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a. 2. Describe how the State will utilize professional development activities for Employment Service staff to ensure staff is able to provide high quality services to both jobseekers and employers

Current Narrative:

As Idaho’s designated Wagner-Peyser employment services state agency, the Idaho Department of Labor’s (IDOL) ongoing professional development of its Employment Service (ES) merit staff has provided the backbone for the successful performance of Idaho’s One-Stop system which has been continually reflected in the state’s Wagner-Peyser performance measures as well as in all workforce program performance measures for over a decade.

With the implementation of WIOA, IDOL and other One-Stop core partners have a renewed vision for investment in the professional development activities for not only ES staff, but all staff within the one stop system and particularly within the American Job Centers (AJC).  Under WIOA, central office staff will continue to provide initial training, technical assistance and guidance, however, two area managers travel each month, visiting AJCs to engage with core partners and frontline staff on a daily basis, supporting all workforce programs to increase staff capacity and improve communications between state-level and field offices, with the goal of providing a professional level of service in a timely manner to both jobseekers and employers.

Job seeker services will see an increased integration of core partner programs’ services in Idaho’s AJCs and affiliate sites that enhances access to the programs’ services and improves long-term employment outcomes for individuals receiving assistance. As witnessed in each Memorandum of Understanding, Idaho’s One-Stop core partners will be responsible for ongoing, regularly scheduled cross-training of co-located staff to ensure all staff have a working knowledge of all program services available at the facility to increase public access to those services. Training will develop service delivery skills of all One-Stop staff, but will have a higher focus on ES staff who interact with a wider swath of the public. Ongoing professional development will focus on:

  • Understanding of each partner’s career services and any eligibility requirements
  • Knowledge of training services offered and any eligibility requirements
  • Appropriate training to ensure all staff physically present at the One-Stop can correctly provide information to customers about the programs, services and activities available through partner programs.

Since early 2019, most of the ES staff located in the AJCs have been cross-trained so that they may deliver WIOA Title I-B program services.  Conversely, WIOA staff have been trained in ES service delivery.  Having staff cross-trained in these programs allows them to provide a significant complement of WIOA services that may meet the majority of needs a job-seeker visiting an AJC may be looking for.  This limits the need to “hand-off” participants/job-seekers from staff to staff, which reduces a participant’s waiting time for a new face to come up to speed on their case.

  • Working knowledge necessary to correctly provide direct linkage through technology to program staff who can provide meaningful information or services
  • Development of capacity to guide job seeker’s completion of application forms or online screen programs/activities carried out in the One-Stop system
  • User training regarding Idaho’s employment service web-based, online system, IdahoWorks, which provides job openings and referrals for job seekers
  • User training regarding Idaho’s web-based unemployment insurance system, iUS, to strengthen linkages between the One-Stop system and the UI program, and to increase awareness of UI issues across core programs
  • User training regarding the Idaho Department of Labor’s JobScape tool, which provides staff and job seekers with comprehensive career information, resources and services to help make successful education and career decisions.

Employer services will continue to be provided in quality fashion to employers all across Idaho. With the emergence Idaho’s new targeted business sectors, the Idaho Department of Labor will take the lead as it and other One-Stop partners work in concert to align services aimed at these newly identified industries. Idaho’s Workforce Development Council analyzed key industries, occupations, demographics and other workforce and economic conditions to identify a broad array of high-growth, high-demand, livable-wage jobs. The state’s analysis has led to the prioritization of specific sectors and occupations to focus on and leverage its resources. Idaho’s WIOA Combined State Plan for PY2020 identifies the new target sectors of healthcare, manufacturing, construction, and professional, scientific and technical services - identified by various regional, economic development, industry and community sources – which are viewed as the economic engines to drive regional economic growth and provide individuals with wage growth and career paths.

IDOL continues to implement the following enhanced services activities to support the state’s employer community:

  • extensive outreach;
  • one-on-one meetings with targeted employers to learn their workforce needs;
  • office team discussions and strategy sessions on how best to respond to identified employer needs; and
  • coordination of workforce needs with education, economic development and workforce partners.

Ongoing professional development will include:

  • Staff training for all ES and selected One-Stop partner staff on employer outreach techniques, sales and promotion of services and how to effectively work with industry sectors prioritized by the planning process
  • In-depth analysis of regional/local labor market data, particularly ‘real-time’ labor market data provided by IDOL’s Regional Economists
  • One-Stop partner staff meetings to develop knowledge of current training projects
  • Training regarding work-based learning opportunities that can assist employers in resolving workforce needs, particularly registered apprenticeship models, and One-Stop partner funding opportunities available to support work-based learning.
  • As noted earlier in the job seeker section, cross-training between ES and WIOA staff in the AJCs also includes exposure to employer services, including those listed above.  As with the job-seeker, cross-training in this fashion will help to improve the system’s response to employers.