Michigan Works! Northeast Consortium Implements TuaPath to Streamline Processes and Build Staff Capacity to Better Service Program Participants
Even before COVID-19 hit and human services organizations were forced to work in unprecedented ways, Michigan Works! Northeast Consortium (MW!NC) was exploring ways to simplify and streamline many of their outdated and paper-based processes to make them less burdensome so Career Advisors could spend less time shuffling paperwork and chasing compliance and more time helping clients achieve positive employment outcomes. The pandemic was the perfect storm, providing Michigan Works! Northeast Consortium with the catalyst for significant change.
MW!NC is responsible for administering the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program, otherwise known as PATH (across Michigan) which stands for Progress, Accountability, Training and Hope.
Like all Michigan Works! agencies, MW!NC staff utilize the State of Michigan’s On-Stop Management Information System (OSMIS) to capture all required reporting and client information for programs operating under the Department of Human Services. As it is a legacy system, OSMIS did not allow for the storage, management and retrieval of documents, a cumbersome process, that had to be addressed separately.
All data entry is performed entirely by staff as OSMIS offers no client facing functionality where individuals can complete the following processes through an easy-to-use, human centered designed interface.
– Orientation including watching video and completing employment, education, and skill assessments
– Filling out and electronically signing mandatory forms
– Uploading verification documentation
– Setting goals and action steps and tracking achievements
– Entering work participation activities and hours
TuaPath facilitates these processes and more. MW!NC clients from their smart phone, tablet or computer login to TuaPath to work through the various aspects of PATH program, track their goals and progress, and access information pertaining to resources to help them move forward.
The implementation of TuaPath included converting key documentation steps, that previously required in-person interactions and hard-copy forms, into an entirely virtual process. Participants are walked step by step through the orientation process which they can complete entirely at their own pace, which includes watching videos and testing for comprehension and completing assessments. Clients who are technology savvy are empowered to work at their own pace and can quickly complete orientation. Others, who struggle, can get help from their Career Advisor.
Participants can fill out all needed paperwork entirely online and electronically sign acknowledgement and consent forms using their Personal Identification Number (PIN). Photos of paystubs and other verification documentation can be taken with a smart phone and directly uploaded to TuaPath making it super easy for clients to comply with requirements. And TuaPath provides full transparency for MW!NC clients, as documents uploaded and forms completed can be viewed, downloaded and printed at any time.
Laura Budreau, Planning & Program Manager at Michigan Works! Northeast Consortium said, “TuaPath has created an opportunity for us to spend more quality time with our clients instead of chasing and shuffling paperwork. It has been a lifesaver during the pandemic and allowed us to facilitate our services in a professional manner with ease of use and access.”
As a two-way facing system, which means that both staff and participant can be logged into TuaPath and view the same information, Career Advisors are able to collaborate in real-time with participants with participants taking the lead to identify in their own words action plans for barrier removal and goal achievement. The action plan is visually displayed on the participant’s “roadmap” so at any time, they can view their commitments and track their progress toward achievement, increasing accountability.
As MW!NC continues to roll out TuaPath to its clients, we look forward to continued feedback as to how we can improve their implementation to further streamline and improve processes so more time can be spent helping clients achieve employment.
About Michigan Works! Northeast Consortium
The Northeast Michigan Consortium is a governmental organization formed under Michigan Public Act 7. Member counties include Alcona, Alpena, Cheboygan, Crawford, Montmorency, Oscoda, Otsego and Presque Isle. The purpose of the Consortium is to act as a representative of the counties in the provision of employment, training, and related economic development activities and services as supported by the State of Michigan, various federal grants and other sources.
The consortium is led by local partners driven to meet the unique needs of each community but is also part of a statewide network committed to the State of Michigan’s economic success and to helping employers and job seekers by connecting talent with opportunity.