Unsurprisingly, another obstacle comes as a result of the numerous old, complicated, and state-specific administering systems used around the country. System maintenance remains a difficult task as many local agencies build or buy their own tools and databases, requiring workforce departments to stay knowledgeable about and keep up with multiple systems. As for system accuracy, it is extremely difficult to update every single system of all minor and significant changes to any type of data, leading to inaccurate info when it’s needed.
Although previously mentioned as a resolution, digital platforms have been difficult to embrace even for the agencies that have begun to try. Challenges continue to rise for them because of the disparate systems in use across departments and what it takes to maintain them all. According to a National Association of Workforce Boards report, the total costs for maintaining and updating workforce systems is based on the number of users a system serves, the number of Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act’s (WIOA) programs it administers, and the number of external services it integrates into the core infrastructure.
These analog systems in place today not only add administrative burdens to workforce development, but are also siloed, outdated, vulnerable to fraud, and costly. Some new systems require expensive vendor support and are not user-friendly. It’s also likely that each agency’s software and hardware needs are supported by an IT department faced with limited staff and resources. And if these systems are not constantly updated, it will hold outdated licensee information as well.
By going digital, licenses and credentials can be updated as soon as possible which keeps credentials accurate without increased administrative work. All information regarding a person’s qualifications and credentials can be shared with the state for analytics, reporting, and audit support. Additionally, workforce agencies get visibility into the status of individuals as they progress through training, credentialing, and work to understand the ROI on a given program. Merit WorkNow provides this in one digital platform, allowing license issuers to maintain up-to-date records on the status of all license holders as well as enable professionals and constituents to use, showcase, and carry their license at all times to validate themselves and avoid missing out on work opportunities; Something that is extremely important as the county’s unemployment rate continues to rise, leading us the fourth and final part of this series: The Unemployment Rate Has Skyrocketed.
To take a deeper dive and hear from professionals in workforce development, check out our WorkNow Webinar Series where we outline and discuss strategies for labor and workforce leaders to tackle today's issues and empower dislocated workers. Click here to watch past sessions.