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Strategic Plan for the Lancaster County Workforce Investment System
Lancaster County Workforce Investment Board in Lancaster, PA
Operational Planning Outline
Currently, the Lancaster County Workforce Investment Board has a Strategic Plan in place that runs through June 30, 2007. The Operational Planning Outline is the section of the document that summarizes the strategic initiatives and action plans that come out of the broader goals that were defined in the Strategic Plan above. That Outline is included here to demonstrate the linkage between strategic and operational planning that has occurred since the Strategic Plan was completed and to define the work plan of the Board through the period.
*In this outline, Roman numerals (I) are strategic initiatives; capital letters (A) are strategies; Arabic numbers (1) and lower case letters (a) are action plans. The timeframe for implementation is in the first set of parentheses after the description while the responsible entity within the system (W stands for Board staff while CL means CareerLink staff) follows in the second set of parentheses.
I. Build a common vision and purpose between workforce and economic development entities in the community.
A. During the entire planning period, pursue an industry cluster or sector strategy for workforce and economic development where health care, biotechnology, communications, metal and metal fabricating, automotive, food processing, and construction become priorities for workforce and economic development because they have the most potential for developing “gold-collar” jobs that raise the level of the occupational mix in the community.
1. Continue the development of a health care industry consortium that includes subgroups representing long-term care providers, mental health and mental retardation facility operators, and hospitals to explore cooperative workforce initiatives.
a. Bring a training program for certified nursing assistants into the CareerLink (completed in 2003, ongoing) (CL, LCCTC);
b. Oversee the development on behalf of the industry of a media effort stressing health care as a career option, beginning in 2001 (ongoing, completed in 2001-2003, ongoing as needed) (W)
c. Immediately position the CareerLink to provide assistance in recruiting employees and in preparing them for training as needed (structure established in 2001-2003, ongoing) (W, CL);
d. Explore with the long-term care and residential service providers the possibility of systemwide supervisory training for line supervisors beginning in 2001 (smaller scale demonstration completed in 2003-2004, project continues in 2004-2005 in partnership with PHI) (W, CL);
e. Implement new training options to prepare people for health care employment and/or further education (programs developed in 2001-2003, ongoing) (W, CL, LCCTC, IU 13);
f. Monitor the effectiveness of articulation agreements between LPN and RN programs in the County (ongoing since 2003) (W);
g. Participate in Statewide efforts to increase the number of slots available to prospective employees in health care training programs (ongoing involvement in the Leadership Council of the PA Center for Health Careers, committee charged with analyzing the supply and demand needs for health occupations in 2004-2005) (W).
2. Continue the development of a technology occupational cluster that cuts across the industry clusters that have been identified (with the changes in the information technology world, this action plan was broadened in 2002 to include all technology) (W).
a. Immediately conduct research to more specifically segment and identify the variety of technology needs that exist in Lancaster County businesses (ongoing, one part completed with Stay Invent the Future grant in 2002-2003, another completed in 2004 with study of mechatronics capabilities in local educational institutions, additional studies anticipated) (W);
b. Participate as a key partner in the Workforce Leadership Grant process of linking high schools, community colleges and colleges for technology training (ongoing since early 2003) (W);
c. Work with other workforce investment boards in the region to find funding for technology needs in manufacturing (H-1B grant submitted in spring 2003, not funded; Hershey project with High Growth Job Training Grant begun in early 2005) (W);
d. Explore the possibility of a customized job training project for skill development around technology needs for the entire technology occupational cluster (primary partner in a Workforce Leadership Grant in 2003-2004 with nanotechnology and advanced manufacturing focus, in 2005-2006 with mechatronics focus) (W, CL);
e. Continue to be a broker for WEDnet and Customized Job Training funding directed at technology whenever those funds become available (new cooperative arrangements developed in 2004 are ongoing) (W);
f. Partner with the Central PA Technology Council, educational institutions, the Chamber of Commerce and other groups in bringing at least one seminar per year for the purpose of technology transfer to Lancaster County as appropriate (technology transfer programs in nanotechnology and food processing conducted in spring 2004, in wood finishing in fall 2004; planned for poultry in winter 2005) (W).
3. Concurrently with the process of identifying skill development needs in technology, convene technology education providers to assess the assets that exist in the Lancaster County area to meet those needs and the gaps that need to be filled to have a comprehensive array of training options (major survey of knowledge and skill gaps around mechatronics conducted in fall 2004, Hershey project with High Growth Job Training Grant started in Winter 2005) (W).
4. Reach out to existing manufacturing initiatives or respond to newly emerging industry groups with the idea of networking them into manufacturing-oriented industry clusters.
a. Explore immediately existing consortia in manufacturing that exist at the Lancaster County Career and Technology Center and the Lancaster Chamber for their potential involvement in the emerging cluster (developed a process for Lancaster Chamber to be involved in manufacturing initiatives in 2004, ongoing) (W, Lancaster County Career and Technology Center, Lancaster Chamber);
b. Explore partnerships with the area manufacturing associations and the Lancaster Chamber to discuss common training needs and explore the development of an ongoing pre-employment training program for local manufacturers (creation of a Food Manufacturers Training Consortium with manufacturers association and other regional workforce investment boards in 2003-2004, ongoing) (W, Lancaster Chamber, manufacturing associations);
c. Identify training needs of a consortia of metals companies and develop training to meet the needs of companies (Manufacturing Incumbent Worker Training Grant for metals industry awarded in spring 2005 for regional consortium including York County) (W, Lancaster County Career and Technology Center).
5. Look for opportunities to focus the diverse elements related to communications into a cluster that could be formalized in the future.
a. Work with D & E and other telecommunication providers to develop a consortium for high-end communications training (in process as of spring 2005) (W, Lancaster County Career and Technology Center);
b. Explore with the PA College of Art and Design the feasibility of a Center of Excellence in Packaging Design and, if feasible, look for opportunities to fund incumbent worker training (in process as of spring 2005) (W, PCAD).
6. During the planning period, identify and take opportunities to further develop the food processing and construction industry clusters.
a. Use staff to call on as many of these businesses as possible to learn more about their operation and needs (development of Food Manufacturing Training Consortium in 2003-2004, ongoing; assessment of the technology needs of food processing companies conducted in fall 2004) (W);
b. Identify the training entities that currently service the skill development needs in these industries (ongoing process for Training Consortium; companion assessment of educational providers in mechatronics in fall 2004) (W);
c. Consider offering co-sponsored training or technology transfer events as opportunities arise (food processing event in spring 2004; regular program of Training Consortium is prolific, supported by a US DOL High Growth Job Training Grant and a Manufacturing Incumbent Worker Training Grant from the PA Workforce Investment Board) (W);
d. Work with Associated Builders and Contractors to blend the program offerings of the ABC schools of skill and management training into a broader Center of Excellence in Construction Technology (in process) (W);
e. Cooperate with the construction industry in producing and running a media recruitment effort (completed in 2003, ABC has continued the program, ongoing) (W);
f. Plan and coordinate a week of special emphasis on the lumber and wood products industry each year (completed in fall 2003, planned for spring 2005) (W);
g. Facilitate commonly needed training for employees in the lumber and wood products business (coordinated WedNet grant for basic training received in summer 2004; additional training dollars for training wood finishers received in fall 2004 through US DOL High Growth Job Training Grant) (W).
B. Wherever needed, support the workforce needs of other industry clusters that may not be on the priority list.
1. Facilitate the human resources planning for the Lancaster Convention Center project as the project develops (ongoing as of October 2003 in partnership with the PA Dutch Convention and Visitors Bureau) (W, PDCVB);
2. Lead an initiative to explore the needs of the hospitality industry in the County as a whole (ongoing as of December 2003; training program conducted by the Lancaster County Career and Technology Center funded in spring 2004 by the PA Dutch Convention and Visitors Center) (W).
C. Support continued community audit research centered on the industry cluster concept to identify other areas in the industry array that may have the potential for the significant development of “gold collar” jobs.
1. With the assistance of the persons in the Team PA Calling Program, call on every business within clusters that have been identified to determine their unique profile and needs (ongoing as of 2002) (W, CL, Economic Development Company);
2. In cooperation with the PA Workforce Analysis and Information Center, pull together an occupational profile for each emerging industry cluster (completed in spring 2003, new information required in spring 2005) (W);
3. As occupational priorities are identified, survey national and local resources for skills profiles that may exist. In their absence, commission the development of occupational profiles using local assessment resources (ongoing since 2003) (W, Lancaster County Career and Technology Center);
4. Compile a comprehensive skills map for the priority industry clusters within the County and validate it with the industries that are involved (in process) (W);
5. Work with the Corporation for a Skilled Workforce to identify a set of indicator for employer return on investment that can be broadly used with incumbent worker training (in process) (W).
D. Consistently work throughout the planning period to develop the notion among local policy makers that economic development should always be linked to the development of better jobs for the people of Lancaster County.
1. Consistently update local economic develop policy makers (County Commissioners, County Planning Office, Economic Development Company, Lancaster Chamber, PA Dutch Convention and Visitors Bureau) about research conducted by the Board (ongoing) (W);
2. Participate as a partner in local economic development planning efforts such as Lancaster Prospers, Keystone Innovation Zone, and Lancaster Innovates as well as community development projects such as Weed and Seed and James St. Improvement District (ongoing) (W);
3. Act as facilitating organization for the Centers of Excellence strategic goals that was developed from the Lancaster Prospers planning initiative (ongoing as of November 2003; seven Centers of Excellence in Long-Term Care Practice, Construction Technology, Poultry Sciences, Packaging Operations, Hospitality, Wood Finishing, and Transportation established in spring and summer 2004) (W);
4. When appropriate, ask for endorsement of policy making body (ongoing, completed with County Commissioners in summer 2002 and fall 2003) (W);
5. Work with other economic development entities to find common performance measures for economic development programs (in process) (W)
6. Annually, brief members of the State legislative delegation from the County (ongoing since 2002) (W).
E. Pursue regional workforce development cooperation on the basis of industry clusters rather than geography.
1. Work with Berks County and the South Central Board on the possibility of cooperation in the area of health care needs (ongoing as of 2002) (W);
2. Develop a cooperative effort with Berks County and the South Central Boards around construction recruitment (ongoing as of 2003) (W);
3. Explore the potential for cooperation in manufacturing skill development with York and Berks Counties (ongoing as of spring 2003) (W);
4. Research the connection between Philadelphia and Lancaster County with regard to the pharmaceutical manufacturing industry (ongoing as of spring 2003) (W);
5. Seek out other counties that have large food processing clusters for possible skill training cooperation (ongoing as of winter 2003) (W).
II. Encourage coordination and cooperation between the workforce development system; other related community systems, including but not limited to the welfare system, secondary and post-secondary education, adult basic education, economic development, aging, faith-based organizations, and others, and the business community.
A. Immediately align the service delivery system in the CareerLink and elsewhere to support the priorities in this Plan.
1. At least annually, provide an update to CareerLink partner on industry cluster priorities (ongoing with 2003) (W, CL);
2. Work with the CareerLink in interpreting the Workforce Choices program and applying it with the funding streams used at the CareerLink (in process) (W, CL).
B. Develop formal, structural linkages between the Board and the Lancaster Chamber, the Economic Development Company of Lancaster County, the Lancaster County Association of Human Resource Professionals, and the Central PA Technology Council that may or may not include membership on the Board.
1. Board membership includes representation from the Lancaster Chamber, the Economic Development Company, and the Lancaster County Association of Human Resource Professionals (ongoing since 2002) (W);
2. Board is a member of the Central PA Technology Council. Staff of organizations meet regularly (ongoing since spring 2003) (W).
C. Organize and deploy a process that supports linkages with employers and the Board and CareerLink that engages resources from a broad base of community partners.
1. Immediately develop a sales and marketing plan along with supporting advertising vehicles to increase the number of job orders posted on the CareerLink system (contract developed with the Lancaster County Career and Technology Center in fall 2004) (W, CL);
2. Engage community partners such as the Lancaster Chamber, MANTEC, the Team PA Calling Program, and the Lancaster County Career and Technology Center that have field representatives in providing information to the businesses on which they call (meetings around employer services began in fall 2004) (W, CL).
D. Continually meet with officials at the State and Federal level to discuss ways to better utilize the allocations allotted to Lancaster County for workforce development from the welfare and workforce investment systems.
1. Immediately meet with welfare officials to explore options to offer additional services to those people who are currently on welfare (ongoing dialogue with DPW officials since summer 2004 resulted in proposal to serve chronically unemployed persons in Lancaster City in December 2004) (W).
E. Explore the involvement of other organizations as actors or possible actors in the workforce system.
1. Begin immediately serious negotiations with Junior Achievement to bring the JA curriculum into an active role in the workforce system (in process) (W);
2. Explore ways to link workforce development efforts at youth-serving organizations in the community into the workforce system (Youth Coordinator hired in fall 2004) (W);
3. Constantly explore ways to make CareerLink partnership more affordable for current members and prospective member organizations by reducing infrastructure costs (ongoing) (W, CL).
F. Work with federal, state, and local initiatives to attract and retain younger worker in Lancaster County.
G. Make the Workforce Investment Board the preferred source for labor market, occupational, and career ladder information in the County for the public and private sector.
1. Respond to requests for information by local entities in a timely way (ongoing since 2001) (W);
2. Use the Board research capacity to do work for entities outside of the area as time and resources allow (ongoing since 2001) (W).
III. Improve the current workforce development delivery system so that a significant additional number of persons from racial and ethnic minorities, particularly in the southeast part of Lancaster city, are brought into the workforce.
A. In the early part of the planning period, conduct extensive research to determine the nature of the workforce needs of this area. This includes an analysis of the most recent demographic data as well as focus groups among residents and special populations within the area.
1. Work with the Partnership and County government to develop a profile of the hardcore unemployed in southeast Lancaster and a plan to reach them (ongoing dialogue with DPW officials since summer 2004 resulted in proposal to serve chronically unemployed persons in Lancaster City in December 2004) (W).
B. Involve community organizations based in the southeast area more extensively in the work of the CareerLink, particularly in job recruitment, retention and advancement activities.
1. Reach out to relevant community and faith-based organizations to involve them in helping the system better serve the Latino population within Lancaster County (in process) (W, CL);
2. Work with community-based organizations in programs that address the issue of underemployment and unemployment in southeast Lancaster and around the County (in process) (W, CL).
C. Become a voice in the community that encourages diversity in employment and increased access of marginalized people to the workforce.
D. Prepare employers and employees to work with and in a diverse workforce (ongoing) (W).
1. In cooperation with the Lancaster Chamber, the Lancaster County Association for Human Resource Management, the Lancaster County Human Relations Commission, the Urban League, the Spanish-American Civic Association and other organizations, develop and implement a low-cost training program for business that addresses what businesses need to do to prepare for greater diversity (Diversity Resource Day conducted in fall 2004, planned for fall 2005) (W);
2. Encourage and support the diversity efforts of other organizations wherever possible (ongoing) (W).
IV. Enhance the ability of the workforce development and lifelong learning systems to service the underemployed worker.
A. Monitor existing Community Access Points throughout the County and establish new ones as the opportunity and financial support presents itself using faith-based organizations, libraries, schools, and other community resources as the base of operations.
B. Explore the development of a workforce readiness credential in cooperation with regional, state and national programs where possible. When ready, implement a program to offer the credential in cooperation with community partners (ongoing since winter 2004) (W, CL).
C. Wherever possible, find ways to move people into the multiple entry points of career ladders that lead to gold collar jobs in priority industries, focusing on entry-level and beyond;
1. Work with the Building Industry Association and the Associated Builders and Contractors to develop a pre-employment training program for new hires in the construction industry (pilot program with Stevens College and BASE conducted in summer 2004) (W, CL, BIA, ABC);
2. Continue to encourage CareerLink partners to run a program for certified nurses’ assistant that is accessible to customers of the workforce system (ongoing as of 2003) (CL, W);
3. Offer short-term credentialed programs such as food safety, forklift operator, and other industry-specific training that will lead to employment. Identify other short-term training that ties into the industry clusters (in process) (CL, W).
D. Participate in existing or convene community task forces to examine the issues of child and elder care, transportation, and housing and their impact on workers in conjunction with the agencies in the community who are the primary point of contact for those issues.
1. Participate as a member of the Community Needs Committee of United Way (as of fall 2004) (W);
2. Serve on the County Housing Update Committee and the Workforce Housing Committee (ongoing as of fall 2004) (W).
E. Align the CareerLink service delivery system immediately to more directly address the issues involved in underemployment, including but not limited to:
1. Child and elder care;
3. Job advancement, career ladders, and career counseling;
4. Sector and occupational skill priorities;
6. Integration with the lifelong learning system.
F. As soon as possible, develop within the CareerLink a significant, state-of-the-art, fully credentialed career counseling capability. Position that entity to provide services at the CareerLink and beyond on a contract or fee-for-service basis.
G. Encourage through regular contacts with education providers the development of a more worker-friendly lifelong learning system, particularly in regard to more flexibility in skill training and academic coursework.
1. Wherever possible, work with education providers to introduce new models that are incumbent worker friendly (ongoing) (W);
2. Encourage the development of curriculum that can be used in education that occurs in institutions and in education that occurs in companies (ongoing) (W).
H. Assure that a coordinated and rational system exists to deal with the workforce needs of individuals for labor exchange and training services that result from job churning.
1. Explore, develop, and implement a process to assist companies as they consider closing companies and/or laying off workers in the County (task group for development of layoff aversion network started in winter 2005) (W, CL);
2. Allow Workforce Investment Act funds to flow flexibly between the various funding streams where possible (ongoing) (W).
V. Provide the emerging workforce with adequate career guidance that leads to a successful school-to-work transition.
A. Annually, brief every school superintendent in the County on the work and priorities of the Board (ongoing since 2002) (W).
B. Assure that all skill and career path materials developed in the sector strategy outlined above have a well-defined linkage with regard to skill development that reaches back into school curricula and that those connections are regularly discussed with curriculum planners, school guidance counselors, and parents.
1. Immediately pursue funding for the production of multi-media resources that would illustrate examples of “gold-collar’ jobs in Lancaster County and distribute those to schools and other community resources around the County (ongoing since 2003) (W);
2. Meet annually with school counselors to share information through seminars and worksite visits (ongoing since 2002) (W, CL);
3. Develop programs that reach back into the early elementary years to integrate career development into curriculum (ongoing since 2002) (W, CL);
4. Gather and maintain a database reflecting opportunities for student involvement with business that can be accessed by teachers and counselors in need of resources (contracted with Lancaster Chamber in 2003-2004, ongoing) (W, Lancaster Chamber);
5. Explore and implement ways to reach out to parents to share information related to careers and the education required to access them (informational series in Lancaster New Era in 2003-2004, career nights for parents scheduled for 2005-2006) (W, CL).
C. Make the Youth Council the preferred source for career resources and labor market information dissemination for young people in the County.
1. Provide ongoing labor market information to school district career personnel, school boards and students through publications, career fairs and annual career summits (ongoing since 2004) (W);
2. Provide career exploration information to parents of young people (activities planned for 2005-2006) (W);
3. Distribute career awareness information to non-educational institutions such as churches and community based organizations that serve youth (in process) (W);
4. Offer training to employers that addresses the needs of young and first time workers (in process) (W);
5. Explore the possibility of a youth employability program (in process by coordinating with YES program for adults) (W, CL);
6. Develop programming for employers, parents and young people around hiring students age 14 and 15 (in process) (W);
7. Research transportation needs for youth related to training and employment in outlying areas of the county (in process) (W);
8. Develop all resource materials in Spanish (in process) (W).
D. Be a strong voice in the County advocating programs that would reduce the dropout rate within the area.
1. Consult with the School District of Lancaster and be prepared to assist in the development of business-school building partnerships oriented to reducing the dropout rate and improving attendance (in process) (W);
2. Consult with the Partnership Charter School and be prepared to assist in the development of business-school building partnerships oriented to reducing the dropout rate and improving attendance (Executive Director joined Board of Directors in winter 2005) (W);
3. Advocate for improving the dropout rate being a priority for the business and economic development community (topic of Workforce Summit in fall 2004) (W);
4. Explore the possibility of a business-sponsored media campaign that supports completing school (not done) (W).
E. Position the Youth Council to be responsive to the expected changes to the Workforce Investment Act common measures and reduced funding in the short term.
1. Develop program models which reflect emphasis on out-of-school youth which also meet the revisions necessary when common measures are implemented (in process) (YC, W);
2. Work with districts to identify seriously at-risk youth who are on the verge of dropping out of school and explore ways to consider these youth out-of-school so they can access services (in process) (W);
3. Look for non-WIA sources of funding to continue to serve in-school, at-risk youth and potential dropouts (in process) (W).2