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DEIA in WIOA: 3 Strategies for Service Providers [VIDEO]

DEIA in WIOA: 3 Strategies for Service Providers [VIDEO]


As we collectively work towards an equitable economic recovery, prioritizing DEIA (diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility) is more important than ever, particularly within the framework of workforce development. However, understanding and putting into practice actionable DEIA strategies can feel challenging. In this article, we’ll discuss DEIA within the workforce context, the importance of DEIA, and specific ways that WIOA service providers can prioritize DEIA in their organizations and communities. 

Defining DEIA in the Context of WIOA 

WorkforceGPS is sponsored by the Employment and Training Administration of the U.S. Department of Labor and provides training and resources for workforce professionals. This is their definition of DEIA through a workforce lens, taken from a recent webinar: 


Workforce diversity is an organizational commitment to culture and policies that ensure a range of people with various national origin, language, race, color, disability, ethnicity, gender, age, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, socioeconomic status, veteran status, and family structures are supported and celebrated. 


Equity, in workforce services, is the provision of intentional supports that are tailored to individual needs and respond to the history of unequal advantages and disadvantages in our economic system. 


Inclusion is a positive culture connecting each employee to the organization, personal power, and their peers, which celebrates authenticity, accountability, and agency, so that everyone can participate and contribute to their full potential. 


The facilitation of full and independent access for all people to employment, facilities, services, and information through intentional design, development of accommodations, and respect for the wide range of human ability. 

Why Is DEIA Important? 

The economic fallout caused by the COVID-19 pandemic shone a long-overdue light on many systemic workforce inequities faced by marginalized populations. Racial and ethnic minorities were unemployed at higher rates during COVID and were also overrepresented in frontline jobs. In general, marginalized populations, including people of color, women, working parents, and LGBTQ+, face a number of systemic inequities in the workplace, such as: 

  • Less pay for more hazardous jobs 
  • Face more discrimination 
  • Less access to mentorship 
  • More likely to be laid off during a crisis 

These same communities may also face unique challenges in the workplace, such as: 

  • Limited access to supportive resources such as transportation, childcare, and healthcare 
  • Unfair recruitment and promotion practices 
  • Different communication styles due to cultural differences 
  • Different interpretations of professionalism 

Beyond the obvious benefits of DEIA to marginalized communities, there are also significant benefits to employers. Research shows that more diverse companies are more successful in their relative industries. On average, more diverse companies have: 

  • 19% higher innovation revenues 
  • 35% performance advantage 
  • 36% more profit 

By investing in DEIA strategies, workforce development organizations can improve economic outcomes for employers and communities alike. 

DEIA Strategies for WIOA Service Providers


1. Use Data to Understand Your Community

Collecting actionable data is a critical first step for understanding and serving a diverse community. Data can help you understand: 

  • The populations you are currently serving 
  • Eligible populations in your community who could benefit from services but aren’t receiving them 
  • Where in their journey clients are getting stuck or prematurely exiting 

This information can help you identify areas of improvement in your pipeline, create a plan for improving service delivery, and measure outcomes as you move forward. 

2. Collaborate with CBOs

Community-based organizations can be a valuable bridge between service providers and their clients. The different groups within your community are unique, and strategies for support are not one-size-fits-all. Starting a conversation with local CBOs is critical to understanding the needs of the communities you serve.  

Another barrier is that many job seekers don’t know that better opportunities exist. Or individuals are working two to three jobs and simply don’t have the time to consider investing in an alternative. Many communities share information through word of mouth, particularly if English is the second language or not spoken at all. CBOs can help you get in front of job seekers by disseminating information through specific and effective channels for the populations in your community. 

3. Understand & Address Service Gaps

Systemic gaps in service availability, such as translation services, legal assistance, and digital literacy, can perpetuate barriers to access for marginalized communities. Investigate the service gaps that affect your clients and prioritize meeting those needs. Use automated referrals to connect your clients to partner agencies that can offer support in areas of client-indicated need. Make sure your provided resources are available in the primary languages spoken by members of your community. Create navigation options that cater to various levels of digital literacy, depending on the populations you serve. Mobile-first access and integrated translation features go a long way toward improving access. 

Invest in Technology That Supports DEIA 

WIOA case management software like myOneFlow can support your organization's DEIA goals without adding additional administrative burden on your staff. myOneFlow makes it easy to configure a platform that meets the specific needs of your unique community with AI-powered workflows that automatically create a personalized experience for every client. It collects data through a single, common intake form so you can easily report on your client populations and measure outcomes. Contact our team today to discuss your organization’s needs and schedule a personalized demo. 

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