- 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—
- 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—
- 2. Implementation of State Strategy
- a. State Strategy Implementation
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 and to achieve the goals of industry or sector partners in the state. The activities described shall conform to the statutory requirements of each program.
In addition to the agency-specific activities outlined later in this section, the Combined State Plan programs, via the One-Stop Committee, have been working towards a coordinated approach to visit/serve employers, and utilize a continuous improvement approach at the local and regional level. Training for business services staff across the partners was provided in Spring 2021. Regional business development teams are beginning to meet and develop action plans. Such a model will ensure more coordinated, less disruptive or duplicated outreach to employers. It will also build on existing relationships. This approach provides business assistance that streamlines communication and leverages resources to assist with workforce development.
The statewide one-stop operator is charged with coordinating the employer outreach among the local one-stop partner programs. This approach also helps the core programs and agencies coordinate outreach to employers in regard to the benefits of hiring people with barriers to employment. For example, about 15% of refugees living in Idaho are highly educated in their home country but are often overlooked as a source of skilled labor because of their language barriers. Additionally, individuals with disabilities make skilled and loyal employees when matched with a meaningful job that fits their skill sets.
Both individuals and employers benefit when an employee with the right skills is matched in the right job with the right employer, regardless of age, disability status, language, income, race, or other barriers. Idaho’s workforce development programs can help employers make the most of these potential employees by providing the services and support to help employers and employees succeed.
The information below describes how individual programs and/or agencies will coordinate services to employers. This section is organized similar to Part (C) above:
Idaho Department of Labor Programs
As stated previously, the Idaho Department of Labor is the lead state agency for administration of four of the core programs: WIOA youth, adult and dislocated worker programs and the Wagner-Peyser employment service program. The Department of Labor is also the lead agency for the following Combined State Plan and One-Stop partner programs: Trade Adjustment Assistance, Veterans Employment and Training Services and Unemployment Insurance. The Department’s primary method for coordinating with employers is via the One-Stop system.
Employers are valued and important customers of the One-Stop system. The Workforce Development Council’s goals and strategies include a detailed description of the sector strategy approach offered through the American Job Centers as the state’s overarching guidance for One-Stop services to businesses.
One-Stop centers serve the business community and are routinely engaged in a variety of local activities. Staff are driven by the philosophy that quality business services ultimately facilitate connections to employment opportunities for job seekers and enhance economic growth. Such services include recruitment and labor exchange support, coordination of customized hiring events, business-related workshops, and providing connectivity to workforce training resources, tax credits, and other business resources available through the organizations such as the Idaho Department of Commerce and Small Business Development Centers.
The Idaho Department of Labor leverages WIOA Title I-B and Wagner-Peyser Employment Services program funds with other federal program funds, discretionary grants, National Dislocated Worker Grants, and state funds from the Workforce Development Training Fund to expand and enhance employer participation in the statewide workforce investment system in a variety of ways:
- Extensive WIOA staff training for business consulting techniques and connecting employers to system resources, particularly WIOA work-based learning opportunities, such as On-the-Job Training, Internships, Work Experiences, and Apprenticeships.
- Development of career pathways as described in Section (II)(c) to guide workforce, economic and education development professionals to meet the needs of employers.
- The use of the state’s Workforce Development Training Fund, via Idaho LAUNCH, is administered by the Workforce Development Council and designed to build the skills of workers in new and expanding business.
- Joint partnerships with employers and education for events such as the annual Hard Hats, Hammers & Hot Dogs event in north Idaho or the Youth Career Fair in southeast Idaho.
- With the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic, extensive enhancements to and use of technology including social media and virtual job fairs to connect employers and job seekers.
- Special surveys to identify needs and impressions of employers and inform the department of successful initiatives or areas of needed improvement.
- Development of industry-driven microsites for increasing employment opportunities and workforce development within the sector strategy approach.
- Customized recruitment for employers with high-skill and high-demand occupations
- Specialized workforce studies to identify skills gaps and partnerships.
- Local Veteran's Employer Representatives (LVER) are assigned duties that promote the advantages of hiring veterans to employers, employer associations, and business groups. When employer outreach is primarily accomplished by a “business services team” or like entity within a region or service delivery area, the LVER is included as an active member of that team. The LVER advocates for all veterans served by the AJC with business, industry, and other community-based organizations by participating in appropriate activities.
- Providing a professional setting in One-Stop facilities for employers to conduct customized recruitment and hiring events, collaborative efforts and events conducted with workforce, economic, and community partners.
As noted above, employer services are offered in tandem via the TAA, ES, WIOA Title I-B, and other programs through the state’s AJC centers. By aligning activities such as Rapid Response, trade, dislocated worker, sector strategies, career pathways, and more, the state works towards the development, improvement, and expansion of its business engagement activities. These include but are not limited to:
- Providing customized training options as a means of layoff aversion;
- Offering assistance in filing a TAA petition;
- Delivering Rapid Response services to impacted employees to maintain morale and productivity at the worksite prior to an impending layoff; or
- Securing lists of trade-affected workers to ensure they become aware of the services available to them.
Title II Programs - Adult Education
Title II programs are administered by Idaho Career &Technical Education, which employs a Communications Manager. This position coordinates major initiatives with the public and with Idaho employers on behalf of ICTE. The ICTE administrator also sits on the Workforce Development Council, which facilitates major statewide employer outreach initiatives.
The State Director attends Council meetings and collaborates with ICTE and Department of Labor staff to identify and understand the high-level needs of employers across the state. The State Director, in conjunction with ICTE, uses this information, including current economic indicators provided by the Idaho Department of Labor, to prioritize services authorized under Title II. ICTE issues policies and guidance that ensure comprehensive, high-quality services are built into and encouraged of our local service providers, in alignment with core and one-stop partner programs.
The role of local providers is to make connections with individual employers and design quality services in response to the needs of local industries. This may include job-site classes, contextualized vocabulary, connections with occupational training, enhanced transition programs, and other models that help build the foundational skills of students while preparing them for successful employment in the regional economy.
Historically, Title II programs in Idaho have operated on a regional basis and have been administered by the community college, technical college, or university serving each region. Many local programs have established connections with local employers through their institution, as well as convening advisory boards, establishing community partnerships, and connections with other workforce agencies.
Title IV Programs - Vocational Rehabilitation
Title IV Programs in Idaho are carried out by two agencies: The Idaho Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (referred to below as “The Division”) and the Idaho Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired (referred to below as “The Commission.”). This section addresses each agency separately.
Idaho Division of Vocational Rehabilitation
The Division’s Business Relations Coordinator leads business engagement activities for IDVR with WIOA combined plan partners.
The Division is continuing to develop strategies internally to advance the unified approach for coordinating business engagement activities with outside agencies and partners. IDVR staff completed the Technical Assistance Training for Unified Business Services with the identified Idaho business services partners that was hosted by Idaho Department of Labor (IDOL). Through this training, IDVR staff gained information on the value and importance of coordinated efforts for business services, and information to help with identifying when to partner and how to discuss the supports of the workforce partners with businesses.
Additionally, IDVR is participating in the One-Stop teams across the state with our WIOA partners and assuring a presence within these groups. Furthermore, the Division will be coordinating with the apprenticeship program grant under Idaho Department of Labor which seeks to increase access to and the quality, and quantity of referrals to apprenticeship programs for customers with disabilities. As part of this collaboration, the project will fund an Apprenticeship Coordinator demonstration position housed at IDVR. This position will serve as a liaison between IDVR and IDOL’s Apprenticeship Team and will bring expertise on how employers can support individuals with disabilities to be successful in their apprenticeship programs. Furthermore, the Division alongside WIOA plan partners will be moving forward with utilizing a common data HubSpot for business services data. HubSpot helps to assure that the Division can understand the efforts of partners with business, share relevant information, and to collaborate more effectively to meet business needs through the unified services strategy employed across Idaho WIOA plan partners.
Idaho Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired
The Commission participates in all of the regional One-Stop activities. The Commission also provides on the job assistive technology assessment and training services for employers who have employees participating in the VR program at ICBVI. The Commission also conducts regional trainings about blindness and visual impairments periodically throughout the year that employers can participate in.
In Fall 2021, the Commission entered into an agreement with the VR Technical Assistance Center (VRTAC-QE) for intensive technical assistance with Business Engagement. The Commission is committed to improving and strengthening services to businesses in Idaho. In addition, the Commission works collaboratively with the Idaho Division of Vocational Rehabilitation to ensure a unified Title IV approach to state-wide business engagement activities.
Combined State Plan Partner Program - OAA Title V - Senior Community Service Employment Program
Local SCSEP offices will provide government and non-profit employers with subsidized staff to work at their agency while they receive training. The host agency works with the individual and evaluate if the person can transition to a paid employment position. Employers have access to Employment Training Counselors to develop and implement employment training plans and communicate potential supportive service needs.
Quality of Service Delivery is measured by employer annual surveys. Annual survey results will be assessed by ICOA program staff and shared with the local SCSEP offices. Strategies will be developed and implemented to address survey concerns.