BATON ROUGE -- The Louisiana Workforce Commission is focused on streamlining measures designed to enhance agency effectiveness and customer service, while improving efficiency and cost savings.
“We recognize the need to use our resources in the most prudent way possible to ensure that our customers receive the services they need in a timely manner,” said LWC Executive Director Curt Eysink. “To do that, we are looking at all the ways we can streamline our processes to get the maximum benefit.”
The Commission on Streamlining Government made the following recommendations to LWC:
Transferring appropriate rehabilitation service functions in the Department of Social Services to the Dept. of Health and Hospitals and the LWC:
The Office of Workforce Development and its DSS counterparts are working closely together to provide a seamless integration of services provided to clients receiving Vocational Rehabilitation services. The LWC’s goal is to integrate core functions of DSS that provide quality client assessment and eligibility, as well as case management, with the core services and mission of the LWC, which is job training and placement in demand occupations. An integration transition team headed by each agency's deputy secretary will consist of key members from each agency (program, fiscal, human resources, legal, facilities) to ensure an effective and efficient transition that is focused on quality service to clients. The team will meet regularly beginning next week to develop the work plan and timeline for implementation. In addition, guidance from the LWC national integration consultants, Public Works, has been and will continue to be sought and included in the plan.
Preliminary fiscal note information has been submitted in anticipation of the transfer of the programs in question possibly for the start of the next state fiscal year. According to the Streamlining Commission proposal, state general fund savings for integrating of these services is $175,000.
Transferring the Unemployment Insurance tax audit program to the La. Dept. of Revenue:
The LWC is continuing to research the feasibility of transferring audit functions to the Louisiana Department of Revenue. This can be accomplished as soon as specific service delivery expectations can be determined, possibly within the next few months.
Discussing strategies with the Dept. of State Civil Service, in anticipation of reduction in the state workforce, to develop a plan for easing the transition of the employees from state service to private employment:
The Office of Workforce Development’s Rapid Response team gave a presentation this week to human resources directors from state agencies and institutions on the services they can provide to employees and employers in a layoff situation. Those services are provided by the LWC at no cost to participants.
The LWC also reviewed internal operations and identified and recommended the following measures, which the Commission adopted:
Privatizing the issuance and distribution of certificates to Business and Career Solutions Center participants:
LWC field staff at the Business and Career Solutions Centers were given training in November on the new online process for distribution of participant certificates. The online system, which will go live in February 2010, is expected to substantially increase efficiency. In addition, the system allows participants unlimited access to their testing history on a self-serve basis and businesses the opportunity to confirm skill levels of prospective employees. This would be federally funded, with no impact on the state budget.
Furthering integration of services of shared clientele of the LWC and Dept. of Social Services:
The LWC has already been working with the Department of Social Services to integrate services and continues to look at ways to further this relationship. A key collaboration is the pilot program at the Lafayette Business and Career Solutions Center that takes job-ready DSS clients and places them into demand jobs with opportunities for career growth.
The next phase of the pilot, which will run from Feb. 1 - April 20, will include the seven surrounding parishes in the Greater Lafayette region. This expansion is expected to draw upon best practices learned in the initial phase and identify new challenges that may be faced in more rural parishes. At the conclusion of the expansion phase, LWC expects to receive a written document that will serve as a blueprint for future expansion using a Regional-Integration Modal approach.
The LWC, along with DSS and several other partner agencies, also provides services at Neighborhood Place in Sabine Parish. The facility streamlines service delivery for both the agencies involved and their clients by making those services available at a single, convenient location. A location in New Orleans will open in early 2010.
The Office of Workers’ Compensation Administration Second Injury Fund:
The Governor's Advisory Council has worked to identify inefficiencies and processes that prevent the Second Injury Fund from meeting its stated purpose, which is the enhancement of opportunities for job placement for individuals with pre-existing disabilities. The Advisory Council is developing legislation to help remove inefficiencies while helping more citizens reintegrate into the workforce.
Revamping the workers’ compensation claims mediation process:
The Office of Workers’ Compensation Chief Judge, Sheral Kellar, developed a committee comprised of attorneys and judges to do a thorough review of all OWC Hearing Rules, including statutes and rules related to the mediation process. The committee has presented its findings and recommendations to the Governor's Advisory Council on Workers’ Compensation. The Council is developing legislation and amendments to rules in response to these recommendations.
In addition to the above streamlining measures, the LWC will introduce legislation this year to speed up the timeframe for requiring all employers to file quarterly payroll reports.
Also being discussed is a centralized employer registration system that would simplify registration and the updating of information for employers initiating, modifying or ceasing business operations in Louisiana. The LWC met with the Dept. of Revenue and the Secretary of State’s office, and an RFP is expected to be issued in early 2010.
In the Office of Workers’ Compensation, records management upgrades and fraud analytics software are being considered to streamline and enhance processes, while increasing revenue that is lost to fraud. By moving to an electronic data interface and an electronic filing system for workers’ compensation hearings, cost savings can be realized. RFPs will be issued for these changes starting in early 2010.
Throughout the year, the LWC will continue to proactively look at ways to provide customer service in the most efficient and effective way possible.
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