More needed to support low-wage adult workers
- November 19, 2014
Comments on Ohio’s Uniform Workforce Plan
The state uniform workforce plan announces 10 reforms and three goals for the Ohio workforce system: to help more Ohioans compete for quality, living-wage jobs with opportunity for career advancement, to help employers succeed and grow, and to provide job training in high-demand occupations that also results in work-place valued credentials. Helping more Ohioans gain marketable job skills and helping more people connect to decent work is a step in the right direction. But, as with most strategic plans, “the devil is in the details,” or rather in the implementation of the strategic vision. This draft plan falls in the waning months of the Workforce Investment Act. About six months after this draft plan is finalized, the rulebook will change. The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) takes effect in July, with state plans due in March 2016. This draft plan will be in effect during a critical transition period and for that reason the plan should focus on reforms that set the stage for success under WIOA. To be better prepared for WIOA’s focus shift to low-income adults and youth with barriers to employment the state plan should do the following:
Registration with Ohio Means Jobs should be optional, or at least include waivers and alternative equivalent services for those that have access barriers.
The state should include workforce programs embedded in TANF and SNAP in their uniform strategic plan.
The state plan should include higher education as a critical workforce partner.
Ohio should eliminate the sequence of service requirement, and focus on connecting clients to the tools they need to compete for decent work.
Sanctions under WIOA are tough. Consistent failure in one program’s metrics will lead to a financial sanction at the state level. Planning the WIOA transition now will give Ohio a better chance to meet and exceed the new measures. But more importantly, WIOA-focused planning will help vulnerable populations gain access to quality employment and training services, improving the lives of individuals, the stability of families, the labor pool for employers, and ultimately, the vibrancy of our Ohio communities. Read our full comments at www.policymattersohio.org/workforce-plan.
Policy Matters Ohio is a non-partisan, non-profit policy research institute,
on the web at www.policymattersohio.org.