On January 17, 2013, the Office of Management and Budget’s (OMB) Collaborative Forum highlighted two Workforce Innovation Fund (WIF) Grantees as examples of collaborative, evidence-based change: the City of Los Angeles (LA), and the Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services.
- In Los Angeles, there are approximately 500,000 youth ages 16 to 24 within LA city limits, and 100,000 of them are out of school and out of work, which is an enormous problem for the city and its future. Aided by their WIF grant, the City is pioneering an effort to align multiple youth-serving programs to address significant youth dropout and youth unemployment challenges in the LA area.
- In Ohio, the WIF grant partnership team is transforming the state’s public workforce system and improving workforce service access, utilization, and outcomes through implementing a service delivery technology system. This system will integrate ninety-one workforce programs across thirteen Ohio state agencies.
These two ambitious endeavors are representative of the types of projects DOL’s Workforce Innovation Fund is committed to supporting and sharing with the larger workforce system.
During the January 17th OMB Collaborative Forum, Robert Sainz, the Assistant General Manager of the City of LA Community Development Department from LA Reconnections Career Academy (LARCA), described the LARCA project as a career development collaborative. Mr. Sainz discussed the challenge of building a coalition of stakeholders from the Mayor’s Office, various Workforce Boards, support services, and the School Board. Getting the city government and school district to work together was a major accomplishment in itself. LARCA’s strategy to combat high school dropouts incorporates a process of multi-system integration of funds and the removal of program silos in order to more efficiently and effectively provide education and career pathways programming to out-of-school youth. Mr. Sainz also discussed the grant’s data integration and sharing challenge. Due to privacy constraints, the school system would not provide information about the students to grant partners; however, through information-sharing agreements and co-location of LAUSD staff on the sites of schools and WIA Youth WorkSource Centers, this data sharing challenge was overcome.
Participants will be randomly assigned into a control group and a treatment group. Mr. Sainz stressed that LARCA is not denying services to those in the control group because there is not enough funding to serve everyone through the program. In fact, the WIF grant is providing funding to serve an additional 1200 that otherwise would not get treatment. LARCA, in partnership with its evaluator, created a video to explain the random selection process to participants. LARCA will track outcomes, including the number of youth that return to school, number of certifications and high school diplomas received, and number of youth that have entered employment. The long-term impact of this project and the grant funding is that this effort will be a catalyst to address all 100,000 out-of-school youth and reduce the LA youth population’s entrance into the public support system, juvenile justice system, etc. Learn more about LARCA.
Next, Mark Birnbrich, Project Director of the Office of Workforce Development Program Administration from the Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services, discussed developing a virtual One-Stop system that will use state-of-the art technology to assist all customers (job seekers and employers) with accessing consistent online services across multiple programs. The intent of the project is to serve more customers with diminishing public resources, while covering all of the 88 counties in the State of Ohio with a robust online system that will increase positive employment outcomes. The fully integrated strategy goes well beyond the typical online services by providing online preliminary eligibility for multiple workforce programs, vigorous staff support and assistance through well-trained Customer Service Representatives, and the use of traditional and state-of-the art tools including telephone, chat line, email, and video conferencing. As a result, Ohio will effectively serve more people with fewer resources and reduce its carbon footprint, while providing all of the key activities and services offered at American Job Center locations. Learn more about this project.
The Office of Management and Budget’s Collaborative Forum is a community of federal, state, local, and non-government stakeholders who work together to improve federally-funded, state-administered programs. Convened in 2010 to consult on pilot ideas for the Partnership Fund for Program Integrity Innovation, the Collaborative Forum has evolved into a dynamic learning community where stakeholders discuss important topics and exchange ideas for improving program integrity, efficiency, and effectiveness. Check it out at: