Compares American Job Centers (AJCs) from seven local areas in six states that adopted an integrated enhanced intake model for service delivery with AJCs that did not. The brief discusses how these seven local areas implemented this model and highlights challenges they faced using qualitative data collected in 2012 and 2013 through the Workforce Investment Act Adult and Dislocated Worker Programs Gold Standard Evaluation.

“As the Workforce Investment Act of 1998 (WIA) reached its second decade, some states and Local Workforce Investment Areas (local areas) began to implement a new model of service provision in which all job seekers receive staff-assisted employment services during their first visit to an…AJC…formerly known as a One-Stop Career Center.…Instead of conducting a primarily self-directed job search on their first visit to an AJC, under this new model, customers meet with a staff member who assesses their needs and discusses service options. Some local areas train staff members from both WIA and the Wagner-Peyser Employment Service (ES) programs to provide this up-front assistance in the same way regardless of their program affiliation. Many refer to this integration of staff from different programs to provide a service as ‘functional alignment.’ This brief uses the term ‘integrated enhanced intake’ to refer to the model in which all new AJC customers receive up-front staff-assisted services and in which these services are provided by functionally-aligned staff from the WIA and ES programs” (p.1).

For its analysis, the brief relied on qualitative data collected from “[s]even of the 28 local areas that participated in the WIA Adult and Dislocated Worker Programs Gold Standard Evaluation…[that] implemented this integrated enhanced intake model…in 2012 and 2013. This brief describes the rationale for the model, how these seven local areas implemented this model in practice, and the challenges they encountered” (p.2).

The study local areas that adopted this new service delivery model include

  • “Capital Region (New York)
  • Central Region (Missouri)
  • Chautauqua County (New York)
  • New Orleans (Louisiana)
  • Northwest Pennsylvania
  • Sacramento (California)
  • Twin Districts (Mississippi)” (p.2).

 

“Frequently, the impetus for introducing the integrated enhanced intake model came from the state. For example, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Missouri mandated the use of this model” (p.3).

 

This issue brief is one in a series of briefs that presents findings from the WIA Adult and Dislocated Worker Programs Gold Standard Evaluation, which is being conducted for the U.S. Department of Labor…, Employment and Training Administration…. The study examines the implementation, effectiveness, and benefits and costs of the Adult and Dislocated Worker programs using an experimental design” (p.6).

 (Abstractor: Author and Website Staff)

Major Findings & Recommendations

The brief finds that: “One consequence of this integrated enhanced intake model was that it significantly increased the number of customers enrolled in WIA.…According to program administrative data, the number of customers who enrolled in WIA increased by as much as thirty-fold in some local areas that adopted this model. In contrast, the local areas that did not adopt this model showed a relatively flat trend in the numbers served by their WIA programs over the same time period” (p.4). Additionally, “[l]ocal areas that adopted the integrated enhanced intake model trained both WIA and ES staff members to provide a similar intake to customers. Some of these local areas developed teams named for their functions. For example, in the Sacramento (California) local area, the WIA and ES staff members who welcomed and engaged new customers to the AJCs were part of the ‘welcome team’.…In contrast, in local areas that did not adopt the integrated enhanced intake model, WIA and ES staff members typically had specialized roles” (p.5). The brief closes with four challenges that local areas faced in adopting this model. These are: • “Jointly staffed teams were not always feasible in small AJCs. Some AJCs in the local areas with the integrated enhanced intake model did not have staff members from both WIA and ES available to perform the enhanced intake.… • Providing more up-front services reduced the resources available for intensive services and training. Managers at several of the local areas that adopted the integrated enhanced intake model noted that placing greater emphasis on up-front, staff-assisted services reduced resources avail¬able for intensive services and training.… • The model eroded performance on the WIA performance measures. Enrolling customers in WIA at their first visit to an AJC reduced the local areas’ ability to be selective about who they enroll. Respondents in three local areas perceived that this expansion in customer enrollment eroded their ability to meet their WIA performance goals.… • Some staff resisted cross-program supervision. In some local areas, this cross-program supervision facilitated day-to-day coordination of cross-program teams, but in others, it led to conflicts among staff” (p.5-6). (Abstractor: Author and Website Staff)