West Michigan Works!

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West Michigan Works! is part of the statewide Michigan Works! system, serving the employers and job seekers of Allegan, Barry, Ionia, Kent, Montcalm, Muskegon, and Ottawa counties.

In partnership with employers, educators, economic developers, and community organizations, we work to create a qualified workforce that meets our region’s current and future talent needs and fuels our shared economic future.

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A Kentico Xperience Case Study

Goals 

West Michigan Works! (WMW) supports individuals getting back into the workforce by using grant money to assist with cab fare, interview clothing, child care, etc. WMW needed a new database application that could track job seekers’ requests for support, allow for management approval, and create reports on the requests. The existing application didn’t do everything that WMW needed and was restricted in usability due to licensing. There was also a need for the application to enable access to additional locations and users, due to the recent merger of WMW offices. 

Specific goals included:

  • Single sign-on (SSO) capabilities
  • ​Ability to access the system from mobile devices
  • Customized tracking as each location has its own budgets and must be tracked separately
  • Complex customizations, including:
    • Every screen needed to show the overall program/funding source’s available budget balance and the location’s available budget balance for the program/funding source selected
    • Each support service request amount needed to be deducted from the available budget amount for that program/funding source when it is approved as well as from the location’s available budget for that program/funding source.
    • Ability to add funding sources as well as change budget amounts but limited to certain users
    • Budgets needed to be adjusted by differences between the approved amount and the actual payment amount.
  • Ability to attach and add PDF documents to any record/form
  • Printable support service record as a form, along with any PDF documents
  • Ability to create a multi-layer approval workflow
  • Ability to create several types of reports for a variety of users (i.e., fiscal, management, administrative)
  • Capability to set up additional locations without the assistance of developers
  • Ability to build future functionality for multi-part training authorizations

Challenges

  • Highly complex business logic was used to tackle a number of miscellaneous business rules that needed to be dealt with programmatically in the application—for example, automated push notifications for emails.
  • SSO integration with roles and permissions and complex workflow 
  • Handling unique requests for several counties
  • Authorization of access to several locations 
  • Complex reporting needs
  • Audit log for request changes​

Solutions 

  • BizStream implemented single sign-on (SSO) using the current Active Directory / Windows Authentication structure for user management. This allows West Michigan Works users within the company to log on to the web application with the same credentials they use to log on to their computers.
  • BizStream used Kentico Xperience and the ASP.NET MVC Framework to power the server side web application. ASP.NET Razor and jQuery were used for the user interface.
  • BizStream utilized Kentico Xperience Custom Tables to maintain location data, request data, job seeker data, and funding source data. 
  • The Kentico Xperience Email application is used for sending automated messages to the correct users at the correct times during the request pipeline.
  • The Kentico Xperience User Application is used for handling user roles and permissions

BizStream, using their Kentico expertise, developed a database to process 5,000+ support requests annually. We are a workforce development agency serving tens of thousands of jobseekers across a seven-county region. We have 102 users, 17 funding streams, and each request has multiple approval levels and a fiscal close-out section. We were able to cut the approval time for requests from more than fourdays down to just a few hours – all electronically! BizStream’s team was very knowledgeable, professional, and easy to work with. They ARE the database experts! 

Stacy Bush - Procurement Manager at West Michigan Works!