RochesterWorks! The Local Workforce Development System
Workforce Development System
Authorized by Title I of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act of 2014, RochesterWorks! (the Workforce Development System) is founded on the principles of universal access, streamlined services, customer choice, customer satisfaction, performance accountability, and continuous improvement. This delivery system is demand-side driven and focuses on the needs of businesses as well as job seekers. It embodies the “One-Stop” concept, where information about and access to a wide variety of employment, education, and training services are available in an integrated way at a single location. Using metrics and standards that ensure quality performance, the system is designed to continually improve workforce development activities and optimize return on investment.
WORKFORCE INNOVATION AND OPPORTUNITY ACT OF 2014
The goal of RochesterWorks!, as stated in the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) of 2014, is “to provide workforce investment activities, through statewide and local workforce development systems, that increase the employment, retention, and earnings of participants, and increase attainment of recognized postsecondary credentials by participants, and as a result, improve the quality of the workforce, reduce welfare dependency, increase economic self-sufficiency, meet the skill requirements of employers, and enhance the productivity and competitiveness of the Nation.” To support the accomplishment of this goal, WIOA specifies three funding streams to states and local areas: Adults, Dislocated Workers, and Youth.
WIOA requires each state to establish a statewide Workforce Development Board, develop a state strategic plan, and designate Local Workforce Development Areas. In turn, each local area must appoint a Local Workforce Development Board and prepare its own local and regional plans.
Although WIOA allows substantial state and local flexibility in establishing a system that meets local needs, there are several mandated features of the system.
TWO SERVICE LEVELS
The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act states that the local Workforce Development System must offer two levels of service for adults and dislocated workers:
These services include:
- Eligibility Determination
- Job Search and Placement Assistance
- Career Guidance
- Labor Market Information (e.g., job vacancies, skills needed for in-demand jobs, local and national employment trends)
- Initial Assessment of Skills and Needs
- Information About and Referral to Other Available Services
- Follow-up Services to Support Job Retention
- Comprehensive and Specialized Assessments of Skills and Service Needs
- Development of Individual Employment Plans
- Group Counseling
- Individual Counseling and Career Planning
- Case Management
- Short-Term Pre-Vocational Services
- Internships and Work Experiences
- Workforce Preparation Activities
- Financial Literacy Services
- Out-of-Area Job Search and Relocation Assistance
- English Language Acquisition
Priority for such services is given to dislocated workers, recipients of public assistance, other low-income individuals, and individuals who are basic skills deficient.
Training services for dislocated workers and other eligible job seekers who are unable to obtain or retain employment that leads to economic self-sufficiency or wages comparable to or higher than wages from previous employment through career services.
These services include:
- Occupational Skills Training
- On-the-Job Training
- Programs that Combine Workplace Training with Related Instruction
- Training Programs (operated by the private sector)
- Skills Upgrading and Retraining
- Entrepreneurial Training
- Transitional Jobs
- Job Readiness Training (provided in combination with another training service)
- Adult Education and Literacy Activities
- Customized Training for Employers Who Commit to Hiring
Training services may also include incumbent worker training. Priority for such services is given to dislocated workers, recipients of public assistance, other low-income individuals, employed workers earning below a locally established wage threshold, and individuals who are basic skills deficient. Training services are provided through Individual Training Accounts (ITAs), Customized, or On-the-Job Training contracts which can be used with eligible providers for training in demand occupations. Providers must meet minimum performance standards in order to maintain eligibility.
COMPREHENSIVE YOUTH SERVICES
The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act substantially enhances youth programming and places greater emphasis on comprehensive, year-round youth services for out-of-school youth. Summer youth employment continues as an important system component, but represents only one of fourteen required program elements.
The youth program elements include:
- Tutoring, Study Skills Training, Instruction, and Evidence Based Drop Out Prevention and Recovery Strategies
- Alternative Secondary School Services, or dropout recovery services, as appropriate
- Paid and Unpaid Work Experiences (including summer employment opportunities)
- Occupational Skills Training
- Education Offered Concurrently With and in the Same Context as Workforce Preparation Activities
- Leadership Development Opportunities
- Supportive Services
- Adult Mentoring
- Followup Services
- Comprehensive Guidance and Counseling
- Financial Literacy Education
- Entrepreneurial Skills Training
- Services that provide labor market and employment information
- Activities that help youth prepare for and transition to post-secondary education and training.
ONE-STOP CAREER CENTER
The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act mandates that there be at least one physical location to accommodate the integration of services (the “One-Stop Center”). The One-Stop Operator, who coordinates one-stop system services, is designated by the Local Workforce Development Board with the agreement of the chief local elected officials.
ONE-STOP SYSTEM PARTNERS
The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act identifies several required One-Stop System Partners and allows for additional partners designated locally. The required partners are:
- Adult, Dislocated Worker, and Youth Programs (WIOA Title I)
- Wagner-Peyser Program
- Adult Education & Literacy Activities
- Vocational Rehabilitation Programs
- Senior Community Service Employment
- Perkins Grant-Funded Postsecondary Career and Technical Education Programs
- Trade Act Programs
- Veterans’ Education & Training Services
- Community Services Block Grant Act Programs
- HUD Employment & Training Programs
- Unemployment Insurance
- Second Chance Act Offender Programs
- Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Programs
- Job Corps
- Native American Programs
- Migrant/Seasonal Farm Worker Programs
- YouthBuild Programs
The ultimate outcomes of the Workforce Development System will be measured through entry into or retention in unsubsidized employment, median earnings, credential attainment, and effectiveness in serving employers.
LOCAL AND REGIONAL WORKFORCE AREA 4-YEAR PLAN
RochesterWorks, Inc. a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation, has been created by the County of Monroe and the City of Rochester to manage RochesterWorks! and to administer WIOA funds targeted for Monroe County. RochesterWorks, Inc. serves as fiscal agent and research and development staff to the Monroe County/Rochester Workforce Development Board.
RochesterWorks, Inc. is the manager of the RochesterWorks! Career Center located at 255 North Goodman Street in Rochester. Additional Career Centers are located at 276 Waring Road and 691 St. Paul Street in Rochester. Career Centers are operated through partnerships between RochesterWorks, Inc., New York State Department of Labor, and Monroe County Department of Human Services.
One of the functions of the Monroe County/Rochester Workforce Development Board is to develop a Local Plan for the Monroe County Local Workforce Development Area. The Board also collaborates with the Finger Lakes Workforce Development Board and the GLOW Workforce Development Board to create a Regional Plan for the three Workforce Development Areas in the nine-county Finger Lakes Region.
The updated local and regional plan documents may be found below:
- Local Plan
- Title II Section of Local Plan
- Local Plan Attachment G—Budget
- Local Plan Attachment G—Training Expenses
- Finger Lakes Regional Plan
LOCAL WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT BOARD
The role of the local Workforce Development Board (WDB) is system-focused and strategic in nature. As a decision-making entity, the WDB determines priorities of service, negotiates measures, facilitates integration, and ensures quality outcomes. By understanding workforce development needs, anticipating trends, and focusing on system outcomes and performance, the WDB can effect substantial long-term change in the economic well-being of the community.
WIOA outlines the primary responsibilities of the WDB as the following:
- Development of the local strategic plan
- Workforce research and labor market analysis
- Convening stakeholders, brokering agreements, and leveraging resources
- Employer engagement
- Career pathways development
- Identification and promotion of proven and promising practices
- Development of technology strategies
- Program oversight
- Negotiation of local performance accountability measures
- Selection of program operators and service providers
- Coordination with education providers
- Budget and administration
- Provision of accessibility for individuals with disabilities