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Workforce Investment Act Operations Bulletin

Volume 2, Number 5

For the week ending January 31, 2003

(For Internal Use Only)


Upcoming ETA Meetings/Events


National Electronic Tools/ Veteran's Task Force

Staff from the National Electronic Tools team met with representatives of the Veteran's Task Force for Implementation of PL 1-7-288 to discuss the development of a one-stop web site for veteran's services. The site will provide a virtual Job Service web site with four platforms: transition and job readiness, resources, job fair and employer support, plus on-line access to veterans' case managers. Site development is in the very early planning stage; however, it is anticipated that the site for veterans will draw heavily from the services and content provided in the CareerOneStop suite of applications. The site might also use the functionality developed for the Career One-Stop Coach to insure easy access to available services.
Contact: Barbara Derwart (202-693-3620; bderwart@doleta.gov)


Personal Reemployment Accounts

On Wednesday, January 29th, Representatives Porter, Boehner and McKeon introduced H.R. Bill #444 in the first session of the 108th Congress that would establish the availability of Personal Reemployment Accounts to assist unemployed workers identified as needing the most help in getting back to work quickly. The Personal Reemployment Accounts, proposed by President Bush in the Growth and Jobs Plan, would be integrated into the One-Stop Career System and provide states with funding to offer accounts of up to $3,000 to eligible individuals for the purchase of intensive reemployment, job training and supportive services. Account holders that return to work quickly may also be able to retain the cash balance of the account as a “Reemployment Bonus.”
Contact: http://www.doleta.gov/reemployment/PREPbillsummary1_28_03.pdf

Health Coverage Assistance

To date, 12 states have applied for systems-building NEGs to develop and implement the infrastructure needed to fulfill their new responsibilities under the Trade Act for a total of $2,128,112. Eight states have received grants totaling $1,051,124 and the applications of the remaining four are under review. States have yet to submit applications for NEG funds to help pay the costs of the health insurance coverage and other authorized support services for eligible individuals until they can receive assistance through the advance tax credit mechanism. The Department has developed electronic forms and streamlined application procedures to facilitate the submission and timely processing of these applications. On January 28, ETA received OMB approval to implement the use of the forms for the e-application process. The approval is in effect until the end of May 2003. The Office Of National Response (ONR) has also drafted guidance to the states regarding the use of NEG funds to support health insurance coverage assistance for trade-impacted workers.

Within the next several weeks ONR will be providing technical assistance materials to all the states containing the guidance that has been previously provided to them regarding their responsibilities under the new law, as well as encouraging them to apply for these NEGs. DOL regional staff will also be available to provide technical assistance to states on an as-needed basis. In addition, ONR will be conducting nationwide training sessions within the next month for the state and Regional ETA staff.

The ONR Administrator and staff participated in a briefing convened by HHS for staff of the National Governors’ Association. The briefing focused on actions to date to implement the provisions of the Trade Reform Act of 2002 and some issues that have developed around state actions to comply with the health coverage provisions.

Two additional briefings will be scheduled over the next couple of weeks. The Internal Revenue Service has asked us to conduct briefings for the IRS contractor that will soon be selected for the health coverage tax credit and one for Reuben King-Shaw, the newly designated White House Senior Advisor for the health coverage tax credit initiative. Mr. King-Shaw leads the Executive Committee which has been established to oversee the inter-agency efforts around the health coverage initiative. Mason Bishop, Mark Morin and Shirley Smith have initially been asked to participate on the committee on behalf of DOL.

Over the past few months, there have been numerous discussions with some states that are grappling with the issue of qualified insurance for purposes of the health care tax credit. In some cases, new approaches are being explored, ranging from providing direct payment support (up to 65%) to individuals to provide for their health coverage to reimbursement to the individual for the costs (up to 65%) incurred for health coverage. After the NGA briefing on ETA, SOL and HHS staff will participate in a conference call with representatives from Maine who have serious issues in terms of the State’s ability to implement the health coverage provisions.
Contact: George Shepard (202-693-3572; gshepard@doleta.gov)

Wider Opportunities for Women (WOW) Briefing on WIA Reauthorization

Wider Opportunities for Women (WOW), Senator Kennedy and Senator Cantwell will host a briefing on WIA Reauthorization on February 11th from 9:45 - 11:15 am in Room 385 of the Russell Senate Office Building.

The 108th Congress will tackle the reauthorization of a number of federal programs that fund education and s kills training programs to help prepare workers for the labor market of today and tomorrow. One of these pivotal laws, the Workforce Investment Act (WIA), is the primary legislation that establishes the national workforce preparation and employment system.
Cyndi M. Lucas (202-464-159; clucas@WOWonline.org)

Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS)

The Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey will collect data on job vacancies, labor hires, and labor separations. The data can be used as demand-side indicators of labor shortage. These indicators of labor shortages at the national level would greatly enhance policy makers' understanding of imbalances between the demand and supply of labor. Presently there is no economic indicator of labor demand with which to assess the presence of labor shortages in the U.S. labor market. The availability of unfilled jobs is an important measure of tightness of job markets, symmetrical to unemployment measures.

The JOLTS respondent estimate is 16,000 (from business or other for-profit, not-for-profit institutions, Federal government and State, local or tribal government).
Contact: Marlene Howze at (202- 693-4158; or Email Howze-Marlene@dol.gov) or http://a257.g.akamaitech.net/7/257/2422/14mar20010800/edocket.access.gpo.gov/2003/03-2286.htm

States report disability-related activities

The narrative sections of the annual WIA reports submitted by each state to the U.S. Department of Labor often contain information about how the state is responding to the needs of people with disabilities. The National Center on Workforce and Disability/Adult has highlighted this information from the most recently available state reports, and provides links to the reports this information was taken from.
Contact: http://www.onestops.info/article.php?article_id=183

Transportation Projects at One-Stops

The Community Transportation Association of America has grants available to fund transportation projects at One-Stops. The application deadline is Friday, February 14.
Contact: http://www.onestops.info/website.php?page=transportationgrant

NEG On-line Application

Applications for Trade Health Coverage Assistance National Emergency Grants (NEG), as authorized at section 173(g) of the Workforce Investment Act (WIA), may now be submitted to ETA electronically. The on-line application system was put into production on January 31, 2003. The Office of National Response will be sending instructions along with the user’s guide to the Regional Administrators, who will in turn transmit the information to their respective States. At the same time, passwords and PINs will be issued to the States.
Contact: George Shepard (202-693-3572; gshepard@doleta.gov)

NEG Financial Reporting

The NEG Financial Reporting System was made available to the States on January 31, 2003. The States, as opposed to the Regions, will now do direct data entry for each project and corresponding fund sources.
Contact: George Shepard (202-693-3572; gshepard@doleta.gov)

System Building NEGs

The following States were approved for (NEG) funds to develop an infrastructure in the State to make health insurance benefits available for eligible individuals and to certify individuals potentially eligible for the Health Coverage Tax Credit (HCTC): Kentucky ($50,000), Utah ($100,000),Vermont ($50,000), Kansas ($150,000) and Pennsylvania ($194,908).
Contact: George Shepard (202-693-3572; gshepard@doleta.gov)

Department Issues Labor Surplus Area Listing for FY 2003

The Department of Labor issues the labor surplus area listing on a fiscal year basis. The listing becomes effective each October 1 and remains in effect through the following September 30.

The February 4 FEDERAL REGISTER Notice contains the annual list of labor surplus areas for Fiscal Year 2003.

Fiscal Year 2004 Budget

ETA's FY 2004 Budget is now available:
Contact: http://www.doleta.gov/budget/04bud.asp