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The Job of Creating Jobs

Founded in June 2018, Employ Prince George’s, Inc. is a 501c3 non-profit organization based in Largo, MD. The company is an economic driver of Prince George’s County, providing nationally recognized community and workforce development programming. EPG serves as the county’s principal workforce development entity; its mission is to improve the local economy by creating a demand-driven workforce system with workforce development programs that deliver qualified workers to businesses, improve the productivity of businesses, and provide job seekers with opportunities for careers in high demand/high growth industries.  

Pandemic Pivot to Digital Processes Needed

As part of their plan to transition from paper-based to digital processes, EPG signed on with Epicor ECM business partner MEDI in April 2020 to work to leverage technology, create more efficient business processes and eliminate bottlenecks. MEDI has worked with the organization to usher in a new world of digitally streamlined processing with Epicor ECM. This has provided the foundation for growth and scalability – a key benefit as EPG more than doubled its staff in the first 24 months of the global pandemic as demand for workforce development assistance surged.

“We wanted to eliminate paper-based processes to shorten cycle time and improve collaboration and data access,” said Ericka Stevens, Employ Prince George’s Inc., Director of Contracts and Operations. “Our goal was to electronically process internal and external invoices, programmatic workflows, and safely and securely electronically store all of our contractual and legal agreements for easy accessibility for our staff.”

During the early days of the pandemic, one day we were here meeting all together onsite, then 30 days later we had to all work from home. And yet, the need to connect people with training opportunities so they could find gainful employment was tremendous. It was quite a challenge.

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, the move to digital processes became much more urgent. “During the early days of the pandemic, one day we were here meeting all together onsite, then 30 days later we had to all work from home,” Stevens said. “And yet, the need to connect people with training opportunities so they could find gainful employment was tremendous. It was quite a challenge.”

With its legacy paper-based processes, documents were often lost or misplaced, translating into hours spent locating them and extensive processing delays – sometimes up to as much as 60 days. Employees would have to scour paper files or computer files to find documents – a task that was made more difficult if the document had been incorrectly filed.

Paper-based processes also resulted in potential exposure of Social Security numbers and other personally identifiable information (PII) of EPG’s participants. Anyone walking by a cubicle that had unfiled documents, ran the risk of seeing confidential information, introducing possible privacy concerns and the risk of serious liability.

Gaining Scalability, Speeding Processing, Advancing Data Security

With the pandemic transition to remote work, electronic document access and workflows were key, especially as the number of candidates seeking training for new career paths grew exponentially.

“We needed one system that could do as much digitally as possible and we needed something sound and fast,” Stevens said. “The goal was to maximize efficiencies in contract management and to help our Career Consultants quickly process requests for payment for individuals seeking education and training while also introducing new levels of document security and privacy. That’s where Epicor ECM and MEDI came in.”

Today, using Epicor ECM Advanced Workflow, processing has been greatly streamlined. Rather than physically exchanging contracts and requests for payment processing, documentation is created via Epicor ECM Forms and flowed electronically through a structured notification and approval workflow, so no time is wasted in moving to the next step.

We needed one system that could do as much digitally as possible, and we needed something sound and fast. The goal was maximized efficiencies in contract management and to help our career consults quickly process requests for payment for individuals seeking education and training while also introducing new levels of document security and privacy. That’s where Epicor ECM and MEDI came in.

As a result, Employ Prince George’s has slashed processing time for its training and education tuition requests from one week to two business days or less. Now, employees simply type in a keyword and the Epicor ECM system surfaces a list of documents related to that keyword, including all invoices, reports, modifications, and addendums. Additionally, Epicor ECM has helped ensure EPG maintains the security and confidentiality of PII within its processes.

Epicor ECM also helps to ensure contracts for education and training vendors due to expire are flagged for renewal. Previously, it was dependent on employees to manually recognize that a renewal date was approaching. Now the system automatically alerts the appropriate employee about the forthcoming contract expiration and guides next steps for timely renewal, providing records and reports indicating whether the vendor has performed as expected, and/or any other issues that may preclude contract renewal.

Preventing staff “burnout” is another much needed benefit that the Epicor ECM system has brought to the organization.

Epicor and MEDI: Key Partners in Progress

MEDI has provided support from initial planning to implementation to post-implementation training and customization. EPG has set up its employees for success in using the new system by providing extensive training to aid the transition. “There was a learning curve for our employees because it’s a new system – a scenario complicated by the extensive number of new employees that we’ve onboarded over the past two years,” said Stevens. “But the Epicor ECM solution is very easy to use and MEDI has been extremely patient and very helpful. There has never been a time they have not made themselves available to us, and they have done a wonderful job of customizing the system to meet our specific needs.”

Stevens expects the organization to gain further benefits from Epicor ECM moving forward as the workforce development firm expands its region served to encompass the District of Columbia, Southern Maryland, and Virginia area, where Epicor and MEDI will help support the non-profit in its mission of creating jobs for more individuals in need.

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Company Facts

  • Location: Maryland, United States
  • Specialist Industry: Non-Profit, Employment Services
  • Website: www.employpg.org

Challenges

  • Heavy reliance on manual workflows and paper-based documentation
  • Compromised process visibility and slow cycle times
  • Low levels of document security and privacy, creating compliance concerns

Benefits

  • Faster and more efficient workflows, document access, and retrieval
  • Automated tracking of contract notifications and renewals
  • Enhanced document privacy and security
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