- II. Strategic Elements
The Unified or Combined State Plan must include a Strategic Planning Elements section that analyzes the State’s current economic environment and identifies the State’s overall vision for its workforce development system. The required elements in this section allow the State to develop data-driven goals for preparing an educated and skilled workforce and to identify successful strategies for aligning workforce development programs to support economic growth. Unless otherwise noted, all Strategic Planning Elements apply to Combined State Plan partner programs included in the plan as well as to core programs.
- a. Economic, Workforce, and Workforce Development Activities Analysis
The Unified or Combined State Plan must include an analysis of the economic conditions, economic development strategies, and labor market in which the State’s workforce system and programs will operate.
- a. Economic, Workforce, and Workforce Development Activities Analysis
II. a. 2. Workforce Development, Education and Training Activities Analysis
The Unified or Combined State Plan must include an analysis of the workforce development activities, including education and training in the State, to address the education and skill needs of the workforce, as identified in (a)(1)(B)(iii) above, and the employment needs of employers, as identified in (a)(1)(A)(iii) above. This must include an analysis of—
A. The State’s Workforce Development Activities
Provide an analysis of the State’s workforce development activities, including education and training activities of the core programs, Combined State Plan partner programs included in this plan, and required 6 and optional one-stop delivery system partners.7
 Required one-stop partners: In addition to the core programs, the following partner programs are required to provide access through the one-stops: Career and Technical Education (Perkins), Community Services Block Grant, Indian and Native American programs, HUD Employment and Training programs, Job Corps, Local Veterans' Employment Representatives and Disabled Veterans' Outreach Program, National Farmworker Jobs program, Senior Community Service Employment program, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) (unless the Governor determines TANF will not be a required partner), Trade Adjustment Assistance programs, Unemployment Compensation programs, and YouthBuild.
 Workforce development activities may include a wide variety of programs and partners, including educational institutions, faith- and community-based organizations, and human services.
B. The Strengths and Weaknesses of Workforce Development Activities
Provide an analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of the workforce development activities identified in (A), directly above.
C. State Workforce Development Capacity
Provide an analysis of the capacity of State entities to provide the workforce development activities identified in (A), above.
II.a.2. Workforce Development, Education and Training Activities Analysis
A. The State's Workforce Development Activities
An analysis of Florida’s workforce development activities demonstrates a broad range of services offered to Florida residents. The state’s WIOA core partners of CareerSource Florida; the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO); and the Florida Department of Education’s Divisions of Blind Services (FDBS), Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) and Career and Adult Education (DCAE) provide services that assist the state in delivering workforce, education and training activities in a cohesive manner.
Within the CareerSource Florida network, Florida’s career centers are designed to deliver and provide access to services for employers seeking qualified workers as well as training for new and existing employees and all job seekers.
Florida’s comprehensive career centers provide expanded services and access to core and required partner programs either through the colocation of partners or linkages to partner services. Florida’s career centers provide access to all, including veterans, TANF recipients, SNAP recipients and persons with disabilities.
Services are available to Florida’s citizens and businesses through satellite and/or affiliate sites in areas strategically located within other community partners’ facilities such as local chambers, libraries and community-based organizations. All of Florida’s career centers are easily identified using the CareerSource Florida network brand and the “A proud partner of the American Job Center network.”
In addition to services offered through comprehensive career centers and affiliate sites, several local workforce development boards deploy mobile centers to provide services to Florida’s businesses and workers to support special events and in areas where access to services may be challenging. Major emphasis is placed on providing services directly at employer sites and direct service delivery in rural communities. Mobile centers are a cost-effective and customer-friendly service solution. Mobile centers play an integral role in providing services and assistance after hurricanes and other disaster events.
WIOA emphasizes the importance of serving the business customer. The CareerSource Florida network is a key resource for businesses seeking qualified workers and grants for customized training for new or existing employees. All 24 LWDBs have established dedicated business services teams who partner closely with Florida’s VR business relations teams. In several cases, designated career centers are in business districts to help local employers recruit, train and retain workers.
Digital communication and social media are replacing traditional outreach tools and media as effective and efficient methods of educating and informing current and potential customers and partners. While still employing tactics such as print and radio communications and outreach, CareerSource Florida’s strategic use of digital outreach to raise awareness and use of business and career services among targeted audiences has grown significantly, in alignment with the increasing use of digital resources among all customer populations.
The CareerSource Florida website serves as an important communications tool for accessing information about statewide initiatives, the latest workforce development and economic news, policy updates and board actions, state board meetings and workforce system accomplishments.
CareerSource Florida also employs integrated communications tactics including social, paid and earned media to inform Florida’s job seekers, workers and businesses as well as board members, state and local partners and various stakeholders. CareerSource Florida also leverages social media, digital placements and traditional placements to support partners’ outreach, including to specific populations such as military veterans and people with disabilities served by partner organizations. CareerSource Florida’s social media presence on platforms including Facebook and Twitter to elevate awareness and use of available services has been recognized by local area offices of the USDOL Employment & Training Administration as a best practice.
Additional CareerSource Florida communications tools include timely and relevant updates on workforce system issues and news, frequent electronic messages from the President and CEO of CareerSource Florida to the CareerSource Florida Board, DEO and LWDBs; regularly scheduled and special legislative updates; and news releases and special alerts as necessary.
CareerSource Florida developed and implemented a statewide Cooperative Outreach Program as an investment in brand-compliant, strategic outreach tools and tactics that could be leveraged by local workforce development boards to augment existing local outreach strategies. The initiative supports local boards’ efforts to reach job-seeking customers, reconnect with previously served customers and connect with new business.
CareerSource Florida’s statewide Cooperative Outreach Program has had strong results since its inception. All 24 local workforce development boards participate annually. In Fiscal Year 2018-19, nearly 18 million overall advertising impressions (the total number of people reached, multiplied by how frequently they may see the ad placement) were reported based on local campaigns launched within the statewide program, including more than 16.6 million digital impressions. Of note is the number of new leads generated by the additional outreach efforts – more than 3,900 new employers and job-seeking customers were engaged through these campaigns, a nearly 70 percent increase over results in 2016-2017.
The 2019-2020 statewide communications and outreach plan aligns with CareerSource Florida’s three corporate goals: communicate the CareerSource Florida network vision to enhance thought leadership, strategies and policies that strengthen excellence to Florida businesses, job seekers and workers; leverage strategic partnerships to cultivate local, regional and state capacity building that increases economic opportunity; and emphasize data-driven decisions to keep Florida’s workforce system accountable by encouraging performance achievement and boosting talent pipeline alignment.
CareerSource Florida’s strategic, integrated outreach, including the Cooperative Outreach Program with local workforce development boards, has contributed to significant increases in employer awareness of the state workforce system. According to market surveys conducted in the spring of 2017, the most recent year for which data is available, more than half of those surveyed report being aware and knowledgeable of their local workforce development board or career center, nearly double the 26 percent who reported awareness and knowledge in 2013.
Employ Florida: Online Workforce Services and Virtual Career Center
Today’s job seekers and businesses expect and need access to workforce services 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The Employ Florida website at employflorida.com is Florida’s virtual job-matching tool, providing access at no charge to employment opportunities, resume-building resources and other services. Employ Florida helps connect employers, job seekers and Floridians looking to grow in their careers.
Employ Florida is the state’s most comprehensive source for current Florida job openings. Launched in 2005, Employ Florida provides businesses access to thousands of current resumes, recruiting and hiring resources, valuable information on training options and links to labor market information at both the state and local levels. Florida’s job seekers can search for employment opportunities from numerous job and corporate websites as well as those placed directly on Employ Florida by businesses or through LWDBs and/or career centers. Employers and job seekers can locate Florida’s workforce services and resources anywhere in the state via Employ Florida or by calling the toll-free Employ Florida Helpdesk, staffed by DEO.
Employ Florida is consistently upgraded to maintain relevancy and incorporate improved technology. The use of micro-portals, powered by Employ Florida, provides specialized and targeted job matching to add value for both employers and job seekers with specific interests and needs. CareerSource Florida and DEO, in collaboration with LWDBs and other partners, maintain dedicated entry points with customized job search information and resources. These resources have included portals for Florida veterans, job seekers age 50 or older, those interested in green jobs, people with disabilities, recent college graduates and people and businesses impacted by specific events such as hurricanes.
The Florida Abilities Work portal at abilitieswork.employflorida.com is a tool for employers and job seekers with disabilities. The micro-portal is housed on the Employ Florida website with a logo button for ease of access. The portal was specifically designed to provide resources to people with disabilities and to assist employers who are interested in hiring. A help desk and hotline are staffed by Vocational Rehabilitation. The portal was developed in response to the Governor’s Commission on Jobs for Floridians with Disabilities collaboratively with input from several partners including the Agency for Persons with Disabilities, VR and Division of Blind Services (FDBS) and the Florida Developmental Disabilities Council as well as customers and family members.
Jobs for Veterans State Grant
Florida’s JVSG program creates opportunities for all eligible veterans and eligible spouses to obtain meaningful and successful careers through provision of resources and expertise that maximize employment opportunities and protect veterans’ employment rights. Services provided by Disabled Veteran Outreach Program (DVOP) staff include, but are not limited to, comprehensive assessments, development of an Individual Employment Plan (IEP), career counseling, and referrals to veteran and community organizations as needed. The Local Veteran Employment Representative (LVER) is a fully-integrated member of the LWDB Business Services Team (BST). LVER staff promote the hiring veterans to employers, employer associations, and business groups; facilitate employer training; plan and participate in career fairs and conduct job development contacts on behalf of veterans with employers.
Florida Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) Workforce Development Activities
Activities for youth and students are designed to assist in developing a concept of work, navigating the community and obtaining work experience during high school. Pre-Employment Transition Services for students with disabilities or potentially eligible students include career exploration counseling, work readiness and self-advocacy training and experiential activities such as community-based work experience and on-the-job training. Support services available to eligible students with disabilities or youth with disabilities include assistive technology and services, transportation and uniforms. Intensive services are designed for those who need additional support with appropriate work behavior, require repetition to acquire skills, or need to build endurance to work and identify the right fit or environment for work. These services include Discovery, Youth Peer Mentoring, Project SEARCH, services provided under Work-Based Learning Experiences with school districts and tuition, and books and supplies for postsecondary education programs.
VR offers services for adults (and youth, if needed to achieve job goals) that include vocational and other assessments to help job seekers best define their job goals. If needed to meet their goal, medical and psychological services are obtained. VR helps job seekers obtain educational or job readiness training to prepare for their career. Job search, placement, coaching, supported employment and self-employment services are available, as well as interpretive, assistive and rehabilitation technology services. VR maintains a vast network of contracted employment service providers throughout the state and has initiatives in place to increase the variety and quantity of services offered.
VR has formalized a Business Relations Program, with the vision to build and sustain partnerships with business and industry through effective services that are driven by the needs of employers. These partnerships lead to competitive integrated employment and career exploration opportunities for VR customers. Efforts are underway to further develop and customize services to employers, create strategic partnerships to support workforce needs and establish an employment-focused culture within the rehabilitation process
Florida Division of Blind Services (FDBS) Workforce Development Activities
The programs under the FDBS are designed to provide training in foundational skills, independent living skills, and career development to assist individuals with visual impairments in becoming self-sufficient in their homes and communities while progressing toward their individual goals. Activities for adults served under the Vocational Rehabilitation Program help individuals who are blind or visually impaired to gain, maintain, advance in, or retain employment. A plan is developed for each individual to provide the education, training, equipment and skills needed for success. Services are provided by DBS vocational rehabilitation counselors, local community rehabilitation programs, the DBS Rehabilitation Center and through sponsorship of training at vocational schools and colleges. In FFY 2018, the FDBS served 12,763 consumers. Of this number, 5,031 were served under the Vocational Rehabilitation Program and were assisted in obtaining competitive integrated employment.
Beginning at the age of 14, the Division offers Pre-Employment Transition Services to students with disabilities who are potentially eligible for services. At the same age, eligible students or youth with disabilities can receive transition services. These services consist of a coordinated set of activities for students that promotes movement from school to post-school activities, including post-secondary education, vocational training, competitive integrated employment, continuing and adult education, adult services, or independent living. Students and youth are given the tools necessary to prepare for, secure, retain, or regain employment consistent with their unique strengths, abilities, interests, and informed choice.
The FDBS conducted a Comprehensive Statewide Needs Assessment to determine the needs of employers in recruiting, hiring, accommodating, and retaining individuals with blindness or visual impairments. Based on these needs, the FDBS – with continual collaboration among core partners – will conduct the following activities to expand, integrate, and improve services to individuals with visual disabilities within the workforce system.
- Secure opportunities for students/youth with disabilities to practice and improve workplace skills. This includes increasing participation of young adults (ages 18-34) in the Business Enterprise Program.
- Increase utilization of online job systems/portals to expose employers to job-ready consumers.
- Increase consumer participation in industry certifications and apprenticeships and develop improved mechanisms for tracking.
- Develop and implement an Employment Skills Training Program at the Rehabilitation Center.
- Increase awareness of and the provision of accessibility tools.
- Develop and strengthen employer relationships by providing employer training, support, education, and resources.
- Increase successful employment outcomes including self-employment for transition-age youth, adults, and seniors.
- Strengthen statewide collaboration with core partners.
- Develop mechanisms to maximize job placement effectiveness of the Employment Placement Specialists and contracted service providers.
- Increase opportunities for data sharing and improve data validity and integrity.
Education and Training Activities for Adult Education
Florida’s adult education system provides academic instruction and education services below the postsecondary level that increase an individual’s ability to read, write and speak in English and perform mathematics or other activities necessary for the attainment of a secondary school diploma or its equivalent. Adult education programs served 173,901 in 2015-16; 169,308 in 2016-17; 153,246 in 2017-18; and 145,932 in 2018-19. The state of Florida has aligned content standards for adult education with state-adopted academic standards.
Training activities are provided statewide through face-to-face and online workshops, webinars and conferences. Needs assessments are conducted to assist in determining state professional development priorities. Current initiatives determine training topics such as college and career readiness standards, integrated education and training models, essential components of reading instruction, career pathways, mathematics instruction and GED® preparation.
Adult education programs will collaborate with LWDBs to determine local high-wage, high-demand careers when developing career pathways.
One-stop career center partners and adult education programs work collaboratively within their local areas and assessment and instructional services are often provided onsite. Local CareerSource Florida network staff can participate in Tests of Adult Basic Education (TABE) and Comprehensive Adult Student Assessment System (CASAS) trainings are made available throughout the year. Many career centers provide representatives directly to the adult education facility to provide counseling, advising and other services related to awareness of workforce resources. The sharing of cross-referral outcomes is a priority of DCAE to support the goals of WIOA and increase student access and achievement.
B. The Strengths and Weaknesses of Workforce Development Activities
As is outlined in section 2(A) above, Florida’s workforce network partners are successful in reaching and serving customers to put Floridians to work. These partnerships are leveraged at the state and local levels to enhance any areas where improvements are needed. The strength of Florida’s workforce network is demonstrated through its existing relationships and the ongoing effort to identify additional opportunities for coordinated service delivery as required under WIOA. Currently, Florida’s WIOA partners have ample statewide coverage for all programs, with skilled and experienced professional team members. The state workforce investment board, LWDBs, VR and FDBS all have established business relationship teams working together to serve employers.
Additional improvements are taking place in Florida’s workforce network, including a Residential Center training program within the FDBS. The Pre-Employment Program began in 2016 with the goal to increase the employment rates for youth and adults. Classes are conducted at the Rehabilitation Center each quarter. The Workforce Innovation Technical Assistance Center (WINTAC) provided various training on the Career Plus Index and WIOA requirements. Employer biases and misconceptions about hiring individuals who are blind continues to exist. Improvement in this area will involve employer education and training to dispel myths and stereotypes to increase the hiring of individuals with disabilities of all types.
Continuous improvement of how Florida’s workforce network serves customers will require continued collaboration, coordination and reassessment. The identification of both strengths and weaknesses is an ongoing process for the core programs working to implement WIOA. Working groups discussed in section III(b)(7) are addressing data integration issues as a potential challenge for WIOA implementation. The data sharing agreement between the Department of Economic Opportunity and Department of Education has been amended to address data needs to enhance reporting and analysis capabilities. The state continues exploring opportunities for further integration of technologies. Reviewing WIOA program services, programs and policies to identify duplicative efforts and potential solutions to better align agency resources and efforts is ongoing.
Florida will work to address accessibility of job network computer systems, outreach and community visibility for programs that serve job seekers with disabilities and transportation for job seekers with disabilities.
C. State Workforce Development Capacity
Florida is well-positioned to continue delivering exceptional workforce development services with the knowledge and experience of Florida’s Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act core program partners. Continued communication and enhanced collaboration among the WIOA State Leadership Team and working groups remain a primary focus as the partners collectively build the capacity of the state’s workforce system.
Capacity also depends on the continued success of Florida’s 24 local workforce development boards. Local boards and their WIOA partners constantly strive to develop innovative methods for the delivery of services to job seekers and employers in their local areas. A heightened focus on customer service and business engagement are helping increase Florida’s workforce network capacity.
Florida’s Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) currently has 96 unit offices throughout Florida; approximately 20 percent of those are private contracted offices, opened to increase its service capacity and ensure continuity of services. Factors such as staff turnover and Order of Selection (OOS) waitlists affect customer service capacity and VR’s leadership uses data projection models to monitor trends and guide decision-making regarding fiscal, caseload and waitlist performance.
VR partners with employment service providers and maintains memorandums of agreement with multiple agencies and entities around the state to ensure comprehensive and coordinated services are provided for job seekers with disabilities. VR implements pilot programs and Innovation and Expansion projects to further increase its service capacity. VR places emphasis on increasing provider capacity for specialized services such as Discovery and Customized Employment.
VR’s services are provided statewide with the exception of pilot programs, Innovation and Expansion project activities and transition services delivered under Work-Based Learning Experiences (WBLE). VR currently holds WBLE with 31 school districts and, as required, has a waiver of statewideness in place for these arrangements. More details on WBLE and other factors that affect VR’s service capacity can be found in the VR services portion of this plan.
The FDBS has aligned and dedicated vocational rehabilitation staff to coordinate, implement and track workforce development activities across multiple programs. The FDBS has long-established relationships with statewide Community Rehabilitation Providers (CRPs) who provide direct vocational rehabilitation, transition, supported employment and rehabilitation engineering services to clients statewide. Through existing staff and community rehabilitation program partners, FDBS is implementing the identified workforce development activities.
The FDBS conducts ongoing training needs assessment to ensure compliance of federal and state mandates and examines individual training requirements related to current job performance, future job requirements and promotional or career advancement needs.
Adult education programs in Florida are provided by school districts, colleges and community-based organizations. While some counties may not offer adult education programs, colleges in those service areas were awarded federal grants to provide adult education programs in those areas. There are 202 locations offering adult education services. This includes main sites and satellite programs located throughout the community. Transportation is a barrier for many adults so local programs plan locations that are accessible for potential adult students.