American Job Center Certification: Process and Best Practices

Terri Kaufman - Workforce Development Specialist ·

Are you a Local Workforce Development Board (LWDB) looking to certify your service location as an American Job Center (AJC)? Are you confused by WIOA legislation and all of the operational criteria and procedure requirements involved in this certification process? In this blog we will break down the requirements in a simple format so you have clarity on what’s involved and required.

LWDBs are required by WIOA legislation to establish operational criteria and procedures when certifying any of their AJC locations. So what is certification and why is it important?

Let’s review the three step process:

To be clear, ‘certifying’ an AJC according to WIOA legislation simply means that the AJC must demonstrate certain requirements.

  1. First, the State Workforce Development Board must establish these specific requirements. The requirements must be objective and include procedures to guide Local WDBs in evaluating program effectiveness, physical accessibility, and promote continuous improvement.
  2. State agencies responsible for oversight of AJCs establish the certification process. They also review and update the certification criteria every two years as part of the review and modification of the WIOA State Plan. LWDBs can set additional criteria and establish even higher standards for service, if they wish.
  3. Then each LWDB must interpret the requirements and use them to evaluate and certify their AJCs. They are required to clearly identify the criteria for one-stop delivery services, customer satisfaction, physical and programmatic accessibility and continuous improvements through the applicable Certification Review Form. LWDBs that choose to establish additional criteria may modify the certification review forms.

As part of the certification, LWDBs are required to execute a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with required mandated and other partner agencies. The MOU establishes what services the partner will provide, how they are to be provided, and indicate financial support for center operations.

At minimum, the MOU must define:

  • Partners who are co-located
  • Services and resources provided
  • How partners will interact with each other
  • Functional supervision
  • Administrative support of center operation
  • Funding plan (cost-sharing) to support center operation

The following are examples of key elements within several categories that many states have defined as requirements to obtain One-Stop Certification:

  • Governance – all required documents in place prior to certification
  • MOU executed
  • Functional organizational chart
  • Equal opportunity provisions
  • LWDB is certified and board members are current
  • System in place to track customer satisfaction
  • Professional staffing and ongoing training
  • Center staff roles and responsibilities are clear
  • The center provides staff development
  • The center has a system in place to assess staff members’ skills and core competencies
  • Equal Opportunity Awareness (Center staff and program partners are familiar with applicable laws, regulations and policies regarding nondiscrimination and equal opportunity for all customers.)
  • Responsive to the needs of jobseekers
  • Integrated service strategy
  • Jobseekers have multiple paths to access services
  • Customers are provided information about all services available in service-focused, customer-friendly manner
  • The center tracks: (1) customer activity, (2) experiences, and (3) outcomes

Responsive to the Needs of Businesses

  • Identifies ways the centers respond to local and regional economic and workforce needs
  • The Center has a Business Services Team
  • The Business Services Team has processes for contracting employers in each targeted industry sector and can direct access to appropriate services or make referrals to other services
  • The Business Services Team partners with employers to identify their needs and provide timely solutions


  • Partners with the assistance of the One-Stop Operator to share performance information
  • Systems are in place to identify and track service efficiencies and effectiveness

Program Services

  • All customers have equal opportunity to access the Center services required by WIOA
  • Technology integration

Program Coordination

  • Prioritizes the development of integrated programs, services and activities
  • Partner programs and services are coordinated in accordance with the MOU
  • Best practices and internal communications are developed and maintained


  • Integration of services (what does this mean?)
  • Customers are provided information about all services available
  • Best practices in internal communications are adopted
  • Resource room contains up-to-date, high-quality information about career services, training and supportive services
  • Websites and resource materials are available
  • Optimum business hours are offered
  • Services are available through direct connection with onsite staff or technology consisting of the “direct linkage” requirement
  • Physical layout and accommodations – The location and center layout eliminates barriers and is accessible to customers of all capacities
  • The center is inclusive and in compliance with federal, state and local laws and regulations
  • The center has adequate space and capacity
  • The center has technology to support functions of the center
  • The center has bilingual staff, materials or translation services

Center Location

  • The center is accessible by public transportation, driving or walking

Center Appearance and Safety

  • The center maintains a professional and welcoming appearance
  • The center provides a safe and secure environment for customers and employees
  • The center displays the One-Stop system identifier

LWDBs must select and create a Team to conduct the Onsite Reviews. The Onsite Review Team will interview partner staff, and it is therefore is critical that all partner staff are prepared. They should have working knowledge of policies/procedures, service delivery and roles and functions of all partner agencies. Partner Agencies must be prepared for the review team to complete their review and make recommendations for approval and/or corrective action. It is critical that all team members understand their role and functions.

To learn more about WIOA implementation and how we can advise on your certification process, click here. Talk with one of our experts today!

You’ll soon be on your way to gaining more information on WIOA and Certification of One-Stop Centers.