Prioritizing Services for those Most in Need: Helping the Low-Income and Disadvantaged
Author(s): Employment and Training Administration
Organizational Author(s): U.S. Department of Labor
Workforce development professionals operate within a highly integrated workforce system complete with co-located partners, procured service providers, and shared resource leveraging.
However, funding and available public resources are still limited, so populations with significant or multiple barriers to employment receive priority for services.
Priority of Service Policies
Federal statutes focus on priority of service or needed services for veterans and individuals with disabilities. Many states also have laws or regulations that place a priority on serving other vulnerable populations, such as foster youth, public assistance recipients, the long-term unemployed, English language learners, or ex-offenders.
The vision of the one-stop system is that service providers leverage all available assets, ensure universal access, and allocate funding for low income and special populations.
Many local areas have established broad priority of service policies to ensure that hard-to-serve and disadvantaged populations identified in their demographic analysis of their region receive a greater focus in their service delivery.
Increasing Service Levels to Special Populations
In addition to a guiding priority of service policy, there are several ways to increase service levels to special populations, including:
- Targeted populations outreach and communication responsive to the demographics of the unemployed and low-income workers in your region
- Detailed referral agreements and referral processes with additional partners, public agencies, shelters, youth organizations, justice officials, etc.
- Increased recruitment and intake of participants with characteristic barriers
- Comprehensive needs-based assessments Extensive record-keeping of all participant characteristics to increase tracking and accountability, including full data entry into the case management system.
Maximizing Impact and Labor Market Success
Workforce professionals can provide a comprehensive pallet of services to remove barriers individuals face to entering and thriving in the labor market.
Disadvantaged and vulnerable populations may need supportive services, multiple service strategies, coenrollment in additional programs, referrals to community service providers, and/or a team approach on your part to succeed in the labor market.
But the most incremental accommodation or assistance often results in a safety net that can eventually lead to huge gains for the individuals seeking your help......raising the overall level of economic prosperity for the community, when they achieve positive labor market outcomes.