WWRC staffing patterns are developed and continuously monitored by the WWRC Director, in consultation with the Virginia Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services (DARS) Commissioner and WWRC Executive Team, based on the following types of factors: demand for service (e.g. referral and admissions patterns; current and projected needs assessments); strategic program planning and budget review processes (e.g. balance of targeted and actual performance against set objectives; unanticipated fiscal fluctuations); trend analyses of revenue, expenditures, and MEL utilization (e.g. maximum employment levels allowable by state law); and, periodic organizational and position audits to review administrative and operational efficiencies.
The DARS Human Resource (HR) Services Department provides consultation and technical assistance to WWRC staff in the implementation of established state policies and procedures relative to Human Resources, as defined by the Commonwealth of Virginia Department of Human Resource Management -- DHRM, including recruitment, hiring and orientation practices, ongoing staff performance management, benefits, leave management/keying and the handling of employee complaints and/or grievances. The WWRC Vocational Training Department follows established DHRM policies and procedures which are in full compliance with related COE Accreditation standards. WWRC plans, provides, supports, and documents professional growth opportunities for and participation by all faculty members through both centralized data management processes and individual faculty licensure/recertification records.
As of March 1, 2017, WWRC's Vocational Training Department is staffed with 23.8 full-time, classified and 15 part-time, hourly positions (not to exceed 1500 hours/year) to fulfill its mission and operate approved training programs. Departmental staffing consists of instructional/faculty positions, instructional and office support positions, and administrative/supervisory positions. All employees possess required education, credentials, in combination with relevant experience and demonstrated competencies appropriate to their area(s) of responsibility. In addition to departmental staffing, the WWRC Facilities Services Division employs qualified environmental services (grounds and housekeeping) and skilled trades staff to provide routine care and maintenance of the WWRC campus and buildings, including preventative maintenance.
All new employees, regardless of employment type, are required to complete required online and classroom-based orientation courses, as updated annually through the WWRC Organizational Development and Quality Assurance Division and as documented in the Commonwealth of Virginia Learning Center (COVLC).
A. General Standards WWRC's Vocational Training Department has adequate staffing levels to fulfill its mission and operate its training programs to include instructional/faculty positions, instructional and office support positions, and administrative/supervisory positions. In compliance with Commonwealth of Virginia Department of Human Resource Management (DHRM) policies and procedures, each staff member has a written position description ("Employee Work Profile") on file in the WWRC Human Resource Service Office (original) and departmental administration office (copy). Each EWP defines the knowledge, skills, abilities, and competencies required for the position, as well as education, experience, licensure, and/or other certification level required for entry to the position. All EWPs are signed by the employee and supervisor, reviewed annually, and modified accordingly. WWRC employees have access to formal and informal grievance procedures, as defined in its Administrative Governance Manual and HR policies and procedures. The DHRM Office of Employee Dispute Resolution provides state agencies and their employees with a broad range of workplace dispute resolution tools that assure solutions to workplace conflict consistent with the Commonwealth's human resource policies and related law. EDR does not advocate for employees or management, but, rather, provides impartial services to assist in the resolution of workplace disputes. EDR's services include: mediation; conflict coaching; training; consultation; and formal grievance procedures. Employees who wish to exercise their right to a grievance procedure should become familiar with guidance in the DHRM EDR Grievance Procedure Manual. Consultation is available through the WWRC Human Resource (HR) Office. For all full-time, classified State employees, formal performance plans are developed, monitored, and evaluated on an annual basis (10/25 through 10/24 each calendar year), in accordance with state policies. Supervisors are encouraged, but not required, to complete formal, written performance evaluations for part-time, hourly employees. Performance plans each have core responsibilities derived from the respective position description. Each responsibility has corresponding measurements against which performance is evaluated. Staff members have the opportunity to identify personal and professional growth needs and strategies as part of the performance planning process. Per established Commonwealth of Virginia HR policies and procedures, all new full-time, classified employees undergo an initial twelve-month probationary review period to determine if performance shows consistent achievement towards meeting established performance expectations; probationary employees are evaluated at three, six and twelve months from date of hire. Upon successful completion of this initial probationary period, the new employee is evaluated annually, following the same schedule as existing employees. Managers and supervisors are encouraged to provide interim performance reviews on a quarterly basis. Employees are given the opportunity to provide a self-evaluation to be considered when completing their evaluation. WWRC demonstrates an organizational commitment to the timely delivery of a structured orientation program for all new employees, volunteers, and trainees, as defined in the WWRC Administrative Governance Manual. The structured orientation program includes common core orientation requirements, as well as customized curricular components that are discipline or position specific. The comprehensive orientation program, including core curricular requirements and components customized for individual employees, volunteers, and trainees, is administered by the Organizational Development and Quality Assurance Division and tracked and monitored through the Commonwealth of Virginia Learning Center (COVLC). Core curriculum requirements are reviewed annually and include at minimum: an orientation to state government; WWRC's organizational culture and staff expectations; Human Resource benefits; Safety/Risk Management; and Emergency Management. All core orientation curriculum requirements are conducted by trained personnel and/or delivered online through the COVLC. Standard new employee orientation requirements are summarized in the New Employee Hire and Orientation Checklist for Supervisors as a quick reference.
B. Faculty WWRC's Vocational Training Department is staffed with 13.8 full-time, classified instructors/faculty employees who are required, by position description, to possess a license to teach in the area(s) for which they are responsible, as determined through Commonwealth of Virginia Licensure Standards administered through the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE). Licensure expectations are described in each EWP on file and available for review by the COE Visiting Team. As of September, 2017, there is only one full-time, classified Instructor who is not yet licensed through the VDOE - this person is in the process of obtaining licensure through the VDOE Career Switcher Program, with expected completion date of 2019. The WWRC Career and Workforce Development Division (CWDD) Director serves as the Superintendent designee for WWRC and has signatory authority for licensure and certification applications and renewals. Certification and licensure records are maintained with instructor personnel files and are reviewed regularly to ensure compliance with quality standards of the Virginia Department of Education and WWRC accreditation bodies. Instructional staff members' professional development and in-service workshop days are coordinated and conducted through the CWDD Administration Office on a published annual schedule. Routine annual trainings and refresher course offerings include safety, risk management, and behavior management techniques. Other topics are chosen annually based on changes in clientele being served, rapidly changing technology impacting training programs and services, and other internal/external influences on department-wide operations. Participation is tracked and monitored through the COVLC.In addition to these general staff professional development and in-service work days, each faculty member defines individual professional growth opportunities, including those required for (re)certification, as part of the annual performance planning and evaluation process. Documentation is available to demonstrate that each faculty member maintains liaisons with employers in the respective technical field(s) through periodic visitations and personal contacts. This is evidenced in licensure records, minutes from Occupational Advisory Committees and through individual staff transcripts documented in the COVLC. In addition, Operational Supervisors maintain copies of individual Employee Visitation Forms for discussion during interim and/or annual employee performance planning and evaluation processes.
C. Administrative and Supervisory Personnel Effective July 1, 2016, the WWRC Vocational Training Department was reorganized to align all resources and staffing patterns more closely with strategic workforce development priorities and initiatives, as defined in its Blueprint for Direction. With this reorganization, three Workforce Development Operational Supervisor positions were created, reporting directly to the Division Director. Operational Supervisor positions represent NEW positions, filled through an internal recruitment of existing classified Trainer Instructor II employees. These positions provide instruction, but are also accountable for team operations (including staff supervision), area curriculum development, industry partnerships, and performance outcomes per defined metrics. In addition to these positions, the former Principal position was re-defined and an Education and Workforce Support Services Supervisor position was established, also filled through a competitive internal recruitment process. With this reorganization, WWRC's Vocational Training Department is currently staffed with seven (7) full-time, classified administrative and supervisory positions. Six (6) of these positions are 100% assigned to operations of the department, as defined by their EWPs. The Career and Workforce Development Division (CWDD) Director is accountable for leadership of the WWRC Vocational Evaluation Department and the Postsecondary Education and Rehabilitation Transition (PERT) Program in addition to the Vocational Training Department. All assigned administrative and supervisory personnel possess postsecondary education credentials and relevant experiences, with demonstrated competencies appropriate to their area(s) of responsibility. Administrative and supervisory personnel provide leadership to the Vocational Training Department's annual Professional Development activities, schedules, and priorities. Administrative and supervisory personnel remain well prepared to perform assigned duties through annual professional development activities as well as through implementation of their own personal growth plans, as defined through annual performance planning processes and documented on respective EWPs. Targeted team development across administrative and supervisory positions, with the creation of new departmental leadership positions and the hire of a new CWDD Director in September, 2016, has been a priority focus for the Vocational Training Department throughout the COE Self-Study process and will continue to be for the foreseeable future. Team development includes close scrutiny of all departmental policies, procedures, practices, and business processes, as well as training programs and related curricula, processes, and outcomes, to facilitate efficient and effective operations leading to successful employment outcomes for persons served. The COE self-study process has offered a structure and set of benchmarks for this process.
D. Instructional Support Staff WWRC's Vocational Training Department is staffed with three (3) full-time, classified instructional support staff, two of whom provide administrative and office support to department operations, and the third serves as a floater/utility instructor, assigned to provide instructional support to various training programs, as needed. The department is also staffed with ten (10) part-time, hourly/wage instructional aides who provide support to assigned training programs. All departmental instructional, administrative, and office support staff members possess required education credentials, experience, and/or demonstrated competencies appropriate to their area(s) of responsibility. Employees in instructional aide positions are not required to possess a license through the Virginia Department of Education.
E. Non-Instructional Support Services
WWRC's Facilities Services Division maintains custodial services and routine care of buildings and grounds across the facility. Preventive maintenance services are provided to ensure continuity in facility operations. See related COE standard 6.
Challenges and Proposed Solutions
A continuous challenge facing the WWRC Vocational Training Department is the ongoing recruitment, hiring, and retention of qualified staff, given an aging workforce, attrition, and, unanticipated staffing irregularities. Retirement statistics alone are staggering: within the next year, 62.8% of all salaried, classified staff within the department will be eligible for full or reduced retirement; this grows to 70.8% within the next three years and 75% in the next five years. This data translates into the potential for a significant loss of "institutional knowledge", classroom experience, and educational leadership within the department in a relatively short period of time. Strong leadership of the newly hired Career and Workforce Development Division Director, in collaboration with the WWRC Executive Team, will be essential in effective management of these anticipated staffing changes and to mitigate potential impact on departmental operations and student services.
In addition to pending retirements, there is the constant balance of managing staffing irregularities due to illnesses, normal attrition, and other unanticipated factors. Attrition frequently occurs during the Spring and Summer months due to competition with area public school systems offering attractive salary packages and the luxury of a 10-month contract (vs. year round). Historically, WWRC has maintained an hourly pool that could be used to adjust for these types of factors, but due to budget reductions, the pool is no longer able to be used to bring in short and long-term substitutes.
Targeted attention has been given in recent years to succession planning and cross-training of instructional staff (within transferable qualifications), including hourly/wage instructors and instructional aides, to minimize disruption to the learning environment when staff transitions do occur. Wherever feasible and appropriate, retirees have been hired into hourly/wage classroom support positions to train and mentor new employees or current employees who may be changing job functions. For example, the retired Drafting Instructor now provides instructional support to several of WWRC's training programs within the Services/Trades occupational area, thus providing critical staffing needed to temporarily expand capacity of those training program, while simultaneously providing an excellent role model for newly hired instructional staff in the department. With his more than fifty years teaching experience, he brings a wealth of knowledge regarding the disability populations served at WWRC, interventions and strategies that work, and a passion for helping people with disabilities become competitively employed. Dual incumbency of a new hire with the retiring employee for a period of time will also be considered.
During 2016, as part of departmental reorganization initiatives, a second, full-time, classified administrative support staff position was created to provide office support for the Operational Supervisor Team and the CWDD Director for efficient and effective departmental operations and to mitigate the effects of budget restrictions over the past several biennial periods which caused faculty to assume many functions previously handled by clerical staff (such as, Advisory Committee planning, minutes and general paperwork, instructional materials production and general report/correspondence development). These and other identified issues and challenges have been, and will continue to be, met through staff creativity, innovation, and teamwork.
This Accreditation Self-Study Committee finds WWRC in full compliance with Standard 8. Evidence of compliance with COE Standard 8 will be verified through staff interviews, student interactions, team member observations and review of Self-Study materials, and file/document/record audits, as indicated.
The following key contact and supporting documentation for Standard 8 are provided to supplement hyperlinks integrated within this narrative.