The rapid increase of governmental interest in accountability from its agencies and from organizations using governmental funds has put considerable pressure on such agencies and organizations to develop and execute programs which meet the governmental requirements for accountability. As a response to these pressures, human services organizations have moved toward the adoption of such practices as Management by Objectives. Underlying these managerial methods is the assumption that organizational planning processes have been carried out proficiently and that the organization has structured itself to be efficient as well as effective.
The application of General Systems Theory as a planning aid for human services organizations has been most helpful |lj, but specific planning techniques are needed in order to implement the basic planning strategies developed through systems analysis. This paper demonstrates one such technique.
A program entitled Employment Opportunities in Social Services (EOSS) was created in Ohio using Title
IV-A federal funds administered by the Ohio State Department of Welfare. The purpose was to provide human services job opportunities and salaries for current consumers of Aid for Families with Dependent Children or General Relief benefits. In this way, the program was aimed at allowing county welfare departments to increase their delivery of social services while, at the same time, providing earned income for unemployed welfare clients. Specifically, welfare consumers were to be employed in the following areas:
Day Care Services
Nursing Home Aide Services
Other Services (as recommended by the county welfare departments and approved by the State Welfare Department)
The basic organizational structure required to administer the EOSS program was largely dictated by the organizational structure already existing in the various county welfare departments. Mechanisms also existed to search current welfare client lists in order to find likely candidates for the program. County welfare departments, however, had no organizational mechanism to screen candidates for their potential skills, nor was there a system developed for training and placing acceptable job candidates.
As a part of a week-long seminar in Planning for Human Service Organizations which was held at the School of Applied Social Sciences, Case Western Reserve University, a group of approximately fifteen social work agency executives undertook to design a structure to locate, screen, train, and place job candidates. An outcome of this exercise was the following flow chart denoting the basic tasks to be performed by the EOSS unit (Figure 1).
Given this structure, the seminar considered how to staff the operation and how to estimate its budget requirements. Several issues were raised by the staffing question. First, in addition to administering the program, several different human service skills had to be performed. Individual and group counseling was required at several stages of the process. Teaching skills were required for the various training programs, and job finding and placement skills were needed. It was noted that the number of people required to perform each of these tasks was directly dependent on the number of clients flowing through the system.
The problem was further complicated by the fact that the number of clients trained in any given substantive skill area should be constrained by the number of job openings available for the substantive skill. The agency executives agreed that it was all too common for job training programs to be oriented toward a priori goals that have little or no relation to actual job demand. This resulted in unmet expectations, frustrations, and disenchantment with the entire process.
For purposes of developing a specific solution to this general planning problem, the group decided to make some assumptions about the number of individuals that would be processed by the system in a given time period.* Clients would be processed in batches.
'The actual numbers used in this exercise were generated by the agency executives in the seminar. They were not chosen to be particularly realistic, but rather to clothe the planning problem with specific parameters and to allow numeric solutions to be generated.
Given an intake batch size of approximately 100 clients, it was estimated that about half would be trained in chore, day care, and homemaker services. The remainder would be split about equally between transportation and nursing home aide services. Because all training classes would feature demonstration and practice rather than theory, a class size of approximately 25 was seen as desirable. Based on this assumption, it was felt that the following levels of labor would be required:
Intake'workers: 21 Skill screening: i Teachers: 4 lob finding: 2 Placement counseling: 1 Follow-up counseling: J
Total personnel required: 11 people (full time equivalents)
Assuming about 25 applicants for these 11 staff positions, the problem of selecting the "best" 11 was seen by the agency executives to be nontrivial. The educational background of the applicants, experience levels, demonstrated human service job skills, and administrative ability would all be important. The group sought a general method for solving this problem that could be easily applied whether the size of the problem was large or small—and would be equally helpful when the specification of the system was less obvious than it was in this particular case.
We start, then, from a set of goals, define a set of tasks consistent with the goals, define the skills required to accomplish the tasks, and then select a set of individuals who possess the proper skills. This problem has the same form as a classic problem in the management of research and development activities. Given that the desired end results of R & D are known, i.e., that we know the mission, what science inputs are required to achieve the mission? Science and mission are related through technologies; and if we construct an incidence matrix that relates "mission" to "technology" and another which relates "technology" to "science," then multiply the two matrices, we derive a matrix which shows which sciences contribute to specific missions. |2| Dean uses a similar logic in evaluating research laboratory performance. |3|
Here, we can use this technique to relate goals to tasks, tasks to skills, and skills to individuals. The out-
- Job finding (public) . Job-finding (private)'
Chore services Day care ■ . services Homemaker services
> Nursing home aide services
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