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Workforce Investment Act Operations Bulletin

Volume 3, Number 32

For the week ending August 20, 2004

(For Internal Use Only)





Training and Employment Guidance Letter No. 16-03, Change 1

Subject: National Emergency Grant (NEG) Policy Guidance - Assistance for Returning Members of the National Guard and Military Reserves

Purpose To inform the state workforce investment system of the opportunity to apply for the Secretary's discretionary National Emergency Grant (NEG) funds, pursuant to the Workforce Investment Act (WIA), Title I, Section 173, as amended, to provide employment-related assistance for members of the National Guard and Military Reserves who were required to interrupt or postpone employment-related assistance (including training funded by Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA)) in order to fulfill requirements involving deployment to Iraq, Afghanistan or other locations.

Contact: http://wdr.doleta.gov/directives/corr_doc.cfm?DOCN=1598

Training and Employment Guidance Letter No. 3-03, Change 1

Subject: Data Validation Policy for Employment and Training Programs

Purpose To provide revisions and clarifications to policy guidance previously issued to states and national program grantees concerning the Employment and Training Administration`s data validation policy, for the following programs: Workforce Investment Act (WIA) Title IB, Wagner-Peyser Act/Employment Service (ES), Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA), National Farmworker Jobs Program (NFJP), Indian and Native American (INA) Program and Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP).

Contact: http://wdr.doleta.gov/directives/corr_doc.cfm?DOCN=1599

Unemployment Insurance Program Letter No. 31-04

Subject: Handbook for Interstate Overpayment Recovery

Purpose To advise state workforce agencies (SWAs) of a new format for the Handbook for Interstate Overpayment Recovery and request submission of the states` updated sections concerning their overpayment recovery procedures and contact information.

Contact: http://wdr.doleta.gov/directives/corr_doc.cfm?DOCN=1597


Technical Assistance and Training

Workforce Innovations 2004 Conference - Town Hall Videos Now Available

It's been nearly one month since over 2,600 workforce development professionals assembled in San Antonio for the Workforce Innovations 2004 Conference.

Sponsored by the Employment and Training Administration and co-sponsored by the National Association of Workforce Boards, this annual renewal of the conference provided attendees vital knowledge of the latest federal policy developments and funding opportunities and shared the best workforce investment system practices from across the nation. Contacts: Town Hall Meetings -- http://www.kidzonline.org/whatsnew/dol.asp
Conference Handouts and Presentations -- http://www.workforceinnovations.org/workshops1.cfm



Grants eManagement System (GEMS)

GEMS 3.0, the latest major GEMS release, was deployed on August 19, 2004. This release provides flexible reporting and analysis tools allowing users to view grants management information at many different levels of detail and from several "points of view." Project risk status, on-site monitoring details, level of Technical Assistance, grant modification processing times, and other project management information can be viewed geographically, by region or state, or programmatically, by Federal program or regional project category. Users can narrow their focus to specific types of projects or grants or specific grants management offices and aggregate information to any level from a single project category in a single state up to all projects managed by ETA.

The new Manager Home Page serves as the portal into GEMS for managers as well as other viewers and provides easy access to both high level reporting features and detailed information on individual projects. The other major new feature area for GEMS 3, electronic processing of grant modifications by Regional Grant Officers, is scheduled to undergo beta testing with OGCM next week. The final enhancements planned for this phase of GEMS development are scheduled to be deployed in early September. Contact: Doris Chang (202-693-3873; chang.doris@dol.gov)

Government Accountability Office (GAO)

Trade Adjustment Act/Health Coverage Tax Credit Study - On August 17, GAO issued a 83-page draft report entitled "Health Coverage Tax Credit: Simplified and More Timely Enrollment Process Could Increase Participation" (GAO-04-1029 - Job Code 290331). On pages 65 and 66, five recommendations are made, the following two of which address DOL: 1) in conjunction with other Federal and state officials, the Secretary should provide for a centralized resource for individuals to receive information and assistance with HCTC eligibility criteria, including individualized assistance in completing each step of the eligibility and enrollment process and information about qualified health coverage options available in their local area; and 2) the Secretary and the Commissioner of Internal Revenue should coordinate to improve the accuracy of data received from state workforce agencies. In addition, the following matters were addressed for Congressional consideration: 1) Congress may wish to amend existing law to permit TAA recipients to enroll in the HCTC program (a) without waiting 60 days or more to establish eligibility for the trade readjustment allowance, and (b) without first meeting trade readjustment allowance requirements prior to training; 2) Congress may wish to allow the HCTC program to retroactively pay the 65 percent HCTC for the 1 to 3 months between enrollment for and receipt of the advance HCTC, rather than requiring individuals to wait for the end-of-year credit to receive that portion of the benefit; and 3) Congress may wish to specify that for individuals who had health coverage for the 3 months immediately prior to becoming eligible for TAA benefits or PBGC pension payments, the 63-day break in coverage used to determine continuous coverage may begin with the HCTC program office's notification of potential eligibility. Comments are due to PROTECH by Friday, August 27. Contact: Sherri Spencer (spencer.sherri@dol.gov; 202-693-2772)

Trade Adjustment Act Reform Study - GAO issued a 69-page draft report entitled, "Trade Adjustment Assistance: Reforms Have Accelerated Training Enrollment, but Implementation Challenges Remain" (GAO-04-1012 - Job Code 130312). The report's one recommendation for DOL, listed on page 46, is that DOL monitor the implementation of certain provisions of the TAA Reform Act that may have had unintended consequences for some workers, and that may require legislative changes to: 1) the new training enrollment deadline, which may be negatively affecting some workers, and 2) the eligibility criteria for the new wage insurance provisions, which may be resulting in denial of services to some older workers who could benefit from them. Contact: Sherri Spencer (spencer.sherri@dol.gov; 202-693-2772)