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Kentucky One-Stop Certification

Since 2010, the Commonwealth of Kentucky has been pursuing a bold path to transform and align its workforce development, economic development, and education systems.  A key component of its transformational “WORKSmart Kentucky” plan was a One-Stop Career Center certification effort, which Maher & Maher was engaged to design and facilitate.  Kentucky sought to implement a One-Stop certification system to ensure:

  • Consistent, highest-quality services to employers and job seekers/workers throughout the state;
  • User-friendly, customer-focused services;
  • Alignment with education and economic development; and
  • Accountability for services and results.

In working with Kentucky to facilitate development of the system, Maher & Maher believed that it was critical for those who operate, oversee, and rely on the One-Stop system to play integral roles in setting the standards and measures that would be used to certify One-Stop Centers.  Therefore, the system development process was very inclusive and benefitted from the continuous input over several months from all levels of the system, all workforce areas in the Commonwealth, employer and job seeker customers, and the various system partners.  Following an initial review of all relevant state and local strategic plans and other relevant documents as well as extensive consultation with state leadership, Maher & Maher representatives visited One-Stop Career Centers in all 10 of Kentucky’s workforce areas, sharing information about the certification effort, soliciting extensive feedback from staff and customers, and building support and engagement throughout the Commonwealth.  Initial research, outreach, and visits were synthesized in a comprehensive report for Kentucky and served to guide the certification development approach.  Following this initial phase, the Maher team worked with the project Steering Team and a Core Work Team during regular meetings over the course of several months to accomplish the following:

  • Development of draft and final One-Stop certification standards and measures (indicators/benchmarks) for employer services, job seeker services, and One-Stop Center management, including both baseline and continuous improvement standards and measures for both comprehensive and affiliate Centers;
  • A detailed regimen for Center self-assessment to assist Centers in becoming ready for the certification process;
  • A comprehensive framework for certification system implementation, including a phased timeline; policy and other guidance; definition, types, and levels of certified One-Stop Career Centers; certification authority and duration; certification application, review, and recommendation and approval process; and a framework for certification technical assistance, incentives, and rewards;
  • A detailed outline of state-level issues to be addressed to facilitate implementation of the certification system; and
  • A comprehensive report detailing the entire certification development process; certification standards, measures, and implementation framework; lessons learned; and recommendations.

Maher & Maher successfully completed Kentucky’s One-Stop certification project in August 2011, and Kentucky’s State Workforce Investment Board subsequently approved and adopted the certification system as proposed.  Since then, partners in the Commonwealth have been actively engaged in implementing the One-Stop certification system.