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Workforce Investment Act Operations Bulletin

Volume 2, Number 47

For the week ending December 12, 2003

(For Internal Use Only)



Training and Technical Assistance

O*NET Conference Activities

The O*NET Team presented a workshop at the Association for Career and Technical Education annual conference in Orlando, FL, December 11-13. The workshop focused on using O*NET for curriculum development and career exploration. The team also discussed what’s new with O*NET, including newly collected and released data, using O*NET OnLine in a One-Stop scenario, and the new features and functions of O*NET OnLine 5.1. The team also operated an exhibit booth for the O*NET Project, demonstrating O*NET OnLine and familiarizing conference attendees with the full range of O*NET products.
Contact: Michelle Ennis (ennis.michelle@dol.gov; 202-693-3636)


Upcoming ETA Meetings/Events



Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) - Outreach to Farmworkers

As part of its ongoing collaboration with the Office Of National Programs to increase public awareness of the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and the availability of free tax return preparation assistance, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS)’ Government Partnerships Office made a presentation at the annual conference of the Western Alliance of Farmworker Advocates. The response from the leadership of the California, Oregon, and Washington organizations was reportedly outstanding. As a result, the IRS has facilitated partnerships with them to perform EITC outreach and free tax return preparation in the farmworker communities. Research indicates that a high percentage of potentially eligible EITC recipients who work as farmworkers fail to claim the credit because they do not file taxes. In addition, the majority of rural EITC recipients who do claim the credit utilize paid preparers for tax assistance because of the limited availability of free tax assistance programs in rural areas. By using paid preparers, the value of these credits is eroded. Additional partnerships are deemed likely through the efforts of the Association of Farmworker Opportunity Programs, beginning in January in Arizona. Contact: Bill Goodwin (goodwin.william@dol.gov; 202-693-2787)

Spouse Telework Employment Program (STEP)

A meeting was held on December 2, with the Spouse Telework Employment Program (STEP) working committee composed of representatives from the Department of Defense (DOD), General Services Administration (GSA), Department of State (DOS), Coast Guard, Telework Consortium, and Community Learning and Information Network (CLIN). The purpose of the meeting was to acquire additional information about the STEP and its potential to assist in the effort to assist military spouses. The goals of STEP include increasing the number of telework opportunities nationally and internationally, as well as increasing the utilization of remote training. Some of the objectives of STEP are to formalize partnerships with government agencies with deployable missions in addition to private businesses, associations, and foundations. In addition to STEP working group members, representatives from the Business Relations Group (BRG) and the Division of Adults and Dislocated Workers were in attendance. OWI will be forwarding an MOU to be signed by the Assistant Secretary regarding this project. Contact: Effie Baldwin (baldwin.effie@dol.gov; 202-693-3746)


On December 3, a meeting was held for the DOD-DOL MOU working group that allowed the program Administrators for the Career Advancement Centers located in San Diego, California, Ft. Campbell, Kentucky, and Hampton Roads, Virginia to provide a comprehensive programmatic and fiscal overview of activities to date. ETA presented on the progress to date on the implementation of the DOD-DOL MOU. Contact: Effie Baldwin (baldwin.effie@dol.gov; 202-693-3746)



GAO Studies

GAO submitted a 40-page final report entitled “The Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act: Revising the Act and Educational Materials Could Clarify Employer Responsibilities and Employee Rights” (GAO-03-1003 – Job Code 130210). GAO incorporated most of ETA's technical comments in this final report, and summarized, on page 20, actions ETA has already taken in response to GAO's recommendation. There is one recommendation on page 19, which states that the Secretary should take immediate action to make revised educational materials widely available to aid employers and employees in understanding the regulations. A response has been drafted for signature, and delivery to the Office of the Chief Financial Officer for Departmental clearance.

At the request of the House Committee on Ways and Means, Subcommittee on Human Resources, chaired by Rep. Wally Herger (R-CA), GAO is initiating a study of how the benefits of the Unemployment Compensation (UC) system are distributed among workers and how the taxes used to pay for the system are distributed among employers (GAO Job Code 130330). GAO’s objectives are to determine: 1) the characteristics of UC recipients and the duration and amount of benefits they receive; 2) how state UC taxes are distributed among different types of firms and industries; and 3) whether there are alternative funding mechanisms that could be used to link UC costs and benefits more closely to employers and industries most responsible for benefit costs. Education, Workforce and Income Security staff will conduct the work and plan to start this work immediately. OWS will be the lead agency for this study. An entrance conference is currently being scheduled.

At the request of the Senate Special Committee on Aging, GAO is initiating a study examining the types of transportation services that exist for seniors and effectiveness of those services in meeting seniors’ mobility needs (GAO Job Code 542029). GAO’s objectives are to: 1) identify the federal programs that fund transportation services for seniors and the types of transportation services provided; 2) assess the extent to which these transportation services meet seniors’ mobility needs, and what improvements, if any, are needed to better meet those needs; and 3) determine whether federal programs encourage innovation and promote use of best practices in providing transportation for seniors. Physical Infrastructure staff will conduct the work and plans to start immediately. An entrance conference is currently being scheduled.
Contact: Sherri Spencer (spencer.sherri@dol.gov; 202-693-2772)

Implementation of Data Validation

The third data validation webinar was presented on December 5th for twenty-two state agencies. The fourth validation webinar was scheduled for December 11th. Data validation information and software is available to states on the ETA website. Contact: Gail Eulenstein (eulenstein.gail@dol.gov; 202-693-3013)

WIA Annual Performance Reports

Nearly all states have submitted and certified their PY02 WIA Annual Report data; only Connecticut and Pennsylvania need to finish the process as of Friday, December 5. PRO will compile official national averages once all data has been received and make this information available within ETA and on the Web site. Contact: Amanda Ahlstrand (Ahlstrand.amanda@doleta.gov; 202-693-3052)