Coordination and Integration of Welfare and Workforce Development Systems. Managerial Barriers


"Turf" Barriers

Perhaps one of the most common barriers is "turf" issues, including the fear of losing decision-making autonomy and distrust of other agency administrators or staff. Case managers, and other staff, may feel that their job security is jeopardized when other agencies are providing similar services to their clients. Agency staffing needs and responsibilities are changing. Examples include the reduced staffing requirements of ES offices due to telephone claims processing for unemployment insurance and automated access to job postings and labor market information, and the expanded role of welfare case managers beyond eligibility and benefits processing. These changes may affect the morale of workers and result in fewer client referrals to other agencies.

System complexity

The availability of multiple resources has resulted in a proliferation of programs and access points, with many similar or overlapping services. Several different agencies and community based organizations within a single jurisdiction may be providing job readiness, family life skills, and job placement services. This causes confusion for clients, organizations, and staff as they try to sort through the process of moving from welfare to work, and may result in fewer referrals or in clients not following through on appointments.

Time commitments

Planning and maintaining service coordination takes a considerable amount of time and effort from staff at all levels. In several sites, staff from the welfare and workforce development agencies serve on inter-agency committees that were formed to address the collaborative effort. The time dedicated by staff to working on the collaborative is in addition to the other functions that they perform as part of their jobs. For example, in Charleston, three teams were created to guide the operations of the one-stop and all decision making is done by consensus in an effort to promote a team-building atmosphere. In Portland, the establishment of one-stop career centers involved a long planning process. Respondents indicated that a considerable amount of time and effort was put into overcoming turf issues among local organizations. Several sites mentioned the time-consuming nature of developing procedures for WtW referrals and documentation of participation in a work activity when the activity was provided by an agency other than the TANF agency.

In summary, all sites encountered programmatic, logistical, and/or managerial barriers to coordination. Sites varied in their approaches to these challenges and in the extent to which the barriers were overcome.




7.  1996 JTPA Standard Program Information Report (SPIR) and 1997 JTPA Standard Program Information Report (SPIR), U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics.