Coordination and Integration of Welfare and Workforce Development Systems. Key Lessons Learned

03/20/2000

The overriding message of this study is that there is no one answer to service delivery coordination, and no ideal time schedule or set of rules that will make coordination happen. The following points highlight lessons to consider when examining any coordination initiative.

Importance of past relationships

Past relationships and coordination approaches, especially those developed in implementing the WIN program and the JOBS program, were important factors in current coordination models and activities.

Coordination efforts had to overcome barriers

Programs and agencies generally encounter one or more serious barriers to coordination. Even successful efforts may not be fully developed--in the sense that one or more other agencies that could be involved are not involved or are only partially collaborating.

Coordination can occur under a variety of organizational approaches

We found examples of good  although generally more limited  coordination in sites where the welfare office was the dominant provider and service location as well as in systems that shared responsibility for service delivery across welfare and workforce development providers. Only one of our study sites, Dayton, was highly integrated, both physically and functionally. Different levels of coordination may be appropriate in different communities.

Service systems need to fit local conditions

One model does not work everywhere. For example, planners must consider issues of scale  a one-stop with all services in one location works in Dayton, but may not work in a larger city. In some localities, a decentralized, neighborhood-based structure may be more effective.