Partner4Work is the workforce investment board that helps employers, job seekers, agencies, and policy makers in the Pittsburgh area to develop a thriving workforce by connecting them to funding, expertise, and opportunities. As such, they are responsible for the operations of the CareerLink, Pennsylvania’s one-stop center for employers and jobseekers.
The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act created a new position, the One-Stop Operator, to support the seamless coordination of all the agencies that offer services through the one-stop center. Partner4Work saw this an opportunity to bring a fresh, third-party perspective to the system, and engaged Fourth Economy Consulting to serve as the Operator.
As new entrants to the workforce development board, our team began our engagement by learning all we could about the system through interviews with stakeholders, observing organizational operations, and reading relevant documents. We then brought together all of the staff from the four core partners in the system to establish a shared vision and goals. Those goals and the input gathered from that session informed the development of working groups in three areas: marketing and communications, employer engagement, and program referrals. In addition to facilitating those working groups, we instituted monthly all-staff meetings and revamped the approach to core partner meetings to ensure more effective collaboration.
The results of this work have included tangible outcomes, such as a new CareerLink Pittsburgh website, the creation of a system to track partner referrals, the implementation of an electronic sign-in system, and the integration of new partners, including the AARP Foundation and Urban League. However, the most important results have been the intangible ones. After engaging our team, partners reported “improved communication between partners,” better “understanding of [partners’] services,” and greater“ passion amongst all partners to serve our CareerLink customers well.”