By Melissa Deets, Workforce Solutions Specialist, Monster Government Solutions
When it comes to WIOA success, there’s one thing we know for sure: collaboration is king. To achieve the fundamental goals of getting Americans back to work and successfully competing in the global economy, our workforce development programs, employers, and educational institutions have to be working together in lockstep. In fact, a recent study by the Governing Institute found that 76 percent of state workforce leaders cited improved stakeholder collaboration as a major benefit of the legislation. Great, so most of us agree. Now how do we actually make it happen?
The solution falls into two major buckets - collecting great workforce data and making sure stakeholders have easy access to it. WIOA specifically calls for “improving the use of technology and data to break down silos, improve decision-making, reduce administrative costs, and transform citizen service.” Sounds simple, but like most things, it’s easier said than done. The Governing Institute study found significant concerns around the ability of state technology systems to deliver on this data-driven vision, with top challenges including:
● Connecting disparate stakeholder IT systems
● Establishing a common intake process for new data sources
● Improving communication and mobility services for citizens
Data sharing is essential, but it all starts with gathering the right information. As states took the lead on building out their comprehensive WIOA plans, many also took the lead on gathering and analyzing valuable statewide data as well. For example, Michigan enlisted economists and statisticians to deliver strategic labor market information to regional workforce stakeholders to inform better decision-making. WIOA prompts the need for state labor shed analyses and the creation of regional skills inventories so workforce leaders can understand the competencies their citizens have, identify gaps based on employer needs, and inform development strategies. Partners like Monster can deliver this real-time labor intelligence to achieve visibility into current economic development challenges, opportunities, and progress.
It’s one thing to have the data. Making sure every stakeholder has easy access to it is a whole other ballgame. We’re talking about integrating information across multiple government agency systems and combining it with data from the private sector. To facilitate this, you need data sharing agreements across every stakeholder, and if you’re still using siloed legacy systems, it’s time to start investigating the world of cloud computing and open application programming interfaces (APIs). APIs ensure that systems are talking to each other, and the cloud offers easy access to data and applications online. In fact, emerging case management solutions are paving the way for seamless data integration and analysis, delivering unprecedented insights into the skills of their regional workforce and the needs of employers in high-growth sectors.
Online state career centers are taking this collaboration to another level, bringing together geographically distributed job seekers, employers, educators, state agencies and WDB staff together within a single statewide portal. Monster Labor Exchanges enable employers to access the largest talent database in their state, while citizens can easily apply for jobs, research educational programs, take assessments, and explore new career paths - from any location and any device. A great example of this innovation in action comes from Washington State, which recently launched one of the most innovative labor exchanges in the country - WorkSourceWA.com.
This statewide job-matching platform uses the case management technology mentioned above to capture and share data with all relevant stakeholders from one centralized location. Washington employers benefit from access to the largest talent database in the state and advanced candidate search tools that empower recruiters to save time sifting through mountains of resumes and focus on engaging only the right folks for the job.
By providing a public “one-stop workforce shop” states like Washington are able to efficiently match employers with the talent they need to grow, and citizens with the resources they need to build competitive skillsets. With this many stakeholders, collaboration is never going to be easy, but technology can truly be a game-changer. You’d be surprised how cost-effective modernizing can be, and the benefits of ensuring everyone is always on the same page is priceless.
For more on WIOA and how Monster Government Solutions can help you visit our Monster WIOA Resource Center.