Thanksgiving is traditionally a time to gather with friends and loved ones to give thanks for life’s blessings. The holiday lends itself to reflection on the things for which one is most grateful. Sometimes just thinking about the subject of gratitude can prompt us to feel more of it. When we are aware of the idea of appreciation, we also become more conscious and aware of our blessings.
The National Voter Registration Act is a federal law designed to increase citizens’ access to voter registration opportunities. It requires agencies such as the Division of Public Assistance to make every effort to ensure public assistance applicants and recipients have a chance to register to vote. In the past few months DPA staff all across the state have been very successful ensuring that our customers have that opportunity. Vote Here signs are everywhere and in the last few months DPA accepted 744 registrations. A significant increase over the 400 received last year.
Are you ready to expand your skills in working with clients?
Are you interested in learning more about your agency partners?
Do you want more information about the outlook of future services?
Please mark your calendars for:
The Alaskan Families Come First Conference
September 26, 27 and 28
Last month the Policy and Program Development Team had their Lean Kaizen Event. As a result this summer and fall we are implementing radical process improvements to meet the needs of our customers.
Here are some improvements we can all look forward to right away:
• Monthly manual changes
• Shorter turnaround time in implementing new and revised policies suggested by field staff
• Increased collaboration with the field and other DPA support teams to create more effective and useful policies
But the biggest improvement on the horizon, and the one thing that all our stakeholders have asked for, is ONE MANUAL.
This week the Food and Nutrition Service is sending a letter to Governor Parnell congratulating the State of Alaska for “ … achievement in obtaining both a payment error rate and a negative error rate that are below the national average…” In fact, Alaska’s payment error rate of only 2.15% placed us 9th in the nation for payment accuracy and garnered yet another SNAP High Performance Award; this one for $232,898!
Beginning in the fall of 2009 with Field Services the Division began taking a critical look at our core business practices in order to develop more efficient and effective ways of doing our work. By this fall every section of the division will have had the opportunity to have representatives participate in the LEAN/Kaizen process that we are using to implement significant and meaningful changes in our business practices. To better support the changes in our work processes and to gain additional efficiency, work is also in progress to find an alternative to the Eligibility Information System (EIS).
In a few short days eight of our co-workers will be retiring from the Division of Public Assistance. Collectively, they have over 210 years of state service and more than 190 years of experience with the Division of Public Assistance! Many of them have worked in a wide range of positions within DPA and each of them has strived to be a first-rate co-worker and teammate and to provide the best possible service to our clients.
Over the years they worked with DPA ,each of them as helped countless of Alaskans in need and supported the efforts of scores upon scores of co-workers and partners in sister agencies and community organizations. They have been a part of some of the most profound changes our agency has gone through over the years and all have contributed to making DPA the best agency in state government.
Please join me in thanking Beth Maiquis, Debbie Gage, Jeanette Skinner, Barbara Hollywood, Ginny Meyer, John Ellis, Connie Boquist, and Stephanie Hoyt for their dedication and service to Alaska’s most vulnerable citizens. Let’s wish them the best of luck in whatever new adventures await them.
DPA really is a team of outstanding employees and it is a real pleasure to see some of our co-workers recognized at the State-level.
Please join me in congratulating the staff of the Heating Assistance Program for their honorable mention as an exceptional performance team. Every year the HAP faces a tremendous volume of applications that starts right at the outset of the program year. They probably receive close to 2,500 applications a month, but despite that demand they never stop thinking of the households they serve.
One month ago staff from the Southeast Region (SERO) and support units participated in the Division’s second Kaizen event (virtually on the anniversary of the first LEAN/Kaizen event held at the Gambell Office). Representatives from each of the region’s three offices and the Heating Assistance Program spent an intense 5 days to develop a different way of delivering services to Alaskans in need. They explored new ways of looking at our business, our customers, and the products and services they deliver every day to thousands of Alaskans in their region.
Today we received word from USDA that Alaska has been awarded another Food Stamp (SNAP) performance bonus award for having the best program access in federal fiscal year 2009. That's two years in a row! Below is the press release from the USDA which announces our achievement.