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Denver Mayor Michael Hancock cuts a ceremonial ribbon to mark the transition to a private-provider model for city workforce centers on Aug. 1, 2016. With him are Denise Bryant, the Denver director of workforce services, left, Deputy Mayor Don Mares and Michael Hough, the president of Louisville, Ky.-based ResCare Workforce Services.

The Denver City Council on Monday approved a new set of contracts for the city’s outsourced workforce development system for the setup’s second year.

The same contractor, Louisville, Ky.-based ResCare Workforce Services, will run one-stop workforce centers across the city under a slimmed-down $4.4 million one-year arrangement that takes effect July 1. But three months ago, Denver economic development officials announced that they planned to reshuffle the setup and eliminate another major provider after it failed to meet benchmarks in the first year.

Officials, who have acknowledged shortcomings in a system that formerly was run for years by city employees, have said they hope to see improvements from the first year’s mixed results.

What’s changing: Contracts approved in a block vote Monday will shift the responsibility for an out-of-school youth employment program — which aims to train dropouts and other high-risk youth and connect them with jobs — from Waukesha, Wis.-based Dynamic Workforce Solutions to Denver Public Schools. DPS in the past year has overseen employment training for in-school youth, and now it will be responsible for both programs.

Another major change concerns employment services for needy families after the work participation rate of the Colorado Works/Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program fell well below a federal baseline of 50 percent — potentially jeopardizing future federal funding.

Denver Human Services will retake control of case management for regular TANF recipients, who still will receive job placement and other assistance at ResCare’s centers. For groups of TANF recipients who are considered more difficult to serve, DHS now will oversee all services.

“Overall, we feel optimistic that the new delivery model is the right one,” said Susan Liehe, a spokeswoman for the city’s Office of Economic Development. “Obviously we had to make a course correction on the out-of-school youth,” but she said the group posed challenges for any workforce program.

Contract details: The outsourced components total $6 million, down from $9.4 million in the current program year. That’s in part due to a large anticipated cut in federal funding for workforce programs under the Trump administration and Denver’s low unemployment rate, which also affects funding.

Here are the basics:

  • ResCare’s $4.4 million in contracts is down from its $6.7 million deal from July 2016 through this month. Nearly $3 million will cover its workforce programs for adults and laid-off workers, while $4.4 million will pay for ResCare’s work with regular TANF recipients.
  • DPS’ $1.7 million contract covers the in-school and out-of-school youth employment programs. That is down from a combined $2.1 million spent on both programs in the last year.
  • Officials decided not to renew three smaller contracts for employment programs that were aimed at immigrants and other specialized groups.

Summer program: The council also was set to approve a $500,000 contract for DPS for the city’s summer youth employment program, which is separate from the workforce system.