U.S. DEPARTMENT OF LABOR
Employment and Training Administration
Washington, D. C. 20210

CLASSIFICATION

ONE-STOP/LMI

CORRESPONDENCE SYMBOL

OWS/USES/ALMIS

ISSUE DATE

January 9, 2003

RESCISSIONS

None

EXPIRATION DATE

Continuing

ADVISORY

:

TRAINING AND EMPLOYMENT GUIDANCE LETTER NO. 18-02

 

TO

:

ALL STATE WORKFORCE LIAISONS
ALL STATE WORKFORCE AGENCIES
ALL ONE-STOP CENTER SYSTEM LEADS

 

FROM

:

EMILY STOVER DeROCCO
Assistant Secretary

 

SUBJECT

:

Planning Guidance for Program Year 2002 Workforce Information Core Products and Services: Workforce Information Formula Allocations to States

  1. Purpose. To transmit guidance for the development and management of PY 2002 Workforce Information grant plans.

  2. References. Section 7, Parts (a)(3)(D)and(d)and Section 15 of the Wagner-Peyser Act; Section 309 of the Workforce Investment Act; Section IV(C)(3) of the WIA/Wagner-Peyser Planning Guidance (FRN/Vol 64, No. 37/Thursday, February 25, 1999); 29 CFR Parts 93,96, 97 and 98; and OMB Circular A-87.

  3. OMB Approval. Consistent with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501-3520), OMB has reviewed and approved the Information Collection Request for this planning guidance (OMB Control Number 1205-0417). This approval expires December 31, 2003. Under 5 CFR 1320.f(b), an Agency cannot conduct, sponsor, or require a response to a collection of information unless the collection displays a valid OMB Control Number.

  4. Allocations. Funding is provided in the One-Stop Career Center/America=s Labor Market Information System (ALMIS)appropriation for Fiscal Year(FY)2002. For Program Year(PY)2002, $38 million, minus a 2.6 percent postage reserve($988,000), is allocated by formula to the fifty States, the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.

    Funds are being provided to states to produce the core information products and services defined in this guidance and for the development of other workforce information products and services which, at the state's discretion, might be required to support the state=s strategic workforce investments.

    See Attachment I for the table of allocations and allocation formula.

  5. Period of Performance. The maximum expenditure period for these funds is three years, pursuant to the Wagner-Peyser Annual Funding Agreement. The grant plan will cover, at a minimum, the 12 month period of July 1, 2002 to June 30, 2003 but may, if negotiated between the state and Regional Office, cover a longer period of time up to the maximum expenditure period ending June 30, 2005.

  6. Annual Plan Format and Content. The annual plan narrative shall be organized into three sections: (a) a description of the statewide employment statistics system; (b) a description of the products and services to be provided with these funds; and(c) a description of the strategy to be employed by the state for assessing customer satisfaction with state produced workforce information.

    1. Statewide Employment Statistics System. It is ETA's intent that ALMIS formula-funded grants to states for core products be an integral part of the statewide employment statistics system and support the state's overall plan for workforce investment. Section 111(d)(8)of WIA requires that the State Workforce Investment Board assist the governor in developing the statewide employment statistics system. Section 309 (e) of WIA requires that the state agency, designated by the Governor as being responsible for the management of the statewide employment statistics system, consult with state and local boards, the business community, individuals and state and local education agencies about the usefulness of the information to be provided through the system.

      In order to better understand how the activities funded by these grants support the state's overall workforce investments, the plan narrative must provide a concise description of the statewide employment statistics system including descriptions of:

      • the state agency's strategy for consulting with state and local workforce investment boards, the business community, individuals and workforce development professionals to determine customers' workforce information needs;

      • how the statewide employment statistics system supports the state's WIA/Wagner-Peyser Five Year Strategic Plan for state and local workforce development;

      • the broad strategic approach for workforce information delivery to the system's three principal customer groups - the business community, individuals and the state's workforce development system; and

      • how workforce information and services are delivered to customers through the state's One-Stop service delivery system.

      In addition, states are requested, but not required, to provide information on funding sources other than these grant funds which are budgeted for workforce information, and the activities being carried out with those funds that are part of the state's employment statistics system.

    2. Products and Services. In order to receive funding, States must submit a grant plan for providing, at a minimum, the core products and services described in Attachment III. These are the most recent priorities defined by the Workforce Information Council, the Federal-State governance body established pursuant to Section 309 (b)(1) of WIA to achieve cooperative management of the nationwide workforce information system.

      In accordance with Section 309 of WIA, the grant plan must be consistent with the state's WIA/Wagner-Peyser Five-Year Strategic Plan. The core products and services and any additional planned projects supported by these grant funds must reflect consultation with the state Workforce Investment Board and other principal customers, with major activities and planned customer outcomes defined in context of the state's WIA/Wagner-Peyser Five-Year Strategic Plan.

      The plan narrative must provide a description of each core product or other major activity to be funded by the grant and include the following information for each:

      • a description of the core product or other activity, including the principal customers, e.g., employers, job seekers, workforce development professionals or others, and the methodology to be used, where appropriate;

      • the focus of each product or activity, e.g., data or economic analysis, correcting data gaps, system development, One-Stop service delivery or other;

      • a summary of the results of consultation with the State Board and other customers concerning the deliverable;

      • how the product or activity supports the state's WIA/Wagner-Peyser Five Year Strategic Plan;

      • the measurable customer outcome(s)projected for each core product or other major activity;

      • planned milestones for completion of the deliverable; and

      • the total estimated cost of each deliverable, including identification of planned equipment purchases of $5,000 or more per unit cost.

      The measurement of customer outcomes, combined with an assessment of customer satisfaction with workforce information products and services, provide the basis for formulating continuous improvement strategies for the system. Because of the nature of information services, it may not be possible to identify quantifiable customer outcomes, such as "entered employment," for some products or services. Instead, states may determine that other indicators are appropriate proxies for assessing performance.

      Examples of possible indicators are: usage statistics for Web-based systems or modules of such systems; demand statistics for a product or service, such as number of publication or listserv subscriptions or number of requests for consultations by stakeholders; or number of individuals served by an activity, such as number of individuals trained by course offering or counseled using an O*NET-based occupational analysis product.

    3. Customer Satisfaction Assessment. Section 15 of the Wagner-Peyser Act (WIA Section 309) requires state agencies to consult with customers about the usefulness of the information disseminated through the statewide employment statistics system, in order to continuously improve the system. To carry out this requirement and to ensure accountability for the expenditure of these funds, beginning with PY 2002, a condition for receiving this grant will be an assessment by the state of customer satisfaction with state produced workforce information.

      Based on guidance from the Workforce Information Council, ETA is not prescribing an approach or methodology for assessing customer satisfaction, and is defining customer satisfaction information broadly, to allow states to define and use a variety of methods for gaining information about what customers value. These might include focus groups, surveys, consultation or other methods the state considers appropriate, employed solely or in combination.

      For PY 2002, each state has the flexibility to devise a strategy employing single or multiple approaches for assessing customer satisfaction with state workforce information services. States may choose the range of services to assess, from the entire Section 309 statewide employment statistics system to selected components of the system such as these formula funded products and services.

      The grant plan must include a description of the customer satisfaction assessment strategy to be employed by the state. The plan must describe the workforce information to be assessed and the method(s) to be used to collect and interpret customer satisfaction information. At a minimum, satisfaction must be assessed in some manner for each of the system's three principal customers - the business community, job seekers, and the workforce system (state and local boards, state and local workforce agencies, service and training providers, etc.)

      Since PY 2002 is the first year that customer satisfaction assessment is required and many states are inexperienced in this area, the strategy described in the plan may subsequently be modified, if necessary, through a formal modification to the plan narrative statement of work. It is ETA's intent to provide technical assistance to states in developing strategies.

      Grantees are to submit an electronic copy of the approved plan narrative in PDF format to the ETA National Office at es-in@doleta.gov. The document will be posted on a secure ETA supported Web site accessible to the workforce development system. The purpose of making the plans Web-accessible is to allow the sharing of workforce information delivery strategies and innovative practices among states.

  7. Plan Modifications. The Grantee and Regional Office may jointly modify planned activities and associated expenditures, within the state allocation, during the plan period of performance. The Regional Office has authority to recommend funding adjustments to the Grant Officer when overall grant expenditures are substantially below quarterly budgeted forecasts.

    In the event that the Secretary of Labor may be required to carry out other responsibilities not anticipated in the plan, grantees may be requested to submit a plan modification to carry out the additional responsibilities.

  8. Special Plan Requirements. Funds provided by this award may not be used to supplant funds obligated from other funding sources for workforce information or other activities.

    All costs incurred under the grant must support the cost objective specified in Item 4.of this guidance and must conform to the principles for "reasonable" and "allocable" costs as specified in OMB Circular A-87.

    All planned data collection activities must conform to technical standards and methodologies established by the Bureau of Labor Statistics or provide, in the plan, a sound business rationale for the use of an alternative methodology.

    Any information technology systems or applications developed with these funds must adhere to industry-standard, open architecture principles with documentation and software code made available for use by other state or local entities.

  9. Publications and Other Information Products. Grantees are requested to continue to submit hard copies of publications produced with these grant funds to the appropriate Regional Office. States are also requested to submit PDF copies of publications and other material considered to be of special interest to the system and which might be replicated by other states, to es-in@doleta.gov for posting on an ETA supported Web site.

    Examples of publications of special interest might be workforce information targeted to the needs of specific customer groups, sub-state economic snapshots or industry-specific research and analysis. Other material of interest might include state brochures describing the availability and functionality of electronic, self-service tools, or documentation of applications developed for database access, or workforce information services publicly available through the One-Stop system or targeted to specific customer groups.

    Submission of hard copy publications to the ETA National Office is not required.

  10. Annual Performance Reports. Grantees are required to submit an annual performance report that tracks performance for each planned activity, per 29 CFR 97.40(b)(2) and as specified in Attachment IV, Section A.

    The annual performance report must also include a summary of findings of the grantee's assessment of customer satisfaction with state workforce information products and services and a summary of activities to be undertaken to add customer value where needs for improvement are indicated. A description of the methods used to collect and interpret customer satisfaction information must be included. The report may also include recommendations for consideration by the Workforce Information Council and ETA for improvements or changes to the suite of core products and services.

    Grantees are to electronically submit the annual performance report to the appropriate Regional Office with a copy in PDF format to the ETA National Office at: es-in@doleta.gov. Per 29 CFR 97.40 (b)(1), annual reports are due 90 days following the end of the Program Year.

    The ETA National Office will post the annual performance reports on a secure ETA supported Web site, accessible to the workforce development system, for the purpose of informing the system of overall performance of the workforce information system and of customer satisfaction with the products and services delivered.

  11. Financial Management and Reporting. States are to forecast actual cash needs by program year quarter on SF-424A, Section D, for all quarters covered by the plan. State Workforce Agencies will report quarterly expenditures by direct data entry of Standard Form 269, Federal Cost Report, into the Web-based Enterprise Information Management System (EIMS). Quarterly financial reports are due within 30 days following the end of each quarter, per 29 CFR 97.41(b)(4). A financial reconciliation will be conducted by the Regional Office at the end of the program year.

    Questions regarding financial management and reporting for PY 2002 or for any existing prior year fund balances should be addressed to the appropriate Regional Office.

  12. Action Required. Grant plans are due within 30 days of the date of this guidance. Regional Offices may extend the due date, if necessary. State Workforce Agency Administrators are requested to:

    1. Immediately transmit this planning guidance to the appropriate State Workforce Agency office.

    2. Submit two signed copies of the PY 2002 grant application package to the appropriate Regional Administrator and e-mail one electronic copy, in PDF format, of the approved annual plan narrative to the ETA National Office at: es-in@doleta.gov.

    3. The grant application package must include:

      1. A Transmittal Letter
      2. Application for Federal Assistance (SF-424)
      3. Budget Plan(SF-424A, Section D only)
      4. Annual Plan Narrative

  13. Inquiries. Questions on plan requirements may be directed to the appropriate Regional Office or to Olaf Bjorklund at 202-693-2870. Grant and financial management questions may be directed to the appropriate Regional Office or to Gwendolyn Baron-Simms at 202-693-3309 or to Fred Tello, Grant Officer, at 202-693-3333.

  14. Attachments.

    1. Allocations for PY 2002
    2. Grant Procedures
    3. Statement of Work Guidelines
    4. Annual Performance Report Instructions