Executive Summary-Project Synopsis
Approach to Workforce Development System Innovation
Applicant:†††††††††††††††††††††††††††† †Montana Job Training Partnership, Inc., administrative entity/grant recipient for the Balance of State and Concentrated Employment Program Workforce Investment Boards.
Funds Requested: †††††††††††††††First Year: $717,794, Five Year
Period of Performance:††††††
ROLE IN IMPLEMENTATION
Montana Job Training Partnership, Inc.
Administrative Entity/Grant Recipient for the Balance of State and Concentrated Employment Program Workforce Investment Boards
Administrative Entity/Grant Recipient of Grant; oversight and liaison services; report best practices to WIBs and others; implement WIB policy changes.
Balance of State WIB
Policy Making Board for Local Area
Oversight of One-Stop Centers
Review policies and practices regarding service to people with disabilities; and incorporate new and innovative practices, as appropriate.
Concentrated Employment Program WIB
Policy Making Board for Local Area
Oversight of One-Stop Centers
Review policies and practices regarding service to people with disabilities; and incorporate new and innovative practices, as appropriate.
One-Stop Workforce Centers in
WIA and Partner Agency Service Providers
Providers of Services and Training to Job Seekers and Employers.
Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities Education, Research and Service
Subcontract with MJTP to provide professional
development and training to Workforce Investment System.
Lone Eagle Consulting
Subcontract with MJTP to provide training and technical assistance on Ecommerce and Telecommuting.
The Population to be Served: Montana Choice will target individuals with disabilities who are either unemployed or underemployed and are receiving SSI or SSDI; or participating in day programs or facility-based or community employment and earning less than minimum wage; or participating in segregated employment and choosing to move to integrated, competitive employment; or youth with disabilities transitioning from school to work as described in the SGA.† The target population will be identified in each of communities where a
Based on our knowledge of the local areas, we anticipate most of the individuals the project serves will be those who are receiving SSI or SSDI, participating in segregated day programs or sheltered workshops, currently being served by Vocational Rehabilitation, but not accessing One-Stop services, and youth with disabilities who are transitioning from school to work.
How the Goals of the Proposal Will be Achieved:† The purpose of Montana Choice is to increase the integration of people with disabilities into the workforce via the use of customized employment leading to competitive employment, business ownership, micro-enterprise development, entrepreneurship and other employment options which fit the needs of the individual with a disability.† This will be accomplished by following four guiding principles: community inclusion, collaboration, building and enhancement of partnerships, and empowerment of people with disabilities.†††††
Briefly, this project will focus on seven areas over a five-year period:
1. Engage in strategic planning with local One-Stop Community Management Teams to evaluate and continuously improve of Montanaís One-Stop workforce system policies and practices in regard to services to people with disabilities;
2. Recruit job seekers with disabilities who have non traditionally accessed the One-Stop Centers;
3. Market and strengthen linkages with employers and their professional, business, and service organizations and trade associations.†
Increase the professional capacity of One-
5. Develop employment opportunities and demonstrate customized employment initiatives for people with disabilities; and
6. Research opportunities and implement training program for individuals with disabilities in Ecommerce and telecommuting;
7. Develop and implement a technology-support and video conferencing-based network with each One-Stop member for the purpose of providing cross-training and technical assistance between and among all partners in a way that promotes mutual collaboration, problem-solving and sharing of blueprints for success.
of the plan for sustainability:
The Montana One-Stop Workforce Centers will serve as a learning laboratory for
model services to people with disabilities in rural areas.† After five years, best practices and lessons
learned from this project will be sustained by those entities and practiced by
other WIA service providers in
Montana Choice will target individuals with disabilities who are either unemployed or underemployed and are:
a. Receiving Supplementary Security Income (SSI) or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI); or
b. Participating in day programs (such as day habilitation, day activity or day health programs) or participating in facility-based or community employment and earning less than minimum wage; or
c. Participating in segregated employment and choosing to move to integrated, and competitive employment; or
d. Awaiting employment services and supports following a move from a residential facility, or as part of a plan to move into a community under the Supreme Court decision in Omstead v. L.C. by Zimring,, 527 U.S. 581(1999); or
e. Transitioning from, or preparing to transition from, secondary school under a transition plan under part B of the IDEA, as amended (20 USC 1400 et seq.), and who, without access to customized employment strategies, would likely be referred to one of the environments in (2), (3), or (4) above, but who prefers integrated, competitive employment or self-employment.††
This project will serve as a learning laboratory of how
self-employment and business ownership can be viable options for people with
disabilities, especially those who live in rural
The magnitude of the projectís outcomes is wide-reaching, not only
all stand to benefit.† The following outcomes will be achieved during the five year project period:
- Each Community Management Team will develop and implement a strategic plan that identifies strategies and interventions to support customer choice and provide quality services which lead to successful job attainment.
- During the course of the five-year project,† a minimum of 352 eligible individuals with disabilities will receive direct-client services and 200 front-line staff, parents, individuals with disabilities and community stakeholders will participate in the strategic planning and implementation of the customized employment project.†
- By the end of the five-year period we expect 60 percent of all project participants will have entered conventional or self-employment, earning an average wage of $8.50 an hour.††
- The project will document that customized employment services like Ecommerce, self-employment, microbusiness, entrepreneursip, telework and competitive employment are viable options to employment.†
The purpose of Montana Choice is to increase the integration of people with severe disabilities into the workforce via the use of customized employment services leading to competitive employment, business ownership, micro-enterprise development, Ecommerce, entrepreneurship, telecommuting or other employment options which fit the needs of the individual with a disability.† Our comprehensive strategy to create system change requires each consortium partner to fulfill the following goals and objectives.
Goal:† Montana Choice will engage local One-Stop Community Management Teams in strategic planning which affects the design, development, evolution,† continuous improvement, and evaluation of the Montana One-Stop Workforce System.
The Community Management Team has representatives from all of the Workforce Investment Act partners (including Vocational Rehabilitation and the Employment Service), economic development agencies, local elected officials, community rehabilitation programs, employers, other human service programs, and local Workforce Investment Board members.
Objective 1. Annually, an employment specialist assigned to this project at the local One-Stop will facilitate and document the Community Management Teamís needs† assessments.† Each year, the CMT will review best practices and lessons learned.† Consumers, families, employers, professionals, and others will be invited to participate to develop a specific capacity building plan and to report on annual accomplishments.†
Objective 2. A strategic business plan will be developed by the Community Management Teams.† The plan will include marketing, outreach and capacity building strategies, identify resource needs and include timelines.
Objective 3. The employment specialist, at each local One-Stop, will develop a master schedule of activities, milestones, and evaluation benchmarks will be developed for each local One-Stop Center to guide the yearís activities in developing replicable customized training services and community employment approaches, including self-employment, competitive employment, Ecommerce, telecommuting, and supported employment.
Objective 4.† In the spirit of universal access, successful customized employment strategies will be replicated to meet the needs of other target groups such as TANF recipients, at-risk youth, dislocated workers, Native American populations, long-term unemployed, offenders, and others.†
To achieve this goal, the project will provide local One-Stop Centers with grant funds which will be used to provide each Center with an employment specialist to conduct the required activities proposed.† The employment specialist will be responsible for conducting or facilitating all activities described in this proposal, documenting resource needs, marketing and outreach strategies, lessons learned and best practices, and reporting progress to Montana Job Training Partnership, Inc.† A program specialist at Montana Job Training Partnership, Inc. will serve as the project director and ensure the project is following the workplan and timelines described in this proposal.
Montana Choice will utilize local One-Stop Community Management Teams to engage
in strategic planning and implementation activities with collaborating entities
throughout the five-year period for the purpose of evaluation and continuous
The project will initially target Workforce Investment Board-certified One-Stop Centers in four geographic regions of the state.†† Generally, the regions are rural and isolated with little economic diversification.† Please note that Montana Job Training Partnership, Inc., reserves the right to expand to additional areas, should the local Workforce Investment Act Boards certify additional One-Stop Centers.
Rocky Mountain Front Workforce Center in northcentral
Montana serves the communities of Cut Bank, population 3,105, Browning,
population 1,065, Chouteau, population 1,893, Conrad, population, 2,844, and
Shelby, population 3,216, including the Blackfeet
Reservation, home of the Blackfeet Nation.† The Blackfeet
Reservation covers over 1 Ĺ million acres in north central
Job Service Workforce Center serves the communities of
Southwest Montana Job Service Workforce Center serves the communities of
Bitterroot Job Service Workforce Center and Ravalli Services
Corporation in western
Montana Choice will develop and increase the professional capacity of One-Stop Centers, workforce system and community partners to provide customized employment services for persons with disabilities.† This will be accomplished by providing local† workshops which include topics such as vocational profiling, job carving, person-centered career planning, supported employment, job development, individual training accounts, Social Security Work Incentives, Plans to Achieve Self Support, Ticket to Work, Medicaid/Medicare, Olmstead decision/portability and choice, self-employment/entrepreneurship, post-employment supports, Ecommerce,
telecommuting, small business development, and assistive technology.† The content of each regional workshop will be based on the local needs assessment.
Objective 5.† MJTP will report best practices, lessons learned and policy suggestions to the Workforce Investment Boards for the purpose of incorporating promising and innovative customized employment practices.
Objective 1.† The local One-Stop Community Management Teams will invite representatives from disability organizations, institutions, and sheltered workshops to serve as members on the CMT.† Community Management Teams will also seek members who have disabilities.†
Objective 2.† An employment specialist at each local One-Stop Center will market the One-Stop to disability organizations, workshops and institutions by providing informational sessions which describe the available services, making direct contact with school systems and parents, and by actively recruiting persons with disabilities in their communities.
Objective 3. An employment specialist at each local
Objective 1. The Rural Institute will review the training needs of the One-Stop staff and Community Management Team needs assessment to determine existing capacity and ongoing training needs.†† From the assessment results, training agendas and materials will be developed for each site.
Training may include, but not be limited to self-determination and choice, marketing and outreach, rural job development strategies, Ecommerce, telecommuting, self-employment feasibility and business planning, job coaching, cultural diversity, disability awareness, SSA work Incentives (PASS/IRWE/BWE/Ticket to Work), functional vocational assessment, consumer self-determination, family power and involvement, worksite self-management, person-centered planning, developing natural worksite and community supports, community organizing, problem solving, assistive and universal technology and design, and accessibility. ††††††
Objective 2.†† The Rural Institute in collaboration with MJTP,
Objective 3. †Training will be open to all WIA service providers, Vocational Rehabilitation staff, advocates, constituents, including individuals with disabilities, vendors, tribal representatives, policy makers, individuals seeking to become personal agents, and stakeholders.††††††††††††
Objective 4. †The Rural Institute will perform outreach activities to identify participants for direct services throughout the four sites.† ††† †††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††
Objective 5. The Rural Institute will develop and implement an evaluation instrument.† Training programs will be evaluated by end-users (One-Stop staff, Community Management Team members, customers, family members, employers, and co-workers).† Results of the evaluation will be compiled and shared with MJTP, Community Management Teams,
In the spirit of continuous improvement and in response to end-user evaluations, the Rural Institute and Montana Job Training Partnership may develop additional training manuals and curriculum to meet local needs as necessary.†††††††††††
As the fourth largest state in the nation,
Montana Job Training Partnership, Inc., will contract with Lone
Eagle Consulting from
Additionally, Lone Eagle Consulting will develop customized training programs.† This may include (1) customizing Rural Ecommerce and Telework strategies specifically to the needs of disabled workers, including a current overview of appropriate assistive technologies, best practices and success stories; (2) customizing a training program for Community Management Teams who want to build a community website to market local goods and services; or (3) customizing engagement programs to directly involve citizens in creating content for local web-based collaborative community networks through multiple events along with online training.
Objective 1. Trainees will learn online self-directed learning and group collaboration skills by participating in the online course "Rural Ecommerce and Telework Strategies." This hands-on overview of what's working for others in rural communities will include an emphasis on the best resources and employment models related specifically to "re-abled" individuals.
Objective 2.† Trainees will develop electronic portfolios will document their skills and will serve as a self-assessment for planning future skill development. These online resumes will be posted on national job-seeking, telework, and telecommuting job sites.
These skills will provide for ongoing skill development and ongoing sharing of new employment opportunities relevant to the participants.
Objective 3.† Trainees will learn the four most essential skills for Ecommerce and Telework Readiness: Searching and Browsing Skills (The Power of a Self-Directed Learner), Creating Your Own Web Pages (The Power of Self-Publishing Globally), Communicating and Working Together (The Power of Building Learning Communities through Internet Collaboration) and Learning-to-Earn for Sustainable Communities (The Power of Building Online Communities).† In addition, emphasis will be given to developing awareness of the state-of-the-art in assistive technologies relevant to the disabilities of the participants and connecting with those service agencies able to provide assistance acquiring and learning these assistive technologies.
Objective 4.† Trainees receive a certificate of completion and will be eligible to serve as mentors to their peers statewide to further develop their telework and collaborative skills and their mentoring successes will be thoroughly documented in their electronic portfolios.
Objective 5.† The role of trainees facilitating the integration of community members in awareness of the one-stop centers will be documented.†††
As searching skills are developed, citizens gain the ability to
gather valuable new resources of benefit to themselves and the community.† As basic web-authoring skills are developed,
citizens gain the ability to share unlimited resources with the community and
the world in a convenient public manner.†
As online collaboration skills are developed, citizens become more
connected to their community which creates new opportunities.† As mentoring skills are developed, citizens
gain the understanding of how to combine email, searching, and web-authoring
skills to share knowledge effectively to make a real difference in the lives of
others.† As both social and economic value are demonstrated, the entrepreneurial potential of the
Internet will become increasingly clear.†
"Information condenses to Knowledge which condenses to Wisdom and
VALUE is created in the information age."
Montana Choice will use project funds to demonstrate the use of customized employment strategies such as individual budgets, skills training, paid work experience, self-employment, entrepreneurship, Ecommerce, business ownership, telecommuting, microenterprise development, development of cooperatives, and post-employment supports.
Eighty participants will receive innovative customized employment services at
Objective 2: Customized employment services will result in a job placement or self-employment rate of 60 percent.
Objective 3: The employment specialist and MJTP will document the mix of services and interventions, including non-WIA services and funding a participant receives for the purpose of evaluating the interventions used and outcomes gained.†††††††††††
Objective 4: MJTP
will share best practices and lessons learned with
Goal:† To develop the quality and effectiveness of the customized employment model services for and with the job seeker of One-Stop agencies impacted by the project.
Objective 1.† The Rural Institute will develop a questionnaire that gauges job seeker satisfaction with the process of services that have been provided; implement the process of ongoing job seeker satisfaction through the One-Stop Centers; compare and correlate the results of job seeker satisfaction with outcome data, relative to jobs developed or acquired, time to employment placement and longevity of employment.
Objective 2.† The Rural Institute will regularly communicate the findings of the job seeker evaluation activities to One-Stop staff and Community Management Team members.
Objective 3.† All project partners will integrate the results of the job seeker evaluation into the process of planning and implementation of training and technical assistance.
Goal:† To develop and successfully implement a technology-support and video conferencing-based network with each One-Stop member for the purpose of providing cross-training and technical assistance between and among all partners in a way that promotes mutual collaboration, problem-solving and sharing of blueprints for success.
Objective 1: The Rural Institute will install, test and train on video conferencing and related technologies at each site.††††††
Objective 2: The Rural Institute will develop and implement a schedule of logistic coordination meetings with the partners.
Objective 3: The Rural Institute will implement and schedule multi site-wide conferences associated with project planning and group-based collaboration, problem-solving and sharing of blueprints for success.
Objective 4: The Rural Institute will establish an ongoing system of enhanced sustainability and networking by implementing an online threaded discussion forum for project partners to access and interact through; developing and implementing four multi-media based, online and CD modules associated with the blueprints for success; establishing and implementing a calendar of video conferenced-based peer mentors that are webcast live and archived for later retrieval and viewing on-demand; and implement and analyze the data from a process of ongoing project evaluation designed specifically for the videoconference network activities and collaborative relationships.
Goal:† To develop and implement a comprehensive system of electronic dissemination of project activities, outcomes and resources.
Objective 1.† The Rural Institute will develop a website to electronically disseminate information, via quarterly newsletters and annual monographs, promising practices and lessons learned from the Montana Choice project.†
Montana Choice through its partnerships with the local
Use of Plans to Achieve Self Support and Social Security Work
Incentives provide an additional financial resource for qualifying individuals
with disabilities.† Montana Choice
System change can only occur with the involvement of employers and buy in from the local Community Management Teams.† The CMT has representatives from all of the Workforce Investment Act partners (including Vocational Rehabilitation and the Employment Service), economic development agencies, local elected officials, community rehabilitation programs, employers, other human service programs, and local Workforce Investment Board members.† Their commitment to addressing the needs of individuals with disabilities in their communities is critical to the projectís success.† Sustainability will also be a product of a well-trained, professional One-Stop staff with knowledge of customized employment options, for example, telecommuting, online training, Ecommerce, post employment supports will ensure that job seekers received quality services.† Additionally, through the Montana Choice project we plan to enhance electronic, online communications that link all One-Stop centers.† We will use the electronic linkages to provide peer-to-peer training and problem solving, share best practices, and post success stories.
MJTP will maintain the participant management information system;
subcontract with the Montana Department of Labor and Industry, Workforce
Services Division for the One-Stop Workforce Centers in
MJTP will subcontract with the
MJTP will subcontract with Lone Eagle Consulting to provide onsite workshops, online mentoring and technical assistance on Ecommerce and telecommuting.† Annually, MJTP and Lone Eagle will work with the One-Stop Workforce Centers to develop a training schedule.†† Lone Eagle will submit quarterly narrative reports to MJTP on lessons learned, best practices and success stories.†
This project will provide funds for 3.5 FTE at the
The following timeline highlights the planned activities and responsibilities for each year of the five year project.† As demonstrated throughout this proposal, customer feedback and continuous improvement activities are part of every aspect of the Montana Choice project.†
Evaluation and Continuous Improvement
Customer feedback via evaluations, focus groups and surveys is woven throughout the Montana Choice project.† MJTP in collaboration with the Rural Institute on Disabilities will evaluate three dimensions of Montana Choice: impact on persons receiving services, impact on One-Stop Centers, Community Management Teams, participating organizations and local communities, and impact on workforce system policies.
Dimension 1: Impact on Persons Receiving Customized Employment Services.
Participant demographics, activity and outcome data will be confidentially maintained in Montana Job Training Partnershipís management information system.
Participant feedback will be gathered to evaluate the programís effectiveness and to make changes during the project to better meet the needs of the customer.† Feedback and evaluation will be an ongoing process.† Employment specialists at the One-Stop Centers will have ongoing contact with participants.† General trends will be discussed and analyzed.
MJTP in partnership with the One-Stop Centers will collect employment/self-employment and wage information and customer satisfaction data when the participant starts his/her business or enters employment, and at 90 days, 180 days and 12 months following placement or business start-up.†
This data will measure the impact on the individuals served and will include, but not be limited to, occupation or type of business/self-employment endeavor, types and cost of services provided (including those from other resources), hours worked, business development effort/expense, salary or net/gross weekly earnings, career advancement, ethnicity, type of disability, natural support and self-determination strategies employed, transportation method, quality of life and other comparison data.
Follow-up data will be collected through one-on-one interviews, telephone surveys or mail surveys.† Success stories will be recorded and reported to US Department of Labor.
Dimension 2: Impact on
This project will target four geographically separate areas in
This dimension will measure the competencies gained by One-Stop
Center staff, workforce development staff and others who participate in the
capacity building workshops, as well as the issues, problems and solutions
identified by end-user focus groups, self-assessment and customer surveys will
be documented throughout the five-year project.†
This information will be provided to the Workforce Investment Boards,
workforce development partners and stakeholders to evaluate and continuously† improve
Dimension 3: Impact on One-Stop and Workforce System Policies and Practices.
This dimension will evaluate actions taken by the local WIBs and administrative entity which directly affect service to people with disabilities.† It will document how customized policies and practices were improved and expanded statewide as a result of the training and technical assistance provided under this project.† The Program Specialist at Montana Job Training Partnership, Inc., assigned to this project will be responsible for gathering project and participant data and outcomes.† The Program Specialist will work closely with staff from the Rural Institute on Disabilities to document the outcomes and progress of the project.† Lessons learned, best practices and performance data will be presented to the BOS and CEP Workforce Investment Boards and their Youth Councils for analysis, comment and discussion.† Comments from the meetings will be documented.