By Aaron Goodwin, Director, Del Norte County DCSS
A new partner has become available within our community. California’s Employment Development Department (EDD) has entered into a formal agreement with DCSS to partner with local Workforce Centers (One-Stops). The intent of this partnership is to increase outcomes for unemployed and underemployed NCPs. If you are unfamiliar with the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) grant, I encourage you to seek out ways to use this resource within your community.
WIOA has been the cornerstone of Workforce Center funding throughout California. The grant is provided through the Department of Labor which is distributed to EDD. EDD provides this grant to local Workforce Centers (WFCs) to address specific employment issues. WFCs focus on dislocated workers, youth, and adults. A dislocated worker is someone who has been involuntarily terminated, collecting unemployment/exhausted their unemployment benefit, and who is unlikely able to return to work in the same job class. Youth are between 18–24 and out of school (minor services to individuals in school).
WFCs provide a wide range of services, which include but are not limited to, on-the-job training, education, employment counseling, workshops, and formal internships. The amount of services may vary between counties due to both funding and the intrinsic economic condition of the community. Many rural counties experience higher unemployment rates which hinders the ability of the WFCs to provide employment opportunities with creditable wages.
WIOA has recently modified their plan to add LCSA partnerships. WIOA administrators have begun to engage with local child support agencies (LCSAs) to develop this agreement which has not been finalized. The agreement will specify how local boards and WFCs will partner with LCSAs. The current task within the local boards is to assess the needs and determine the scope of services feasible within the partnership.
LCSAs across the state have already established relationships with their local WFC which will help facilitate a future plan. The amount of services has not been solidified which means we have the ability to craft the relationship. Ultimately, the goal between both organizations is to increase employment which will result in better outcomes for the families we help and the community as a whole.
Del Norte County and their WFC have been crafting a local MOU over the past year which is pending implementation through the county BOS. The agreement is designed to use the WFC as a referral agency at the discretion of the Child Support Commissioner. The participant must meet the WIOA eligibility requirements and they must be a willing participant. If someone wishes to be referred, their entry into WIOA takes priority within the WFC (with a cap on referrals per year). In addition, the county is working with the local courts to allow the WFC to provide a presentation of services prior to court twice a month. This presentation will provide resources to participants while encouraging them to seek additional services.
Since the agreement between WIOA boards and our LCSAs has not been completed, it is up to us to find creditable ways to use this resource to our advantage. If our community plays an active role in this program, we may see increased collections, higher monetary orders, and increased frequency of payments. These potential results benefit both our organization and the quality of life for the families we interact with. I encourage you to reach out to this resource to determine the best way they can help your program.