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Workforce Investment News Archive

Save The Date: September 23, 2014 National Dialogue on Career Pathways
Aug 26, 2014
An August 25 post on the Career Pathways Community of Practice:

The U.S. Departments of Labor, Education and Health and Human Services will jointly host a National Dialogue on Career Pathways on September 23, 2014 in Washington, D.C. Please save the date for this important event. The National Dialogue on Career Pathways will bring national attention to the critical role career pathways systems play in creating a strong economy where American students and workers can gain the skills needed for good jobs and employers can hire workers with the skills they need. It will also highlight best practices from states, local areas, business and philanthropy, while issuing a clear and measurable call to action to get even more states, local areas and key stakeholders, like you, involved in this work.

On July 22, 2014 Vice President Joe Biden released his Ready to Work Report and outlined critical strategies, like career pathways initiatives, that are needed to help Americans progress in their careers, obtain new training and earn credentials. Career pathways systems across the country support partnerships between workforce agencies, community colleges, and businesses to train workers with the skills that local and regional economies need. On the same day, President Obama signed the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) into law. The WIOA now asks states and local areas across America to integrate career pathways into new, innovative and job-driven workforce systems that must be created.

To help inform future federal investments and Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act implementation, the Departments of Labor, Education and Health and Human Services will seek participant feedback during the meeting through facilitated listening sessions.

Due to limited meeting space and in order to inspire broad national engagement, the Dialogue Meeting will be available via live stream. Citizens, states, local areas, national policy organizations, and key stakeholders across workforce, education, and health and human services are encouraged to host "Viewing Parties" in conjunction with the event. More information, including live stream registration, agenda, and a Viewing Party Toolkit will be available during the week of September 1.

USDA Announces $200 Million to Promote Innovation in SNAP Employment and Training Programs
Aug 26, 2014
The U. S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has announced that up to $200 million in competitive grants is available for state SNAP agencies to design and conduct employment and training (E&T) pilot projects to help Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) participants find jobs and increase their earnings. A portion of these funds will be used to fund an independent evaluation of the E&T pilots. The solicitation for the evaluation contract was also released today.

Authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill, the grants will fund up to 10 pilot projects to test a variety of methods designed to enhance employability, increase the earnings of SNAP work registrants, and help people transition from the program. USDA intends to test a wide array of approaches, including those focused on education and training, rehabilitative services for individuals with barriers to employment, rapid attachment to work, and other strategies. USDA is particularly interested in pilots that target hard-to-serve populations, and test job-driven training strategies that include work-based learning or career pathway approaches or utilize strong public-private partnerships.

USDA is looking for states to submit proposals that target populations indicated by the Farm Bill, including individuals with low skills, able-bodied adults without dependents, and recipients who are working in very low-wage or part-time jobs. The grants will be distributed across a range of geographic areas, including rural and urban parts of the country. The rigorous, independent evaluation of these projects will help USDA to identify which approaches are most effective for the diverse populations served by SNAP E&T programs.

In designing pilot project proposals, USDA encourages states to engage employers up front and use data on in-demand jobs in order to open doors for SNAP recipients who are able to work.

Grant applications are due Nov. 24, 2014. All 53 state agencies currently administering SNAP are eligible to apply (including all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Guam and the Virgin Islands). Awards will be announced in February 2015. The Request for Applications is available on and on the FNS website. The grants will fund a performance period of three years and USDA expects projects to be operational by Oct. 1, 2015. Proposals to evaluate the impact of the pilots are due Oct. 1, 2014.

News Release

SNAP E&T Pilot Request for Applications (RFA)
SNAP E&T Pilot Evaluation Request for Proposals (RFP)

ETA Publishes Workforce Investment Act Youth Program Guidance for Program Year 2014
Aug 25, 2014
The Employment and Training Administration has published Training and Employment Guidance Letter 05-14 - Workforce Investment Act Youth Program Guidance for Program Year 2014.

The TEGL furnishes the background in support of the guidance, and "Looks Ahead" in terms of the key youth service provisions under the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA). The TEGL specifically addresses "Common Findings and Tips" with coverage of:

  • Governance and Youth Councils
    • Leveraging Resources
    • Identification of Eligible Training Providers
  • Eligibility Determination
    • "Sixth Barrier"
  • Case Management and Individual Service Strategy Development
  • Exit Policy and Follow-up

The TEGL concludes with a large section devoted to "Tools and Resources."

HHS/ACF Seeks Comments on "Job Search Assistance Strategies Evaluation" for TANF Recipients
Aug 22, 2014
HHS/ACF has proposed a data collection in support of the Job Search Assistance (JSA) Strategies Evaluation. The proposed information collection activity will consist of:

(1 ) Baseline data collection: Collection of baseline data from TANF recipients at the time of enrollment in the study;

(2) Implementation study site visits: Conducting site visits for the purpose of documenting the program context, program organization and staffing, the components JSA services, and other relevant aspects of the TANF program. During the visits, site teams will interview key administrators and line staff using a semi-structured interview guide; and

(3) A JSA staff survey. This on-line survey, administered to TANF supervisory and line staff involved in JSA activities, will be used as part of the implementation study to systematically document program operations and the type of JSA services provided across the study sites.

The respondents include JSA program staff and individuals enrolled in the JSA study.

The August 21 FEDERAL REGISTER provides complete background. HHS/ACF notes:

OMB is required to make a decision concerning the collection of information between 30 and 60 days after publication of this document in the Federal Register. Therefore, a comment is best assured of having its full effect if OMB receives it within 30 days of publication. Written comments and recommendations for the proposed information collection should be sent directly to the following: Office of Management and Budget, Paperwork Reduction Project, Email: OIRA_SUBMISSION@OMB.EOP.GOV, Attn: Desk Officer for the Administration for, Children and Families.

Copies of the proposed collection may be obtained by writing to the Administration for Children and Families, Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation, 370 L'Enfant Promenade SW., Washington, DC 20447, Attn: OPRE Reports Clearance Officer. All requests should be identified by the title of the information collection. Email address:

Department of Education Seeks Comments on Title II and Title IV of WIOA; Sets Forth Questions Related to Adult Education and Vocational Rehabilitation; Establishes August 29 as Closing Date for Input
Aug 21, 2014
A joint blog post from OCTAE and OSERS

The U.S. Department of Education's Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) and Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education (OCTAE) invite you to submit comments and recommendations to help us implement the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), signed by President Obama on July 22. This new law seeks to maximize opportunities for youth and adults, with and without disabilities, to succeed in postsecondary education and in high-skill, high-wage, high-demand jobs in the 21st century economy. Specifically, we seek your comments to assist us as we begin the process of implementing the amendments to the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 that were made by Title IV of WIOA and of the new version of the Adult Education and Family Literacy Act (AEFLA), in Title II of WIOA.

Your input can help us identify issues and concerns that we need to address in order to fulfill the expectations of WIOA, particularly as we develop draft regulations for public comment. While OSERS and OCTAE encourage you to respond to the specific questions that are set out below, we also encourage you to identify other issues that you believe are significant, and to provide your recommendations on how we should address them.

Please submit comments below by Friday, August 29, 2014. Submitting comments is voluntary and subject to ED blog comment policies.

The webpage notes:

OSERS is particularly interested in comments on any or all of the following questions:

1. What should OSERS consider in developing regulation or guidance for implementing performance measures in section 116 of WIOA with regard to the Vocational Rehabilitation Services program?

2. In light of the new provisions in the Rehabilitation Act regarding competitive integrated employment in high-demand fields, what revisions should be made, if any, to the regulations related to the definition of employment outcome?

3. What should OSERS consider in developing regulation or guidance related to transition services for students with disabilities, particularly the new provisions in section 113 of the Rehabilitation Act related to pre-employment transition services and transition services to groups in section 103(b) of the Rehabilitation Act?

4. Section 109 of the Rehabilitation Act made significant changes regarding the provision of services to employers, including the requirement for performance measures related to the effectiveness of services to employers. How can OSERS best implement these new provisions?

5. Subtitle G of WIOA made significant changes to the Rehabilitation Act related to supported employment. What should be considered in regulation or guidance on the new requirements specifically related to the provision of supported employment to youth with most significant disabilities?

OCTAE is particularly interested in comments on any or all of the following questions: