Choices Guide –B-1100: Board Policies

B-1101: Choices Services Strategies

(Revision 1/2017)

Boards must identify the workforce needs of local employers and design Choices services to ensure that local employer needs are met and that the services are consistent with Choices goals and purposes.

Boards must include the following in their Choices service strategies:

Boards must establish policies regarding the following:

Boards must ensure that procedures are developed for the following:

Boards may establish optional policies to:

If a Board elects to establish one or more of the optional policies, the Board must ensure that corresponding procedures are developed for the policies.


As required by TWC rule at 40 TAC §802.1(f) and as detailed in WD Letter 10-07, Board members must take such actions in an open meeting.

 

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B-1102: Required Memoranda of Understanding

(Revision 1/2017)

Boards must ensure that the following memoranda of understanding (MOUs) and collaborative partnerships are developed:

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B-1103: Nonmonetary Incentives

(Revision 1/2017)

Boards must ensure that cash or check incentives are not offered to Choices participants.

Boards choosing to offer nonmonetary incentives must develop guidelines and strategies to:

Boards must ensure that guidelines set forth realistic minimum and maximum time frames for Choices participants working toward achieving a nonmonetary incentive.

Additionally, Boards must ensure that guidelines include deadlines for claiming nonmonetary incentives.  This provision ensures that participants are responsible for notifying Workforce Solutions Office staff and providing verification when they attain an achievement within a designated time frame.

Example:   An exempt Choices teen head of household who successfully completes two weeks of job readiness activities and enters part-time employment is eligible for an incentive. The participant is notified that he or she has up to 15 days to provide appropriate verification and to claim a nonmonetary incentive.

B-1103.a: Strategies for Issuing Nonmonetary Incentives

Boards must ensure that the value of nonmonetary incentives:

Examples:

B-1103.b: Menu of Nonmonetary Incentives

It is recommended that Boards’ guidelines include a menu of nonmonetary incentives, to be provided at intake or when notifying Choices participants of their eligibility for an incentive.

Additionally, it is recommended that the menu have at least three incentives of comparable value—$30 prepaid gas card, or $30 gift certificate—to select from.  Some examples of nonmonetary incentives include the following:

Items such as merchant and specialty gift cards or vouchers are allowable if they are reasonable and support enhanced program performance and self-sufficiency.

Surplus computer inventory refers to computers that are eligible for disposition in accordance with Chapter 13 of TWC’s Financial Manual for Grants and Contracts (FMGC), which includes thresholds for determining when prior approval is required to dispose of property. In most instances, computers do not meet the threshold; however, if circumstances exist in which a surplus computer does meet these criteria, the appropriateness of a Board’s decision to donate it depends on whether or not the Board has requested and received the requisite TWC approval.

To ensure that proper control measures are in place, it is recommended that Boards implement a voucher system by which Workforce Solutions Office staff issues Choices participants, who are eligible for nonmonetary incentives, a voucher that they redeem for their incentives through other designated Workforce Solutions Office staff. Designated Workforce Solutions Office staff can serve as the point of contact for:

Boards must ensure the following:

Boards choosing to offer nonmonetary incentives must ensure that sufficient funds are budgeted from available resources to support the Boards’ nonmonetary incentive policy, particularly as it applies to participants who choose to target long-term achievements.

Example:   A participant starts training in Fiscal Year 2010 (FY'10) and is informed that he or she may be eligible to receive a nonmonetary incentive.  The training will not be completed until FY’11, so the Board must budget accordingly.

To evaluate the effectiveness of strategies for the provision of nonmonetary incentives, Boards must ensure that once Choices participants have been determined to be eligible for a nonmonetary incentive that accurate documentation is entered into TWIST.

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B-1104: On-the-Job Training and Customized Training Services

Boards are not required to procure employers for On-the-Job- Training (OJT) and customized training. However, if a Board chooses to offer OJT and customized training, it must establish local policies for identifying employers for OJT and customized training services.

For example, Boards may develop an application process to:

It is recommended that Boards use the application to collect relevant information on the employer’s customized training and skills needs, such as the number of employees to be trained, the occupations or industries to be included, the dates of training and the amount of funding requested.

B-1104.a: Contracting with Employers for On-the-Job Training and Customized Training

Boards must establish a threshold for employer reimbursement in the contract with the employer.  Boards must be aware that there is no specific threshold for employer reimbursement for Choices OJT.

Boards must not enter into OJT contracts with employers that have received payments under previous contracts and have exhibited a pattern of failing to retain OJT participants as long-term, regular employees with wages, employment benefits (including health benefits) and working conditions at the same level as other employees in similar positions.

If a Board chooses to enter into a contract with an employer for customized training, it is recommended that the Board develop criteria for selecting training providers and developing the training or curriculum.

Employers play a major role in the development of customized training and curriculum.  An employer can:

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B-1105: Board Support Service Policies

It is recommended that Boards develop policies to ensure that support services are provided if needed to enable Choices participants to work, attend and participate in required Choices services. If a Choices participant indicates a need for support services, the support must be provided to remove any barrier to participation. If the barrier is not removed and the Choices participant is unable to participate, good cause must be granted and no penalty initiated.

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B-1106: Individual Development Accounts

Boards may set policies to provide for implementation and oversight of Individual Development Accounts (IDAs).

Boards must certify that an IDA account meets the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) definition. Boards must develop a form for Choices individuals to submit to the Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) Texas Works Advisor that certifies that their IDA is disregarded.

Boards must do the following:

Policies and procedures addressing unauthorized withdrawals must include the following:

Boards must develop policy regarding an individual’s right to access his or her accounts. If using TANF funds, Boards must follow the TANF requirements specified under this policy. Other types of savings accounts do not qualify to be disregarded for eligibility purposes.

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B-1107: Transportation

Boards must ensure that transportation policies address the following:

Boards must ensure that all transportation policies meet the following minimum standards:

It is recommended that Boards keep the specified cap consistent across programs. A discretionary override of the cap is allowed, as long as a specific process and safeguard for the override—e.g., director signature, two signatures—is detailed in the transportation policy.

Boards are encouraged to develop a structural framework in their policies and procedures that aids in identifying routine transactions from those that rise to the level of suspicious activity.

Example:   A Board allows participants a maximum of $40 per week for gas cards. The Board-established safeguard for exceeding $40 a week is three signatures—e.g., participant, specialist and manager. The reconciliation process then identifies any staff member or participant who exceeds the limit and an audit verifies whether the safeguard was followed, i.e., if the three signatures are in place.

Boards must do the following:

If Board policy allows for the vehicle to be owned by another individual, Boards must ensure the following safeguards are in place:

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B-1108: Records Retention

Boards must ensure that Workforce Solutions Offices retain financial records for three years, unless there are questioned costs, disallowed costs or other unresolved audit issues. In these cases, records must be retained for three years after the issue is resolved.

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B-1109: Choices Best Practices

The term “best practices” asserts that there is a technique, method or process that is more effective at delivering a particular outcome than any other technique, method or process. Best practices also can be defined as the most efficient and effective way of accomplishing a task.

The collected best practices of Workforce Solutions Office staff are outlined below as an aid to increase efficiency and improve program outcomes.

Early Engagement

Case Management/Career Counselor

Assessment

Job Development

Partnering with Self-Sufficiency Fund (SSF) Program

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