Other National Emergency Grants Provisions
When a regular National Emergency Grant (NEG) application is submitted for a primary company layoff of 50 or more workers (or multi-companies with 50 or more layoffs each) and the State makes a determination that there is a secondary worker layoff (including those with 50 or fewer workers being laid-off) where the primary layoff contributed importantly to the secondary layoff, the application may include the secondarily-impacted firm(s). The definition of secondary workers is contained in the NEG guidelines. Tertiary workers will not be covered in a NEG project unless the dislocation qualifies for an NEG application on its own merits.
NAFTA Secondary Workers: Although the Trade Act of 2002 amended the Trade program for secondarily impacted workers so they can access the same services as primary workers, the Department's policy of covering North American Free Trade Act (NAFTA) secondary workers through NEGs, including needs-related payments, remains in effect for those who are covered under a certification issued prior to November 1, 2002, and for whom a petition has not been filed under the new law.
Rapid Response and Other Early Intervention Assistance
The value of early intervention assistance, including Rapid Response, in achieving positive employment and earnings outcomes for dislocated workers has been consistently demonstrated. ETA is committed to the principles of Rapid Response and other early intervention strategies for assisting dislocated workers as soon as they learn they are going to be laid off. For all regular (single-company, multi-company, industry-wide and community impact) and dual-enrollment projects, NEG applications are expected to reflect the results of the early intervention processes activated through a state's rapid response system.
To maximize the effectiveness of early intervention strategies for dislocated workers, States are strongly encouraged to use the flexibility contained in WIA to provide additional rapid response resources to local areas. Where local formula funds are limited, funds should be available to commence development of individualized re-employment plans and other required intensive and training employment-related assistance as soon as dislocated workers become eligible for WIA assistance (i.e., upon receipt of a notice of layoff or 180 days [6 months] prior to scheduled closure). Where State and local funds are not available, a NEG application should be submitted quickly to ensure that funds are available as soon as possible.
Linkage to Economic Development
The "power of e-3" is the ETA reference to the linkage of education, employment, and economic development. Linkage with economic development initiatives is a key component for communities developing strategies to help workers, especially those workers affected by mass layoffs and plant closures. The development of any plan and request for NEG funding by a State or local community should be done in conjunction with economic development planning to support current and future economic growth in a community. Much of this planning can and should be done with Rapid Response and other resources, including any resources provided to states through the Economic Development Administration (EDA) at the U.S. Department of Commerce.
Quality Customer Service
ETA expects that NEG project designs will provide time-efficient strategies that return workers to appropriate employment as quickly as possible to reduce the adverse impact of the dislocation event on the workers and the local economy. Applications will be evaluated for reasonableness of costs and planned outcomes and timeliness of planned assistance. When NEG funds are requested, it is expected that systems are or will be in place quickly to accommodate the needs of the workers, including having the temporary personnel available to provide assistance when needed by the workers. Delaying the enrollments of eligible workers over a protracted duration of time due to staffing or other limitations is not an acceptable program design.
NEG projects should take advantage of the pre-layoff eligibility of dislocated workers under WIA (i.e., as soon as an individual layoff notice is received or 180 days prior to a planned closure) and be designed to support employment and wage replacement goals focused on returning individuals to the workforce as soon as possible after layoff. Often, these workers possess high skills and are long-tenured and highly effective workers. Enhanced service strategies should be built into the project design for participants requiring more and longer assistance (such as for limited English-speaking populations or in severely impacted communities). At a minimum, project designs should be demand-driven so that workers are being trained for jobs with career and growth potential.
NEG projects should be designed to make maximum use of assistance and resources available through One-Stop partners (including "required" and "additional partners"), employers and other State and local organizations. (Under the Trade Act, the Trade program is a "required" partner.) "Silo-based" service policies and procedures are not acceptable. Integrated policies, procedures and approaches will be reviewed and considered as part of the NEG application process.
Reprogramming NEG Funds
Federal appropriations law generally prohibits the redirection or reprogramming of funds to serve target populations not originally identified as part of an original grant award (change in scope) or the re-award of returned funds to another grantee, if such actions are executed after the year of appropriation, or after the Department's authority to obligate funds has expired. For instance, Program Year 2003 appropriated funds (which include FY 2004 funds) may be reprogrammed until June 30, 2004, but not thereafter.
To ensure that the Department has sufficient time to evaluate and act on such requests, grantees must manage the expenditure of NEG funds and take appropriate action to ensure effective use of the funds. Requests to reprogram excess NEG funds must be received by the DOL no later than May 1 of the program year in which the NEG award was made. Therefore, generally, NEG awarded in the last 2 months of a program year will not qualify for any reprogramming actions.
To minimize any end-of-project under-expenditure, applicants should expect that most NEG awards will be funded incrementally. In most cases, the initial increment will be for 6 months to enable a project to achieve full enrollment. The release of subsequent funding increments will be based on a demonstrated need for funds as evidenced by enrolled/registered participants and accrued expenditures. "Accrued expenditures" equal actual cash payments, plus the cost of services or goods that have been received or are being provided (e.g., the cost of a semester of tuition that has not been paid but participants are in training).
Performance Management Accountability
ETA will issue separate guidance on expectations for outcomes for participants served with NEG funds. ETA is announcing policy and will be issuing reporting instructions to implement common performance measures for all Federal training and employment programs. The common measures will include entered employment, retention and earnings gain. Beginning July 1, 2004, the common performance measures will be implemented for NEG projects.
Cost per Participant
Part of the evaluation of "reasonableness of costs" will be a comparison of the average cost per participant in a State's formula Dislocated Worker program with the proposed cost in a NEG application, excluding disaster projects and the NEG "bridge" program. In making such an evaluation, ETA recognizes that a 2-year project with a limited number of participants may incur a greater cost per participant than the average annual cost per for formula participants whose costs may be captured in more than one program year.
Formula Dislocated Worker Expenditures
The expected June 30 annual accrued expenditure rate for Dislocated Worker formula program funds when applying for NEG resources is 70 percent of "total available" (prior year carryover plus annual allotment). A review of each State's success in meeting this rate will be conducted at the end of each program year and will be part of the review of a state's need for NEG funds as applications are received. Quarterly financial reports of formula Dislocated Worker program fund expenditures, as well as recent NEG project experience, will also be factors in determining fundability.
Assistance to Military Personnel
Assisting military personnel with the transition to the private workforce is a priority of both the Departments of Defense and Labor. However, except for BRAC-directed closures or realignments of military installations that involve significant dislocations, military personnel who are exiting military service (and their spouses) are generally expected to seek and receive transition assistance through such programs using formula funds. This includes those who are completing their commitments as well as those who are being involuntarily, but honorably discharged.
Generally, it is expected that the number of personnel is such that local formula funds are available to provide the transition assistance in coordination with veterans' programs available in nearly every community, in addition to the transition assistance provided by the military services and the Department of Labor's Veterans Employment and Training Service.