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Workforce Investment Act Operations Bulletin

Volume 3, Number 6

For the week ending February 13, 2004

(For Internal Use Only)



Technical Assistance & Training

The Workforce Development Instititute (WDI) is the focal point of a grant funded by ETA. The Institute will be held January 27-29, 2005. The Institute offers learning and networking opportunities by bringing together experts from business, education, and government to discuss innovative workforce training techniques and applications. WDI will educate, and motivate those who are new to workforce development as well as seasoned practitioners.

WDI is sponsored by the American Association of Community Colleges with funds from the U. S. Department of Labor. Contact: Carolyn Teich at 202-728-0200, ext. 228

Community Colleges and ETA's On-Line Coach

A community college version of ETA’s On-Line Coach was demonstrated at the AACC Workforce Development Institute. Representatives of Lakeland Community College and the Ohio Board of Regents developed and demonstrated the Lakeland Career Coach (www.lakelandcc.edu/careercoach). The new web-based tool provides users with career planning assistance that integrates ETA’s national COS E-Tools with state and college resources and services. Lakeland’s Coach will be expanded in coming months to cover six different worker/job-seeker scenarios, and will be demonstrated at the AACC Annual Convention in Minneapolis in April. AACC State Liaisons will promote awareness and use of this new free tool to colleges nationally. The Lakeland Coach is built using open source software developed by DOL. Contacts: www.workforceconnect.org) and (http://www.onestopcoach.org/)


State Plans

Utah has submitted a modification to its 5-year State plan. Regional Contact: Barbara Vail (303-844-1573; Vail.Barbara@dol.gov). National Office Contact: Valerie Lloyd (202-693-3644; llyod.valerie@dol.gov)



HUD and ETA's On-Line Coach

HUD Neighborhood Networks staff are building a customized version of ETA’s On-Line Coach. HUD staff plan to demonstrate the ‘HUD Coach’ at regional HUD technical assistance workshops scheduled for March 2004. The HUD Coach is intended to make job and career information available to the multi-service community learning centers and the families they serve in HUD insured and assisted properties. The HUD Coach development follows earlier DOL-HUD discussions that have resulted in the addition of 1,200 HUD Neighborhood Network centers in ETA’s America’s Service Locator (effective February 20, 2004) and closer connections of the HUD centers to the One-Stop system. Contact: http://www.hud.gov/offices/hsg/mfh/nnw/rtaw_invitation.pdf).



TAA Backlog Eliminated!

For what may be the first time in the history of the TAA program, the longstanding trade petition backlog has been eliminated! Due to a Herculean effort by the Office of National Response/Division of Trade Adjustment Assistance (DTAA), there are no overdue petitions as of the week ending February 6, 2004. Trade petitions are processed within the 40-day statutory requirement. In addition, the average processing time for the period from April 1, 2003 through February 6, 2004 has been reduced to 26.5 days. Contact: Tim Sullivan (202-693-3708; sullivan.timothy@dol.gov)

The American Express Foundation (AEF) Announces Economic Independence Fund Grants

The National Endowment for Financial Assistance and AEF will fund grants totaling a minimum of $500,000 for financial literacy and education projects. The projects support the delivery of financial literacy education to underserved segments of society, including the newly employed, young workers, individuals moving from welfare to work, and immigrants. Non-profit organizations with 501(c)(3) status may apply. The focus is on organizations operating at the community/county level, which may or may not have affiliations with state, regional, and national groups. Multi-organizational partnerships are acceptable. The deadline is March 5. Contact: guidelines and application visit: http://www.nefe.org/amexeconfundrfp/aeeif2004rfp.html.

National Emergency Grant (NEG)


Two National Emergency Grants were awarded to the State of Oklahoma to assist approximately 600 workers dislocated due to lay-offs at VF Jeanswear, Surgical Specialties Companies, and VF Jeanswear/Wrangler. The grants totaled $970,000, with an initial release of $484,000. Contact: Doug Small (202-693-3095; douglas.small@dol.gov)

Welfare-to-Work (WtW) Rescission

As reported previously, the Omnibus Appropriations bill signed by the President on Friday, January 23, 2004, contains language that rescinds any allotted FY 1999 Welfare-to-Work state formula funds that were unexpended as of the date of enactment (1/23/04), with the exception of funds that the Secretary deems are necessary for states to carry out administrative activities related to the close out of the grants. Since its enactment, OWI staff, working with the Solicitor’s Office, OFAM, and OFO, has distributed talking points for the Regional management and staff to alert the states of the rescission, issued grant modifications to the states that rescind the funding, and drafted a TEGL to instruct states on how to close out the grants. The TEGL is currently in clearance and should be issued in the near future. As the grants are closed out, there is an estimated 47,000 WTW participants in employability activities that may need transitional services through WIA or some other funding source. Program Office Contact: Dennis Lieberman (202-693-3375; lieberman.dennis@dol.gov) Contracts Contact (202-693-3333; fred tello@dol.gov)

School at Work (SAW)

One of the BRG’s High-Growth Job Training Initiative grantees, Catalyst Learning, operates the School at Work (SAW) program. SAW is a distance learning delivery system that delivers instruction directly to hospitals using Internet and television technology. The 2004 SAW Career Ladder program began on January 20th with 765 students at 60 hospitals in 13 states. This program is open to hospital employees in all entry-level positions, e.g., foodservice, housekeeping, environmental services, office positions, and nurse aides. The goal of the SAW program is to provide loyal, hard-working employees with the skills that they need to advance up the career ladder. SAW also provides employees with the knowledge, confidence, and motivation needed to enroll in local certificate and degree programs available at the community college.

The 2004 program follows the successful completion of a DOL-funded Phase 1 trial that was conducted with 360 students at 28 hospitals in Indiana, Maryland, Kentucky and Virginia. Contact: http://www.schoolatwork.com

Integration of the SAW Program with State and Local WIB Efforts

On February 11th, the Business Relations Group hosted a call with SAW project staff, WIB staff, and state workforce agency staff from states in which the 2004 SAW program is operating (FL, NC, IL, OH, IN, PA, KY, TN, TX, VA, MO, MI, and MD). The purpose of this call was to foster better integration of the SAW program with state and local WIB efforts and to explore opportunities for WIBs to engage in SAW programs in their communities. Contact: Gretchen Sullivan (202-693-3386; sullivan.gretchen@dol.gov)

Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund Administrative Charges

In a report dated March 31, 2003, the DOL OIG reported that the Unemployment Trust Fund (UTF) is continuing to be overcharged for administrative costs and recommended that ETA negotiate with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to develop an acceptable methodology. The problem exists because IRS does not have a cost accounting system to track administrative costs for trust funds. The IRS CFO has designated this issue as one of 40 "critical issues," and to resolve the issue, IRS is developing a UTF module, to be implemented in April 2004.

A meeting on IRS’ progress in developing the UTF module was held February 12 with staff from OWS, the CFO, the OIG and the IRS. This is a follow-up meeting to one held on November 5, 2003.

Once the methodology has been approved, ETA will have the opportunity to pursue reimbursement of overcharges for prior years. The availability of historical data compatible with the new cost accounting system will limit the number of years for which reimbursement can be made. Until the new system is implemented, charges will be determined by estimates of the new system’s calculations.

Contact: Ron Wilus (202-693-2931; wilus. ronald@dol.gov)