Missouri welfare reforms take effect August 28th

Missouri ranks last in the nation for welfare reform policies and has the nation’s lowest work participation performance according to the Heartland Institute. Help is on the way thanks to new leadership at the Family Support Division empowered by Senate Bill 24.

According to Senator David Sater, SB24’s sponsor, this comprehensive reform emphasizes work while breaking down barriers to self-sufficiency. Right now, Missouri allows two years to go by before requiring the welfare population to work. The first thing SB24 does is require a recipient to engage in one of those work activities before even receiving welfare benefits. The bill also lowers the lifetime eligibility limit for the program. Missouri currently allows the maximum eligibility limit of five years on welfare while 12 other states limit lifetime eligibility to four years or less with our neighbors, Arkansas and Indiana, limiting benefits to two years.

SB 24 creates strict sanctions for recipients not complying with work requirements, Sater noted. Currently, Missouri only removes part of the benefit a welfare recipient gets until compliance with the work requirement occurs. Under the new law, those on welfare would have a limited amount of time to comply with the work requirement before a complete loss of benefits is imposed. More than half of the states have a similar policy and it is been an effective tool in getting people back to work. The bill also creates a cash diversion program that will act as a cash grant for short-term needs designed to keep potential welfare recipients, particularly those considered job ready, from ever entering the system.

Leadership from the Family Support Division recently authored a presentation on the implementation of welfare reform with key deliverables happening August 28, 2015 and January 1, 2016. The team includes Julie Gibson and Jeriane Jaegers, both previously with the Division of Workforce Development, along with Jennifer Roberts and Stephan Tomlinson.



Milestone MOU launched for WIOA

Missouri met one of the first major milestones for implementing WIOA. Missouri’s core workforce partners executed the official state-level MOU showing the commitment to improve collaboration at the state and local levels. This is important to workforce professionals at the local level as the MOU provides the tools to increase collaboration and braid resources locally, according to Amy Sublett, Director for the Missouri Division of Workforce Development.

skydiving-team-integrationThe official purpose of the MOU is to establish a collaborative framework encouraging cooperation, collaboration, communication, policy and technical guidance and governance to assist the efficient and effective participation in the WIOA implementation in Missouri. The partners will collaborate to identify effective services for efficient, consistent customer service delivery. The MOU includes a disclaimer that partners continue to have statutory responsibilities relating to the administration of their respective programs outside of, and not contained in, WIOA.

In Missouri, the core partners representing these programs formed a steering team at the state level to support  efforts taking place at the local level.  Representatives from the agencies include Vocational Rehabilitation, Rehabilitation Services for the Blind, Workforce Development, Employment Security, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families and Adult Education and Literacy. While TANF is not specifically mentioned as a core partner in WIOA, Missouri opted to include TANF in this tier in order to gain ground in integration and to achieve the improvements sought in the recently-enacted Senate Bill 24.

Altogether, the MOU, Missouri’s WIOA Implementation Steering Committee, and four new state-level workgroups, are all designed to provide guidance to the staff of Missouri’s local Workforce Development Boards to move forward on WIOA implementation on the ground level. The workgroups include Administration, Service Design and Delivery, Employer Engagement, and Technology, Data, and Outcomes.

  • Administrative
    • Core partner identification and designation
    • Core Partners Interagency Agreement (Local MOUs)
    • Agreements and MOUs with other Agencies/Institutions
    • Confidentiality Policies
    • Cost Allocation
    • Resource Sharing
    • Cross Training and Technical Assistance
    • Region and Local Area Designations (mapping)
    • Equal Opportunity
    • State/local planning
    • Labor Market Information
    • Integrated policies and guidance
  • Service Design and Delivery
    • Referral and follow-up
    • Common intake and enrollment
    • Assessment and Evaluation
    • Internships, Apprenticeships, Trial Work Experience, OJT
    • Education and Training
    • Programmatic Requirements
    • Transition and Youth
    • Assistive Technology Services
    • Products and Services for all customers (including online tools)
  • Employer Engagement
    • Services to Employers
    • Sector Strategies/Career Pathways
  • Technology, Data, and Outcomes
    • I.T. System for Core Programs
    • Confidentiality
    • Data Sharing
    • Data Fields
    • Data Collection Points
    • Common Measures
    • Closure and Exit
    • Performance Verification

Ready to Work report debuts with WIOA signing

As President Obama signed the Workforce Investment Opportunity Act into law Tuesday, Vice-President Biden’s task force also released Ready to Work:  Job Driving Training and American OpportunityThe report reflects an across-the-board review of  America’s job training programs to ensure they share a single mission: providing workers with the skills they need to secure good jobs that are ready to be filled. Ready to Work identified three consistent themes.

  • EMPLOYERS can’t find enough skilled workers to hire for in-demand jobs they must fill to grow their businesses.
  • EDUCATION AND TRAINING PROGRAMS need better information on what skills those in-demand jobs require.
  • HARD-WORKING AMERICANS,whether studying, looking for work, or wanting better career paths, often aren’t sure what training to pursue and whether jobs will be waiting when they finish.


Among the various case studies and rationale, the report contains a seven-point Job Training Checklist to guide administrative reforms to ensure that what’s working best becomes what all Americans can expect from federally funded employment and training programs. Each of these checklist elements is based on evidence of what’s working, summarized in What Works in Job Training: A Synthesis of the Evidence.

  • ENGAGING EMPLOYERS: Work up-front with employers to determine local or regional hiring needs and design training programs that are responsive to those needs.
  • EARN AND LEARN:  Offer work-based learning opportunities with employers – including on-the-job training, internships and pre-apprenticeships and Registered Apprenticeships – as training paths to employment.
  • SMART CHOICES:  Make better use of data to drive accountability, inform what programs are offered and what is taught, and offer user-friendly information for job seekers to choose programs and pathways that work for them and are likely to result in jobs
  • MEASUREMENT MATTERS:  Measure and evaluate employment and earnings outcomes.
  • STEPPING STONES:  Promote a seamless progression from one educational stepping stone to another, and across work-based training and education, so individuals’ efforts result in progress
  • OPENING DOORS:  Break down barriers to accessing job-driven training and hiring for any American who is willing and able to work, including access to job supports and relevant guidance.
  • REGIONAL PARTNERSHIPS:  Create regional collaborations among American Job Centers, education institutions, labor, and non-profits.

The U.S. Department of Labor and many workforce development associations are eager to get to work on the opportunities ahead. DOL issued an administrative notice (TEN 5-14), Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act Announcement and Initial Informational Resources, to get the ball rolling on conference calls, input channels, important deadlines, and more related to implementation.

Local Workforce Investment Boards in Missouri are proactive as well. Five WIBs joined forces to bring together a training event in Branson next week. Diving Into WIOA is slated for July 30-31 featuring Rochelle Daniels.




PBS NewsHour examines NCRC

logo-pbs-newshourWednesday’s PBS NewHour aired an extended featured on the National Career Readiness and the NCRC’s role in preparing students for the workforce. For American industry, finding employees who have all the requisite skills is a big challenge, and hiring people who don’t stack up can cost businesses a great deal of money. Special correspondent John Tulenko from Learning Matters reports on a certification test that aims to boost U.S. students’ workforce readiness through WorkKeys and the NCRC.



Sequester impacts analyzed for workforce development

maze600x400In May‐June 2013, the National Association Association for Workforce Development (NAWDP) reached out to the workforce development field to determine the specific impact that current sequestrations were having at the local level. The 139 respondents also provided written comments that currently are being analyzed by NAWDP and provide additional insight.

While 29% of the respondents indicated little direct changes as a result of sequesters, most indicated significant impacts. Particularly troubling is the significant reduction in services and training to job seekers, which comes at a time when policymakers are calling for an increased investment in training and employers are indicating a difficult time finding skilled talent.

Impacts studied include:

  • Layoffs, furloughs, and reduction in professional development
  • Training and core services
  • Closures and reduction of hours at one-stop centers

The survey results may be viewed online directly from NAWDP.

NCRC helps Missourians work sooner, earn more

NCRC Workforce MeasuresMany advocates of credential based hiring have long held that jobseekers will earn higher wages or salaries commensurate to higher scores on credentials such as the National Career Readiness Certificate. Frank Neely from the WIB of Southwest Missouri led joint efforts with Mayo Enterprises and the Missouri Division of Workforce Development to put this theory to the test.

The research partnership examined the average earnings, entered employment, and retention rates by NCRC and education levels of Adult enrolled clients over three years.  The results quantifiably demonstrate the benefits to jobseekers that choose to demonstrate their skills via the completion of such assessments.  The WIB published the monograph now available for download detailing the performance for NCRCs throughout Missouri.

The research focused on customers of the Missouri one-stop career center system comparing job seekers with the NCRC and those without.  While it’s natural to conclude that education advancement improves average earnings, additional education coupled with the NCRC propels earning potential even further, according to the report.  Three years worth of data also demonstrates that workforce center customers with higher NCRC scores are more likely to get back to work.  Employment Retention, the measure for the likelihood that customers stay in a job longer, also shows improvement with each level of the NCRC, though not as dramatic as the Entered Employment and the Average Earnings measures.

The report acknowledges special contributions by Dr. Merrilea Mayo of Mayo Enterprises and a lead strategist for New Options New Mexico.  Brenda Ancell and Roger Baugher from the Missouri Division of Workforce Development provided valuable data sourcing and analysis for the project as well.




Booklet and video chronicles success of Disaster Recovery Jobs Program

MDRJP_Logo_smallA four-color, 24-page report is now available online describing the critical role of Missouri’s Disaster Recovery Jobs Program (MoDRJP) in putting workers displaced by tornadoes and floods back to work and speeding local recovery efforts. MoDRJP arose through a collaboration organized by the Division of Workforce Development (DWD) including the Missouri National Guard (MONG); city, county, and non-profit agencies; nine Local Workforce Investment Boards (LWIBs); the U.S. Department of Labor; local businesses; and educational institutions.

The benefits of MoDRJP went far beyond employment. In repairing more than 1,500 miles of gravel roads and levees, removing hundreds of tons of debris, restoring parks, coordinating volunteers and managing donations, many lives and local economies were profoundly altered. A companion 35-minute video on DWD’s YouTube channel provides an overview of MoDRJP, including interviews with key players and work-site participants.

Workforce Day at the Capital Postponed

puttinglocalmissourianstoworkcoverimageTraining and Employment Administrators of Missouri (TEAM) and the Missouri Association for Workforce Development (MAWD) joined forces to hold a breakfast reception for Missouri’s General Assembly and staff.  A winter storm prevented the event from happening as planned on February 21st. A new date will be announced soon.  The event will occur in the third floor rotunda at the Capital building from 7:30 to 10:00 a.m. Now in its second year, TEAM and MAWD hold the event to thank elected officials for the work they do on behalf of Missouri’s employers.

This year, TEAM and MAWD published a special report titled, Putting Local Missourians to Work for distribution at the Capital event. The report provides a general overview of Missouri’s local workforce system, its impact on Missouri’s economy, and examples of excellence from each of Missouri’s local workforce regions. The publication includes brief organizational profiles on TEAM and MAWD along with priorities for workforce system reform.  The report may be downloaded online as a printer-friendly PDF.

Report showcases excellence of Missouri’s local workforce system

puttinglocalmissourianstoworkcoverimageStrong leadership with increased capacity of the local workforce system puts more Missourians back to work sooner.  That’s the focus of a new report published by the Training and Employment Administrators of Missouri. Putting Local Missourians to Work is the title of the 24-page report that provides added focus on the examples of excellence and impact in each of Missouri’s local workforce regions.

The publication opens with the importance of workforce development for Missouri’s overall economy, the necessity of regionalized workforce systems driven by local needs, and the value of the partnerships with educators, state agencies, and elected officials. The opening section also highlights performance metrics such as volume of customers, veterans, job openings, re-employment, and credentials.  A page is devoted to each of Missouri’s 14 workforce regions.  Enriching each profile is a variety of customer and stakeholder testimonials along with articles on projects that make a difference to communities throughout the Show-Me State.

TEAM included brief organizational profiles of both TEAM and the Missouri Association of Workforce Development.  The report also introduces a summary of strategies for meaningful reform of the workforce system at both national and state levels.  The report can be downloaded as a PDF online.

Job search and LMI tools go mobile

AJC_BannerStack_468x60Several of the most popular online tools from the Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration are now available as mobile-optimized websites. These mobile tools will help smartphone or tablet users locate American Job Centers near them, conduct an online job search, search for jobs for veterans, view and compare salaries for various occupations and search for nearby job training providers. These changes are part of an ongoing effort to make workforce resources more accessible to a wider audience and to ensure that anyone interested in finding a job has all the tools they need at their fingertips.

The Census Bureau recently released a free and easy-to-use mobile app, America’s Economy, available for download for both Apple and Android phones and tablets. The app provides real-time updates for 16 key economic indicators from the Census Bureau, Bureau of Labor Statistics and Bureau of Economic Analysis. To access the app, go to: http://www.census.gov/mobile/.