Goals and Objectives

Department of Labor Goals and Objectives for the 2019 Biennium

WORKFORCE SERVICES DIVISION GOALS AND OBJECTIVES

Job Service Operations Bureau

Goal #1: Develop and maintain a highly skilled, employment-ready workforce that supports and enhances the economic health of state and local business communities.

Objective:

  1. Engage with and understand Montana businesses immediate and future workforce needs.
  2. Educate and assist employers with getting a skilled talent pool to fill current vacancies, workforce planning, and understanding overall market trends.
  3. Engage and assist all types of workers, especially those with specific employment challenges.
  4. Educate and assist workers with finding employment, employment planning, and career development.
  5. Foster connections between employers, workers, community partners, and other state and local service providers.

Statewide Initiatives and Workforce Programs Bureau

Goal #1: Increase knowledge, understanding, and usage of Montana’s Registered Apprenticeship and other Work-Based Learning training programs. 

Objective:

  1. Provide recognized apprenticeship registration for Montana employers across all relevant and applicable occupations.
  2. Increase program apprentice registrations
  3. Increase program apprentice completions
  4. Increase new employer registrations
  5. Increase new occupational registrations

Goal #2: Prepare students in grades 9-12 for meaningful career-oriented jobs through the Jobs for Montana's Graduates (JMG) program.

Objective:

  1. Achieve a senior graduation rate of 90%
  2. Achieve a senior positive outcome rate of 80%
  3. Achieve a senior full-time placement rate (job & post-secondary) of 80%
  4. Achieve a non-senior return to school rate of 70%

Research and Analysis Bureau

Goal #1: Maintain high quality labor market and career information.

Objectives:

  1. Meet and exceed Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) deliverables 100% of the time.
  2. Increase relevance of and access to labor market information for all customers, including continuous improvement of the website, ourfactsyourfuture.org.
  3. Increase relevance of and access to career resources and information for all customers, including continued no-cost access to the Montana Career Information System (MCIS).

Division Management Services Bureau

Goal #1:  Provide fiscal management and oversight, policy analysis and development, reports monitoring and evaluation, and administrative support to Bureaus.

Objectives:

  1. Ensure and maintain a fiscally responsible budget.
  2. Ensure and maintain current and accurate program policy guidance and operational information.
  3. Ensure timely and accurate federal and state programmatic reporting.
  4. Provide administrative support to assist the division in operating in an efficient and effective manner.

State Workforce Investment Board

Goal #1: Support and promote workforce development by engaging with targeted industries to understand and address current and emerging skilled worker needs.

Objective:

  1. Support Main Street Montana industry sector strategy in development of in-demand and targeted industries in Montana.
  2. Continue support of One Stop System development and continuous improvement.
  3. Support modernization and improvement of the Labor Market Information system.

Goal #2: Encourage alignment among workforce development, post-secondary education, and economic development partners.

Objectives:

  1. Encourage and support cooperation between workforce and economic development programs and post-secondary education in pursuit of jointly operated projects.
  2. Support post-secondary education initiatives that enhance the ability of workers and employers to obtain timely and appropriate training.
  3. Foster and support coalitions that add value to the workforce system.

UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE DIVISION GOALS AND OBJECTIVES

Goal #1: Strengthen partnership with the Workforce Services, Division, its core partners, and aligned programs.

  1. Support wide array of return to employment programs for all Unemployment Insurance (UI) claimants.
  2. Continued support and cross-training for Workforce Services Division staff to assist UI claimants and identify eligibility issues.
  3. Implement single portal capabilities for UI claim filing and Job Service registration.
  4. Implement correspondence module that provides common and consistent electronic view for seekers, claimants, UI, and WSD staff.
  5. Integrate and analyze data across programs to evaluate service efficiency and outcomes beyond federal reporting requirements.

Goal #2: Meet or exceed program performance standards.

  1. Maintain or regain United States Department of Labor (USDOL) core measures and secretary standards for benefit timeliness, quality, and payment controls.
  2. Attain an acceptable level of tax performance of timeliness, quality, and completeness based on USDOL Tax Performance System Standards.
  3. Meet and maintain data validation standards for benefits and tax federal reporting.

Goal #3: Enhance customer and partner communications and program accessibility

  1. Refine soon-to-be implemented enterprise electronic content management system to improve image capture, retention and workflow, and to maximize personal service capacity.
  2. Implement configurable, enterprise solution to create, consolidate, and update correspondence templates, focusing on plain writing and standardized formats.
  3. Customer-centric update of soft and hard copy publications to eliminate jargon and improve understanding
  4. Implement and expand capability to communicate electronically with employers and third party administrators for benefits administration through the USDOL-supported State Information Data Exchange System (SIDES).

Goal #4: Prevent and detect fraud and improper benefit payments and improve debt recovery.

  1. Implement risk- and knowledge-based identity confirmation solutions to deter identity theft, reduce improper payments, and prioritize collection efforts.
  2. Implement federal Treasury Offset Program to intercept federal payments for UI benefit overpayments and unpaid employer taxes.
  3. Collaborate with other state agencies, jurisdictions, and federal partners to share criminal enterprise and suspicious activity information.
  4. Create and maintain cross-functional integrity task force to take ownership, update and monitor integrity strategies in the State Quality Service Plan.

COMMISIONER’S OFFICE/CENTRALIZED SERVICES DIVISION GOALS AND OBJECTIVES

Commissioner’s Office

Goal #1: Live, breath, walk, and talk the core values of the Department.

  • Customer Focus
    • Making decisions based on what is best for internal and external customers within the legal parameters of laws and regulations.
    • Inviting customer participation to better understand their needs.
  • Individual Responsibility
    • Taking individual responsibility for performance, attitude, professionalism, and communication.
    • Working effectively and productively in teams and partnerships and taking responsibility for each individual’s role in developing and maintaining healthy relationships and business partners.
    • Seeking training, tools, and information needed to perform the job.
    • Looking for ways to improve customer satisfaction.
    • Accepting responsibility and accountability before acting.
    • Creating a culture of safety.
  • Individual Growth
    • Freely sharing knowledge and opportunities for development.
    • Committing resources for staff development.
    • Recognizing individual strengths and valuing how they contribute to the whole.
    • Looking creatively at solutions to enhance staff performance at all levels.
  • Ethics in the Workplace
    • Displaying and encouraging trust, mutual support, respect for others, and honesty.
    • Does not engage in nor tolerate mean-spirited behavior.
  • Continuous Improvement
    • Continually questioning the "why" and "how" of performing specific job duties.
    • Including all stakeholders that may be affected by any change or improvement being considered.
    • When appropriate, using data and a structured method to make decisions.

Objective: The department’s core values are measured through an annual performance appraisal, which includes a midyear evaluation due no later than March 31st and a final evaluation due June 30th.

Commissioner’s Office of Human Resources

Goal #1: Strategically and systematically plan for an increase in teh number of retirements over the next biennium.

Objectives:

  1. Identify mission critical positions held by retirement eligible employees.
  2. Identify timelines for potential vacancies.
  3. Develop a plan to transfer knowledge before retirements in mission critical positions occur.

Goal #2: Work to ensure retention of existing employees through career and development opportunities.

Objectives:

  1. Identify career paths and transferable skills between various occupations throughout the department and make this information available to all employees.
  2. Systematically discuss career opportunities and aspirations with each individual employee and formulate individual career development plans.
  3. Provide targeted development to high performing and high potential employees where career opportunities exist within the department.
  4. Implement the Leadership Development program for potential future managerial employees. 

Goal #3: Successfully facilitate the negotiation of collective bargaining agreements for the two bargaining units within the agency.

Objectives:

  1. Reach an agreement with MPEA bargaining unit by October 1, 2017.
  2. Reach agreement with the Hearings Officers and Mediators bargaining unit by October 1, 2017.

Centralized Services Division Fiscal Support Bureau

Goal #1: Provide timely and reliable financial information to department personnel to facilitate the best use of financial resources in achieving department goals.

Objectives:

  1. Prepare monthly budget status reports for divisions and quarterly status reports for the entire department.
  2. Conduct monthly and quarterly meetings with division and department staff to review financial information.
  3. Complete financial transactions when due.

Centralized Services Division Office of Administrative Hearings

Goal #1: Provide timely, impartial administrative hearings for Montana’s citizens and businesses.

Objectives:

  1. Maintain a current hearing docket for all cases appealed to the Office of Administrative Hearings. This typically requires completion of 1,200 Unemployment Insurance (UI) appeals and 200 other employment-related appeals annually.
  2. Conduct all UI hearings and issue decisions within 30 days of the date of appeal.
  3. Complete contested case hearings and issue decisions within six months of receipt of file, except when the parties to cases request more time in the hearing process.
  4. Issue 75% of contested case decisions within 60 days of submission and 100% within 90 days of submission.
  5. Maintain high quality hearing processes and well-written, legally correct decisions.

EMPLOYMENT RELATIONS DIVISION GOALS AND OBJECTIVES

Human Rights Bureau

Goal #1: Conduct timely impartial investigations of charges of illegal discrimination under state and federal law.

Objective: Complete case investigations within 120 days for housing charges and 180 days for all other charges in accordance with state statutory time lines.

Goal #2: Ensure appropriate filing within statutory time lines and jurisdiction of applicable state and federal discrimination statutes.

Objective: Trained staff will screen complaint inquiries and, when appropriate, prepare written complaints within two weeks of all intake interviews.

Goal #3: Foster early resolution of charges.

Objectives:

  1. Provide voluntary resolution services during the 180 days investigation period, when requested by parties to a case.
  2. Successfully resolve 25% of complaints filed with the Bureau.

Goal #4: Provide technical assistance and educational outreach to businesses, advocacy groups, and interested citizens.

Objectives:

  1. Provide training at Safetyfests.
  2. Participate in a minimum of 10 other workshops and conferences on disability issues, race relations, education, public accommodations, and discrimination issues in the workplace.
  3. Respond to business rights inquiries from the public within two business days.

Labor Standards Bureau

Goal #1: Issue initial determinations on Wage and Hour complaints in a timely and efficient manner.

Objective: Maintain at least a 75% completion and strive for a 76% completion within 55 days of receipt.

Goal #2: Conduct timely dispute resolution and settlement of Wage and Hour complaints.

Objectives:

  1. Maintain the 4% of cases forwarded to formal hearings processes.
  2. Resolve at least 70% of the contested cases through mediation prior to hearing.

Goal #3: Foster alternative dispute resolution methodologies.

Objective: Actively participate in Interest Based Bargaining (IBB) contract mediation and grievance mediation as requested.

Goal #4: Conduct on-site visits on public construction and non-construction projects subject to the Montana Public Works Contract Law.

Objectives:

  1. Perform on-site visits of at least 40 different public works projects.
  2. Review payroll records of at least 85 contractors.

Safety and Health

Goal #1: Assist employers in complying with workplace safety and health standards.

Objectives:

  1. Assist 175 public sector employers with safety and health.
  2. Conduct 200 safety compliance visits with state agencies, cities, and counties.
  3. Conduct inspections on Montana's six coal mines.
  4. Conduct annual sand and gravel inspection
  5. Utilize the OSHA Consultation Program to reach out and provide safety and health services to 175 private sector employers around the state

Goal #2: Provide educational outreach and technical assistance to Montana employers, workers, students and interested organizations.

Objectives:

  1. Provide Business Outreach presentations throughout the State
  2. Participate as an exhibitor promoting Safety & Health Bureau and SafetyFestMT 4x per year
  3. Provide OSHA 10 Hour Courses targeted to young workers 40x per year
  4. Provide SafetyFestMTs, in partnership with WorkSafeMT, 4 x per year to 1400 workers
  5. Develop needed safety educational materials

Goal #3: Provide mine training courses for Montana employers.

Objective: Schedule 20 Part 48 training sessions across the state to conduct new miner training/refresher training.

Claims Assistance Bureau

Goal #1: Provide timely monitoring and regulatory services for the workers' compensation industry and claimants.

Objective: Process 100% of injured workers who file a report of injury to notify them of the assistance program.

Goal #2: Provide timely Stay at Work/Return to Work (SAW/RTW) assistance for injured workers, employers, and healthcare providers.

  1. Mail a postcard to 100% of injured workers who file a report of injury to notify them of the assistance program.
  2. Refer 100% of requests for assistance to the insurer or vocational rehabilitation provider within three days of receipt.
  3. Raise awareness of the assistance program through education and outreach to employers.

Goal #3: Provide timely, impartial, and equitable dispute resolution of benefit issues between claimants and insurers.

Objectives:

  1. Maintain at least a 75% resolution rate for all workers’ compensation mediation petitions filed. This typically requires conducting mediation conferences and issuing recommendations on 1,300 disputes annually.
  2. Complete the mediation process on 100% of cases within 90 days of receipt of a petition for mediation. The timeframes may be extended by request and agreement of the parties.

Goal #4: Enhance the electronic collection, quality, production, and sharing of workers' compensation information and data.

Objectives:

  1. Complete the Annual Report by July of each year.
  2. Prepare at least one special study to be made available to the workers’ compensation community each fiscal year.

Goal #5: Develop reviews of Utilization and Treatment Guidelines and Medical Fee schedules including internet based information and technical assistance for the medical community, insurers, adjusters, employers, workers, and the general public.

Objectives:

  1. Review and update of workers’ compensation medical fee schedules on an annual basis including ongoing support and communication.
  2. Review and update of Utilization and Treatment Guidelines on an annual basis including ongoing support and communication.

Goal #6: Respond to independent medical reviews (IMR), subsequent injury (SIF) reimbursements and petitions to reopen medical benefits closed by the 60 month closure in a timely manner.

Objectives:

  1. Completion of the IMR requests within the statutory guidelines.
  1. Complete SIF reimbursement requests in a timely manner.
  2. Complete medical reviews and issue medical benefits reopening determination within the statutory guidelines.

Goal #7: Provide technical assistance, public service announcements, and educational outreach to the public about the Workers' Compensation Act.

Objectives:

  1. Correctly answer public inquiries.  Public presentations are accurate and knowledgeable of the laws.
  2. Develop educational outreach for the Utilization and Treatment Guidelines, Fee Schedules, and IMRs.
  3. Participate in a minimum of 10 workshops and conferences annually to provide information about the programs administered by the bureau.

Workers’ Compensation Regulation Bureau

Goal #1: Provide technical assistance, public service announcements, and educational outreach to the public about Title 39, Chapters 8,9,71, and 73, MCA.

Objective:

  1. Correctly answer public inquiries in an accurate, professional, and timely manner.Public presentations are accurate and knowledgeable of the laws.
  2. Use resources and knowledge to educate employers and the general public about workers’ compensation requirements in Montana.
  3. Visit construction sites to verify compliance with the workers’ compensation coverage and construction contractor registration.
  4. Participate in home shows and fairs across the state.
  5. Use 15% of Contractor Registration revenue to fund educational outreach

Goal #2: Respond to applications and renewal requests in a timely manner.

Objectives:

  1. Conduct timely compliance investigations for all new applications and renewals for Independent Contractor Exemption Certificates, Contractor Registrations, Self-Insurance, Professional Employer Organizations, Subsequent Injury Fund, Extraterritorial (E.T.) Certificates, and Managed Care Organizations.
  2. Complete contractor registrations within seven days of receipt.
  3. Complete independent contractor exemption certificates within 10 days of receipt.

Goal #3: Identify uninsured employers and take action to bring them into compliance with worker's compensation coverage.

Objectives:

  1. Conduct at least 450 investigations of potential uninsured employers per year.
  2. Increase the number of penalty case settlements before turning cases over to collections.

Goal #4: Adjust claims received from injured workers of uninsured employers in a timely manner and pay appropriate workers' compensation benefits.

Objectives: Respond to all requests, make determinations, and pay benefits within the time frames in the workers' compensation act.

Goal #5: Negotiate with states Montana currently has E.T. agreements with, new updated agreements.

Objectives: To bring outdated E.T agreements current with states that Montana has receprocity agreements in place with.

Workers’ Compensation Regulation Bureau

Goal #1: Provide technical assistance, public service announcements, and educational outreach to the public about Title 39, Chapters, 8, 9, 71, and 73, MCA.

Objectives:

  1. Correctly answer public inquiries in an accurate, professional, and timely manner. Public presentations are accurate and knowledgeable of the laws.
  2. Use resources and knowledge to educate employers and the general public about workers’ compensation requirements in Montana.
  3. Visit construction sites to verify compliance with the workers’ compensation coverage and construction contractor registration.
  4. Participate in home shows and fairs across the state.

Goal #2: Respond to applications and renewal requests in a timely manner.

Objective:

  1. Conduct timely compliance investigations for all new applications and renewals for Independent Contractor Exemption Certificates, Contractor Registrations, Self-Insurance, Professional Employer Organizations, Subsequent Injury Fund, Extraterritorial Certificates, and Managed Care Organizations.
  2. Complete contractor registrations within 7 days of receipt.
  3. Complete independent contractor exemption certificates within 10 days of receipt.

Goal #3: Identify uninsured employers and take action to bring them into compliance with worker’s compensation coverage.

Objective:

  1. Conduct at least 450 investigations of potential uninsured employers per year.
  2. Settle at least 70% of penalty cases before turning cases over to collections.

Goal #4: Adjust claims received from injured workers of uninsured employers in a timely manner and pay appropriate workers’ compensation benefits.

Objective: Respond to all requests, make determinations and pay benefits within the time frames in the workers’ compensation act.

 

BUSINESS STANDARDS DIVISION GOALS AND OBJECTIVES

Board Management & Licensing Bureaus

Goal #1: Provide efficient and effective administrative and professional services to assist citizen boards in their duty to protect the health, safety and welfare of the public.

Objectives:

  1. Assist boards and programs in establishing appropriate and reasonable requirements and qualifications for licensure and renewal based on industry standards.
  2. Ensure complaints from the public and other jurisdictions regarding practice issues and misconduct are processed.
  3. Enforce board standards and sanctions to promote safe and competent practice.
  4. Ensure continued competency of licensees through maintenance of certifications and continuing education requirements and audits.

Goal #2: Provide friendly, prompt, efficient and effective services to our customers.

Objectives:

  1. Provide accurate and timely information regarding qualifications and requirements to the public, licensees, business owners and industry leaders and partners.
  2. Provide continuous communication to customers regarding program information and updates via our website and online services.

Goal #3: License and renew individuals and businesses through proficient, effective, and reliable processes.

Objectives:

  1. Review and approve individual and business application requirements and qualifications for licensure and renewal equitably.
  2. Solicit opportunity for the public, licensees, industry leaders and partners to provide feedback for improvement regarding standards and processes.
  3. Promote online application and renewal processes to achieve efficiencies and enhanced delivery of services.

Weights and Measures Bureau

Goal #1: Assure equity in commercial transactions.

Objective:

  1. On an annual basis test, inspect, and certify 80% of all scales, retail and wholesale meters, and liquefied petroleum gas dispensers used commercially in Montana.
  2. Investigate meter and scale complaints from the public.
  3. Obtain NIST recognition for the State Metrology Laboratory and ensure all standards used by registered service providers have up to date certificates of calibration.

Building Codes Bureau

Goal #1: Protect the health and safety of the public, employees and building owners and residents by administering building construction standards throughout the state where applicable.

Objectives:

  1. Adopt through consensus process sensible uniform standards for construction, installation and materials consistent with accepted standards of design, energy efficiency, accessibility, and uniformity for enforcement.
  2. Allow for the use of modern technical methods, devices, and improvements to reduce the cost of construction consistent with reasonable requirements for the health and safety of the occupants or users of buildings.
  3. Provide predictability, fairness, and efficiency to businesses and citizens by removing outdated, restraining, contradictory, and unnecessary building regulations that tend to needlessly increase construction costs or create barriers for business.

Goal #2: Provide prompt, efficient and effective service to business owners, citizens, design professional, building contractors, and trade persons through effective and responsive transactional methods.

Objectives:

  1. Review, process and approve a variety of permits and construction-related licensing applications in a fast, efficient, and effective manner such that businesses can hire qualified persons and get and keep projects moving.
  2. Meet the ongoing needs of businesses by maintaining an effective online citizen access portal for instant permit-issuance of a variety of permit types. Continue to provide business-requested services such as jobsite-issued permits, off-hours capability, and real-time inspection results delivered directly to smart phones of contractors.
  3. Provide Montana businesses that operate in or around the building environment access to permit and construction activity data to supplement and support their own business forecasting and practices.
  4. Seek to continuously improve to realize additional efficiencies and effectiveness to respond to the needs of Montana’s businesses and citizens.

TECHNOLOGY SERVICES DIVISION GOALS AND OBJECTIVES

The Montana Department of Labor & Industry has created a centralized organizational structure for Information Technology that focuses on improving efficiencies and service, while reducing duplicative costs and improving coordination across the entire department and the state enterprise.  The Technology Services Division (TSD) is empowered to focus on these goals:

Goal #1: Standardize or integrate IT applications, resources, and enterprise solutions

Objectives:

  1. Reduce duplication
  2. Create better integration and streamline applications and software that fit the agency's business need.

Goal #2: Develop and train IT staff within a unified organizational structure

Objectives:

  1. Mentoring, collabroation, and cross-training.

Goal #3: Provide IT focused career pathways

Objectives:

  1. To enhance professional development and mentoring of IT staff.

Goal #4: Provide IT solutions

Objectives:

  1. Leverage current technology and security best practices.
  2. Continue to develop IT Security Program.

GOVERNORS’ OFFICE OF COMMUNITY SERVICE GOALS AND OBJECTIVES

Goal #1: Encourage and Increase Community Volunteerism

Objectives:

  1. Encourage and promote community volunteerism by sharing compelling stories and impact of service through traditional and social media.
  2. Recognize meaningful volunteers and organizations through activities such as the ServeMontana Awards, Student Volunteer of the Game, and more.
  3. Increase opportunities for youth to serve through the Governor and First Lady Youth Leadership Council, and by making available the Youth Serve Montana Scholarship opportunity to high school students statewide.

Goal #2: Expand, Support, and Increase the Sustainability of National Service

Objectives:

  1. Provide technical assistance and training to AmeriCorps State programs.
  2. Expand the geographic and programmatic reach of National Service programs in Montana, particularly in Indian Country.
  3. Encourage cross-stream service collaboration and networking between AmeriCorps State & National, AmeriCorps NCCC, AmeriCorps VISTA, Senior Corps, and Social Innovation Fund.
  4. Engage new philanthropic partners and diversify financial support to help expand National Service opportunities.

Goal #3: Increase Civic Engagement in American Indian Communities and with the Montana Commission on Community Service

Objectives:

  1. Develop and strengthen relationships with Tribal nations, schools, and organizations to expand the impact of National Service and volunteerism, and to demonstrate the benefits of service on and nearby reservations.
  2. Expand Montana Commission on Community Service engagement through public outreach, and by increasing participation in activities of National Service and the Governor’s Office of Community Service.

Goal #4: Increase Montana's Overall Preparedness for Disasters

Objective:

  1. Increase disaster services provided by National Service members in Montana.
  2. Involve citizens in disaster preparedness activities and educate the public on local threats and hazards through seasonal outreach campaigns.
  3. Promote appropriate disaster response efforts of Montanans, and assist with volunteer and donation management efforts.

WORKERS’ COMPENSATION COURT GOALS AND OBJECTIVES

Goal #1: IMprove and Revise the Court's Rules

Objective: Continue to annually review the Workers' Compensation Court Rules to ensure they remain clear and easy to decipher for unrepresented parties as well as the practicing bar.

Goal #2: Continue flexible policy of trying cases when and where the parties wish.

Objective: The Court will continue to be flexible when scheduling trails. The Workers' Compensation Court has statewide jurisdiction and holds regular trial terms in five Montana cities: Billings, Great Falls, Helena, Kalispell, and MIssoula.  Week-long trial terms are held in each city four times a year. In the past, the Court has also held trials in Butte, Red Lodge, Big Fork, Miles City, Malta, Columbus, Bozeman, Sidney, and Plains.

Goal #3: Maintain the average time between submission and decision to within 90 days.

Objective: Issue timely rulings.

  1. The Court utilizes law clerks who conduct legal research and assist with drafting and finalizing decisions and substantive interim orders. The Court maintains an in-house submitted list with prioritizes cases by date of trial or submission of motions and is reviewed weekly by the law clerks and Judge.
  2. The Court encourages parties practicing before the Court to have all motions fully briefed and depositions filed on their due date so that the matter can be finally submitted at the conclusion of the trial. The Court has implemented procedures which facilitate rulings on motions to assist matters proceeding to trial in a timely manner. The Clerk of Court and Deputy Clerk I also act as pretrial hearing examiners. The pretial hearing examiners facilitate the pretial process to ensure the matter will be submitted at the conclusion of the trial.
  3. The Court endeavors to issue bench rulings whenever possible, thus expediting decisions, In order to facilitate this goal, the Court keeps a court reporter on staff who reports each proceeding. This facilitates the issuance of bench rulings which could not otherwise be issued immediately upon the conclusion of a trial or oral argument.

Goal #4: Continue to post final, published decisions on the Court's website and provide efficient search tools and a topics index for research purposes.

Objectives:  The Court will continue to post its published decisions and any substantive orders on its website. The law clerks compose topics in each published decision for research purposes. The topics are then input into the topics indexes and uploaded onto the Court's webiste. The Court endeavors to refine its search engine by partnering with information technology personnel and encourages attorneys practicing before the Court to utilize the topics index and search engines in conducting legal research.

Goal #5: Continue to maintain the Workers' Compensation Court website.

Objective:  The Court will continue to maintain its extensive website.  The website contains helpful information for parties practicing before the Court.  The court clerks are proficient in uploading information on the website to ensure current data and information for its users.  Court decisions are published on the website dating back from 1993 to the present.  Additionally, a topics index is available which is userful for legal research.  Links to Montana Supreme Court decisions and other state agencies are also provided on the website.  Court personnel are readily accessible through e-mail address links located on the website. The website contains the Court's calendar, which is continually updated.  The website also contains the Court rules, legal forms, general information, and helpful hints.

Goal #6: Continue to support easy accessibility by pro sé (unrepresented) parties.

Objective:  The Workers' Compensation system is intended to be primarily self-administering.  In furtherance of this goal, the Court is designed to make navigating through the system as easy as possible for pro sé (unrepresented) parties.  One of the ways this goal is accomplished is by keeping the Court's extensive website updated.  Additionally, the Court provides helpful assistance with any procedural questions a pro sé party may have.  Along with the Court's rules, the website contains forms and an informational brochure specifically geared toward pro sé parties.  Hard copies of these materials are also available upon request.

Goal #7: Continue to maintain wireless internet access.

Objective:  The Court purchased and will continue to maintain wireless internet service to enable parties access to the internet on their personal laptop computers for legal research during trials, oral arguments, and conferences.

Goal #8: Continue to allow electronic filing of pleadings.

Objective: The Court will continue to allow for the electronic filing of documents to assist parties in timely filing their documents.

Goal #9: Continue the Court's relationship wit the Alexander Blewett III School of Law.

Objective:  In an effort to continue its historical relationship with the Alexander Blewett III School of Law at the University of Montana, the Court will be engaging student interns.  The interns will observe court proceedings and draft Court orders and decisions.