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Guide to Certifying One-Stop Operators

Introduction

As provided in the Workforce Investment Act of 1998, the Local Workforce Investment Board, with the agreement of the chief elected official, must designate and certify One-Stop Operators in each local area. Certification will help ensure a consistent level of quality in the services provided in the local workforce investment area. Local Boards are charged with utilizing criteria and quality standards for the purpose of holding Operators accountable for the one-stop system or center(s) operations they oversee.

New York State strives to establish a quality-driven, comprehensive system of workforce development services, and access to services, that benefit all New York citizens who wish to take advantage of them. One way this can be accomplished is through a systemic approach in the development of one-stop operator quality standards and measures of excellence that can be flexibly applied on the local level. The State Workforce Investment Board will ensure consistency of quality across New York State's one-stop system by establishing a State-level certification of local One-Stop System and Center Operators. Achievement of State-level certification will allow local Operators to benefit from the "WorkforceNY" statewide one-stop logo and marketing campaign and promotional materials. This "branding" of New York's one-stop system will identify local systems and centers who have attained State certification as those that have met the highest quality standards for the provision of workforce development services in their community. State certified Operators will enjoy the benefits of brand recognition and will be able to easily customize marketing products to add their own area/center moniker and logo.

Purpose Of The Certification Guide

This Guide outlines the critical elements that should be considered when developing a local One-Stop Operator Certification process. The Guide also points out specific areas of concentration the State Workforce Investment Board will consider in awarding State Certification to local One-Stop System or Center Operators.

Included in the Guide are examples of other chartering or certification processes used around the country from which you may wish to borrow. Many of the examples establish different levels of certification for the full-service one-stops and minimum certification criteria for "affiliate" or "satellite" one-stops. It is strictly up to the local Board which model will be used or whether to develop a new one.

Consistent with the spirit of the Workforce Investment Act, and the beliefs of the State Workforce Investment Board, all of the examples included in the Appendix incorporate seven quality and continuous improvement criteria. These criteria are commonly utilized by public entities and private sector corporations as a way to assess an organization's strengths and opportunities for improvement. They are also the basis by which New York State's quality award organization, The Empire State Advantage: Excellence at Work, judges organizational excellence. Many of the criteria are easily adaptable to the workforce development arena (see the Excellence in One-Stops Guidebook, pages 15-16 and the Boston and Pennsylvania examples). The seven categories are:

  1. Leadership: How the organization's senior leaders address values, performance expectations, a focus on customers and other stakeholders, empowerment, innovation, learning and organizational directions.
  2. Strategic Planning: Examines the organization's process of developing strategic objectives, as well as creating action plans and related human resource plans to support organizational direction.
  3. Customer and Market Focus: Examines how the organization determines customer/market requirements, expectations and preferences. Also examines how the organization builds relationships with customers and determines their satisfaction.
  4. Information and Analysis: Examines the performance management system and how the organization analyzes performance data and information.
  5. Human Resource Focus: Examines how the organization enables employees to develop and utilize their full potential in alignment with the organization's objectives. Also examines efforts to build and maintain a work environment and employee support climate conducive to performance excellence, full participation and personal and organizational growth.
  6. Process Management: Examines key aspects of process management, including customer-focused design of products and service delivery, as well as support, supplier and partnering processes involving all work units. Also includes how key processes are designed, managed and improved to achieve better performance.
  7. Business Results: Examines the organization's performance and improvement in key business areas - customer satisfaction, financial and marketplace performance, product and service performance, human resource results, supplier and partner results, and operational performance. Also examines performance levels relative to other organizations within the system providing similar services.

Local Certification

Each local WIB must establish a one-stop operator certification process prior to applying for State level certification. In addition, the local WIB must have a written agreement in place with each one-stop operator in the local system. This written agreement provides a basis for accountability, clarity of roles and responsibilities, and promotes inclusion of partners and integration of services. Consistent with the WIA principles of universal access, customer choice, increased accountability, and strong private sector involvement, the local certification process should also advance quality improvement methods, customer satisfaction measures, and staff development.

Suggested Elements

Listed below are basic elements of certification you may want to include in your local standards. In reviewing the list below, please note that it is not the State's intention that local areas duplicate existing documentation or processes for the purpose of certification. For instance, a business plan may already exist within the local plan. In that case, it should not be reinvented, but reviewed to ensure it contains all necessary components. The list below is not all-inclusive; examples of other items you may want to include are the establishment of business units in each One-Stop Center or the use of a standardized customer feedback process. Refer to the Appendix for examples of additional certification criteria applied by other entities.

  • Self-Assessment (based on the seven continuous improvement categories noted previously)
    • Gauges readiness as one-stop operator
    • Identifies improvement opportunities and service gaps
    • Uncovers possible resource needs
    • Strengthens organization by utilizing teamwork
  • Required Elements Checklist
    • Are mandatory partners included?
    • Are core services available?
    • Access to intensive services and training?
    • Are signed MOUs and cost allocation plans in place?
  • Business Plan Components
  • Mission/Vision
  • Operating Principles
  • Organizational Chart
  • Financial Plan
  • Performance Goals and Standards
  • Customer Service Plans (Employer and Job Seeker)
  • Customer Feedback Plan/Satisfaction Indicators
  • Technology Plan
  • Staffing and Staff Development Plan
  • Continuous Improvement Plan
  • Facilities Plan

On-Site Review

The on-site review is an essential component of any certification process. This review gives the local Board an opportunity to validate information provided in the Operator's application and ask questions that may arise after review of the written material. Conversely, the Operator is provided with an additional chance to supply information, clarify specific points, or ask questions the Operator may have about the Board's expectations. Combined with the written application, an on-site review provides the local Board with additional insight as to the Operator's readiness for certification.

Local Boards must ensure that members of the review team are appropriately trained and qualified to evaluate applicants against the established local certification standards. Notice should be given to applicants prior to the on-site review indicating date and time of visit, names of review team members and the organizations they represent, and specific topic areas that will be covered. Once the review is completed, a written feedback report should be forwarded to the applicant. The Workforce Excellence Network publication "Excellence in One-Stops Guidebook" includes additional information about conducting local on-site reviews.

One-Stop Operator Agreement

Once local certification has been awarded, the Local WIB must enter into a written agreement with each certified One-Stop Operator. At a minimum, this agreement should include the following:

  • Parties to the Agreement
  • Duration of Agreement
  • Definition of Roles/Responsibilities of Each Party
  • Mission/Vision of Local System
  • Performance Standards/Outcomes
  • Oversight and Review Schedule
  • Description of Technical Assistance Available
  • Reporting Requirements
  • Breach of Agreement
  • Modification of Agreement
  • Process for Re-Certification

This document should be flexible so that it can be reviewed and updated as necessary during the course of the agreement period.

Elements Of State Certification

State level certification will use the locally developed quality standards and criteria as its foundation. In addition to a paper review, State-level site visit teams will be dispatched to verify required elements, partner involvement, service integration and other quality indicators. If any elements are missing or found to be inadequate, feedback and technical assistance will be provided to bring the operator up to the level required for State certification. Once State certification has been achieved, it will be valid for two years from the date of award. Local WIBs may apply for recertification on behalf of their operators six months prior to expiration. Listed below are the steps involved in achieving State-level certification.

Step 1: The Local WIB develops a written One-Stop Operator certification process and submits it to the NYS Department of Labor as staff to the State WIB. The local certification process may be transmitted for review prior to OR at the time of application for State certification of the local One-Stop System/Center Operator(s). Technical assistance will be provided as requested.

Step 2: The Local WIB submits an application for State certification of locally certified One-Stop System/Center Operator(s) to:

Karen A. Coleman, Director
Division of Employment and Workforce Solutions
New York State Department of Labor
W. Averell Harriman State Campus
Building 12, Room 450
Albany, New York 12240

Applications will be accepted on a continuous basis and may be submitted for individual One-Stop Center Operators as they become locally certified or may be submitted for a One-Stop System Operator overseeing more than one One-Stop Center. In either case, all One-Stop Centers under the responsibility of the One-Stop Operator must be locally certified prior to submitting an application for State certification.

The application package must include:

  • copy of local certification process (unless previously submitted)
  • completed State certification application form
  • signed Attestation page asserting that One-Stop Operators have met local criteria
  • signed Non-Compliance Policy stating local WIB Chair has read and understands consequences of non-compliance
  • copy of local WIB/One-Stop Operator Agreement

Step 3: Once an application has been reviewed, a site visit will be scheduled to include members of the local Board, the One-Stop Operator and other individuals as appropriate. Site visits will be conducted by a team consisting of staff to the State Board and state agency workforce development partners. Generally, site visits will cover the areas listed below; however, more specific information will be given prior to the actual visit:

  • Customer flow
  • Administrative systems
  • Service and resource integration
  • Information technology systems
  • Business services
  • Quantitative and qualitative measures
  • Financial systems
  • Facility

Step 4: The site visit team will provide written feedback to the local WIB which will result in either Certification or provision of technical assistance.

Step 5: The site visit team will make annual visits to assist the local WIB in identifying improvement opportunities, training and technical assistance needs. These visits will be prearranged with local WIB Chairs. In addition, unannounced, "secret shopper" visits will take place randomly during the term of certification in order to gauge performance from a customer's point of view. Local WIB Chairs will receive a written feedback report after both the pre-arranged visits and the secret shopper visits. Additional details will be distributed to Local Board Chairs regarding how the secret shopper reviews will be conducted, the components the shoppers will focus on, and the evaluation process that will be used.

Step 6: A local WIB may apply for recertification of its system/center operator(s) six months prior to expiration of State certification. Local WIBs must ensure that all operators seeking recertification have continued to meet or exceed the local level certification criteria.

One-Stop Operator Application For State Certification

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