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  • 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. 

II. b. State Strategic Vision and Goals

The Unified or Combined State Plan must include the State’s strategic vision and goals for developing its workforce and meeting employer needs in order to support economic growth and economic self-sufficiency.  This must include—

  • 1. Vision

    Describe the State’s strategic vision for its workforce development system.

  • 2. Goals

    Describe the goals for achieving this vision based on the analysis in (a) above of the State’s economic conditions, workforce, and workforce development activities.  This must include—

    (A) Goals for preparing an educated and skilled workforce, including preparing youth and individuals with barriers to employment8 and other populations.9

    (B) Goals for meeting the skilled workforce needs of employers.

    [8] Individuals with barriers to employment include displaced homemakers; low-income individuals; Indians, Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiians; individuals with disabilities, including youth who are individuals with disabilities; older individuals; ex-offenders; homeless individuals, or homeless children and youths; youth who are in or have aged out of the foster care system; individuals who are English language learners, individuals who have low levels of literacy, and individuals facing substantial cultural barriers; eligible migrant and seasonal farmworkers (as defined at section 167(i) of WIOA and Training and Employment Guidance Letter No. 35-14); individuals within 2 years of exhausting lifetime eligibility under the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Program; single parents (including single pregnant women); and long-term unemployed individuals.

    [9] Veterans, unemployed workers, and youth and any other populations identified by the State.

  • 3. Performance Goals

    Using the tables provided within each Core Program section, include the State's expected levels of performance relating to the performance accountability measures based on primary indicators of performance described in section 116(b)(2)(A) of WIOA. (This Strategic Planning element only applies to core programs.)

  • 4. Assessment

    Describe how the State will assess the overall effectiveness of the workforce development system in the State in relation to the strategic vision and goals stated above in sections (b)(1), (2), and (3) and how it will use the results of this assessment and other feedback to make continuous or quality improvements.

Current Narrative:

1. Vision

Idaho’s Workforce Development System will: improve access to education, economic opportunity, and employment for all of Idaho’s job seekers—especially those with significant barriers to employment; develop a skilled and competitive workforce that meets the needs of Idaho’s employers; stimulate the vitality of our local communities; and promote a strong state economy.

2. Goals

A) Goals for preparing an educated and skilled workforce, including preparing youth and individuals with barriers to employment[8] and other populations.[9]

(B) Goals for meeting the skilled workforce needs of employers.

In July 2019, the Idaho Workforce Development Council, which serves as Idaho’s WIOA State Board, finalized a strategic planning process in which it developed strategies and objectives for the three goals set by the Governor. The Council developed this plan over a six-month time period with significant input from partners, employers, and industry associations. 

The three goals mandated by the Governor for the State’s workforce system are outlined below. Under each of these goals, the Council identified several strategies that relate more specifically to the populations, services, policies, and priorities within the workforce development system.

Goal 1 – Increase public awareness of and access to career education and training opportunities.

Strategy – Identify, develop, connect, and activate a diverse network of influencers throughout the state that together can promote information and resources in a way that effectively reaches their market/membership/locale.

  • Promote awareness of workforce services, education services, and information to the diverse current and potential workforce.

Goal 2 – Improve the effectiveness, quality, and coordination of programs and services designed to maintain a highly skilled workforce.

Strategy – Create, align, and sustain partnerships with stakeholders to implement workforce development programs.

Strategy – Create a baseline to allow for measurement of success in the future.

Strategy – Support development in work-based learning, and innovative programs to drive Idaho’s present and future workforce solutions.

Strategy – Leverage existing local employer-focused initiatives to build and support effective pathways to connect Idahoans to careers.

Strategy – Cultivate a high-quality One-Stop Career System that connects employers and workers and facilitates access to workforce services, education services, and information.

Strategy – Champion public policy initiatives that enable dynamic response to evolving industry needs.

Goal 3 – Provide for the most efficient use of federal, state, and local workforce development resources.

Strategy – Be objective, data driven, and accountable.

Strategy – Identify gaps and opportunities in the workforce system and initiate or support policy and/or allocate resources to meet them.

Strategy – Identify opportunities for alignment across projects and resources to enhance results across all stakeholder groups.

The economic and activities analysis conducted in Section (II) of this plan identified the following priority focus areas that are of special concern for the purposes of improving Idaho’s workforce system under WIOA. These focus areas, listed below, inform the strategies used to meet the goals listed above. These focus areas will also guide the structure of this State Plan and serve as a continuing theme that unites our goals, strategies, and operational elements.

  • Improving Public Awareness and Access to the Workforce System – The sixteen public listening sessions conducted by the Council and partners show several gaps that allow various opportunities for system improvement.  This includes actionable messaging of the services and benefits available to both jobseekers and employers, including veterans.  Also, increasing referrals and service coordination among programs will help to improve outcomes for those in need. Specific goals for implementation during this state plan period include:
  1. Identify gaps and opportunities – conduct a customer flow exercise across the partners.                                                                        a. Consider the impact that virtual and hybrid service delivery has made on the system.
  2. Develop a consistent referral process across programs.                                                                                                                                              a. Participate in the Data Labs technical assistance project.                                                                                                                                      b. Explore technology solutions to increase efficiencies in referrals and intake.
  3. Implement a communications strategy that is segmented to specific audiences.
  • Coordinating Business Services across partners to ensure delivery of streamlined and high-quality solutions – As previously noted, statewide listening sessions brought to light that employers are seeking services and information in a coordinated and targeted fashion.  Based on this feedback, the system must clearly identify the services each program has to offer, develop a coordinated approach to visit/serve employers, and utilize a continuous improvement approach to better serve employers. In addition, an information portal needs to be developed to include information on services available from WIOA and non-WIOA partners. Specific goals for implementation during this state plan period include:
  1. Develop regional goals.
  2. Implement targeted, coordinated business visits through regional teams.
  • Serving Rural and Remote Communities - In our activity analysis, nearly every core and partner program identified service to rural and remote areas as a significant challenge. Idaho is largely a rural state, so the importance of this priority cannot be understated. Some WIOA partners have modified service delivery strategies to better reach rural and remote Idahoans and the system is interested in evaluating the success of the model and expanding it as appropriate. In addition, the virtual service delivery models implemented during the COVID-19 shutdown provide opportunities to extend our reach. Specific goals for implementation during this state plan period include:
  1. Analyze the effectiveness of the distributed service delivery model.
  2. Increase access through the use of virtual/hybrid service delivery tools (including an emphasis on mobile device delivery).
  3. Implement best practices among the partners.
  • Career Pathways/Sector Partnerships - Our economic analysis revealed that many of Idaho’s in-demand and high-growth occupations are in industries such as manufacturing, construction, health care, and professional, scientific, and technical services. The Council, in partnership with the State Board of Education and the state’s Chamber of Commerce, is beginning to evaluate skills and certifications that are valued across industries to transform the delivery of workforce training and education. Specific goals for implementation during this state plan period include:
  1. Support implementation of the Talent Pipeline Management (TPM) initiative led by the Idaho Association of Commerce & Industry.
  2. Define high-quality industry credentials.
  3. Revisit career pathways in light of the TPM initiative to ensure system alignment.

Specific high-level strategies, by partner, for addressing each of these areas are discussed in Section (III)(a)(2)(A) and (B) State Strategy Implementation.

(3) Performance Goals

Please refer to Appendix 1 for Idaho’s expected levels of performance relating to the performance accountability measures based on primary indicators of performance described in section 116(b)(2)(A) of WIOA.

Sub-regulatory guidance addressing the four-year submission requirements for WIOA Combined State Plans for PY 2020-2023 addresses the ongoing ‘phase-in’ of negotiated targets for various programs.  APPENDICES

(4) Assessment

The State uses the indicators of performance outlined in Section 116 of WIOA to measure and evaluate the effectiveness of individual programs and the State’s workforce development system. These indicators are well aligned with the goals indicated above and will allow our programs to measure how well they are serving participants and employers in both the short and long term. Progress toward these indicators will initially be evaluated against the performance targets negotiated by each program with their applicable federal agencies. As the collected baseline data becomes available, the state will have the capacity to measure the progress of the entire workforce development system through combined performance reporting.

Section 116 indicators for measurable skill gains will inform Idaho’s workforce providers how well participants are progressing while participating in the workforce development system, as well as their likelihood of success after exit. This information will help the state measure effectiveness against Goal 2 in part II.b.2: Improve the effectiveness, quality, and coordination of programs and services designed to maintain a highly skilled workforce. Specifically, indicators regarding measurable skill gains will be used to measure literacy skills improvement as well as technical and workplace skills development. Where applicable, these measures will help programs make real-time adjustments to ensure specific participants are making progress. They will also be used to guide program improvement efforts by providing more general information about how participants’ skills progress overall while enrolled in a program. In turn, this data will help the State evaluate the overall effectiveness of the workforce system in developing a highly skilled workforce.

Section 116 indicators regarding employment after exit, enrollment in training or post-secondary programs, and credential obtainment will help the State’s workforce development system determine whether individual programs have adequately prepared participants for the demands of the workplace and/or continued education. These indicators will help programs measure the relevance and quality of their services in the context of the larger workforce system, which will help the State measure the system’s effectiveness against Goal 3: Provide for the most efficient use of federal, state, and local workforce development resources.

Finally, the Section 116 indicator regarding employer satisfaction will help the State measure the relevance and usefulness of our workforce development system to employers. This will help the state measure its effectiveness in meeting one of the state’s objectives with an employer focus: Coordinating Business Services across partners to ensure delivery of streamlined and high-quality solutions.

These indicators will be used to measure and evaluate the effectiveness of individual programs, as well as for the workforce development system as a whole. By comparing performance between core programs, we can potentially identify ongoing gaps in service, as well as opportunities. For example, if one core program has consistently high outcomes in a certain area, while other core programs struggle, this may help the State identify areas for improvement while also helping to identify promising practices and strategies from those programs that are performing well. By evaluating individual programs in the context of the overall workforce system, the State will gain valuable information about how and where to improve both programs and the system as a whole. Additionally, as longitudinal performance data emerges for programs across the nation, Idaho’s workforce development system can compare performance to states with similar economic and demographic characteristics. These benchmarks will also provide opportunities to identify potential innovative approaches to incorporate in Idaho’s workforce system.

The results of these assessments and reports will be used to evaluate the effectiveness of Idaho’s workforce development system and guide program improvement efforts. To the extent that identified gaps and areas of improvement result from insufficient alignment between agencies and policies at the state level, such improvement efforts will be undertaken by state staff representing core programs, with guidance by the Council and the WIOA Advisory Group (identified in part II.c.2 of this plan). These efforts will include as appropriate revising existing policies, and issuing clarified guidance to the field about policies, partnerships, and best practices.

Program improvement at the local level will be overseen by the agencies responsible for administering those programs. These efforts will include, as appropriate and authorized by each Title, on-site monitoring and evaluation, targeted technical assistance, professional development, and corrective action plans. The consequences for continued poor performance will be determined by each agency, as authorized under each Title and outlined within the respective State Plans for each program.

When available, the results of such local and statewide improvement efforts will be recorded and reported as part of the State’s annual report to the Workforce Development Council.