Outreach and Marketing Basics from Strategies and Practices for Effectively Serving All One-Stop Customers
Under the programmatic regulations issued by ETA and nondiscrimination/equal opportunity regulations issued by CRC, One-Stop Centers and other organizations in the workforce investment system are required to conduct outreach and marketing. The outreach and marketing requirement is intended to accomplish a number of goals, including ensuring that members of various populations that are frequently underserved (such as people who face multiple barriers to employment) are made aware of the services and supports provided by the One-Stop Center and other organizations in the workforce investment system.
This section of the Guide identifies specific strategies and practices relating to outreach and marketing that One-Stop Centers and other organizations in the workforce investment system have found useful in reaching the divergent population that these organizations serve. These outreach and marketing examples include strategies and practices relating to:
- Consulting with community groups,
- Engaging in general and targeted marketing, and
- Making presentations to the public.
Consulting with Community Groups
One-Stop Centers and other organizations in the workforce investment system (other workforce organizations) have reported success in satisfying part of the outreach function by using the universal strategy of working closely with community groups, such as civic organizations, advocacy groups, faith-based and community-based entities, and neighborhood associations. This collaboration has helped both the One-Stop Centers and other workforce organizations and the community groups to promote employment opportunities for their diverse customer bases. Specific examples of consultation practices that have proved successful include:
- Actively creating and maintaining relationships with a broad range of community organizations and agencies. These relationships enable staff of the One-Stop Centers/ other workforce organizations to use the programs offered by the community organizations and agencies as resources in developing employment options for job seekers with multiple barriers to employment. Conversely, staff of the community organizations and agencies are able to call on staff of the One-Stop Centers/other workforce organizations for information and expertise.
- Educating community groups about services - including individualized and specialized services and supports - that are available through the One-Stop Centers/other workforce organizations for the members, customers, or constituents of the community groups.
- Asking community groups to encourage their members, customers, and constituents to take advantage of the services offered by the One-Stop Centers/other workforce organizations in the workforce investment system.
- Conducting tours of One-Stop Centers or service provider facilities, in partnership with community organizations, to help job seekers from those organizations and their family members become familiar with the facilities and the services offered there.
- Encouraging staff from community organizations to use the resources of the One-Stop Centers/other workforce organizations in job development activities for the people with whom the community organizations work.
- Recruiting non-affiliated individuals from the diverse population groups that make up the local community, as well as representatives from the organizations in the community, to offer their input on policy decisions about One-Stop Center programs and activities. In some cases, this recruitment process may result in having these individuals or representatives serve on local and state workforce boards.
Engaging in General and Targeted Marketing
One-Stop Centers/other workforce organizations have recognized the importance of using marketing strategies to inform the general public and potential customers about their commitment to welcome and provide individualized/customized services and supports to all job seekers seeking assistance, including those with multiple barriers to employment. Specific examples of practices related to engaging in general and targeted marketing that have proved successful include:
- Mentioning in marketing and recruitment materials (as well as other materials describing the programs and activities that the One-Stops/other workforce organizations offer) that people of diverse backgrounds and physical, mental/cognitive, and sensory disabilities are eligible for services. Including positive images of such diverse individuals in the materials.
- Specifically and overtly communicating the One-Stops/other workforce organizations' commitment not only to serve, but also to hire, persons from diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds and persons with disabilities.
- Advertising through a broad range of media sources, including media targeted toward people with various ethnic and racial backgrounds, people with disabilities, individuals with limited English proficiency, people of varying ages, and members of other groups.
- Notifying particular personnel within schools that serve various specific populations about openings in the organization's programs or activities as well as providing the school personnel with general information about those programs and activities.
- Ensuring that all of the organization's materials, including its website, provide directions to the organization's facilities, programs, or activities via public transportation or information about other transportation options for customers who do not drive.
- Ensuring that wherever the organization provides a phone number for contact via voice telephone, it also includes at least one alternative contact number for reaching that same person or office via TTY, TDD, and/or relay service.
Making Presentations to the Public
One universal strategy often used by One-Stop Centers/other workforce organizations for getting the word out about the availability of job-related services and supports for all customers, including customers with multiple barriers to employment, is to make presentations to members of the community (such as Chambers of Commerce, civic groups, public forums, and other similar contexts). Specific examples of successful practices related to presentations to the public include:
- When conducting outreach, recruiting qualified speakers of diverse backgrounds (including persons with disabilities) to present or co-present to entities in the community about the programs and activities offered by One-Stop/other workforce organizations.
- As part of such general presentations, explaining that people with multiple barriers to employment and people with unique needs, including those with disabilities, are encouraged to take advantage of the general programs and activities offered by the One-Stop/other workforce organizations. These explanations include the information that people with specific barriers to employment may also be entitled to specialized services and supports. For example, people with disabilities may be eligible for reasonable accommodations/modifications or auxiliary aids and services for communication. People with limited English proficiency may receive communication assistance, such as interpretation services or translation of materials.
- Holding off-site presentations to the general public in locations that are accessible to and usable by all prospective customers, including individuals with disabilities and those who do not drive.
- Offering presentations in appropriate languages other than English.