing and sustaining a trusted partnership, the Alabama Workforce System core partners will establish a “lead point of contact” from each core partner program with each business at the state and/or local level to build the capacity to be responsive to each business in a collaborative and timely manner in order to meet their needs. The following strategies will be used to engage in collaborative delivery of business services based on the needs of the business. · • Identification of Business Services deliverable by each WIOA core partner. • Facilitated quarterly meetings among each of the Core Partners at the state and regional/local level as noted above. • Cross training internally for the regional/local business service representatives which will focus on: o Familiarity with the business services deliverable by each core partner o Consideration of the methodology of service delivery to business for appropriate referrals when special business needs arise with core partner business relationship o Sharing of “subject-matter expertise” to acquaint core partners with the many resources available to businesses to meet their needs • Jointly funded initiatives with Core Partners and businesses coordinated through each core partner’s representative on the executive team to ensure appropriate alignment and collaboration • Customized services to employers based on special populations and core partner expertise to address new or emerging needs of business • Other strategic approaches will be added to this list over time and will be generated by the collaborative engagement at the executive level core partner meetings noted above, along with input from the local collaboration gatherings.

MORE SPECIFICALLY: Senior level management staff for the core partners, who have expertise in the delivery of services to businesses, will convene to identify specific business services offered by their program for each of the “Employer Services” enumerated in the “WIOA/Effectiveness in Serving Employers Report Template.” Those six (6) areas are: 1. Employer Information and Support Services 2. Workforce Recruitment Assistance 3. Strategic Planning/Economic Development Activities 4. Untapped Labor Pools Activities 5. Training Services a. Incumbent Worker Training Services 6. Rapid Response/Business Downsizing Assistance a. Planning layoff response.

Because the above list is not all-inclusive of each partner’s regulatory requirements for business services, nor does it fully address the specific needs of business, it is imperative that each core partner reconciles the above list with the services they currently deliver to allow each partner to meet their regulatory requirements while meeting the needs of businesses collaboratively. The Core Partners will begin by reconciling the categories of business services on the report template with the more definitive services listed in the regulatory guidelines for each core partner. Once this has been reconciled by the executive team described earlier, each core partner will specifically identify the deliverable services they can offer to employers based on their statutory guidelines, particularly in relation to the targeted populations with which they work.

For Title I partners, the State and the State Workforce Development Board will continue to refine and assess how services to employers are carried out through the Career Center system. Also, the Alabama Workforce Council is a primarily employer led advisory council appointed by the Governor in 2013 to assist in coordinating all resources in Alabama to provide high quality comprehensive services to employers. The Alabama Workforce Council has recommended and plans are underway to establish a strong network of funded and empowered regional workforce entities that will be tasked with the central role of bridging business needs with a “talent supply chain.” These regional entities which will include representatives of the core partner agencies will report to a board of regional business, industry and education leaders. Plans are also underway to establish a new online “one stop” resource to serve clear and focused needs while being accessible by a number of users including employers.

Alabama Adult Education Title II programs will coordinate with all of the WIOA required partners to align services to employers. As employment opportunities arise at the varied levels of qualifications; Adult Education students will be informed and included in the pool of potential candidates to fulfill the workforce demands in their local labor market. Distance learning opportunities are offered to those that are employed but need to continue their adult education skills training in order to earn stackable credentials and attain better employment

The Title IV Vocation Rehabilitation Program will work collaboratively with the WIOA required partners to provide effective services to employers on a state, regional and local level. In addition to the business services provided by the WIOA partners, there are additional categories of services that can be provided by ADRS as part of the collaborative effort to meet business needs. These services have been identified by our business customers and ADRS received input from our business customers in developing these services so that their needs would be met. One area is customized, but varied training related to disability issues, for example, Disability etiquette and Disability bias training; Awareness of specific disabling conditions; and Emergency Preparedness for employees with disabilities. With Federal legislation and specific mandates for compliance around disability matters, ADRS also provides relevant training on the successful methodology and resources for implementation. Retaining valued workers whose job is affected by illness, injury or disability has been a major concern by business and ADRS has customized stay-at-work and return-to-work services to increase the likelihood of that worker with a disability keeping their job. And finally, in looking at generic personnel issues related to the workforce, ADRS provides services to address personnel processes, job descriptions, website accessibility, targeted recruitment, and the use of the ADRS rehabilitation technology specialist team and, of course, the statewide Business Relations Consultants that provide all those services at the local level.

The core and required partners continue to refine and assess how services to businesses can be delivered collaboratively to employers through the Career Center system. Variations occur in the collaborative delivery of services when those services are unique to the expertise of the core partner and the targeted populations they are mandated to serve and in deference to the specific needs of the business.

For example, Alabama Career Center staff and Case managers have specifically developed internships and unpaid work experience slots for TANF recipients with employers under a TANF program known as Work First. Career Center staff (Business Services Representatives) have also developed dedicated OJT contracts with employers for TANF and other low income limited work history job seekers. In another example, Adult Education through the Community College System has developed Integrated Education and Training Career Pathway programs for adult education participates to gain industry recognized stackable certificates for employment. Many students have gained jobs in the field of logistics, truck driving, welding, construction trades, healthcare, culinary arts, manufacturing. Alabama DHR senior staff meets regularly with Partner agencies’ senior staff to discuss employment strategies for public assistance recipients since employers are seeking employees to hire from a limited labor pool as the economy continues to improve in the state.