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WIA/W-P Strategic Planning: Questions and Answers

The Department of Labor' s (DOL) Employment and Training Administration (ETA) has received a number of questions related to TEGL 17-10 and the options for states to ensure that they have in place approved Workforce Investment Act and Wagner-Peyser Act (WIA/W-P) State Plans and waivers for Program Year (PY) 2011. TEGL 17-10 provides two options:

  • The state submits an extension request of the current WIA/W-P State Plan for an additional year. Extension requests are due April 15, 2011.
  • The state submits a modification to its WIA/W-P State Plan for the period of PY 2011, July 1, 2011 through June 30, 2012. Modifications are due April 15, 2011.

TEGL 17-10 also provides that states may request an extension of an additional year for existing waivers that have been approved except in certain circumstances.

ETA posts these questions and the responses for the benefit of all states. Please note, however, that this information is provided as a public service by the Department. It represents the Department's best effort to provide useful information in a timely manner. ETA will periodically update this material, as necessary, to address issues related to State Plans for Program Year 2011. These questions and answers do not represent official agency policy. If you have any questions regarding the application of this information to your particular circumstances, please contact your ETA Regional Office.

The following subjects are addressed:

Submission of Modification Requests for Program Year 2011

Question 1
To whom do we submit the modification or extension request, when is it due, and who needs copies?

Answer
The modification or extension request, due April 15, 2011, should be submitted to the Federal Coordinator for Plan Review and Approval, with a copy to the appropriate ETA Regional Administrator. The request can be sent by e-mail to WIA.PLAN@dol.gov or in hard copy to:

Division of Workforce System Support
Employment and Training Administration
U.S. Department of Labor
200 Constitution Ave. NW Room S-4231
Washington, DC 20210
Attn: Federal Coordinator for Plan Review and Approval

The copy of the modification submitted to the Federal Coordinator should have an original signature, since the ETA National Office is the keeper of the official file for the Federal Government. Modifications sent elsewhere in the National Office, such as to the Secretary, result in unnecessary delays in the review and approval process.

 

Question 2
Which officials from our state are authorized to represent the state in this process?

Answer
The governor of the state can submit the modification or extension request. In addition, the individuals designated by the governor to represent the state, as indicated in the section of the State Plan entitled Program Administration Designees and Plan Signatures (assuming it is up-to-date), can submit the modification or extension request. Electronic signatures for the governor and his designees are acceptable.

 

Question 3
Who will contact the state - and who will work with the state - if the state plan modification or waiver plan is deemed incomplete because all required documents were not received?

Answer
The Federal Coordinator will confirm receipt of the state plan modification or waiver plan within two business days of receipt and indicate that the date for the start of the review cannot begin because all required documents were not received. The state will work with the Regional Administrator and staff in the regional office to submit all missing documents.

 

Question 4
Last year, when ETA provided an option for an extension of the existing State Plan, ETA approved an extension without first receiving a written request from the state. This year, ETA has reverted back to requiring a formal extension request from the state. Why?

Answer
Last year ETA anticipated that the vast majority of states would choose to extend their State Plan for an additional year, and therefore, sought to streamline the process as much as possible. This year, ETA expects a higher volume of modifications, and a clear written statement from states on their intentions will reduce unnecessary back and forth between ETA and state agencies. Furthermore, ETA found that many states preferred submitting a formal extension request for their own recordkeeping purposes.

 

Question 5
Our state will be submitting a modification but will be revising only certain portions of the State Plan. Do we need to submit the entire State Plan or only those portions of the Plan that are being revised?

Answer
Providing an opportunity for meaningful public input and comment during the development of the State Plan, and modifications to the State Plan, is a critical part of the planning process. It should be clear from the version of the State Plan presented to the public for review and comment which parts of the State Plan have been revised, and how these revisions impact other sections of the Plan. Accordingly, if there are multiple revisions throughout the State Plan, the full Plan with revisions should be provided to the public for review. If only a few sections of the Plan are revised, and they are minor in nature and impact only those sections, just those parts of the State Plan need to be provided. It's also helpful if states do a summary upfront of the changes and provide a list, with page numbers, of those parts of the State Plan that are revised.

To ensure that the public is clear about what has been revised, some states use the track change function, others highlight the additions to the Plan and use the strikeout function to identify what has been deleted. States can submit to ETA for approval that version of the State Plan that has been provided to the public, after revisions have been made to incorporate suggested changes. ETA also appreciates a summary of the changes and a list, with page numbers, of those parts of the State Plan that have been revised.

 

Question 6
TEGL 17-10 indicates that ETA will issue guidance soon on the Agricultural Outreach Plan (AOP) required for PY 2011 that addresses equivalent and proportionate services to Migrant and Seasonal Farm Workers (MSFWs). Is ETA requiring that all states submit a State Plan modification for PY 2011 that includes the AOP?

Answer
No, states are not required to modify their State Plan to include an AOP; states may continue to submit their AOP separately for PY 2011. However, inclusion of the AOP in the State Plan will likely become a requirement for PY 2012 as part of the State Plan redesign, so states may want to begin to take steps now to integrate their AOP into the WIA/W-P Plan. For PY 2011, ETA encourages states to review Attachment B of TEGL 17-10 which highlights questions in the WIA/W-P planning guidance that pertain to MSFW and which are also required in states' agricultural outreach plan. Where states determine that they need to substantially update the AOP, ETA encourages that they submit it as part of their State Plan for PY 2011.

 

Question 7
Our state has a newly elected governor who assumed office in January 2011. Must our states modify their State Plan to reflect this change? The governor has not yet announced changes to the workforce investment system in our state.

Answer
The WIA does not require that a state modify its State Plan as a result of the election of a new governor. States with new governors must modify the State Plan if there have been changes made in the statewide vision, strategies, or supporting policies or reorganizations that change the working relationship with system employees, or changes in organizational responsibilities. If there have been changes to the signatory officials listed on the Program Administration Designees and Plan Signatures page of the State Plan, please provide an updated copy.

 

Question 8
Our state has a newly elected governor who assumed office in January 2011. The governor has begun to make changes to the workforce investment system in our state, including a reorganization of state agencies and policy revisions which will require a plan modification. These changes will not be completed by the April 15, 2011 submission deadline. May we extend the currently approved State Plan, and submit a modification later in PY 2011 once the reorganization and policy changes are completed?

Answer
Yes. States with new governors that are undergoing organizational and policy changes that will prompt a plan modification should work with their ETA Regional Office to determine an appropriate deadline for submission of the State Plan modification if the April 15, 2011, deadline does not coincide with the timeline of the state's changes. In these cases, an extension request should be submitted by the April 15 deadline, and where feasible, should reference the date by which the state anticipates submitting a modification.


Question 9
Our state received a State Health Care Workforce Development Grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Health Resources and Services Administration. Eligibility requirements for this grant prompted us to change the structure and membership of the State Workforce Investment Board (SWIB). Should our state submit a State Plan modification?

Answer
Yes. The WIA regulations at 20 CFR 661.230 require states to modify their State Plan as a result of changes to the membership structure of the State Board or alternative entity. States that have substantially changed the membership of the SWIB as a result of State Health Care Workforce Development Grant should submit a plan modification to ETA to describe the changes.


Public Comment Requirement

 

Question 10
Our state has decided it wants to exercise its option for an extension of its current State Plan for an additional year. Is the state required to involve the State Board in this process?

Answer
WIA regulations at 20 CFR 661.205(a) provide that the State Board must assist the Governor in the development of the State Plan. Accordingly, ETA strongly encourages the state to involve its State Board in the decision to exercise the option for a one-year extension of its current State Plan.

 

Question 11
Our state has decided it wants to exercise its option for an extension of its current State Plan for an additional year. Is the state required to notify the public of its intent and provide an opportunity for public comment?

Answer
WIA regulations at 20 CFR 661.220 (d) provide the following:


The State must provide an opportunity for public comment on and input into the development of the State Plan prior to its submission.

Accordingly, ETA is encouraging each state to notify the public of its intent to exercise the option for a one-year extension of the current State Plan, and make the current State Plan available to the public.

 

Question 12
Our state will be submitting its modification on April 15, 2011, the deadline for submission provided in TEGL 17-10. Can we simultaneously submit the WIA modification for public comment and review by ETA?

Answer
WIA regulations at 20 CFR 661.220 (d) provide the following:

The State must provide an opportunity for public comment on and input into the development of the State Plan prior to its submission.


To comply with the requirements of WIA, the state must provide an opportunity for public comment prior to submission to ETA for review and approval. Accordingly, the state cannot submit a modification for public comment at the same time it submits the modification to ETA for review and approval.

 

Question 13
Our state will be submitting a modification to revise sections of our current State Plan. We would like to shorten the comment period because of unavoidable delays in developing the modification. We do not have a minimum public comment period in our state statute. We would like to provide for only a fifteen day comment period. We had a thirty day comment period for the last WIA modification. Is this a problem?

Answer
In addition to requiring that the state provide an opportunity for public comment on and input into the development of the State Plan prior to its submission, 20 CFR 661.220 provides the following related to ensuring adequate public comment and input: The opportunity for public comment must include an opportunity for comment by representatives of business, representatives of labor organizations, and chief elected official(s) and must be consistent with the requirement, at WIA section 111(g), that the State Board makes information regarding the State Plan and other State Board activities available to the public through regular open meetings. The State Plan must describe the State's process and timeline for ensuring a meaningful opportunity for public comment. Neither the statute nor the regulations specify a number of days to provide opportunity for public comment and input. The state must ensure that its proposed timeframe for public comment and input enables the state to meet the regulatory requirement for adequate public comment. A timeframe less than thirty days may be sufficient to accomplish this.

Waivers

Question 14
What do I have to do if my state wants to request a new waiver?

Answer
States wishing to request new waivers Should submit full waiver plans to ETA. The waiver plan must include all the required elements listed in the WIA regulations at 20 CFR 661.420(c), and is subject to public comment requirements.


States can email their request to WIA.PLAN@dol.gov, with a copy to the appropriate Regional Administrator. Information that may be helpful in submitting waiver requests is available at www.doleta.gov/waivers. The regional offices are also available for consultation as states prepare their waiver plans or consider new waiver requests.


States can also submit a hard copy waiver request with an original signature to the Federal Coordinator for Plan Review and Approval, and one copy to the appropriate ETA Regional Administrator. The address for the Federal Coordinator is as follows:

Division of Workforce System Support
Employment and Training Administration
U.S. Department of Labor
200 Constitution Ave., NW, Room S-4231
Washington, DC 20210
ATTN: Federal Coordinator for Plan Review and Approval

 

Question 15
Can a state submit a separate state plan and full waiver plan, or does the full waiver plan need to be included in the state plan document?

Answer
Yes, a state can submit a separate WIA State plan and waiver plan to the WIA.Plan@dol.gov. Both plans are subject to public comment requirements.

 

Question 16
What do I have to do to discontinue an existing waiver?

Answer
If a state no longer intends to use a certain waiver, it should advise ETA of this in writing and request that it not be extended. States can make this request through the email WIA.PLAN@dol.gov with a copy to the appropriate ETA regional administrator or mail a letter to the following address, with a copy to the appropriate regional administrator.


Division of Workforce System Support
Employment and Training Administration
U.S. Department of Labor
200 Constitution Ave., NW, Room S-4231
Washington, DC 20210
ATTN: Federal Coordinator for Plan Review and Approval

 

Question 17
What do I have to do to change an existing waiver?

Answer
States wishing to make adjustments to current waivers plans, as in the case of a State that wanted to change from using 10% Adult and 10% Dislocated Worker funding streams for Incumbent Worker Training to using 20% Dislocated Worker, must also submit full waiver. The waiver plan must include all the required elements listed in the WIA regulations at 20 CFR 661.420(c), and is subject to public comment requirements.

 

Question 18
We have several waivers that expire on June 30, 2011, which we would like to extend. If we are receiving an extension of the State Plan, are our waivers also extended, or do we need to explicitly request them?

Answer
To receive an extension of currently approved waivers, states need to explicitly submit a request to ETA identifying which waivers they want to be extended for PY 2011. ETA will grant an extension, except where: 1) ETA has advised the state in prior correspondence that it did not anticipate approving an extension beyond June 30, 2011; or 2) ETA advises the state that there are significant performance issues related to the use of the waiver or that the waiver as implemented is not in compliance with the terms prescribed in the approval letter.

 

Question 19
Our state wishes to extend several waivers through June 30, 2011. We will also be submitting additional waiver requests that are new to our state. We may not have all these new waiver requests ready for submission by the deadline of April 15, 2011. Can we submit these new waiver requests later?

Answer
Yes, states can submit a request for a new waiver at any time during the program year. Please see Question 14 for instructions on submitting new waivers.

Planning Cycle

Question 20
Is there any requirement that Local Plans be on the same planning cycle as the State Plan, i.e., July 1, 2011 through June 30, 2012?

Answer
There is nothing in WIA or the implementing regulations that require that Local Plans and State Plans be on the same planning cycle. The state has authority to make this determination. However, given that the State Plan reflects what is contained in Local Plans, it is reasonable to assume that it is advantageous for the state to have Local Plans on the same, or nearly the same, planning cycle.

 

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