Montana Choice Project

 

Executive Summary-Project Synopsis

Montana Choice, Control, Career: A Self-Determination

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 Total: $3,121,627

Period of Performance:†††††† October 1, 2003, through September 30, 2008

 

Consortium Partners:

 

PARTNER

 

SYSTEM/ORGANIZATION

 

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 Butte, Cut Bank, Glasgow-Wolf Point and Hamilton

 

WIA and Partner Agency Service Providers

 

Providers of Services and Training to Job Seekers and Employers.

 

University of Montana Rural Institute on Disabilities

 

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

 

Private Business

 

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 One-Stop Center is located.An employment specialist at each One-Stop will be responsible for marketing and outreach to individuals with disabilities and disability organizations that have not traditionally accessed the One-Stop Center or Workforce Investment Act Services.Local One-Stop Community Management Teams will also be utilized as a forum to educate, facilitate and collaborate customized employment opportunities.

 

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.

4.                  Increase the professional capacity of One-Stop Centers, workforce system and community partners to provide customized employment for persons with disabilities;

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.

Overview 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 and other areas of the nation.All lessons learned will be shared with local WIBs, other workforce development personnel within the state and on a national level for the purpose of replication.

 

Eligible Participants

 

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.††

 

Program Design

 

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 America.We believe best practices and lessons learned from this project will be sustained by those entities.Lessons learned will be shared with other workforce development personnel in Montana and the nation.MJTP maintains an office in Helena and has access to various means of disseminating information including the internet, mail, fax and e-mail.MJTP and the Rural Institute each have established websites which are maintained internally and provide an excellent means of acquiring feedback and disseminating information.The websites will be used to provide information on workshops, best practices, list of available resources, related links, employer and job seeker information and a calender of upcoming events.††

 

The magnitude of the projectís outcomes is wide-reaching, not only for Montana, but for rural areas throughout the nation.Participants, service providers and local economies

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.

 

- Each One-Stop Workforce Center will have a professional, well-trained and versatile staff who are knowledgeable of customized employment strategies, and responsive to the needs and interests of each customer.

 

- 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.

 

Comprehensive Strategy

 

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 needsassessments.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 improvement of Montanaís One-Stop workforce system policies and practices. Policies and procedures will be reviewed and changes will be made when appropriate.††††††

 

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 Montana and lies east of Glacier National Park.Poverty and unemployment rates are extremely high in this sparsely populated region of Montana.The predominant industry in this area is agriculture, although there is some oil and gas extraction and exploration along the Rocky Mountain Front.A private prison in Shelby is one of the regionís largest employers.

 

Northeast Montana Job Service Workforce Center serves the communities of Glasgow, population 3,253, Wolf Point, population 2,663, Malta, population 2,367, and Poplar, population 898, including the Fort Peck Reservation.Fort Peck, second largest reservation in Montana, is home to the Assiniboine and Sioux tribes.Poverty and unemployment rate are unacceptably high.The predominant industries in this area are agriculture and services.

 

Southwest Montana Job Service Workforce Center serves the communities of Butte, population 33,325, Anaconda, population 9,417, Deer Lodge, population 3,655, Dillon, population 3,752, Ennis, population 840, Philipsburg, population 969, and Whitehall, population 1,044.Butte is home to the Concentrated Employment Program workforce areaís designated One-Stop.Butte is located in southwestern Montana and best know for its history in copper mining.In the past 20 years, mining and natural resource extraction industries have nearly ceased to exist in Montana.Economic development efforts have been successful in recruiting some high tech industries.Other predominant industries are manufacturing, services, transportation and utilities.

 

Bitterroot Job Service Workforce Center and Ravalli Services Corporation in western Montana serves Ravalli County, population 37,304, and the communities of Hamilton, population 3,705, Stevensville, population 1,553, Darby, population 710, and Pinesdale, population 742.Between 1990 and 2000, the population of Ravalli County increased over 44 percent.More than 16 percent of Ravalli County residents commute to Missoula to work, a one-way distance of 47 miles.The primary industries in the area are services, trade, log home manufacturing, and tourism.

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 localworkshops 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.

 

Goal:Montana Choice will explore strategies and undertake initiatives to increase the recruitment of job seekers with disabilities who have not traditionally accessed the One-Stop Centers.

 

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 One-Stop Center will market One-Stop services and develop linkages with employers, and their professional, business and service organizations and trade associations.

 

Goal:Montana Choice will provide capacity building workshops and technical assistance for One-Stop staff, workforce development personnel, Community Management Team members, local stakeholders and job seekers so as to expand and enhance customized employment opportunities in their communities.††

 

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, One-Stop Centers and Community Management Teams, will develop and implement a schedule of regional or local training sessions associated with local capacity building and use of customized employment methods.

 

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, One-Stop Centers and US Department of Labor.Training will be modified for improvement as indicated by the evaluation.†††

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.†††††††††††

 

Goal:Montana Choice will pilot a training model for individuals with disabilities, workforce development staff, and Community Management Team members who are interested in Ecommerce, or telecommuting opportunities.

 

As the fourth largest state in the nation, Montana can be described as a ďfrontierĒ state with 6.2 persons per square mile (US Census Bureau).Frontier areas exemplify the remoteness and isolation of truly rural Americans. Job and business development efforts are often hampered by lack of transportation, limited array of jobs, availability of venture capital, and scarcity of community rehabilitation options.In the internet age, Ecommerce and telecommuting offer exciting opportunities for rural Americans, particularly individuals with disabilities who have are especially isolated, not only geographically, but economically as well because they have not been afforded the opportunity to participate in the economy.The possibilities of Ecommerce and telecommuting are endless.Communities are also winners, as residents will not have to relocate to larger communities in an effort to find employment.Thus, preventing outmigration that is devastating rural areas.This type of revitalization is exactly whatMontana needs.

 

Montana Job Training Partnership, Inc., will contract with Lone Eagle Consulting from Dillon, Montana, to provide onsite workshops, online training and online mentoring on Rural Ecommerce and Telework Strategies.Lone Eagle Consulting is on the MJTP Eligible Providers List.Anually, two one-day workshops will be held at each of the four sites.The training model will include a one day hands-on workshops followed by six months of online interaction and a final one day workshop as closure to the training.Workshops will be open to people with disabilities, family members, Community Management Team members, disability organizations and One-Stop staff.

 

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."

Goal:Montana Choice will demonstrate innovative customized employment strategies.

 

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.

 

Objective 1: Eighty participants will receive innovative customized employment services at the One-Stop Centers in Year 1; 80 in Year 2; 80 in Year 3; 64 in Year 4; and 48 in Year.

 

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 Montanaís workforce system and all stakeholders.Recommendations for policy and practice changes will be recommended to the local Workforce Investment Boards.

 

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.

 

Other Activities

 

Montana Choice through its partnerships with the local One-Stop Centers and Community Management Teams will explore how the centers may be able to participate in Ticket to Work as employment networks.Ticket to Work may provide long-term sustainability for Montanaís One-Stop System.

 

Use of Plans to Achieve Self Support and Social Security Work Incentives provide an additional financial resource for qualifying individuals with disabilities.Montana Choice will provide One-Stop Center staff with the tools necessary to assist individuals with disabilities access these resources.The Rural Institute has been very successful in assisting individuals write and receive approvals for Plans to Achieve Self Support.

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 Butte, Cut Bank, Glasgow/Wolf Point, and Hamilton to provide funds for staff and resources to complete the goals and objectives of this project including strategic planning, marketing, outreach, recruitment and direct client services.The applicants will communicate via telephone, e-mail, video conferencing, and onsite visits as often as necessary to carryout project goals and objectives.†† The Workforce Center will submit quarterly expenditure and narratives which report on their outreach and recruitment activities, participant outcomes, success stories, other activities conducted, problems encountered and other issues.MJTP will submit reports, as required, to US Department of Labor.

 

MJTP will subcontract with the University of Montana Rural Institute on Disabilities to conduct workshops, provide technical assistance, conduct job seeker satisfaction surveys and test and train on video conferencing and related technologies.†† The Rural Institute will submit quarterly narrative reports to MJTP on lessons learned, best practices and success stories.

 

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 One-Stop Workforce Center offices in Butte (1.0 FTE), Cut Bank (1.0 FTE), Glasgow/Wolf Point (1.0 FTE) and Hamilton (.5 FTE), and .5 FTE for an employment specialist at Ravalli Service Corp., a work activity center in Hamilton.The centers reserve the right to hire new staff or reassign existing staff.The job description for an employment specialist is Appendix HH.

†††††††††††

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 One-Stop Workforce Centers, Community Management Teams, Participating Organizations and Local Communities.

 

This project will target four geographically separate areas in Montana which includes the communities of Butte, Cut Bank, Glasgow/Wolf Point and Hamilton.This mix of communities will allow the project to evaluate interventions in both rural and urban settings.

 

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 continuouslyimprove Montanaís One-Stop workforce system policies and practices.

 

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.

†††