The implementation of the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) requires major organizational change for employment, training, and disability agencies. The initiative emphasizes coordination, collaboration and communication among organizations for better service delivery. At this time, states are developing systems that will enable them to address the needs of all customers, including those with disabilities, who are seeking employment. Traditionally, service systems have required that consumers and their families who need a variety of services be able to negotiate the culture and language of multiple agencies. With the new WIA legislation, this task is now being required of the agencies themselves. In the process of collaboration and partnering, agencies have needed to reconsider the manner in which they operate. Changes to the agency and its culture can include its daily operation, nature of staff/client interactions, organizational structure, and staff roles. Not only do agencies need to adapt their own organization and culture, they need to adjust to the cultures of their partners. Although merging cultures ultimately can have many benefits for the customer, this shift does not come without its challenges for agencies. The following is offered as a tool for states to use in their efforts to help agencies negotiate a shared new culture in their One-Stop Career Centers (One-Stops). This brief is part of a series of products offering practical solutions for state and local entities as they implement the Workforce Investment Act. Topics covered in other briefs include: leadership, accessibility, co-location of staff, and inclusion of people with disabilities in the workforce planning process. The source of much of the information presented below is from state case studies conducted in Maine, Minnesota, and Kentucky, completed as part of the Center on State Systems and Employment. Additional information is derived from other Institute for Community Inclusion work on increasing access for individuals with disabilities within the workforce system.
Hall, Allison Cohen; Timmons, Jaimie Ciulla; and Fesko, Sheila, "Case Studies on the Implementation of the Workforce Investment Act: Focus on Merging Cultures" (2003). Case Studies Series, Institute for Community Inclusion. 8.