Standards for public agencies

2020 Edition

Workforce Development and Support Services (PA-WDS) 2: Personnel

Program personnel have the competency and support needed to provide services and meet the needs of job seekers.


Competency can be demonstrated through education, training, or experience. Support can be provided through supervision or other learning activities to improve understanding or skill development in specific areas.
2020 Edition




Job seekers who receive workforce development, support, and financial asset building services achieve increased economic self-sufficiency.
Full Implementation, Outstanding Performance
A rating of (1) indicates that the agency's practices fully meet the standard and reflect a high level of capacity.  
  • All elements or requirements outlined in the standard are evident in practice, with rare or no exceptions: exceptions do not impact service quality or agency performance. 
Substantial Implementation, Good Performance
A rating of (2) indicates that an agency's infrastructure and practices are basically sound but there is room for improvement.
  • The majority of the standards requirements have been met and the basic framework required by the standard has been implemented. 
  • Minor inconsistencies and not yet fully developed practices are noted; however, these do not significantly impact service quality or agency performance.

Partial Implementation, Concerning Performance
A rating of (3) indicates that the agency's observed infrastructure and/or practices require significant improvement.  

  • The agency has not implemented the basic framework of the standard but instead has in place only part of this framework.  
  • Omissions or exceptions to the practices outlined in the standard occur regularly, or practices are implemented in a cursory or haphazard manner.  
  • Service quality or agency functioning may be compromised.  
  • Capacity is at a basic level.
Unsatisfactory Implementation or Performance
A rating of (4) indicates that implementation of the standard is minimal or there is no evidence of implementation at all.  
  • The agency’s observed service delivery infrastructure and practices are weak or non-existent; or show signs of neglect, stagnation, or deterioration.
Self-Study EvidenceOn-Site EvidenceOn-Site Activities
  • Table of contents of training curricula
  • Procedures or other documentation relevant to continuity of care and case assignment
  • Sample job descriptions from across relevant job categories
  • Coverage schedule for previous six months documenting availability of supervisors for consultation at all times services are provided
  • Documentation tracking staff completion of required trainings and/or competencies
  • Training curricula
  • Caseload size requirements set by  policy, regulation, or contract, when applicable
  • Documentation of current caseload size per worker, when applicable
  • Interviews may include:
    1. Program director
    2. Relevant personnel
  • Review personnel files

PA-WDS 2.01

Supervisors qualified by a bachelor’s degree, or equivalent training and experience, are available to provide case consultation at all times services are provided.

PA-WDS 2.02

All direct service personnel are trained on, or demonstrate competency in:
  1. identifying support networks of family, friends, and community resources;
  2. screening topics relevant to the identified service population;
  3. adult learning principles and the diversity of workforce development approaches;
  4. working with youth to explore career opportunities, when applicable; and
  5. common barriers to employment.

PA-WDS 2.03

Direct service personnel who provide financial asset-building services are trained on, or demonstrate competency in:
  1. counseling individuals on any local or state asset limitation regulations and their implications for continued receipt of public assistance;
  2. identifying local programs that provide assistance and incentives for financial asset building; and
  3. overcoming obstacles to asset building for immigrants, refugees, and migrant or seasonal workers, including predatory lending.
NA The agency does not provide financial asset-building services.
Examples: Obstacles to asset building for immigrants, refugees, and migrant or seasonal workers can include a lack of appropriate documentation or identification; difficulty understanding local banking, mortgage, and business systems; and prejudice among employers, local businesses, and citizens.

PA-WDS 2.04

The agency minimizes the number of workers assigned to job seekers over the course of their contact with the agency by:
  1. assigning a worker at intake or early in the contact; and
  2. avoiding the arbitrary or indiscriminate reassignment of direct service personnel.

PA-WDS 2.05

Employee workloads support the achievement of client outcomes and are regularly reviewed.
Examples: Factors that may be considered when determining employee workloads include, but are not limited to:
  1. the qualifications, competencies, and experience of the worker including level of supervision needed;
  2. the work and time required to accomplish assigned tasks and job responsibilities; and
  3. service volume, accounting for assessed level of needs of persons served.