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Collaboration and Innovation at Work for DC’s American Job Centers

Monday, August 28, 2017

(Washington, DC) Some question whether there is any collaboration in our nation’s capital as we struggle to come to consensus on major legislation, and that is forcing many to splinter off and act alone. The workforce system in DC, on the other hand is making great strides working in partnership with key organizations to make a difference for its area job seekers and businesses.

The District of Columbia Workforce Investment Council and its Board wanted to improve job seeker and employer customer service delivery through its American Job Center system, in concert with new Federal workforce guidelines.

The Workforce Investment Council developed an innovative process to reposition its American Job Center “operator” as a ‘convener,’ of agencies and businesses that are providing high quality services for maximum impact in meeting the needs of area businesses and the labor pool.

Diane Pabich, Interim Workforce Investment Council Executive Director, remarked, “Our Board pursued an innovative design that broadens and better aligns our services and partnerships, resulting in more impactful customer outcomes and broader community results.” “At a minimum,” said Pabich, “this new approach will create efficiencies in the system and reduce duplication in alignment with lean organizational practices.”

After a significant time conducting national research, and site visits to assess other successful and innovative high performing models, the team set out to find the right provider. An RFQ was released that closed in April 2017, and then they sought partners to enhance the procurement process. They leveraged existing District partnerships with Harvard University’s Government Performance Lab, the National Association of Workforce Boards, the National Governor’s Association, the U.S. Conference of Mayors Workforce Development Council, along with leadership from other Workforce Development Boards to see what each could bring to the table in helping to secure the best provider of services.

These partners played various roles in the process including: providing input on the procurement process; offering technical assistance; identifying key evaluation measures; and offering assistance in messaging and communications. By the end of this comprehensive and collaborative process a very strong and experienced firm was selected to undertake this new innovative role.

The Workforce Investment Council Partners include: The DC Departments of Disability Services; Employment Services, Human Services; the DC Housing Authority; the Office of the State Superintendent of Education; the Potomac Job Corps Center; Youthbuild; and the University of the District of Columbia Community College.