Unemployment is rising rapidly as Gross Domestic Product is at its lowest level in decades. The federal government has responded to this situation by authorizing the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA), which has allocated 3.9 billion dollars for workforce development. There is wide consensus that recovery will be challenging. At the center of the economic stimulus are America's workforce development professionals who will play a central role in the economic recovery by providing unprecedented levels of service to record numbers of job seekers. It is Geographic Solutions' mission to be your partner in these efforts by providing state of the art workforce development tools with an unmatched commitment to excellence. We are here to help.
Geographic Solutions can help because we have a unique history and extensive experience implementing workforce development systems that provide career assessment tools, advanced labor exchange, state-of-the-art case management and tracking, as well as real time reporting services. Our solutions are currently revolutionizing the workforce system and helping millions of job seekers, employers, and workforce professionals. We also have a corresponding depth of experience implementing Labor Market Information (LMI) solutions that involve both real time and historical data. This combination of experiences allows us to understand and address the rapidly changing workforce demands for high-quality, reliable, accurate, and timely employment information.
We have created this special area on our website to serve as a clearinghouse for ARRA specific workforce information, general aspects of ARRA, and the immediate solutions we have ready to deploy to help maximize your return on investment of federal funding.
At Geographic Solutions we recognize the urgency of executing the objectives of ARRA. We also recognize that in addition to the immediate goals identified in various guidance documents, this is an opportunity for workforce agencies to invest wisely in their infrastructure that will pay dividends long after the economic recovery has been successful. We believe the best dollars spent will be those that achieve short term objectives while concurrently establishing a foundation that ensures the long term effectiveness of workforce investment boards.
One thing for certain is that there is no shortage of information available regarding ARRA. Our goal of separating the workforce wheat from the general ARRA chaff begins with the relevant Training and Employment Guidance Letter (TEGL) 14-08, issued by the Employment and Training Administration (ETA) on March 18, 2009 (Download the full letter).
Guidance in the TEGL is unambiguous regarding the general policy guidelines, stating "In utilizing the funding in the Recovery Act, federal, state, and local levels of the workforce system must be guided by four principles:
At Geographic Solutions we can offer immediate, tested, and effective solutions to these four major policy guidelines.
Our current clients in over 30 states know that we are established leaders in the business of information management for workforce services. Because workforce information management has been a core competency of ours since 1996, it was reassuring to us to see that TEGL 14-08 clearly identified workforce information as a key success factor for effective use of ARRA funds in the workforce arena.
The importance of workforce information is apparent in the TEGL 14-08 wherein it is stated: "Additionally, states should consider the value of workforce and economic information and use this information in implementing the Recovery Act. Now more than ever, this type of information should be the foundation of workforce development strategies. Workforce information will be particularly critical as states and local areas seek to identify those businesses and sectors of the economy that are still in need of workers, even in the economic downturn, and those that will begin to grow as the economy recovers. Workforce information is also central to analysis of transferable skills for workers who have lost their jobs in industries and occupations that are not likely to rebound and need to transition to new careers. States should consider utilizing a portion of Recovery Act funding to enhance workforce and economic information availability and use, with particular focus on supporting regional and local workforce investment board planning for the use of Recovery Act funds and creating linkages to jobs created through Recovery Act investments."
It is our opinion that one of the few ways available to meet the dual challenges of proven functionality and a compressed implementation timeline is through Commercial Off-The-Shelf (COTS) software. The following sections address several key areas in workforce information management, the significance of ARRA to these areas, and our approach to providing solutions that work.