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Workforce Investment News Archive

Evaluation of the Re-Integration of Ex-Offenders (RExO) Program: Two-Year impact Report
Aug 26, 2015

The Evaluation of the Re-Integration of Ex-Offenders (RExO) Program: Two-Year Impact Report The Reintegration of Ex-Offenders (RExO ) project began in 2005 as a joint initiative of the Department of Labor's Employment and Training Administration (ETA), the Department of Justice, and several other federal agencies. The programs funded under RExO primarily provide three main types of services to ex-offenders: mentoring, which most often took the form of group mentoring, but also included one-on-one mentoring and other activities; employment services, including work readiness training, job training, job placement, job clubs, transitional employment, and post-placement follow-up; and case management and supportive services.

In 2009, ETA commissioned a three-year random assignment evaluation of the RExO project. This report summarizes the initial impacts of the RExO program on offender outcomes in four areas: service receipt, labor market success, recidivism, and other outcomes. The results are based on outcomes for these individuals in the two-year period after they enrolled into the study. Two sources of data provided outcome information for this analysis: a telephone survey that asked about a range of items, including service receipt, labor market outcomes, recidivism, health and mental health, substance abuse, housing, and child support issues and administrative data that provided state and local criminal engagement information.

A final impact report is scheduled to be submitted in fall 2015, and will focus on impacts in the three-year period following random assignment (RA) into the study. The final report will include data similar to those reported in this report, but will add data for a third year following RA. Additionally, the final report will include administrative data on employment and earnings, which will allow for an analysis of the extent to which recall or other response bias in the survey results may have affected the estimates of impact on labor market outcomes. If the administrative data analysis provides results consistent with the analysis of survey data, the joint finding will provide solid evidence that RExO positively impacts participants' labor market outcomes. Further, despite the lack of impacts on recidivism described in this report, the final report will examine whether differences in recidivism emerge in the third year after RA.

Link to Two Year Impact Report

ETA Seeks Comment on WIA Adult and Dislocated Worker Programs
Aug 26, 2015

The Employment and Training Administration (ETA) is seeking public comment on the proposed extension of the WIA Adult and Dislocated Worker Programs "Gold Standard Evaluation." Specifically, ETA is requesting clearance for a six-month extension of OMB clearance allowed to complete the WIA Evaluation's 30-month follow-up survey. Click here for the August 14 FEDERAL REGISTER notice with full background and burden hour estimates. Comments are due by October 13.

The WIA Evaluation will address the following research questions:

  1. Does access to WIA intensive services, alone or in conjunction with WIA-funded training, lead adults and dislocated workers to achieve better educational, employment, earnings, and self-sufficiency outcomes than they would achieve in the absence of access to those services?
  2. Does the effectiveness of WIA vary by population subgroup? Is there variation by sex, age, race/ethnicity, unemployment insurance receipt, prior education level, previous employment history, adult and dislocated worker status, and veteran and disability status?
  3. How does the implementation of WIA vary by LWIA? Does the effectiveness of WIA vary by how it is implemented? To what extent do implementation differences explain variations in WIA's effectiveness?
  4. Do the benefits from WIA intensive and training services exceed program costs? Do the benefits of intensive services exceed their costs? Do the benefits of training services exceed their costs? Do the benefits exceed the costs for adults? Do the benefits exceed the costs for dislocated workers?

Department of Education Announces a Funding Opportunity - Career Pathways for Individuals with Disabilities
Aug 10, 2015

The Department of Education has announced a funding opportunity - Career Pathways for Individuals with Disabilities. The Department has identified $3,500,000 in resources with an estimated $725,000 as the average size of each of the four awards.

A State VR agency or State VR agencies applying as a group in accordance with 34 CFR 75.128 are eligible to apply for this funding. The project period is up to 60 months. In deciding whether to continue funding the projects awarded through this competition for the fourth and fifth years, the Department, as part of the review of the application narrative and annual performance reports, will consider the degree to which the projects demonstrate substantial progress toward their goals and objectives regarding-

  1. The number of distinct career pathways accessed and/or created through the project, and the recognized postsecondary credentials and occupational clusters in each;
  2. The number of eligible individuals who entered each career pathway;
  3. The number of eligible individuals who attained one or more recognized secondary or postsecondary credentials;
  4. The number of eligible individuals who achieved competitive integrated employment in each career pathway; and
  5. The corresponding weekly wage and employer benefits received by these individuals.

Date of Pre-Application Webinar: August 13, 2015.

Deadline for Transmittal of Applications: September 8, 2015.

Click here for additional background and the application requirements.

Click here for the statement of priority.

Department of Labor Proposes Rulemaking (Equal Treatment in Programs for Faith-Based and Community Organizations in Programs and the Protection of Religious Liberty of Department of Labor Social Service Providers and Beneficiaries)
Aug 10, 2015

The Department of Labor proposes to amend its general regulations regarding the equal treatment of religious organizations in Department of Labor programs and the protection of religious liberty for Department of Labor social service providers and beneficiaries.

This proposed rule would: Clarify the definition of direct and indirect financial assistance, replace the term "inherently religious activities" with the term "explicitly religious activities" and define the latter term as "including activities that involve overt religious content such as worship, religious instruction, or proselytization," require faith-based organizations administering a program supported with direct DOL financial assistance to provide beneficiaries with a written notice informing them of their religious liberty rights, including the right to a referral to an alternative provider if the beneficiary objects to the religious character of the organization providing services, and add a provision stating that decisions about awards of Federal financial assistance must be free from political interference and based on merit.

These changes are necessitated by the issuance in November 2010, of Executive Order 13559, Fundamental Principles and Policymaking Criteria for Partnerships with Faith-Based and Other Neighborhood Organizations.

The August 6 FEDERAL REGISTER contains the proposed rule. Comments are due by October 5, 2015.

Trends in Occupational Licensing and Best Practices for Smart Labor Market Regulation: New Report from the Department of Treasury, Council of Economic Advisers, and Department of Labor
Aug 6, 2015

Jeff Zients is the Director of the National Economic Council and Assistant to the President for Economic Policy.
Betsey Stevenson is a Member of the Council of Economic Advisers.

"Occupational licensing" may sound like a dry subject, but its rise has been one of the more important economic trends of the past few decades. Today, one-quarter of U.S. workers must have a State license to do their jobs, a five-fold increase since the 1950s. Including Federal and local licenses, an even higher share of the workforce now has a license. Smart regulation of workers can benefit consumers through higher-quality services and improved health and safety standards. Yet too often, policymakers do not carefully weigh the costs and benefits when licensing a particular profession, resulting in a patchwork of different licensing decisions and requirements. Estimates suggest that while 1,100 professions are regulated in at least one State, fewer than 60 are regulated in all 50 States.

A report from the Department of Treasury, Council of Economic Advisers, and the Department of Labor released this week (July 28) explores the rise in occupational licensing and its important consequences for our economy.

Licensing an occupation means that work in that occupation is only available to those with the time and means to fulfill licensing requirements. One study found that for a sample of low and middle-wage jobs, the average license requires around nine months of education and training and $209 in fees. These requirements can be worth it if they provide real protections for consumers and workers, but because it limits which workers can enter a field, licensing necessarily excludes people who would work in an occupation if the barriers were lower. Fewer workers means higher wages for those who secure a license, but lower wages for excluded workers and higher prices for consumers. Research finds that more restrictive licensing raises prices for goods and services provided by licensed professionals by between 3 and 16 percent. The benefits of licensing therefore need to be balanced against these costs.

Since most licenses are governed at the State level, and since State requirements vary widely, workers often have to apply for a new license when they move. For example, Michigan requires three years of education and training to become a licensed security guard, while most other States require only 11 days or less. The process of sorting out requirements across States and applying for the appropriate license can be lengthy, involving anything from filling out paperwork, paying fees and passing examinations, to going back to school to fulfill new educational and training requirements.

Our licensing system places especially heavy burdens on certain populations like military spouses who frequently move across State lines, veterans whose occupational training inside the military is not aligned with State licensing requirements, immigrants who arrive in the United States having already acquired substantial training or education abroad, and the millions of Americans who have a criminal record. In many States, any kind of criminal record can disqualify applicants from a license, regardless of how much time has passed, whether the applicant was convicted, or whether the crime is related to the specific license.

White House staff have engaged with State regulators, State legislators, professional organizations, academic experts, and advocates on this issue over the past year. Many good ideas for reform are out there, including using State certification as an alternative to licensing, empowering independent agencies to conduct cost-benefit analyses of licensing policies, and making sure that licensing requirements are closely aligned with public health and safety goals.

While many questions around licensing are best answered by the States, we want to do our part at the Federal level to support sensible licensing policies. The report released today by the White House includes a number of best practices for policymakers seeking to improve their licensing policies. The Administration and the Department of Defense are also working with States to ensure that veterans can translate the skills they learned in the military to civilian employment, and that service-connected spouses working in licensed occupations can take their skills across State lines. This year, the President proposed $15 million in grants to fund States seeking to take a hard look at this issue, and Congress can build on this momentum by funding innovative thinking in this area. Working together, we can build a more thoughtful approach to licensing that maximizes its benefits, while reducing burdens on workers and consumers.