From 2021-2022, Afton facilitated the Governor’s Workforce Commission on Equity & Access in Illinois. The Commission’s charge was to create a vision for an equitable, accessible, and effective future state workforce system grounded in an understanding of user and stakeholder experience, including how racial, social, and geographic inequities inform experience and outcomes across Illinois’ federally and state-funded workforce programs. In alignment with this vision–and based on a stronger understanding of user and stakeholder experience–the Commission made recommendations for: key design enhancements/improvements to the state workforce system, the streamlining of state agencies, and the governance structure and state leadership needed for execution.
Our work, in partnership with MDRC and Terri Johnson, included a human-centered design process to deeply understand jobseekers and other system stakeholders, identify their pain points in the system, and develop recommendations for changes in the state system that would alleviate those pain points. Afton conducted project management services that carefully sequenced discussion, activities, analyses, stakeholder engagement, and processes. Afton also conducted Commission and working group meeting facilitation services, developed all meeting materials, synthesized data, coordinated with state agency leaders and staff, and wrote the final Commission report.
The final report, released in June 2023, can be viewed here.
A human-centered design process allowed Commission members to deeply understand the pain points of the state’s system users and to identify changes to Illinois’ system that will have the most meaningful impact on jobseekers and employers.
Governance and leadership structures within state government can be enablers of services and programs at the state and local level. Once Commission members identified service changes needed for workforce system users, agency leaders could determine how to structure governance and leadership to effectuate and sustain those services.