Engagement matters: a case study of New Jersey’s WIOA planning process

By Brooke DeRenzis, May 05, 2015

Read the case study.
Watch the webinar

With the due date for WIOA state plans less than a year away, many states are getting serious about planning. New Jersey’s WIOA planning process – highlighted in Engagement Matters: A Case Study of New Jersey’s WIO Planning Process — provides an example that should be of interest to other states looking to embark on a skills-focused, inclusive WIOA planning process. 

As described in NSC’s newly-updated Playbook for Creating Effective State Plans, states can use WIOA plans to chart sector partnerships, career pathways, job-driven training, and cross-program measurement. In order to have a plan that leverages this opportunity, states planning processes should focus on key skills strategies and authentically engage a broad set of stakeholders.

The New Jersey case study offers key takeaways for states interested in developing a robust planning process:

  1. States should set a vision for the workforce development system they truly want and develop strategies that support that vision. These strategies should then be used to drive the operational elements of the state plan. New Jersey did this by starting its planning process with the development of a WIOA Blueprint, which will serve as a framework for developing an actionable unified plan.
  2. States looking to focus their planning effort on key skills strategies might consider organizing topic-specific workgroups as New Jersey did. Such workgroups can help states concentrate their planning efforts on key strategies. Workgroups also provide a vehicle for states to solicit stakeholder input as strategies are developed.
  3. States should use multiple and varied mechanisms for engaging diverse stakeholders in the development of their plans. In addition to workgroups, webinars, a website, and social media, New Jersey held a two-day WIOA conference attended by nearly 300 individuals. The conference gave state leaders the chance to share their workforce vision and goals and provided an opportunity for the state to collect input and feedback from a diverse group of stakeholders.

On May 19, NSC hosted a webinar with policy leaders from the state of New Jersey to discuss how state policymakers and stakeholders can advance a robust WIOA planning process. Click here to watch the webinar.