Early Lessons from the
Workforce Innovation Fund
October 17, 2013
10:00–11:00 a.m. (CST)
• Provide a general overview Workforce Investment Fund
theory and structure
• Hear directly from practitioners who are using Workforce
Investment Fund resources to strengthen career
pathways and support the completion agenda
• Discover whether currently funded projects offer lessons
you can use
• Discuss how to promote and support innovation in your
own communities
• Welcome & Introductions
• Overview of Workforce Innovation Fund
• Baltimore County’s ACE Project
• Facilitated Group Discussion
• Stephen J. Lynch, Facilitator/WIF National Technical
Assistance Team
Program Director, Jobs for the Future
• Beth Arman, ACE Initiative
Director of Technical Training, Community College of
Baltimore County (CCBC,) Continuing Education
• Kent Smedley, ACE Initiative
Dean of Workforce Development, CCBC, Continuing
Education Division
Background of the Workforce
Innovation Fund
• Grant Program authorized by the Full-Year Continuing
Appropriations Act, 2011 (P.L. 112-10)
• Funds support innovative approaches to the design and
delivery of employment and training services that
generate long-term improvements in the performance of
the public workforce system
• One of several Federal grant programs that promote
evidence-based design and independent third-party
evaluation (like I3 and SIF)
• More efficient service delivery & better outcomes,
especially for vulnerable populations and LTU
• Support system reforms and innovations that promote
cooperation across programs and funding streams
• Build knowledge about effective practices through
rigorous evaluation
• Take effective practices to scale, and promote increased
cost efficiency in the broader workforce system
So Far…
• 26 Projects funded with awards between $1.5m and
▫ 12 Type A
▫ 8 Type B
▫ 6 Type C
▫ 8 Random Control Theory Studies
▫ 7 QED Studies
▫ 11 Outcomes Studies
• Pay for Success round 1 awards to be announced
What They Are Trying to Do
Systems Change
• Increase collaboration
• Streamline services
• Data-driven decision-making
• Cost-effective services
• Increase economic opportunity for
vulnerable populations
• Better serve the needs of employers
Who They Serve
Network of Support
3rd Party
Categories of Intervention
Data &
Systems &
Participant Services
Primary or Secondary Focus for:
Access to benefits
Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership (IL)
County of Orange (CA)
Case management
Utah WS (UT)
Ensuring quality of training
Workforce Central (WA)
Outreach and recruitment
Referral to services
Supportive services
Business Services
Primary or Secondary Focus for:
Business clients
Alachua-Bradford (FL)
Employer engagement
County of Orange (CA)
Employers informing training design,
delivery and quality
Fulton, Montgomery, Schoharie WIB (NY)
Partnership with employers
San Francisco (CA)
Sector strategies
West Central Jobs Partnership (PA)
WDB of South Central Wisconsin (WI)
Workforce Initiative Association (OH)
Data & Online Tools
Primary or Secondary Focus for:
Data sharing agreements
Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership (IL)
Data integration and management
Newark WIB (NJ)
Distance learning and web-based tools
Ohio Department of Jobs and Family
Services (OH)
Leveraging social media
Pasco-Hernando WIB (FL)
Real-time labor market information
WDB of South Central Wisconsin (WI)
Workforce Solutions (TX)
Systems & Policy Alignment
Primary or Secondary Focus for:
Coordination across state agencies and
policy issues
Baltimore County (MD)
City of Los Angeles (CA)
Coordination with non-government partners
and privately funded programs
DeKalb County (GA)
Gila River (AZ)
Integrating ABE and skills training with
college partners
Illinois DCEO (IL)
Metro North REB (MA)
Integrating public workforce system with
Adult Ed, Registered Apprenticeship, UI,
TANF, colleges
Ohio DJFS (OH)
RI Dept. of Labor & Training (RI)
Riverside EDA (CA)
Integrating services at a regional level
San Mateo (CA)
Strengthening career pathways
SkillSource Group, Inc. (VA)
Translating policy to practice
WestCentral Jobs Partnership (PA)
Worksystems Inc. (OR)
Cost Efficiency
Primary or Secondary Focus for:
Braided funding
Metro North REB (MA)
Cost reduction
Newark WIB (NJ)
Implementing performance-based funding
Pasco-Hernando (FL)
Leveraging private funding
Utah WS (UT)
Procurement and cost allocation strategies
Serving Specific Populations
Primary or Secondary Focus For:
Disconnected youth
Alachua-Bradford (FL)
Entrepreneurship programs
City of Los Angeles (CA)
DeKalb County (GA)
Limited English skills
Riverside EDA (CA)
Lower-skilled adults
San Francisco (CA)
Long-term unemployed
San Mateo (CA)
Registered Apprenticeship
SkillSource Group (VA)
Three Rivers WIB (PA)
Workforce Central (WA)
Workforce Solutions (TX)
Worksystems Inc. (OR)
Visit: innovation.workforce3one.org
What are the top two barriers to
1. Set Thinking
▫ It is a natural tendency
2. Fear
▫ Many sources, common roots
How do we move past the barriers?
1. Creativity
▫ Requires Usefulness
2. Confidence
▫ Being right and getting results gets the world onboard,
so proceed until apprehended
ACE Participants –
Baltimore County Lead
9 Participating WIBs across the country
Baltimore County WIB (BCDED) lead agency
6 Maryland WIBs
Plus 3 WIBs in
▫ Georgia
▫ Connecticut
▫ Texas
Community College of Baltimore County
• Training provider for Baltimore County
▫ Working with BCDED (LWIB agency)
• 4 initial career training programs
Dental Assistant
Construction Pre-Apprenticeship
Utility Installer
Logistics Technician
• Potential additional programs
▫ Certified Apartment Maintenance Technician
Training Format
• Each program has a well-defined career pathway
• MI-BEST instructional format
▫ Based on I-BEST model from Washington
• Combining Basic Skills/GED or ESOL training
with occupational training
▫ ~50% added to occupational instruction hours
• Randomization process to create 2 groups and
test the effectiveness of training
Process  recruitment to training
• Marketing to attract applicants
• Information and assessment session
▫ Math and reading assessments (CASAS)
▫ Used to determine suitability to move to next stage
– determining eligibility
• Complete background check and drug screen
▫ Results determine ability to move forward to
randomization phase
• 3-day workshop (job readiness and team skills)
▫ Motivate students toward “learning”
Process – Continued……
• At end of 3-day workshop
▫ One-on-one interviews to determine final eligibility
for randomization
▫ Prior to randomization, a variety of factors may
determine if individual is unfit for ACE training
 Poor attendance, attitude, excessive social barriers etc.
 If so…..not eligible for randomization
• Randomization
▫ “In” – treatment group and enter ACE training
▫ “Out” – control group with business as usual
towards training and seeking employment
Lessons Learned
• Selection of programs and target audience
▫ Is there sufficient job demand, high enough wages?
 Rejected Early Childhood Education - wages
▫ How long is the training, particularly after adding
GED/ESOL, case management, etc.?
 Rejected Machinist – too long (and therefore too
expensive for grant)
▫ Are we attracting the right audience?
 Construction: ESOL audience was working during the
day; non-ESOL didn’t realize program wasn’t for them
Lessons Learned
• Selection of partners and logistics
▫ Construction: government agency and stipends
 Importance of clear roles and responsibilities
 Importance of clear information to students upfront
▫ Utility installer:
 Private company had tried a limited pre-employment
training program and realized they needed our help
 They have content knowledge, equipment, etc. and are
happy to work with us – and we’re happy to work with
such an organized partner
Lessons Learned
• Schedule
▫ Time for co-instructors to work together before
program starts
 Joint planning time (critical in I-BEST!)
 Learning to appreciate one another’s strengths
▫ Intensive is great, but 5 days/week can be too much
 Especially if students need case management,
meetings with parole officers, etc.
▫ Match typical work schedule where possible
 Manufacturing example
 Construction example
Lessons Learned
• Selection Process
▫ What criteria?
 Construction – physical ability
 Any grant-funded program: ability to work in U.S.; we
have added background check and drug testing
▫ Selection at what point? We now use a short
“vestibule” to check attendance and work ethic
 But vestibule should bear some resemblance to the
training, include some hands-on
For more information on the Workforce Innovation Fund
please visit: innovation.workforce3one.org

Lessons from Year 1 of the Workforce Innovation Fund