EMPLOYMENT AND TRAINING ADMINISTRATION
ADVISORY SYSTEM
U.S. Department of Labor
Washington, D. C. 20210
CLASSIFICATION

ONE-STOP/LMI

CORRESPONDENCE SYMBOL

OWS/USES/ALMIS

ISSUE DATE

October 15, 2003

RESCISSIONS

None

EXPIRATION DATE

Continuing

ADVISORY

:

TRAINING AND EMPLOYMENT GUIDANCE LETTER NO. 9-03

 

TO

:

ALL STATE WORKFORCE LIASONS
ALL STATE WORKFORCE AGENCIES

 

FROM

:

EMILY STOVER DeROCCO
Assistant Secretary

 

SUBJECT

:

Planning Guidance and Application Instructions for Program Year (PY) 2003 Workforce Information Core Products and Services: Workforce Information Formula Allocations to States

 

  1. Purpose. To transmit guidance for the development and management of PY 2003 Workforce Information Core Products and Services grant plans.

  2. References. Wagner-Peyser Act, Sections 7(a)(3)(D), 7(d) and 15; Section 309 of the Workforce Investment Act (WIA); Section IV(C)(3) of the WIA/Wagner-Peyser Planning Guidance (64 Federal Register 9401 (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 through the One-Stop Career Center/America’s Labor Market Information System (ALMIS) appropriation for Fiscal Year 2003. Application instructions are contained in Item 12 of this guidance.

    Funds are being provided to states to produce, at a minimum, the core information products and services defined in this guidance and the development of other workforce information products and services which, at the state's discretion, might be required to support the state and local workforce investment system. States must submit a plan meeting the requirements of Item 6 of this guidance as a condition for receiving funds.

    A total of $38 million is available for PY 2003. Funds are distributed by administrative formula, with a reserve of $1,064,000 for postage and $188,646 allocated in total to Guam and the Virgin Islands. The remaining funds are distributed to the states; 40% distributed equally to all states and 60% distributed based on each state’s share of the civilian labor force for the 12 month period ending December 2002.

    See Attachment I for the table of state allocations and the 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, 2003 to June 30, 2004 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, 2006.

  6. Annual Plan Format and Content. The annual plan narrative shall be organized into three sections: (a) a description of the statewide workforce information 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 consulting with customers and for assessing customer satisfaction with state produced workforce information.

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

    In order to better understand how the activities funded by these grants support the state and local workforce investment system, the plan narrative must provide a concise description of the statewide workforce information system, including descriptions of:

    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 workforce information system.

    (b) Products and Services. In order to receive funding, states must submit a grant plan for providing, at a minimum, the core products and services specified in Attachment III.

    The core products and services and any additional planned activities supported by these grant funds must reflect the direction of the State Workforce Investment Board and consultation with other principal customers, with major activities and planned system outcomes defined in the context of the goals of the state’s WIA/Wagner-Peyser Five-Year Strategic Plan.

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

    (c) Consultation and 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 workforce information system. Consultation with the workforce investment system, combined with customers’ feedback on their satisfaction with workforce information, provide the basis for formulating continuous improvement strategies for the system. To carry out this requirement and to ensure accountability for the expenditure of grant funds, a condition for receiving the grant will be a state assessment of customer satisfaction with selected grant deliverables and with the larger statewide workforce information system.

    ETA is not prescribing an approach or methodology for assessing customer satisfaction, but is defining customer satisfaction information broadly, to allow states to use a variety of methods for consulting with customers to determine customer demand. Methods might employ solely or in combination focus groups; various types of surveys; consultation through meetings or other methods of consultation the state considers appropriate. States are encouraged to consult the handbook, Customer Satisfaction Made Easy, which was produced and distributed by the Workforce Information Council in 2003.

    States might find usage indicators to be a starting point for assessing satisfaction. Examples of possible indicators are: Web metrics; demand information for a product or service, such as number of publication or listserv subscriptions; number of requests for assistance by customer organizations; or number of individuals served by an activity, such as individuals trained by course offering or counseled using an O*NET-based occupational analysis product.

    The grant plan must include a description of the customer consultation and satisfaction assessment strategy to be employed and the method(s) to be used to collect and interpret customer satisfaction information. Satisfaction must be assessed in some manner for each of the system's principal customers, e.g., businesses, individuals, and the workforce investment system.

    It is ETA’s expectation that the assessment methods used ensure sufficient rigor, including quantitative measurement when possible, for a documented assessment of return on investment of these grant funds.

  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 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 ewi@dol.gov for posting on an ETA-supported Web site.

    Examples of material 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; documentation of innovative applications developed for database access; or innovative workforce information services available through the One-Stop system.

    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 ETA for improvements to the suite of core products and services.

    Grantees must electronically submit the annual performance report in .pdf format to the appropriate regional office. Per 29 CFR 97.40 (b)(1), annual reports are due 90 days following the end of the program year.

    ETA will post the annual performance reports on an ETA-supported Web site, for the purpose of informing the system of overall grant performance 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). Per 29 CFR 97.41 (b)(4), quarterly financial reports are due 30 days following the end of each quarter. 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 2003 or for any existing prior year fund balances should be addressed to the appropriate regional office.

  12.   Action Required. Grant plans are due within 45 days of the date of this guidance. 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 2003 grant application package and e-mail one copy, in .pdf format of the approved annual plan narrative to the appropriate regional office.

    3. Include in the grant application package:

      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 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 2003
    2.   Grant Procedures
    3.   Statement of Work Guidelines
    4.   Annual Performance Report Instructions