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j. 1. C. Who have been unserved or underserved by the VR program;

Current Narrative:

 The WIOA Advisory Group has specifically identified rural service provision a traditionally underserved area to address in II.c.1 of this plan.

According to the results of the 2020 CSNA, almost all participants surveyed commented on the rural nature of Idaho and the difficulty in providing services with limited financial and staff resources. Along this theme the lack of information in rural areas about ICBVI was also noted.

Other common themes that emerged from the CSNA:

  • Individuals living in rural areas, with less access to services, support, training and education, are underserved.
  • Language and culture are barriers to certain populations accessing services or seeking employment, including a growing refugee population in parts of Idaho. In-person translation services are not readily available.
  • Native American tribes live in isolated locales in Idaho with limited employment options.
  • ICBVI has increased outreach efforts and coordination with partner agencies; however, there is a continued need for outreach to potentially unserved populations. The COVID-19 pandemic had a significant negative impact on our outreach activities.
  • Access to assistive technology, including internet was identified as a significant barrier. This was especially illuminated during the pandemic; especially for individuals living in rural communities. 

The Commission has identified addressing language and cultural barriers as a priority, considering the diversity index in Idaho has increased from 54.9% in 2010 to 61.1% in 2020 (U.S. Census Bureau). Strategies include:

  • Outreach to resettlement centers in Idaho (Boise and Twin Falls predominantly)
  • Outreach to those agencies that serve refugee and migrant populations
  • Strengthen partnerships in the workforce development system to reach these underserved and unserved individuals in the state.
  • Utilize telephone-based or internet based translation services (when in person are not available) to bridge language barriers presented by Idaho’s growing refugee population.