If you aren’t feeling a little overwhelmed by all the webinars, toolkits and helpful information swirling around about the new Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), you haven’t been paying attention.
You’re not alone.
WIOA creates space for us to engage with the mainstream workforce system. It’s also complex, confusing and implemented by a huge Department of Labor-funded system unfamiliar to many of us. The mainstream workforce system is gearing up to understand, interpret and implement WIOA, too. Now is the time to engage.
Where to start?
Here are the five things you can do this week. They’re all easy and draw on skills you already use every day in this work.
1. Make contacts at your local Workforce Center. The people working there share our goals of helping people find jobs. They live in your community. Some of them are probably your neighbors. Go to their office. Meet them face to face. Start a dialogue. No interpreter required.
2. Prepare your case like you would for employers. Think about what’s in it for THEM. You and our clients have alot to offer, but many workforce staff don’t know anything about us. It’s up to you to speak their language and convince them that refugees add value, just like we already do in our job development work.
3. Download an Infographic Higher created to help you. 23 attendees at our NAWDP conference presentation thought these statistics were well-targeted and convincing. Be sure you leave contact information and a plan for next steps to keep the momentum going. (Our own infographic. So cool.)
4. Do your homework. There is a lot of information available. Type WIOA in Higher’s home page search feature for links to the information we think will be most helpful. You’ll get more out of the meeting if you’re well prepared. Sounds like what we advise clients as they prepare for job interviews, right?
5. Listen. Learn. Ask more questions about their work than you tell about your own. Try to understand their structure and identify other people you need to know – and convince. Think of it as an employability assessment that starts adjusting expectations. Nothing new or scary about that.
Good luck. Let us know how it goes at firstname.lastname@example.org.