Operational Planning Outline

Currently, the Lancaster County Workforce Investment Board has a Strategic Plan in place that runs through June 30, 2017. 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. 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 development 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 regional economic development planning efforts as well as community development projects (ongoing) (W);

3. Act as facilitating organization for the Centers of Excellence strategic goals that was developed from the Lancaster Prospers planning initiative (seven Centers of Excellence in Long-Term Care Practice, Production Agriculture, Packaging Operations, Renewable Energy, and Manufacturing Excellence) (ongoing since November 2003) (W);

4. Work with other economic development entities to find common performance measures for economic development programs (in process as Countywide economic development plan is developed) (W);

5. Annually, brief members of the State legislative delegation from the County (ongoing since 2002) (W).

B. Support continued community 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. Annually, complete the Top 100 Hot Jobs list that projects occupations that will have significant growth over the next decade (ongoing since 2009) (W);

2. Annually, complete a Bubble Chart which illustrates the strength of industry clusters in the regional economy (ongoing since 2005) (W);

3. Organize Career Pathways that connect with clusters that have been identified and which, further, point to places where transferrable skills allow people to move between clusters (ongoing through June 2013) (W);

4. Work with employers to create a Reference Guide that provides information related to staffing patterns, WorkKeys profiles, and O*Net profiles that provide information for employers, staff, and jobseekers (ongoing since 2005) (W, CL);

5. Report data to employers and the community at large at an annual Workforce Summit (ongoing since 1999) (W);

6. Benchmark Lancaster County data with other areas around the country to compare competitive advantages (ongoing) (W);

7. Work with the other providers to identify a set of indicators for employer return on investment that can be broadly used with incumbent worker training (in second phase of development with EMSI to be completed June 2013) (W).

C. 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 are the 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 (Center of Excellence in Long-Term Care Practice) that includes long-term care providers, mental health and mental retardation facility operators, and hospitals to explore cooperative workforce initiatives.

a. Continue to position the PA CareerLink to provide assistance in recruiting employees and in preparing them for training as needed as defined by the Career Pathway for health care (ongoing since 2003) (CL);

b. Implement and maintain training options to prepare people for health care employment and/or further education (ongoing since 2003) (W, CL, IU 13);

c. Continue to offer long-term care and residential service providers training in timely topics for their incumbent workforce as funding is available through the Center of Excellence in Long-Term Care Practice (ongoing since 2005) (W);

d. Monitor the effectiveness of articulation agreements between LPN and RN programs in the County (ongoing since 2003) (W).

2. Consolidate existing manufacturing initiatives, networking them into a manufacturing-oriented center of excellence (Center for Manufacturing Excellence.

a. Reach out to existing manufacturing industry partnerships (food, metals, plastics, printing) providing training for the incumbent manufacturing workforce in generic and specific skills (ongoing since 2010) (W);

b. Work with training and technology providers to identify a Career Pathway for production-related jobs (operational by December 2012) (W);

c. Incorporate the pre-employment training defined on the Career Pathway for production into the Ready2Work and training processes of the PA CareerLink (operational by December 2012) (CL,W);

d. Validate the Career Pathway for production with employers and work with them to implement the pathways to material handling, assembly, machining, machine operation, and maintenance for entering and incumbent workers (operational by December 2012) (W).

3. Expand the existing role for leadership in the agriculture community in Lancaster County that has been in place through the Lancaster County Agriculture Council since 2011.

a. Continue to operate the Center of Excellence in Production Agriculture as a Committee of the Council to deal with issues related to training of the incumbent workforce (ongoing since 2005) (W);

b. Provide executive leadership to the Agriculture Council through contracted services that include functioning as the Executive Director of the Council (ongoing since 2011) (W);

c. Advocate for support for agriculture initiatives by various resources in the community and by state and national legislatures (ongoing since 2011) (W).

4. Lead the Statewide partnership for Industrial Maintenance and Mechatronics training across the Commonwealth.

a. Continue to provide leadership in delivery of industrial maintenance and mechatronics training through the Industrial Maintenance Training Center of PA in conjunction with the Packaging Machinery Manufacturers Institute and Reading Area Community College (ongoing since 2003) (W);

b. If it materializes, provide project and financial management for the Workforce Innovation Fund grant from the US Department of Labor (notice of award or denial expected Summer 2012) (W);

c. Keep incumbent worker training in Industry Maintenance and Mechatronics as a high priority for investment of industry funds going forward (ongoing since 2005) (W);

d. Aggressively connect the new Career Pathway for production for entry-level workers with the Industrial Maintenance and Mechatronics part of the Pathway (operational by December 2012) (W, CL).

5. Continue the development of skilled-oriented occupational clusters that cuts across the industry clusters that have been identified, following the administrative support, sales, and technical support Career Pathways (W).

a. For each of the Career Pathways, bring training providers together to cross walk curriculum to skill standards with the goal of articulating curriculum and identifying credentials (complete by June 2013) (W,CL);

b. Validate findings with industry representative (complete by June 2013) (W,CL);

c. Implement an ongoing program of staff development so that persons doing career counseling in the PA CareerLink are fully able to help customers make informed career choices and pick appropriate training in their individual planning (ongoing since 2012).

D. Wherever needed, support the workforce needs of other industry clusters that may not be on the priority list.

E. Pursue regional workforce development cooperation on the basis of industry clusters rather than geography.

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 PA CareerLink and elsewhere to support the priorities in this Plan.

1. At least annually, provide an update to the Workforce Investment Board and the PA CareerLink partners on industry cluster priorities (ongoing since 2003) (W, CL);

2. Offer regular updates to the welfare, criminal justice, adult education, and training and education systems about the overall Board strategy and specific programmatic changes in the procedures in place at the PA CareerLink (ongoing since 2001) (W, CL);

3. Maintain a close connection with the Lancaster County Re-Entry Management Organization and the groups affiliated with it (ongoing since 2007) (W, CL).

B. Develop formal, structural linkages between the Board and the Lancaster Chamber, the Economic Development Company of Lancaster County, and the Lancaster County Association of Human Resource Professionals 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).

C. Organize and deploy a process that supports linkages with employers and the Board and PA CareerLink that engages resources from a broad base of community partners.

1. Maintain an ongoing and evolving sales and marketing plan along with supporting advertising vehicles to increase the number of job orders posted on the PA CareerLink system (ongoing since 2012) (W, CL);

2. Include a specific strategy for increasing the usage of social media at every level where information is shared (ongoing since 2012) (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. Meet with welfare officials as opportunities arise to explore options to offer additional services to those people who are currently on welfare (ongoing since 2001) (W).

E. Explore the involvement of other organizations as actors or possible actors in the workforce system.

1. Find ways to invite the criminal justice system to connect with the PA CareerLink (ongoing since 2009) (W, CL);

2. Constantly explore ways to make PA 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 workers 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. Conduct new, original research to examine the connection between long-term unemployment, the decline in overall workforce numbers, and the changing relationship to work of Baby Booomers (begin in 2012 and complete in 2014 or before if possible) (W);

2. Revisit the research on the Latino community in Lancaster County that was conducted in 2007 and update all of the data using new data sources. Analyze the data and report the results to the community (report to the community in fall 2013) (W).

B. Involve community organizations based in Lancaster County (with special interest in the southeast area of Lancaster City) more extensively in the work of the PA CareerLink, particularly in job recruitment, retention and advancement activities. (SACA, W, CL).

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 (ongoing since 2001) (W, CL);

2. Support the work of the Tech Centro training center wherever possible (ongoing since 2011) (W, CL);

3. Work with community-based organizations that address the issue of underemployment and unemployment in southeast Lancaster and around the County (ongoing since 2001) (W, CL).

C. Encourages diversity in employment and increased access of marginalized people to the workforce (W, CL).

D. Prepare employers and employees to work with and in a diverse workforce (ongoing) (W, CL).

1. 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 unemployed and 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.

1. Establish virtual access points through the library system where referrals are made bidirectionally (CL).

B. Expand the development of a workforce readiness credential in cooperation with regional, state and national programs where possible. Continue to provide a program (Ready2Work) to offer the credential in cooperation with community partners (ongoing since winter 2004) (W, CL).

1. Offer Ready2Work credentials to area high school students (W, CL).

C. Wherever possible, find ways to move people into the multiple entry points of Career Pathways that lead to gold collar jobs in priority industries, focusing on entry-level and beyond;

1. Ongoing conversation with employers around the Career Pathways to ensure there is continued connection between employers and customers, along with communicating the relevance of the Career Pathways model (W, CL);

2. Connect job profiles done with employers back to the CL to inform customers of the skills needed for employment (CL);

3. Increase the opportunity for employers to present and connect with customers and staff, providing outreach through industry updates, Job Fairs ,and Industry Tours (CL).

D. Continue to 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 (ongoing since 2009) (CL, W).

E. 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 (CL).

F. Align the CareerLink service delivery system immediately to more directly address the issues involved in underemployment, including but not limited to (Ongoing since 2012 and continual update of the Service Delivery Flow chart) (CL):

1. Job advancement, career ladders, and career counseling;

2. Sector and occupational skill priorities;

3. Retention;

4. Integration with the lifelong learning system;

5. Limited English proficiency and low literacy adults.

G. Develop fee-for-service opportunities within the PA CareerLink structure.

1. Develop within the PA CareerLink a significant, state-of-the-art, fully credentialed career counseling capability and position that entity to provide services at the PA CareerLink and beyond on a contract or fee-for-service basis. (initial training of staff done in early 2012, feasibility of fee-for-service option finished by close of 2012) (CL, W);

2. Pursue the development of the PA CareerLink into a full-service testing center (initial work done in early 2012, next steps before the close of 2012) (CL,W);

3. Support the promotion of a package of services including WorkKeys, Metrix Learning, and Certiport to area businesses on a fee-for-service basis (initial work done in early 2012, work with Business Services Team to implement through 2012) (CL,W).

H. 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. Expand online training with credentials wherever possible (began Metrix in spring 2011) (CL,W);

3. Encourage the development of curriculum that can be used in classes that occur in educational institutions and companies (ongoing) (W).

I. Assure that a coordinated and rational system exists for labor exchange and training services to deal with the workforce needs of individuals affected by job churning and individuals in occupations prone to repetitive layoffs.

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 (ongoing with Lancaster Chamber since 2003-2004) (W, Lancaster Chamber);

5. Explore and implement new ways to reach out to parents to share information related to careers and the education required to access them (ongoing since 2003) (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 (ongoing since 2005 but needs to be expanded) (W);

3. Distribute career awareness information to non-educational institutions such as churches and community based organizations that serve youth (needs to be explored) (W);

4. Develop programming for employers, parents and young people around hiring students age 14 and 15 (ongoing since 2003) (W);

5. Develop all resource materials in Spanish (ongoing as needed) (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 (reenergize the effort from 2007 in 2012 with new research) (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 (ongoing since 2005) (W);

3. Advocate for improving the dropout rate being a priority for the business and economic development community (ongoing since 2005) (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 (ongoing since 2008) (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 (ongoing since 2008) (W);

3. Look for non-WIA sources of funding to continue to serve in-school, at-risk youth and potential dropouts (ongoing since 2008) (W).