A strong economy and low unemployment should mean opportunity for all. But the reality is that not all have equitable access to quality jobs and upward mobility. Wages have not kept pace with the cost of living with many working families struggling to make ends meet. At the same time, businesses struggle to find the skilled workforce necessary to meet their needs. Traditional services are not sufficient. A strong Montgomery County workforce development system must implement both economic development and social service strategies, requiring inclusive and intense stakeholder engagement.
Through stakeholder engagement, workforce development service delivery is more efficient and effective. Key to enhancing service delivery is collective stakeholder facilitation and leadership to convert from current practices of isolated and disconnected entities of service delivery to a community of service providers engaging a systemic approach that cohesively brings together industry, education, government, and community-based services in an integrated and comprehensive way. A community of service providers shares a vision, vocabulary, strategies, and outcomes. For example, to achieve sustainable employment for our job-seekers, the criteria of employability must be collaboratively developed with the employer.
WorkSource Montgomery's Strategic Priorities are:
1. To increase strong customer-focused practices with a sustainable employment placement rate.
- Through many enhancements within the operations of the Job Centers and the implementation of the HIRE (Helping Individuals Reach Employment) program, WSM and our partners have improved customer access by bringing the services such as workshops and job assistance supports into community libraries and regional centers.
- Utilizing a data driven approach, future strategies include expansion of the HIRE programs to address regional demographics, through the expertise and partnership of our non-profit partners that are well established within the community. Community partnerships build trusting relationships and individualized career navigation with the job-seekers promoting stronger employment sustainability.
2. To increase employer engagement and career pathway partnerships in strategic industries.
- Strong formalized partnerships with Montgomery College (MC) and The Universities at Shady Grove (USG) resulted in new pathway programs in construction, transportation, auto-technician, IT/coding, health care, hospitality and entrepreneurship.
- Utilizing a data driven approach, future strategies include increased work-based learning opportunities, stronger partnership with MCPS and its career readiness program, including active participation with the Montgomery County Collaboration Board (MCCB), and increased hiring events.
3. To enhance current community-based partnerships.
- Through monthly meetings with our core partners housed at the Wheaton Job Center, we have formalized coordination of services through an MOU agreement that resulted in mutual referrals for supportive services addressing barriers to employment, cross-agency training, shared processes, and enhanced communication.
- In partnership with key stakeholders, future strategies include asset mapping, assessing resources, and identifying gaps of services, in order to replicate the intent of the MCAL model by convening and building capacity to all workforce development providers in order to better serve the most vulnerable.
What We Do
Through many enhancements within the operations of the Job Centers in Montgomery County and with the implementation of the HIRE (Helping Individuals Reach Employment) program, WSM and its partners have already improved customer access by bringing the services such as workshops and job assistance supports into community libraries and regional centers. WSM will also soon be relocating the Wheaton Job Center into upgraded and expanded facilities, to support expanded partnerships and training opportunities. Future strategies include expansion of the HIRE programs to address regional demographics, through the expertise and partnership with non-profit partners that are well established within the community. Community partnerships help to build trusting relationships and individualized career navigation opportunities for job-seekers, while promoting stronger employment sustainability.
Who We Serve
The WDB has developed an eligibility policy to reflect the state’s priority of service guidance (posted on the WSM website).
WIOA law has identified the following populations as targeted under priority of service:
- public assistance recipients,
- low-income adults; and/or
- individuals who are basic skills deficient
How We Impact
WSM understands that no matter how streamlined the system is, some customers will need additional navigational support. Core partners are currently reviewing how best to help both sets of customers navigate the system. In addition, WSM will continually work with partners to enhance and eliminate gaps in the customer flow and service delivery model that inhibits customers from receiving meaningful access.
What We Do
A strong workforce system ensures that the business community/employers share real-time talent demands, including the skills and dispositions to be successful within current occupations, as well as the anticipated occupations of the future. WSM works closely with the Montgomery County Economic Development Corporation (MCEDC) for job-market analysis that identifies Montgomery County’s distinctive attributes and supply and demand dynamics. Utilizing these metrics, we can provide the business community with the right talent so that all industry sectors can maintain a high level of economic competitiveness and growth.
In addition to providing an analysis of labor market data, WSM has convened targeted industry focus groups. Utilizing their input, WSM has developed industry-focused career maps in the area of health care, information technology, and construction. Additional career maps for transportation, hospitality, and life sciences occupations are in-development. To address critical pipeline development in these and other career pathways, WSM has engaged Montgomery County Public Schools, Montgomery College, and The Universities at Shady Grove in formal collaboration agreements to create and implement innovative talent development projects.
To further extend resources and efforts, WSM has been awarded multiple grants for enhancing talent development, through targeted career pathways programs aimed at closing the skills gap and mitigating barriers to employment. These pathway programs target participants that are underrepresented in the industry. Convening and creating opportunity for all necessitates the coordination of public and private-sector policies and programs that provide individuals the opportunity for a sustainable livelihood and supports employers’ goal achievement that is consistent with the societal context.
Who We Serve
INDUSTRY-LED CAREER PATHWAYS
To ensure quality service to employers and a new Business Solutions approach, consistent and frequent employer outreach and services are currently being provided. This approach is based on best practices and is designed to ensure internal system-wide alignment and external consistency when reaching out to employers.
WSM is engaging employers throughout their business life cycle, promoting strategic growth through career pathways and strong talent development. WDB views its Business Solutions approach as a key part of a comprehensive workforce development system. Strategic partnerships are critical partners in engaging employers in workforce development programs including DLLR, DORS, the Maryland Department of Commerce, Montgomery County Government, local chambers of commerce, economic development entities, industry associations, community-based organizations, faith-based organizations and an outstanding system of college, university and training entities.
How We Impact
WSM continues to cultivate industry-sector partnerships using the following steps:
Convene industry-led capacity building groups
- Determine current and future employment needs
- Identify required skill sets for each career
Create training curriculums and work/learning experiences
- Employability skills
- Technical training
- Work-learning opportunities (Earn while you learn)
Industry-led talent development projects
- Training programs
- Career awareness campaigns
- Connection to pipeline—targeted recruitment efforts
- Career pathway articulation
- Pipeline Development (Community-Based Organization, MCPS, Higher Education Professional and Business Associations)
- Incumbent worker training
- Outreach/recruitment within region for immediate employment demands
What We Do
WSM embraces the critical role of faith-based organizations and CBOs in serving the needs of individuals seeking assistance to help job seekers needs beyond job placement and training assistance. They provide services by connecting individuals and families to the resources including housing, medical, family support services and counseling services. They also serve as a focal point in communities and are trusted allies, individuals, and ethnic groups that do not know how to access AJC services. Over the next year, the WSM will be exploring the idea of utilizing these organizations to serve as possible access points.
Who We Serve
Enhancing partnerships serves all job-seekers in the County with multiple barriers to employment through coordinated services that range from income security to job accessibility such as childcare, transportation, and employability skill training.
How We Impact
Through strategic partnership, we are able to enhanced the quality of life for the job seeker and their families through out the county.