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What's New in Workforce Investment?

Workforce Investment News Archive

Presentation Materials Now Available from "Sector Strategies: Start Planning Now" Webinar
Nov 26, 2014

The Employment and Training Administration (ETA) seeks to expand the number of states and regions actively engaged in sector strategies work by providing technical assistance focused on developing new sector strategies partnerships, expanding and sustaining existing ones, and overall scaling up effectiveness and impact. ETA's Sector Strategies Technical Assistance Initiative is designed to create a networked national sector strategies "movement" of workforce systems that are sharing and supporting each other by leveraging the significant body of sector strategy knowledge already available. Sector strategies are regional, industry-focused approaches to workforce and economic development that improve access to good jobs and increase job quality in ways that strengthen an industry's workforce. Although certainly not a new approach, it is gaining national momentum as a proven framework for addressing skill gaps and engaging industry in education and training.

The Initiative has a number of components. The agency has recently conducted the first webinar in a series to showcase the opportunities ahead in building sector strategies a key element of a successful workforce system. The agency hopes the workforce community will take the opportunity to learn from states and local areas who are leaders in the use of sector strategies to improve their local economies and deliver valuable services to job seekers and employers. The first webinar (held on November 10) features Kentucky's ongoing work with economic development, workforce development and education partners.

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ETA Seeks Public Comment on Extension (with Minor Revisions) of the O*NET Data Collection
Nov 26, 2014
The Employment and Training Administration (ETA) is currently soliciting comments concerning the proposed extension of the O*NET (Occupational Information Network) Data Collection Program. The Program currently expires June 30, 2015). A copy of the proposed information collection request (ICR) can be accessed at http://www.onetcenter.org/ombclearance.html

Comments are due by January 26, 2015.

The O*NET Data Collection Program is an ongoing effort to collect and maintain current information on the detailed characteristics of occupations and skills for more than 900 occupations. The resulting database provides the most comprehensive standardized source of occupational and skills information in the nation. O*NET information is used by a wide range of audiences, including individuals making career decisions, public agencies and schools providing career exploration services or education and training programs, and businesses making staffing and training decisions. The O*NET system provides a common language, framework and database to meet the administrative needs of various federal programs, including workforce investment and training programs supported by funding from the Departments of Labor, Education, and Health and Human Services.

Section 308 of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act requires the Secretary of Labor to oversee the "development, maintenance, and continuous improvement of a nationwide workforce and labor market information system" which shall include, among other components, "skill trends by occupation and industry." The O*NET database provides:

  • Detailed information for more than 900 occupations.
  • Descriptive information using standardized descriptors for skills, abilities, interests, knowledge, work values, education, training, work context, and work activities.
  • Occupational coding based on the 2010 Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) system.

Several minor questionnaire changes for the Knowledge Questionnaire and the Background Questionnaire are pending in this submission. These changes are described in detail in Appendix A of the proposed Information Collection Request. These changes do not represent an increase in respondent burden.

The O*NET electronic database and related O*NET products and tools Have been incorporated into numerous public and private sector products and resources, summarized at http://www.onetcenter.org/paw.html. These products in turn serve millions of customers.

The November 26, 2014 FEDERAL REGISTER provides full background and instructions for the submission of comments.

ETA Seeks Comment on Proposed New Information Collection: Pre-Apprenticeship - Pathways to Success
Nov 26, 2014

The Employment and Training Administration (ETA) is seeking public comment on a new information collection: Pre-Apprenticeship - Pathways to Success. Comments are due by January 26, 2014.

ETA notes, in part:

Through a variety of approaches, pre-apprenticeship programs can be adapted to meet the needs of differing populations being trained, the various employers and sponsors they serve, and the specific opportunities available in the local labor market. The development of an online database of quality pre-apprenticeship programs will provide a valuable tool for job seekers, Registered Apprenticeship program sponsors, and America's Job Center front line staff. A dedicated database will provide a way for job seekers and Registered Apprenticeship programs to access pre-apprenticeship programs that meet the requirements outlined in Training and Employment Notice (TEN) 13-12: "Defining a Quality Pre-Apprenticeship Program and Related Tools and Resources."

In 2009, ETA consulted with stakeholders and partners, including through several in-person listening sessions with labor, employers and the public and through webinars targeted at workforce development partners. In addition, ETA engaged the Secretary's Advisory Committee on Apprenticeship (ACA) to develop recommendations that resulted in the development of TEN 13-12.

The development and implementation of a "pre-apprenticeship pathways to success" database will enable ETA to identify pre-apprenticeship programs that meet the "quality pre-apprenticeship" definition and the quality framework criteria. Even more importantly, a national database of pre-apprenticeship programs will facilitate connections between pre-apprenticeship program participants and registered apprenticeship program sponsors, resulting in expanded opportunities. This voluntary data collection will be accomplished using an online form. The public seeking information about pre-apprenticeship programs would go to a map on a Web site, choose a state, and view information about the location of pre-apprenticeship programs, including general descriptions of the services and training they provide.

The November 25, 2014 FEDERAL REGISTER provides additional background and instructions for obtaining the collection and submitting comments, and summarizes the desired focus for the comments.

December 3 Federal Funding Opportunity Webinar:"Accelerating Industry-Led Regional Partnerships for Talent Development"
Nov 26, 2014

An "Accelerating Industry-Led Regional Partnerships for Talent Development Federal Funding Opportunity Webinar" will be held on Wednesday, December 3 (4:30 PM to 5:30 PM EST).

The Economic Development Administration's Assistant Secretary Jay Williams will provide an introduction of the Accelerating Industry-Led Regional Partnerships for Talent Development Federal Funding Opportunity. He will be joined by Kate McAdams, Senior Advisor to Department of Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker and Bryan Borlik, Director of the EDA Performance and National Programs division.

EDA seeks to continue to build on its strong foundation of place-based regional economic development and partnerships within this funding opportunity. EDA seeks a non-profit "national partner" that will work with a Federal team led by the Department of Commerce, to launch a learning exchange to identify, promote, and expand upon successful best practices for industry-driven regional partnerships for talent development. The learning exchange is a mechanism to identify, understand, and elevate best practices, facilitate peer learning and deepen knowledge, spark replication and advancement across regions, and inform the long-term public investment in talent development.

Register

Federal Reserve Board Publishes "In the Shadow of the Great Recession: Experiences and Perspectives of Young Workers"
Nov 26, 2014

The Federal Reserve "intends for this report to help shape future inquiry among workforce researchers, policymakers, and practitioners. To this end, the Federal Reserve will make the survey's data available to the public. In addition, the Federal Reserve will encourage additional use of these data for research both within the Federal Reserve System and among external parties."

The Federal Reserve Board has published a new report, based on its 2013 Survey of Young Workers, that provides insight into numerous labor market topics, including the educational attainment, work experience, and expectations of adults aged 18 to 30.

In the Shadow of the Great Recession: Experiences and Perspectives of Young Workers, takes an in-depth look at the experiences and aspirations of young adults entering the workforce. Despite a changing labor market that is recovering slowly from the recession, many young adults remain optimistic about their job future. The survey found that 45 percent of respondents are optimistic about future employment opportunities compared to 21 percent who are pessimistic and 34 percent who are not sure. Respondents with higher levels of education, work experience, and job opportunities were more likely to be optimistic about their job future than respondents who lack such skills and experiences.

The survey results show that young workers are responding to the labor market's increasing demand for postsecondary credentials and degrees. Thirty-seven percent of the respondents reported that they have the level of education and training needed for the type of job they would like to hold in the next five years. The respondents' confidence in their education increased with each level of attainment. In addition, nearly one-third of the total respondents are currently enrolled in an education or training program. Nonstudents who are interested in additional education named financial considerations as their top barriers to enrollment.

Despite the importance of education and work experience, intangibles still play a role in the labor market. According to the survey results, finding a job is still heavily based on personal connections. Respondents identified personal networks as a primary source in their job search process.

The survey found that young workers value job stability. When given the choice, respondents generally preferred steady employment (67 percent) to higher pay (30 percent). Jobs that are permanent and full-time are associated with "careers" and upward mobility, while opportunities associated with part-time and temporary work are less clear.