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SDA 1 Collaboration Efforts

1. What actions had your area taken that you feel will facilitate WIA implementation?

A. Regional Collaboration

Northwest Georgia has made great strides in implementing a One Stop concept between local agencies throughout the 15-county area as will be described below. The One Stop effort began two years ago when plans were made to use Section 123 JTPA funds to provide a regional staff person who would assist local areas in developing and implementing services in accordance with the initiatives which were being developed nationally. Local agencies had a desire to better serve their customers and believed it can be done through collaboration. In fostering this effort, the area has been fortunate to have a staff member who can devote all her time to cultivating and assisting local collaborative efforts in the region. This position has been provided in a cooperative way, with funds coming from JTPA through DTAE to a Regional Development Center for a staff member housed primarily in a DOL office.

On a regional basis, the SDA has sponsored a series of monthly One Stop preparation meetings called AReady, Set, One Stop.@ This series of meetings deals with different aspects of One Stops, from core services and governance, to Athinking outside the box,@ to a nationally recognized speaker, John Chamberlain, presenting a two-day training on the Workforce Investment Act that was available without charge to all the area partners. These meetings are supplemented by a regular newsletter, sent to over 600 people throughout the region and state, which highlights local collaborative efforts and provides for information exchange among the partners.

An Internet web site was developed (www.careerdepot.org) which serves as a virtual One Stop, listing extensive job search information, community resources for businesses and individuals, and education and training opportunities. It has links to several hundred State and national sites as well as information gathered locally through the efforts of local collaboratives. This site averages over 1,500 hits per month. We invite the reviewer (and all your friends) to visit this site.

Also on a regional basis, DOL One Stop grant funds have been used to provide resource materials, computers, printers and copiers for partners throughout the region. In the four counties of WaCaDaCha (Walker, Catoosa, Dade and Chattooga), video cameras for computers and Internet access have also been provided through this grant in order to facilitate the Ano wrong doors@ approach in DFCS, DTAE and DOL offices.

B. Because local collaboratives have their own individualities, each partner in the area was given the opportunity to respond to the questions posed in the plan. Each answer received is summarized below and for ease of identification is listed by DOL Field Service Office with the exception of the WaCaDaCha counties.

1. Blue Ridge Field Service Office Area (Fannin, Gilmer and Pickens Counties)

The One Stop Career Resource Center housed in Pickens Technical Institute has available a variety of services and agencies for the universal population. A brochure has been developed that outlines the services available and the different agencies participating (Pickens, Fannin and Gilmer DFCS, DTAE New Connections, JTPA and DOL). They are presently in the planning stages of an agreement to house a DOL employee in the One Stop center one day a week to serve the universal population since the current involvement of the DOL staff is with TANF and Food Stamp clients only.

The Fannin, Gilmer and Pickens Collaborative continues to meet bi-monthly to discuss problems, concerns, services provided, etc. DOL personnel continue to be housed in the DFCS offices in all three counties (Fannin, Gilmer and Pickens). They are also present during DFCS orientations currently being held in the One Stop Center at the Tech school.

Survival/Life Skills training is offered in the Center and is open to the universal population. This training consists of more intensive assessments and is in a group setting. It is a ten-week program. The Center also contains various computer-based training including upgrading computer skills in various programs such as Word, Excel, etc., parenting skills, resume writing programs, basic skills through Plato, etc.

Vocational Rehabilitation and DOL are able to access their respective computer systems in the Resource Center, while the process of obtaining access to the DFCS Success system is under way. In addition to the Pickens Technical Institute site, Blue Ridge Field Services Office (FSO) has a resource center for the universal population as well. Customers have available to them job search books, videos and pamphlets, lists of agency resources, computers, printers, copiers and fax machines to assist in the customer=s job search efforts. Also, JTPA-funded On-the-Job Training is available through FSO staff; DRS staff are housed in the FSO one day a week. Plans are being made for reciprocal housing of FSO and Pickens Tech staff.

2. Cartersville Field Service Office Area (Bartow and Paulding Counties)

The Cartersville partner agencies (DFCS, DOL, DTAE, DRS, SS and other interested parties) meet monthly to discuss common areas of interest. A One Stop Center has been established in the FSO. Participating agencies include DFCS, DOL, DTAE, DRS, Social Security Administration, JTPA, New Connections, Adult Education, and the Fatherhood Initiative.

3. Cedartown Field Service Office Area (Polk and Haralson Counties)

In Polk and Haralson counties, local partners meet monthly to share information and referrals. These meetings are rotated among the agencies so that staff become familiar with each other and their programs. This process facilitates agency cooperation and moves customers through the system more efficiently. Cedartown FSO has a resource room available for customers that has job search books and videos, as well as computers, printers and copiers to assist in their job search. In Haralson County, Bremen Housing Authority makes a similar resource room available for the general population. DOL staff provide expanded workshops at the Cedartown FSO and the Bremen Housing Authority which include one-on-one job search assistance for customers who need extra assistance. New Connections and the Fatherhood Initiative also participate in this effort. JTPA eligibility for on-the-job training and technical institute enrollments at the Cedartown FSO.

4. Dalton Field Service Area (Whitfield and Murray Counties)

DFCS, DOL and DTAE have integrated services to customers. Currently, presentations of available services are made three times per week in order to educate the customers and assist them in making informed decisions. These presentations are given at the One Stop located at the Dalton FSO by representatives of each agency. At this time, 80-90% of DFCS applicants complete the intake process at the One Stop location. By using this process, a larger population is aware of services available in the community other than those offered strictly by DFCS and allows for referral to other appropriate agencies.

DOL staff evaluate customers= past and current job histories and make customers aware of current labor trends. Job search resources such as books, newspapers and pamphlets are available, as well as computers with access to job placement sites throughout the State and nation. Career information is provided through GCIS and America=s Learning Exchange. Employer contacts are shared with other partner agencies to reduce duplication. Other local agencies such as Mental Health Substance Abuse Center, DRS, childcare centers and veteran=s services are part of the agency network. Dalton State College is available to assist customers in need of training and can provide case management assistance while customers are in their chosen course of study.

Customers are given evaluation forms to be placed in a locked suggestion box to provide input on services received or needed. The completed forms are reviewed by the One Stop representatives to make necessary procedural changes and improvements. Meetings are held quarterly with partner agencies that do not have co-located staff at the One Stop; monthly meetings are held for One Stop Representatives to discuss problems or changes. Staffings requiring the coordination of several agencies may be called to discuss the best way to serve a particular customer.

5. Rome Field Service Office Area (Floyd and Gordon Counties)

WIA implementation will be facilitated in Floyd County by the integration of workforce development efforts by DHR, DOL and DTAE. Intensive ongoing collaboration by these agencies to provide training, both vocational and job readiness; interagency referral; providing/sharing labor market information; sharing job development responsibilities; and job placement services. Quarterly meetings of all collaborative partners and weekly sub-group meetings as necessary to provide optimum services to customers. The local partners operate the Coosa Valley Career Transition One Stop in collaboration with the Rome Housing Authority, Family Connections, Charter Counseling Services, private industry and others. Labor market information is provided to customers through a variety of sources such as DOL, area news listings, the Internet, direct mailings from private and public sector employers and employment services. The partners have developed structuring of intensive services and training for customers. To date, these are primarily target populations within the general population such as TANF, JTPA, vo-tech students and non-custodial parents.

In Gordon County, the local DFCS has separated Applicant Services and assigned a case manager to work closely with those applying for assistance. This change allows the agency to better serve applicants by having a single contact person who works with partner agencies for easier inter-agency access. DFCS, DOL and DTAE have a joint intake session weekly for TANF applicants. New Connections assesses all applicants and recipients for educational level and job skills and discusses options for short-term training to enhance job skills as needed. DOL works with DFCS and DTAE to assist in job placement for those ready to enter the job market. Welfare to Work services are also available but the strict eligibility criteria limits participation.

6. WACADACHA Area (Walker, Catoosa, Dade and Chattooga Counties)

This area has one of the most active multi-county collaboratives and the oldest One Stop in the area at Northwestern Technical Institute in Walker County. It contains two FSOs, Northwest Georgia and LaFayette, and responses were received from both FSOs as well as Walker and Dade DFCS. Their comments will be summarized and given attribution when necessary.

The WaCaDaCha Collaborative meets monthly with representatives of DOL, DTAE, DFCS, DRS, JTPA, Lookout Mountain Community Services, Goodwill Industries, New Connections, the Fatherhood Initiative and other interested parties to make staff aware of other agency needs and to discuss common problems. A common referral form has been developed to streamline referral to all agencies. Video conferencing equipment has been purchased through the DOL One Stop grant and plans are to implement this type of referral within the next few months so there will be a true Ano wrong doors@ approach for customers who will be able to apply for partner services using the video conference. Northwestern Technical Institute operates a One Stop Center called the Career Depot. Partner agencies in Walker County out-station staff there on a regular basis and it has a resource room for labor market information and job search activities. Assessment and career counseling is done primarily through New Connections and customers can access the Internet job sites, GCIS, America=s Job Bank and other sites for job leads. Short-term training in job search skills and work habits is available through New Connections.

WaCaDaCha partners have established job search resource rooms where space was available so that customers would have access to labor market information. These rooms include job search books and videos, and may include Internet access, computers, printers, copiers and fax machines for customers to use. Lobby areas are being made as helpful to customers as possible by emphasizing work and job information when possible. Employer Representatives meet monthly to ensure that job orders are not duplicated and only one representative from each agency stays in touch with employers.

WaCaDaCha collaborative allows for structuring of intensive services and training for those customers who need assistance beyond core services. Customers are informed of possible services and given opportunities to choose these services. JTPA training is available and technical training at Northwestern Technical Institute for short term and long term training so that employment can be secured or better wages may be obtained. On-the-job training is made readily available through JTPA and work experience, whether subsidized or un-subsidized, is also available through the agencies involved. These types of training give the customer more job skills for entry into the workforce.

2. Who are your major collaborative partners (e. g. agencies, organizations, etc., not persons)?

Blue Ridge Field Service Office Area (Fannin, Gilmer and Pickens Counties)

DOL, DFCS, Pickens Technical Institute, New Connections, Fatherhood Initiative, JTPA, Adult Literacy, DRS, North Georgia Community Action Agency, Burnt Mountain Center, and Child Support Enforcement. Partners continue to be added.

Cartersville Field Service Office Area (Bartow and Paulding Counties)

DOL, DFCS, North Metro Technical Institute, New Connections, Fatherhood Initiative, JTPA, Adult Literacy, DRS, Social Security Administration.

Cedartown Field Service Office Area (Polk and Haralson Counties)

DOL, Coosa Valley and Carroll Technical Institutes, New Connections, Fatherhood Initiative, JTPA, RDC, Adult Literacy, DRS, Cedartown and Bremen Housing Authorities.

Dalton Field Service Office Area (Whitfield and Murray Counties)

DOL, DFCS, Dalton State College, New Connections, Fatherhood Initiative, JTPA, Adult Literacy, DRS, Green Thumb, RDC, Child Support Enforcement, and Mental Health.

Rome Field Service Office Area (Floyd and Gordon Counties)

DOL, DFCS, Coosa Valley Technical Institute, New Connections, Fatherhood Initiative, JTPA, RDC, Adult Literacy, DRS, CSE, Rome Housing Authority, Rainbow Institutional Services.

WACADACHA Area (Walker, Catoosa, Dade and Chattooga Counties)

DOL, DFCS, Northwestern Technical Institute, New Connections, Fatherhood Initiative, JTPA, Adult Literacy, DRS, Lookout Community Services, Goodwill of Chattanooga, Housing Authorities, Rainbow Institutional Services.

3. What are the strengths of your local collaborative (be specific)?

Blue Ridge Field Service Office Area (Fannin, Gilmer and Pickens Counties)

The strength of this local collaborative includes cooperation form all partners, flexibility, commitment to helping customers, a good referral system between agencies, effective communication and a team effort. Partners are continually open to new suggestions and ideas from front line staff.

Cartersville Field Service Office Area (Bartow and Paulding Counties)

The strength of this local collaborative is the willingness of all parties to cooperate. DRS counselors have been given access to DOL files for job placement purposes. DTAE has stationed a worker in the One Stop two days a week to provide information and basic office procedure training to interested customers and the Social Security Administration representative provides information on disability cases and related issues.

Cedartown Field Service Office Area (Polk and Haralson Counties)

This collaboration's strength is the cooperation between agencies to share information to better serve the customers, eliminating multi-agency employer contacts and having DRS counselors available at various partner sites.

Dalton Field Service Office Area (Whitfield and Murray Counties)

All partner agencies have made customer service the number one priority. Agencies have co-located staff available to assist customers. DFCS has access to the Success information system at the One Stop to make the application process more efficient and timely. A brochure indicating services has been developed with all agencies' input and approval. Agencies have integrated into a team that is recognized as the One Stop Resource Center. Communication between agencies is excellent and information is shared freely. Co-located staff communicates regularly to assist customers on a day to day basis. The One Stop Resource Center has established short and long term goals.

Rome Field Service Office Area (Floyd and Gordon Counties)

Elimination of guarding of traditional agency roles; Allocation of personnel by partner agencies; positive results in job placements for customers; sharing of appropriate files and information among partners; elimination of multi-agency employer contacts; providing DRS counselors at One Stop, DOL and DFCS sites; having a united goal of preparing customers for the job market and reducing public assistance dependency.

WACADACHA Area (Walker, Catoosa, Dade and Chattooga Counties)

The collaborative works well together and has developed a common mission. There is open communication and willingness of all parties to cooperate and listen to each other's ideas and to take immediate action to help each other to better serve our customers. Agencies are well informed of the needs in the communities they serve and are knowledgeable of the various programs offered by their partners. Staff members are devoted and caring people who want to make their communities a better place to live and who want to provide the best possible services and/or information to customers. A common referral process has been developed and monthly meetings allow for free exchange of information and quick solutions to service barriers. Having DRS counselors available at various partner sites is valuable.

4. Are there problems that you have not yet been able to resolve?

Blue Ridge Field Service Office Area (Fannin, Gilmer and Pickens Counties)

There have been few problems, most of which were easily resolved. One area of difficulty is that of the small participation rates to justify out-stationing of staff.

Cartersville Field Service Office Area (Bartow and Paulding Counties)

Problems that continues to occur revolve around the inability to sanction TANF clients who do not follow through on required activities.

Cedartown Field Service Office Area (Polk and Haralson Counties)

Lack of transportation continues to limits some customer's ability to be gainfully employed.

Dalton Field Service Office Area (Whitfield and Murray Counties)

Some of the difficulties that the One Stop Resource Center has encountered have been no dedicated staff to the One Stop. Services need to be expanded but without staff this may be difficult to obtain. Tracking customers of the One Stop cannot be accomplished without staff. Space is limited since the Center is housed with another agency. Marketing must be emphasized since the Center is identified with the agency that currently houses the One Stop. Funding is needed to continue to move forward with the short and long term goals of this collaboration.

Rome Field Service Office Area (Floyd and Gordon Counties)

Connective technology is still inadequate, e.g.,   job information systems are not operational; no RACF ID's for One Stop personnel; video conferencing not available; Georgia Work Connection systems for sharing information are not in place. Transportation outside Rome remains a problem as well as services for those with medical problems or lack of motivation to become self-supporting.

WACADACHA Area (Walker, Catoosa, Dade and Chattooga Counties)

Transportation to work remains a real obstacle. Lack of sanctions for TANF recipients who do not complete required activities and lack of feedback/input from the State-level collaborative.

5. How have services to your customers (job seekers and employers) improved as a result of your efforts (be specific)?

Blue Ridge Field Service Office Area (Fannin, Gilmer and Pickens Counties)

Higher placement and retention rates, more program referrals, overall customer satisfaction. More effective assessment services in matching applicant strengths to employer needs, and shared agency information.

Cartersville Field Service Office Area (Bartow and Paulding Counties)

Improvements are the elimination of repeated stops by customers for services. Access to jobs has been improved and training opportunities have been increased.

Cedartown Field Service Office Area (Polk and Haralson Counties)

Reduction of stops for customers to receive services; better communication to customers regarding services available through the partner agencies.

Dalton Field Service Office Area (Whitfield and Murray Counties)

Customers are educated about resources available in the community. Prior to the One Stop approach, agencies could only make referrals to partner agencies with limited information about the services and communication between agencies was difficult. Now, all partner agencies have a specialist available that can assist customers as the need arises. This teamwork has opened the lines of communication. The customers know that the agencies are interested in assisting them to make informed decisions. Customers receive the assistance needed to obtain and retain a job by attending workshops and/or training. As a result of this, employers receive more prepared employees.

Rome Field Service Office Area (Floyd and Gordon Counties)

Increased knowledge of partner agencies capabilities to provide necessary services; elimination of multiple stops for customers in accessing training and job information; increased efficiency due to information sharing.

WACADACHA Area (Walker, Catoosa, Dade and Chattooga Counties)

Access to partner agencies has become more convenient for customers with the no wrong door approach adopted by the agencies. Staffing cases has improved services to DFCS clients by allowing a coordinated service approach to be developed among agencies. Access to labor market information is more readily available. Employers have the opportunity to train and work closely with the customers to retain employment.

6. Describe any particularly innovative strategies, products/processes or services you have developed and/or implemented.

Blue Ridge Field Service Office Area (Fannin, Gilmer and Pickens Counties)

The DFCS orientations conducted at the Resource Center with partner agency participation has been very beneficial to customers. They have available a wealth of information and staff to serve their needs. All services and agencies are described in detail during orientation time. An example of the collaborative efforts is a customer who received on of three stat New Connection to Work scholarships who benefited from services provided by DFCS, Pickens Tech, New Connections and JTPA.

Cartersville Field Service Office Area (Bartow and Paulding Counties)

North Metro Technical Institute has begun a self-paced, self-taught computer class in the One Stop and also may provide Internet access for online classes.

Dalton Field Service Office Area (Whitfield and Murray Counties)

The One Stop is producing a video to serve as the primary marketing tool for the Center. It will provide an overview of the services available at the One Stop as well as peripheral agencies in the community. It will be used to educate customers, employers, and partner agencies. At the end of each presentation, customers will receive a goody bag filled with brochures, pamphlets, and small gifts from agencies in the community.

The One Stop has produced a brochure describing available services which will be distributed throughout the community. A teambuilding workshop series has been developed to educated all workers of the partner agencies on the concept on One Stop and how to integrate services.

A resource directory will be published that lists all books, videos, compact discs and Internet sites available for use by the public. A self-assessment guide will be developed for use at the core services level. Customers of other agencies will be invited to the presentations. Once the video is released, off-the-street customers are expected to ask to attend the presentation. Door prizes may be offered to encourage more participation in the One Stop. An interagency counsel will be developed to keep the lines of communication open and to look for continuous improvement.

Rome Field Service Office Area (Floyd and Gordon Counties)

TANF referral system in Floyd County: DFCS refers any non-working and/or underemployed applicant to New Connections; DOL application completed and returned to DOL through DOL personnel on site at the One Stop; after assessment and job readiness activities are completed, direct job referrals are provided at the One Stop through DOL; New Connections monitors job search and reports results to DFCS and DOL; professional counseling services provided through the One Stop and New Connections projects; providing short term training to customers on an as-needed basis.

WACADACHA Area (Walker, Catoosa, Dade and Chattooga Counties)

Career Resource Centers in NW Georgia and LaFayette FSO with more planned for DFCS and other partners as space is available; use of video conferencing to eliminate travel of customers and staff between partner agencies; development of an informative video for use in the lobbies of partners to educate the customers of all services; using older donated computers with educational software to establish a Kids Corner to encourage children (and their parents) to use computers without fear of breaking them. There is currently one Kids Corner at NW Georgia FSO and one is planned for Walker County DFCS.

Regional

The Career Depot web site is one of the most innovative services developed by this area; having a regional one-stop coordinator who can devote 100% of the time to one-stop activities; the newsletter that informs partners of activities going on throughout the collaborative; the Ready, Set, One Stop! conferences held for all regional partners; and the use of the One Stop grant to purchase equipment necessary to implement video conferencing in this rural area.

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Revised: Friday, 14 November 2008 11:42 AM