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Universal Design System Development Tool

12/2007

Section 1: Introduction

Universal Design System Development Tool (UDSDT)

The goal and purpose of this tool is to assist workforce development system partners, customers, and stakeholders in the instituting of practices and policies that reflect the best principles of Universal Design in the Workforce Development System. The principles of Universal Design are those that allow the workforce development system to best meet the needs of businesses and career seekers in their communities. The principles and practices on which this tool is based are the result of identified promising practices employed by local workforce development systems nationwide.

Universal Design for the Workforce Development System is rooted in the following concepts:

The Workforce Development System

Broadly speaking, workforce development includes every organization, agency and staff person engaged in assisting career seekers to find, maintain, and develop their careers, as well as complementary professionals who seek to assist businesses in finding, maintaining and developing their own human resource capacity. While this system within a state, region, or community would ideally be unified in its operation; it is typically fractured across agency and organizational lines. One-Stop Career Centers have been introduced to the workforce development landscape as an important means of unifying these various organizations, and, in many communities, they have begun to act as a hub around which many of these organizations partner.

The Workforce Development System is not a single entity, but, rather, an evolving and transforming combination of partners and working relationships. The principle goal of this tool is that these collaborative planning efforts can begin to unify the various aspects of this system, and allow its combined resources to act with far greater potency than they could on their own.

The UDSDT process is collaborative. As the process continues, leaders should constantly seek to expand the scope of its constituents and, by so doing, expand the scope of workforce development in you community.

Directions for using the Universal Design System Development Tool

These instructions are divided into three categories: those for the process leadership, those for group facilitators, and those for individual participants.

Instructions for Leadership

These instructions are intended for system leaders seeking to implement the process of Universal Design System Development in their state or local area. We have also included instruction to be disseminated to group facilitators and participants

1. Gather your partners

2. Prioritize your goals

3. Invite and prepare your partners

4. Assign a facilitator and note-taker

5. Assemble and disseminate stated goals

6. Be prepared to be flexible

Instructions for Group Facilitators

1. Review all materials in advance

2. Reinforce to the group that the process is meant to be flexible

3. Direct the group around redundant points

4. Allow time for adequate discussion and ensure the participation of all stakeholders

5. Arrive at a consensus of the perceived capacity for each issue area to be discussed in a given day. Suggest compromises where opposing views cannot be resolved.

6. Guide the group in the creation of a list of actionable goals with as much detail as possible concerning priority, responsibility and tangible next steps.

Instructions for Individual Participants

1. Review and respond to materials thoroughly in advance

2. Recognize that the process is meant to be flexible

3. Work around redundant points in the tool

4. Seek the involvement of further partners and stakeholders

Overview of Sections

The Universal Design Implementation tool is divided in to four systemic functions:

I. State and Local Strategic Planning

Formal and informal strategic planning efforts, including those mandated by local, state, and federal entities, are viewed as opportunities to engage partners to collectively overcome workforce and economic development challenges. Leaders recruit diverse groups and organizations, including those focused on the community's economic development, to develop policies, direction, and practices to meet the needs of the workforce development system's business and career seeking customers.

II. Partnerships

The Workforce Investment Board (WIB) and operational One-Stop Career Centers strive to be the hub of the community's collaborative workforce development system. Expansion of partnerships is an ongoing activity for both frontline staff and systems leaders, and includes active and coordinated outreach to both workforce and economic development agencies active in the community. Community organizations and leaders with complementary agendas are recruited for collaboration, alignment of resources, and the creation of innovative opportunities.

III. Capacity Building

Management and staff continually strive to improve the overall organizational capacity of the workforce development system to serve the diverse community. Staff are supported in professional development activities to improve service for customers with a variety of needs. Training options include both skill development and knowledge regarding how to work with community agencies to meet the career development needs of their business and career-seeker customers.

IV. Administration/Management/Evaluation

Workforce development system planning groups include partners with a focus on creating an integrated workforce system. Workforce and economic development partners address administrative structures, system organization, operations, policies, evaluation mechanisms, and procedures (e.g., site selection, the development and implementation of strategic planning initiatives) that build the capacity to serve all customers.

The UDSD is also divided into six operational headings:

I. Marketing and Outreach

Workforce development systems use various methods to make themselves known to the general public, specific subgroups, and the employer/business community through consultation with community groups, general and targeted marketing, and presentations to the public. Such efforts increase participation in planning and/or service provision, shape internal and external perceptions, and contribute to the diversity of business and career-seeker customers who engage the system.

II. Orientation

All customers who utilize the system are informed about the array of available services and how best to access them. Workforce development partners use various means to introduce their services and the processes involved in engaging customers with the system.

III. Assessment

The workforce development system adopts a number of methods and services beyond standardized assessment systems, to assist business and career-seeker customers in determining competencies, employment support needs, and goals. These methods may be used throughout career development, exploration and planning, and job matching processes.

IV. Service Coordination

Various workforce and economic development partners cooperate to provide a seamless experience for business and career-seeker customers by sharing the planning and responsibility for employment services and by collaboratively funding support needs to achieve a customer's employment objective. Service coordination includes both operational collaboration and joint planning.

V. Service Delivery

A wide array of employment services is available to all workforce development system customers. Service delivery includes: strategies for funding and supporting a variety of support, training and career advancement services to meet the needs of the community's businesses and career seekers, and ensuring the adequacy of employment provider networks.

VI. Business Services

Workforce and economic development partners and the local employer community continually strive to expand their relationships and better coordinate their services to business. Business services are guided by the same principles of excellence as those provided to career seekers. Workforce development partners strive to meet the diverse workforce needs of businesses, including human resource consulting, incumbent worker training and developing sector strategies.

Section II: Universal Design Self-Assessment Questions

I. Strategic Planning

A. Outreach and Marketing

The workforce development system's marketing strategy or plan accounts for outreach to the broadest possible range of businesses and career seekers; often those most in need of the system's services will be those who are hardest to reach.

Workforce development system strategic planning efforts include a 'market study' of the community's business and career-seeking demographic, including both a thorough knowledge of the area's industries and business trends, as well as a sense of the population and its needs.

Groups identified in the market study are proactively incorporated into the workforce development system's strategic outreach and marketing efforts, and marketing and strategic plans reflect their input and contribution to the process.

B. Orientation

Workforce development system policies and procedures for customer orientation reflect the priority to be consistently welcoming toward all customers and to support pre-screening techniques, which are designed to proactively determine and meet the needs of all customers.

Orientation is viewed strategically as the gateway to the full range of the community's workforce development services for career seekers and businesses.

Orientation is strategically regarded as the first impression made by the workforce development system, and valued as such.

C. Assessment

State and local strategic plans provide a clear means to encourage or require local systems to develop and maintain assessment processes that aid career seekers in attaining better career outcomes, and businesses in finding and maintaining a workforce that meets their ongoing business needs.

State and local strategic plans require the development of an overall intake process, and clear requirements for the sequence and location of the assessment process.

D. Service Coordination

State and local strategic planning processes involve all formal partners, along with potential community-based partners, to ensure strategic coordination between multiple partners from the planning stage forward.

State and local strategic plans formally encourage or require the development of common processes between the workforce development system's constituent partners.

State and local strategic planning processes make use of demonstration projects - experimental projects that involve multiple partners and a time-limited budget - to test new methods and to include new partners in collaborative activities.

E. Service Delivery

Strategic plans clearly state the priority of service to the broadest possible range of a community's career seekers and businesses.

Strategic plans present, encourage and enforce a mindset of inclusion in all services.

Strategic plans state the priority of designing and presenting services to business and career-seeker customers not based on partner affiliation (i.e., Employment Service or Veteran's Administration), but by the type of service available.

F. Business Services

The state and local strategic planning process includes research conducted to determine the key needs of the business community, including the growth needs of smaller businesses.

The workforce development system's method of service delivery to the business community (often a business service unit) is designed to work closely with the career-seeker services available through the system and to avoid creating a perceived division between services to businesses and those to career-seeker customers.

Community economic development organizations are Workforce Investment Board partners and participate fully in the Workforce Strategic Planning process.

II. Partnership Development

A. Outreach and Marketing

The workforce development system actively markets its services to a wide variety of businesses, service providers and customer groups.

Public messages and forums disseminated by the workforce development system reach a wide range of potential partner organizations and their constituent members, staff, or individuals, and are designed to be welcoming and accessible to all of them.

The Workforce Investment Board and One-Stop are able to guide potential partners through the process of collaboration.

B. Orientation

Orientation to the workforce development system's services reflects the broadest possible range of services available through its partnership network in the community, in a fashion that is easily accessible.

Partner agencies assist the workforce development system in ensuring the accessibly and appropriateness of orientation materials to the full scope of business and career-seeker customers.

The One-Stop has a comprehensive process of orientation for potential partners, including service providers and community organizations.

C. Assessment

The workforce development system engages the business community as a partner in crafting its career-seeker assessment policy and practices.

Community groups and workforce development system partners are enlisted to advise on and assist in the assessment process.

Partners are engaged to create a broad, inclusive, and consistent assessment process that shares a common language and set of standards between the multiple community agencies and organizations that are involved in workforce development.

D. Service Coordination

Workforce development system partners collaborate to design common processes, including intake, MIS, case management, and resource allocation.

The workforce development system encourages joint case management between agencies as a means of maximizing the effectiveness of services and the depth of the collaboration with and among its partner agencies.

Middle-management staffs of various partner agencies meet and communicate regularly to review procedures, case loads, and the means to increase productivity of the overall workforce development system through stronger collaboration.

E. Service Delivery

The workforce development system fosters an attitude of inclusion and an expectation of success for all of its customers, and requires this philosophy be shared by its partners, sub-contractors, and affiliates.

Workforce development system partners recognizes significant gaps in the services they offer, and seek partners to fill these gaps as needed.

The workforce development system actively seeks to assist each customer to bring together all of the various funding streams, incentives, and resources that might be available to them.

F. Business Services

Each partner agency within the workforce development system's collaborative network is involved in the creation and design of business services.

Business partnerships established through the Workforce Investment Board and other means are an important and meaningful aspect of the local workforce development system's overall collaborative network and play an important role in designing both career-seeker and business services.

Economic development agencies and organizations coordinate with the workforce development system's Business Service Units and the Workforce Investment Boards to create a coordinated plan for local and regional economic development.

III. Capacity Building

A. Outreach and Marketing

Every workforce development system staff person is engaged in the system's comprehensive Outreach and Marketing plan.

The workforce development system commits equal resources to outreach to a diverse range of career seekers, businesses, community groups, and service providers.

Workforce development system partners provide adequate resources to accomplish the various strategic goals of outreach and marketing.

B. Orientation

Staff are broadly trained on the workforce development system's varied internal and external resources, including those available through partner agencies and organizations.

Workforce development system staff are able to effectively orient all customers - including career seekers, businesses, and potential partners—to the system and guide them effectively through the system.

Adequate funding and staff time are allotted to orientation to ensure the quality of this element of service.

C. Assessment

Staff training standards include information on administering assessments to a wide range of career seekers, including knowledge of alternate assessment models, accommodations, and assistance available through community groups for eligible career seekers.

Workforce development system management and leadership teams consider the effectiveness of the assessment process and its implications on other services in their regular meetings.

Formal agreements are developed with specialized community-based service providers (i.e., service providers for veterans, TANF recipients, and career seekers with limited English proficiency or disabilities) to provide services indicated to career seekers and businesses on the basis of the assessment process.

D. Service Coordination

The workforce development system allots staff time and resources to the creation and maintenance of shared functions between partners, such as common intake forms and a shared MIS System.

The workforce development system has ensured that its information-sharing system is respectful of the career seeking customer's legal rights to confidentiality.

Workforce development system partner management is cognizant of the policies that guide each system, specifically in regard to each system's capacity to collaborate meaningfully and share time, functions, and resources, including money.

E. Service Delivery

The workforce development system, whether through its staff, partner agencies, or contracted provider network, is capable of offering a wide range of individualized career development services.

The workforce development system includes a comprehensive provider network, capable of offering a wide range of services to career-seeker and business customers.

Workforce development system partners are knowledgeable in the use of shared resources and funding, and promote the use of this practice to their staff.

F. Business Services

Workforce development system staff are trained on the priority of quality business services, as necessary, to the success for their business and career-seeker customers.

Staff engaged in service to businesses are trained in progressive job carving, task negotiation and talent allotment practices as an aspect of exemplary service businesses.

Adequate resources from the workforce development system partners are allocated to form a meaningful business service capacity representative of the system's partners.

IV. Administration, Management and Evaluation

A. Outreach and Marketing

Workforce development system leadership is demonstrably committed to the priority of outreach and marketing to a broad range of career seekers, businesses, and organizations in the community.

Workforce development system administrative policies reflect the priority of outreach to a diverse range of career seekers and businesses.

Outreach and marketing efforts are evaluated internally and externally, to ensure their success in broadening and diversifying the system's customer and partner base.

B. Orientation

Leadership within the workforce development system is committed to the priority of an effective, welcoming, and informative orientation process for career seekers, businesses, and potential partners.

Workforce development system administrative policies reflect the priority of orientation to a diverse population of career seekers and businesses.

Orientation efforts are evaluated to ensure their success in welcoming a diverse range of business and career-seeking customers and in introducing them to workforce development system services.

C. Assessment

Workforce development system leadership is committed to the priority and methodology of an assessment process that meets the diverse needs of the community's career seekers, and that assesses them for the skills needed by local businesses.

Workforce development system administrative policies reflect the priority of effective assessment of a diverse population of career seekers and businesses.

Assessment efforts are evaluated to ensure their inclusiveness and the extent to which they assist customers in accessing the broadest possible range of applicable services.

D. Service Coordination

Workforce development system leadership is demonstrably committed to the priority of service coordination between multiple partners, services and staff.

The priority of service coordination is clearly backed by official policy, including the verbiage in service agreements, MOUs, and RFPs.

Service coordination efforts are evaluated based on clearly stated goals and measures established by leadership and made clear to all staff and partners.

E. Service Delivery

Workforce development system leaders are demonstrably committed to the use of progressive and individualized service delivery techniques.

The priority of intensive and individualized service delivery is clearly backed by official policy, including the verbiage in service agreements, MOUs, and RFPs.

Intensive and individualized service delivery efforts are evaluated based on clearly stated goals and measures established by leadership and made clear to all staff and partners.

F. Business Services

Workforce development system leaders are demonstrably committed to the use of business service practices that are highly coordinated and inclusive of the efforts of both community employment providers and economic development organizations.

The priority of business services are clearly backed by official policy, including the verbiage in service agreements, MOUs, and RFPs.

Business service efforts are evaluated based on clearly stated goals and measures established by leadership and made clear to all staff and partners.

Section III: Universal Design Implementation Process

For each priority identified through the use of the Universal Design System Development Tool, detail the following:

  1. Identify one significant priority resulting from the Universal Design planning process, along with 3-5 relevant sub-goals:
  2. What steps should be taken to achieve these priorities?
  3. What barriers exist to achieving this goal? For each, are they a matter of practice or policy, and, if applicable, where is the practice or policy in question housed?
  4. What resources will be required, at what cost, and for what duration?
  5. What outside and partner resources can assist you in meeting these goals? Include agencies and organizations who are not currently active partners in this process, or in the workforce development system.
  6. Who will be the 'Steward' who coordinates this effort; i.e., who will take the lead role in ensuring that the process is followed through, and that partner resources are coordinated to meet the goal?
  7. Based on the responses of partners, what resources have yet to be allotted to this effort?
  8. Based on these responses, what are the next steps the Steward or identified partners will take to meet these goals?
  9. What indicators and measures will you use to know when this measure has been successfully enacted?
  10. Administratively, what policy or practical measures will you take to ensure that the gains made by this measure are sustained in the system after the period of initiation?
  11. What other initiatives (arrived at through this process or otherwise) will either benefit from or contribute to the achievement of this goal?

Resources

For additional information or assistance on Universal Design for the Workforce Development system, contact the following centers:

Adult Services

National Center on Workforce and Disability/Adult
Institute for Community Inclusion
UMass Boston
100 Morrissey Blvd.
Boston, MA 02125
888/886-9898 (toll-free voice/TTY)
contact@onestops.info
www.onestops.info

Youth Services

National Collaborative on Workforce and Disability/Youth
Institute for Educational Leadership
4455 Connecticut Avenue NW, Suite 310
Washington, DC 20008
877/871-0744 (toll-free voice)
877/871-0665 (toll-free TTY)
contact@ncwd-youth.info
www.ncwd-youth.info

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