Methods of Referral between local workforce partners and the consortium

WEST ABE has maintained a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Monticello workforce center, Central Minnesota Jobs and Training Service (CMJTS), recently renamed CareerForce, for over fifteen years, long before it was required to do so.   CareerForce is the one-stop operator in WSA #3. The MOU’s describes cooperative arrangements between ABE and the local WIA program providers. In the past, referrals between programs have primarily been made informally, by sharing a name when a need is identified through conversation or at intake, by either partner.  When a student is concurrently enrolled in both ABE and a Title I program, a Release of Information Form signed by the student is shared between programs. This allows both programs to share certain information, including Educational Functioning Levels and participant progress and personal information.

Under the new federal law, the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Ace (WIOA), this MOU has been updated and revised to include new and necessary requirements.  The new MOU includes the following required components:

  • A description of services to be provided through the one-stop system
  • A final plan, or an interim plan if needed, on how the costs of the services ad the operating costs of the system will be funded.
  • Methods for referring individuals between the one-stop operators and partners for appropriate service and activities.
  • The duration of the MOU and procedures for amending it
  • A plan to ensure that the MOU will be reviewed.

In WSA #3, coordination and connectivity between service providers is achieved through itinerant staff that travel between locations. Service providers on staff are knowledgeable about ABE programs and service areas.   When education needs are identified the workforce center providers are able to refer clients to ABE classrooms within their workforce service area. This happens the other way around as well where ABE providers identify a need that coincides with workforce center services.

The process of developing a stronger system, or strategy, for referring shared clients between agencies is ongoing and a priority for both ABE and the workforce center.  Clients referrals from Workforce partners for ABE services in any of the Core Service area (including reading, writing, math, GED or ESL is conducted either in writing or by direct contact between the classroom ABE instructor and local case manager.

Written letters of referral for Adult Basic Education (ABE) Workforce Preparation Services is required for following:

  • Basic Technology Skills (i.e. Basic Computer Literacy)
  • Job Seeking Skills (i.e. Resume Writing, Interviewing and Job Searching)
  • Soft Skills Necessary for Work (i.e. SCANS skills)
  • Other (content must have prior approval by the state ABE office – the ABE program may request such approval from MDE-ABE).  Workforce Preparation Services are limited to 30 hours of instructional time.

To qualify for ABE Workforce Preparation Services, a qualifying adult must be served by a state or local government agency, such as a Workforce Center, workforce investment board or MFIP employment services provider prior to being referred to the ABE program and must be referred, in writing, by staff a state or local governmental agency for one of the content areas noted above.

ABE referrals to Workforce partners for services an/or concurrent enrollment in Title I programs are conducted either in writing or by direct contact between the classroom, ABE instructor or Manager and local case manager.

WEST ABE provides on-site computer literacy skills training on a monthly schedule at the Workforce Center in Monticello. These skills training classes provide an opportunity to co-enroll participants in both ABE and Workforce Center programming.

WEST ABE and DEED are collaborating to build a stronger cross-referral system using hot referrals, i.e.: helping potential referrals connect to ABE and/or DEED by making phone calls, assisting people in using online tools, and/or providing introductions to staff that can provide more direct assistance. The WEST ABE ABE teacher at the workforce center completed the Adult Career Pathways Cohort Training in 2017-2018, which included a series of assignments and tasks related to building stronger relationships with the local workforce center.