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April 25, 2008

REGION 5 ETA WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT LETTER 004-08

MEMORANDUM TO:       STATE WORKFORCE ADMINISTRATORS

FROM:        Nicholas Lammers
                    NICHOLAS LAMMERS
                    Acting Regional Administrator

SUBJECT:    Agricultural Services Plan for Program Year (PY) 2008

1.  Purpose.  To transmit guidelines to State Workforce Agencies for preparing the Agricultural Services Plan for Program Year (PY) 2008.

2.  References. Workforce Investment Act of 1998, Title I; Wagner-Peyser Act; 20 CFR 652; 20 CFR 653.107, .111, and .112; and 20 CFR 658.

3.  Links.  This Letter is in the Region 5 website archive at:             http://www.doleta.gov/regions/reg05/Pages/LibraryIssuances.cfm.

4.  Background.  The Agricultural Services Plan is an annual Department of Labor, Employment and Training (DOL/ETA) requirement and an integral component of the State’s Strategic WIA Title I and Wagner-Peyser Plan.this is a two-year portion of the Five-Year Strategic Plan.  Accordingly, its development should comply with the WIA plan requirements to ensure that these services are provided through the One-Stop Career Center/Labor Exchange System Offices in the State. 

Workforce Investment Act of 1998 (WIA) regulations at 20 CFR 652 and the Wagner-Peyser Act (W-P) regulations at 20 CFR 653.107, .111, and .112, require the provision of services to Migrant and Seasonal Farmworkers (MSFW) on a basis which is qualitatively equivalent and quantitatively proportionate to services provided to Non-MSFWs.  20 CFR 653.112 requires the submittal of a plan to serve Migrant and Seasonal Farmworkers and agricultural employers.  WIA Title I requires the submission of the Five-Year Plan (Two-Year Plan) be coordinated with the Annual Agricultural Services Plan to be consistent with the State’s overall strategy to better serve employers and workers. 


5.  Substance.  There are two attachments to this Letter:

Attachment 1 – Planning Guidance for PY 2008 Wagner-Peyser Agricultural Services Plan provides guidelines for preparing the PY 2008 Agricultural Services Plan.

Attachment 2 – Vision for a WIRED Workforce Investment System describes the agency’s expectations for workforce development programs in a WIRED environment.

6.   Action Required.   State Administrators are requested to share this Letter with appropriate staff and other agencies. The PY 2008 Agricultural Services Plan should be submitted to this office by May 30, 2008, preferably in an electronic format. 

State Administrators are requested to review Attachment 2 - Vision for a WIRED Workforce Investment System to develop plans which support DOL/ETA’s vision for the role of the workforce systems in pursuing talent development as a key component of regional economic competitiveness. 

7.   Inquiries.  Questions or comments concerning the PY 2008 Agricultural Services Plan may be directed to Eric Hernandez on, 312.596.5419.

Questions or comments about the format of this Letter may be directed to Tom Coyne on 312.596.5435.

8. Attachments.

Attachment 1 – Planning Guidance for PY 2008 Wagner-Peyser Agricultural Services Plan

Attachment 2 – Vision for a WIRED Workforce Investment System

9. Effective Date. April 25, 2008

10.  Expiration Date.  June 30, 2009


Attachment 1

PLANNING GUIDANCE FOR
PY 2008 WAGNER-PEYSER AGRICULTURAL SERVICES PLAN

I.       Summary of Plan Requirements.  Each State Workforce Agency, in its Agricultural Services Plan, should describe the activities planned for providing services to the agricultural community, both agricultural employers and Migrant and Seasonal Farmworkers (MSFWs), as described in 20 CFR 653.107, the WIA Title I final regulations, the WIA/W-P Act Planning Guidance, the Unified Planning Guidance, and applicable WIA Workforce Development regulations.  The plan needs to address each of the following areas:

A.    Assessment of Need.  (See Part II) 

A comprehensive assessment of need in accordance with Federal requirements at 20 CFR Part 653.107

B.    Outreach Activities.  (See Part III)

A comprehensive plan for outreach in accordance with Federal requirements at 20 CFR 653.107 and consistent with the two-year planning guidance that describes strategies to identify the number of MSFWs the State anticipates reaching through outreach and how it will increase the MSFW’s ability to access core, intensive, and training services in the One-Stop Career Center System (IX. Service Delivery, C. Adults and Dislocated Workers, Item (4) (i).

C.                            Services Provided to MSFWs through the One-Stop Delivery System.  (See Part IV) 

The plan should provide specific information on how core, intensive, and training services required under WIA Title I will be provided to MSFWs through the One-Stop delivery system.  States should provide information on how MSFWs will be provided staff-assisted services and how MSFWs will be served in an electronic environment in the One-Stop Career Center and/or affiliate sites.  States should consider how they will enable these workers to advance their skills and be competitive in a local, regional and global economy.

All States must meet the minimum requirements for the provision of services to MSFWs and four of the five equity service indicators.  Significant MSFW States must meet four of the seven minimum service level indicators.  States that expect to have difficulty in meeting the MSFW performance indicators must describe the nature of the problem and the steps planned to meet the performance indicators.


D.    Services Provided to Agricultural Employers through the One-Stop Delivery System.  (See Part V) 

The plan should describe efforts that will be taken to provide services to agricultural employers in States with an adequate supply of U.S. workers and in those States where a shortage of workers is anticipated.

E.  Other Requirements.

1.     Monitor Advocate.  The plan should contain a statement that indicates that the State Monitor Advocate (SMA) has been afforded the opportunity to approve and/or comment on the PY 2007 Agricultural Services Plan. 

2.     MSFW Affirmative Action Plans ( AAP).  States with designated significant Affirmative Action local offices are required to submit an AAP to DOL in accordance with 20 CFR 653.111.

3.     Review and Public Comment.  The plan should provide information indicating that WIA Section 167 grantees, other appropriate MSFW groups, public agencies, agricultural employer organizations and other interested employer organizations, have been given an opportunity to comment on the State Agricultural Services Plan, including any required significant MSFW local office AAPs.  Include the list of organizations from whom information and suggestions were solicited; any comments received and State responses to those suggestions.

II.     Assessment of Need.  Under 20 CFR 653.107 (c) a plan must include an assessment of need.  This assessment must take into account data supplied by WIA Section 167 grantees, MSFW organizations, employer organizations, Federal/State agencies, Migrant Education Agency, etc.  This assessment of need should include:

A.  A review of the previous year's agricultural activity in the state.

1.     Identify each major labor intensive crop activity in the previous year, indicating the geographic areas of prime activity and the months of heavy activity.

2.     Identify agricultural employers who placed job orders with the One-Stop Career Center/Labor Exchange offices, the number of workers requested, and the number of workers referred and hired.  Make an assessment of how the agricultural system fits into the “demand driven” philosophy.

3.     Identify non-agricultural employers who placed job orders with entry level experience and education requirements, the number of workers requested, and the number of workers referred/hired through the One-Stop Career Center/Labor Exchange Offices.

B.  A review of the previous year's MSFW activity in the State.

1.     Provide an estimate of the agricultural labor employed in each of the crops identified in item II.A.  Estimate the number of MSFWs involved in each crop, and indicate crop areas that experienced labor shortages.

2.     Provide data on the number of agricultural employers in the State, the number of acres dedicated to farming, the number of workers utilized during the previous year and the projected need for the PY 2008.  If the State anticipates a shortage of workers, what resources are available to help employers?

3.     Using the information in B.1. and B.2. above, assess the State’s ability to meet the labor needs of agricultural employers in the PY 2008.

C.    Projected level of agricultural activity expected in the State in the coming year.  

1.     Identify any changes from last year's crop activities as described in item II.A.

D.    Projected number of MSFWs in the State in the coming year.

1.     Identify any changes in the numbers of MSFWs involved in each crop activity as described in item II.A.

III.    Outreach Activities.  Each State should prepare a comprehensive outreach plan in accordance with Federal requirements at 20 CFR 653.107 and consistent with the two-year planning guidance that describes the strategies to identify MSFWs and increase their ability to access core, intensive, and training services in the One-Stop Career Center System /Labor Exhange Office.  The outreach plan must be based on the actual conditions which exist in the particular State, taking into account the State Workforce Agency’s (SWAs) history of providing outreach services, the estimated number of MSFWs, and the need for outreach services after a review of the previous year’s agricultural activity in the State.

The five States nationally with the highest estimated year-round MSFW activities must assign full-time, year-round staff to outreach activities.  These States are designated annually by the Department of Labor.  In Region 5, Michigan and Ohio were designated for PY 2008 (see Table 5).   The remainder of the significant MSFW States: Illinois, Iowa, Wisconsin and Minnesota (see Table 1), must make maximum efforts to hire outreach staff with MSFW experience for year-round positions and shall assign outreach staff to work full time during the period of highest activity.

ETA will base its approval on whether the outreach plan adequately addresses the following:


A. Assessment of Available Resources.  

The assessment of the resources available for outreach shall include:

1.     The number of SWA staff positions assigned to outreach activities.  The assessment must indicate the full-time equivalent positions for each local office to which staff must be assigned, and the number of staff assigned to the State Office for this purpose. The significant MSFW local offices listed in Table 4 should assign full-time staff for outreach duties during the peak seasons, as indicated in 20 CFR 653.107(h)(3)(i).

2.     Where the number of SWA staff positions assigned to outreach activities is less than in the prior year, provide an explanation for the reduction and the expected effect of the reduction on direct outreach activities, as indicated in 20 CFR 653.107(h)(3)(i).

3.     Identify resources to be made available through existing cooperative agreements with public and private community service agencies and MSFW groups.  States are encouraged to initiate cooperative agreements with WIA Section 167 grantees to share and/or combine outreach positions.  In addition, States are encouraged to form strategic partnerships of multiple regional stakeholders, including education partners, research and development institutions and non-traditional partners, etc., to maximize resources and support and respond to the evolving dynamics and demands of the economy.

4.     Identify other agency staff not assigned to perform outreach that may be able to conduct outreach on an “intermittent” basis as time/resources permit.

5.     Identify existing partners in the One-Stop Career Center/Labor Exchange Offices currently performing outreach services in the same administrative area and the efforts currently being taken to avoid duplicating activities.  Examples of what offices can do are: sharing outreach logs, coordinating contacts with employers and organizations, exchanging forms, pamphlets, fliers, etc., that are normally handed out to customers, etc.

6.     Identify the number of agricultural/non-agricultural employers in the area who use agency services.  How many of these employers have been contacted and/or “targeted” for contact through outreach.  Identify the resources available to perform outreach to those remaining agricultural and non-agricultural employers in the community. 


B.  Numerical Goals. 

The anticipated results of these outreach efforts are provided in Item A above. These goals shall include:

1.     The number of MSFWs to be contacted by Labor Exchange staff during PY 2008, list by local office where outreach staff is assigned, as well as the State Office as indicated in 20 CFR 653.107(c)(3).

2.     The number of staff days (one staff day equals one 8-hour day) to be utilized for outreach, list by local office where outreach staff is assigned, as well as the State Office.

3.     The number of MSFWs to be contacted by other agencies under cooperative arrangements.

4.     The number of agricultural employers to be contacted by outreach staff for the purpose of obtaining job orders, conducting job development, providing assistance with the State’s electronic system, etc.

C. Proposed Outreach Activities. 

The plan must describe the outreach efforts to be provided MSFWs, agricultural and non-agricultural employers.  These efforts must include those described in 20 CFR 653.107 C (i-p).  Also, describe any coordinated activities with other states/agencies where a possible surplus of workers may exist.

1.     Identify strategies to better serve farmworkers and employers and thereby improve the agency’s ability to match qualified workers with employers, extend the farmworkers employment status, provide better wages, etc.

2.     Identify workforce challenges and provide possible solutions in ensuring that the labor needs of agricultural employers are met.

3.     Provide methodologies that help meet the seasonal labor needs of employers and increase the farmworker’s awareness of these opportunities (make better use of Labor Market Information, contact employers at the end and at the beginning of each crop cycle and update their labor needs, etc.)

4.     Identify how the State can provide MSFWs with longer periods of employment by combining seasonal agricultural jobs with seasonal non-agricultural jobs.


5.     Work with agricultural employers to identify and document skill sets needed in the industry and coordinate with other workforce system partners to develop and provide corresponding training to farmworkers.

6.     Identify how the State will coordinate MSFW outreach activity with the local WIA’s business services plan to eliminate duplication and obtain better job orders, developing more jobs, assisting with the State’s electronic system(s), etc.

IV.     Services Provided to MSFWs through the One-Stop Delivery System.

A. Planning Data for the Upcoming Year.

If a State's estimated planning data for the current year indicate difficulty in meeting equity indicators, minimum services levels, or planned levels of activity, ETA will request that the State submit a narrative regarding the difficulty.  The following items must be included in a narrative:

1.     A description of the problems;

2.     Specific steps planned to meet minimum service levels; and

3.     Specific steps planned to meet equity level of services.

Federal regulations at 20 CFR 653.112 require the establishment of performance indicators reflecting equity and the measurement of minimum levels of service.  The indicators established by ETA include the seven minimum service level indicators and the five SWA-controlled indicators to measure equity of service. All States are required to meet at least four of the five equity indicators listed below:

- Ratio of non-MSFWs to MSFWs referred to jobs,

- Ratio of non-MSFWs to MSFWs for whom service is provided,

- Ratio of non-MSFWs to MSFWs referred to supportive services,

- Ratio of non-MSFWs to MSFWs provided with career guidance,

- Ratio of non-MSFWs to MSFWs for whom a job development contact was made.


Additionally, significant MSFW States are required to meet at least four of the seven minimum service level indicators.  The seven minimum service level indicators are listed in Table 3.  These standards are set to encourage appropriate service to MSFWs and to assure the continuation of such services.  The minimum service levels are established annually. The standards are set at a level high enough to encourage low performing States to improve their performance, but not so high as to make achievement extraordinarily difficult.

B.  Significant MSFW Local Office Affirmative Action Plans.

The Department of Labor (DOL) designated significant MSFW local offices for which Affirmative Action Plan (AAP) must be developed and submitted, under 20 CFR 653.111.  The designations for PY 2007 AAP local offices are provided in Table 2.

The AAP (20 CFR 653.111(b)(1)) must include a comparison of the racial and ethnic composition of the workforce and that of the local office staff.  When the comparison shows an under-representation of a racial or ethnic group in the local office, the plan must establish a reasonable timetable with goals to remedy the imbalance. 

V.      Services Provided to Agricultural Employers through the One-Stop Delivery System.

A. Data Analysis.

1.     Previous year's history (based on PY 2007 data):

   - Number of agricultural job orders and openings received,

   - Number of agricultural job orders filled,

   - Percent to be filled,

   - Number of interstate clearance orders received, and

   - Number of interstate clearance orders initiated.


2.     Plan for upcoming year (based on estimated data):

   - Number of agricultural job orders expected to be received,

   - Number of agricultural job orders projected to be filled,

   - Percent to be filled,

   - Estimated number of interstate clearance orders the State will receive,

   - Estimated number of interstate clearance orders the State will initiate

B.  Narrative Description.

States must provide a description of efforts to provide services to agricultural employers regardless of whether the employers have an adequate labor supply of U.S. workers to include:

1.     A description of how the SWA plans to provide labor exchange services to agricultural employers.

2.     A description of the process used to identify agricultural employers expected to hire MSFWs.

3.     A description of the process for linking available workers with the employers, including the cooperation with or the creation of coordinating bodies to assure programs are coordinated and to insure programs respond to local needs.  These coordinating groups may consist of organizations such as the WIA Section 167 grantees, agricultural employers, migrant education groups, and migrant health groups.

4.     A description of how the State will promote labor exchange services to agricultural employers, e.g., participate in employer conferences, develop marketing tools, provide labor exchange information to employers, and recruit U.S. workers.

5.     Where an H-2A program operated in the State in the previous year, explain efforts to increase U.S. worker participation.

VI.     Enclosures to State Planning Guidelines for Agricultural Services.

Table 1.       Significant MSFW States for PY 2008
Table 2.       Affirmative Action Plan Significant MSFW Local Offices
Table 3.       Minimum Service Level Indicators for PY 2008
Table 4.       Significant MSFW Local Offices and Bilingual Offices for PY 2008
Table 5.       States with Highest Estimated MSFW Activity

**Table 1

SIGNIFICANT MSFW STATES FOR PY 2008
State MSFW Applicants
Wisconsin 28,611
Iowa 22,015
Ohio 23,007
Michigan 40,952
Minnesota 28,504

**Table 2

AFFIRMATIVE ACTION PLAN SIGNIFICANT MSFW LOCAL OFFICES
(TOP 20% OF MSFW ACTIVITY NATIONWIDE)

Federal regulations at 20 CFR 653.111(b) (1) require that “Affirmative Action Plan” local offices be designated each year.  For purposes of this provision, these local offices mean those representing the top 20 percent of MSFW activity nationally. 


**Table 3

MINIMUM SERVICE LEVEL INDICATORS FOR PY 2006

In accordance with Federal regulations at 20 CFR 653.112, the following are the minimum service levels for PY 2008 that significant MSFW States must meet:

(1)     Individuals placed in a job;
(2)     Individuals placed in a job with a wage exceeding the federal minimum
wage by at least 50 cents/hour; and
(3)     Placed in long-term (over 150 days) non-agricultural jobs.

State (1)
MSFW
Placed %
(2)
Placed $.50
Above Federal
Minimum Wage %
(3)
Placed in
Long-term
Non-Ag Jobs %
Michigan 42.5 14.0 3
Ohio 42.5 14.0 3
Wisconsin 42.5 14.0 3
Iowa 42.5 14.0 3
Illinois 42.5 14.0 3
Indiana 42.5 14.0 3
Minnesota 42.5 14.0 3
Nebraska 42.5 14.0 3
Kansas 42.5 14.0 3
Missouri 42.5 14.0 3

(4)     Review of significant MSFW local offices: 100% for all significant States;
(5)     Field checks on agricultural clearance orders;
(6)     Outreach contacts per staff day as determined by the SWA; and
(7)     Processing of complaints in accordance with 20 CFR 658.


**Table 4

SIGNIFICANT AND BILINGUAL
MSFW LOCAL OFFICES FOR PY 2008


REGION 5 STATES

Missouri
Kennett*

Minnesota
Faribault
Willmar          
Albert Lea
Owatonna
Crookston*
Mankato*
New Ulm.*

Nebraska
North Platte*
Scottsbluff*
Fremont*
Omaha*
Lincoln*
Grand Island*
Kearney*
Alliance

Iowa
Muscatine
Marshalltown
Mt. Pleasant
Iowa City
Des Moines
Sioux City
Storm Lakes*
Council Bluffs*
Orange City*

Wisconsin
River Falls
West Bend
Madison
Beaver Dam
Elkhorn
Wisconsin Rapids

Illinois
Champaign
Murphysboro*
Peoria
Kankakee*

Michigan
Hartford
South Haven
Fremont
Holland
Shelby
Sparta
Manistee

*Denotes Bilingual


**Table 5

STATES WITH HIGHEST ESTIMATED MSFW ACTIVITY

In accordance with Federal regulations at 20 CFR 653.107(i), these States must assign full-time year-round staff to outreach duties.  The remainder of the significant MSFW States shall make maximum efforts to hire outreach staff with MSFW experience for year-round positions and shall assign outreach staff to work full time during the period(s) of the highest activity.  Such outreach staff must be bilingual if warranted by the characteristics of the MSFW population in the State, and must spend a majority of their time in the field, as stated in 20 CFR 653.107(h)(3)(i).

**The PY 2008 Agricultural Services Plan should be consistent with the Five and Two-Year WIA Plan for PY 2008 and 2009.  Therefore, the information in these tables will remain the same for PY 2008 planning purposes. 


Attachment 2

Vision for a WIRED Workforce Investment System

The forces of globalization are causing massive shifts and transitions in the world’s economy.  While globalization creates significant challenges and opportunities at the international and national levels, innovative responses and solutions must be developed regionally, at the level where diverse strategic partners with a shared vision for achieving economic competitiveness and prosperity come together, aligning their talents and resources in support of fostering innovation in the global marketplace.

A key component of fostering regional innovation in the global marketplace is transforming the way we have traditionally approached workforce preparation.  The 21st century economy demands a workforce with postsecondary education credentials, comfort in rapidly evolving, high-technology environments, and the adaptability to respond immediately to changing economic and business needs.  The public workforce system must play a leadership role in meeting these demands, catalyzing the implementation of innovative talent development and lifelong learning strategies that will enable American workers to advance their skills and remain competitive in the global economy.

The U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration (ETA) supports a broader national strategy to support the workforce system in driving talent development and lifelong learning in regionally based economies.  The Workforce Innovations In Regional Economic Development Initiative (WIRED), begun in 2006 as a Federal funding investment in regional economic models, represents a larger strategic approach by which all regional economies across the country can respond to the evolving dynamics and demands of the global economy.  The foundation of the WIRED framework is evidence that three critical “pillars” must be in place and linked in order for regional economies to successfully innovate:

§         An environment that supports and nurtures capital investment and entrepreneurship;

§         A world-class infrastructure, which includes both physical and technological/virtual assets; and, most importantly;

§         Talent development systems and strategies that give workers the skills needed to succeed in a 21st century economy and continuously provide a lifetime of learning and education opportunities.

To link these three pillars, the WIRED framework calls for the strategic partnership of multiple regional stakeholders, many of them relatively nontraditional allies for the workforce system - philanthropists and foundations, capital investors and angel networks, research and development institutions – along with the entire continuum of education partners, economic development entities, business and industry association representatives, regional infrastructure stakeholders, community leaders, and others.  The framework articulates the critical success factors regions must pursue to ensure economic transformation and competitiveness, such as a strongly-articulated and understood regional identity and a shared commitment to the leveraging and alignment of resources or investments.  To support the achievement of these success factors, the WIRED framework outlines concrete steps that regional economies must take in order to achieve economic prosperity, such as forming an empowered core leadership group and conducting a comprehensive regional asset and gap analysis.

These success factors, and the “transformation steps” that support them, must be jointly owned by all partners and stakeholders in regional economies.  However, within the WIRED framework, particular regional leaders may have greater roles than others, and greater expertise or assets to bring to bear, at particular times during the ongoing transformation process.  The workforce system’s strengths and assets obviously reside in talent development and education, the most important pillar of a competitive regional economy. 

It is ETA’s intent to support broader and longer-term efforts to help implement the WIRED framework throughout the entire workforce system, and to further understanding of what this framework means, practically and operationally, for State and local workforce system partners.  The framework supports the broad vision for the workforce system’s role in pursuing talent development as the key component of regional economic competitiveness.  ETA is committed to making this vision more and more concrete through continuous dialogue with workforce system partners, communication and learning opportunities such as Webinars, policy development and clarification, technical assistance, and the sharing of WIRED strategies and successes as they evolve.  Regional economic transformation – and the transformation of the workforce system that supports it – is a mutual, collaborative process, and ETA looks forward to ongoing opportunities to engage with workforce system leaders and their partners to support their efforts in the WIRED framework and to learn from their successes and achievements.

For more information on the WIRED framework and other tools developed under the WIRED initiative, please visit www.doleta.gov/WIRED.

For more policy guidance from ETA, please visit www.doleta.gov/directives.


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