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Wage Record Interchange System (WRIS) New DataSharing Agreement

  • What will be the governance structure for the WRIS?
    Resolution of WRIS issues that were previously mediated through the Executive Committee of the National Association of State Workforce Agencies ( NASWA ) will not be unilaterally resolved by the Employment and Training Administration (ETA). ETA will consult with states on the best approach to structuring collaboration on resolving WRIS issues. The consultation will seek to identify the most cost effective and administratively efficient approach to issue resolution.
  • How will WRIS policy be developed and approved?
    The WRIS will continue to operate under policies previously established under NASWA's stewardship. Any changes to existing policies would be made through the new governance vehicle once established.
  • How will monitoring be performed to ensure proper use of the WRIS data?
    States will continue to engage in self-monitoring, using the self-assessment process they used in the past. In addition, periodic on-site monitoring will be conducted by ETA regional offices to ensure data confidentiality is maintained. These reviews will be conducted as part of the ongoing reviews of the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) and Unemployment Insurance (UI) programs.

    A schedule of reviews and the results will be posted on the WRIS section of ( ) and arrangements will be able to be made to allow interested states to participate in the portion of state reviews that pertain to confidentiality compliance if desired.
  • Who will decide on what is an appropriate research purpose for which data obtained through the WRIS can be used?
    Per subparagraph 5 of paragraph C of Section V of the WRIS Data Sharing Agreement, ETA will develop and coordinate a process for the distribution of research proposals to the impacted WRIS states for consideration. ETA will initially subject the research and evaluation proposals and justifications (which must specify the uses to which the WRIS data will be put) against the “direct benefit to one or more of the programs described in subparagraphs 1 through 4 of paragraph C in Section VI of the Agreement” criteria. If a proposal appears to meet the criteria, ETA will convene the states impacted by the proposal to put them in touch with the proposing researcher to negotiate appropriate means to provide them with data as appropriate and allowable.
  • Who will be the WRIS Operations Contractor?
    The WRIS infrastructure continues to be operated through the same cooperative agreement with the State of Maryland that is used to operate the Interstate Connection Network (ICON). Maryland currently contracts with Affiliated Computer Services (ACS) to operate the ICON and the WRIS.
  • How will the Agreement be amended once signed?
    Once the Agreement has been signed, it will be subject to the amendment procedures specified in Section IX of the WRIS Data Sharing Agreement. Any amendments that are adopted through the procedures detailed in Section IX, (i.e., providing wage record data to local areas/Workforce Investment Boards, or expanding use of the data to other programs), will be documented in an amendment to the Agreement that will be signed by both a state's SUIA and PACIA officials and ETA, in the same manner as the original Agreement.
  • How do states pose questions about the WRIS or the new Data Sharing Agreement?
    States should feel free to submit any questions they may have about WRIS in general, or questions specific to the WRIS Data Sharing Agreement, to

    An e-mail response will be sent directly to the individual who posed the question in addition to it being posted to the WRIS Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) page on ETA's website at: .

    An e-mail will also be sent to everyone who attended the November 28, 2006 webinar on the WRIS Data Sharing Agreement to notify them when new FAQs are posted to the page. It will be important to review the new FAQs when they are posted to see if there is an answer to any questions you posed during the webinar. Unfortunately, in many cases, it isn't possible to identify the specific individuals that posed questions during the webinar, so you may not receive a direct e-mail response to questions you posed during the webinar.
  • Under Section V.C.2 of the WRIS Data Sharing Agreement, why was the “Maintaining the confidentiality” language contained in the original agreement changed to “Facilitating the confidentiality” in the new Agreement?
    While ETA agreed with the spirit of the original language, the agency felt that “maintaining” the confidentiality of data exchanged through the WRIS was not a task that the administrative entity (whether that entity is ETA, or the National Association of State Workforce Agencies [NASWA]) could physically perform. Responsibility for “maintaining” data confidentiality lies with the individuals in the SUIAs and PACIAs in the states that actual see and handle the Wage Data on a regular basis. As ETA will not actually handle any Wage Data in its administrative role in the normal course of operations of the WRIS, its role under the Agreement only allows ETA to perform actions that “facilitate” data confidentiality rather than “maintain” it. Hence the language in the new Agreement was changed to clarify the actual role and responsibility that ETA will assume from NASWA under the Agreement.
  • What are National Farmworker Jobs program grantees required to validate?
    The NFJP grantees are not required to submit an annual report but are required to submit individual participant records. Therefore, there is no report validation required for NFJP grantees. The final NFJP participant data for PY 2004 is due February 15, 2006. Data element validation for PY 2004 must be completed and submitted by June 15, 2006.
  • Why does the new Agreement last into perpetuity, as opposed to being in effect for a period of 4 years and then being renewed?
    ETA's intent in drafting the new Agreement was to keep it as true to the previous agreement as possible to ensure that all of the states that had signed the previous agreement would be able to sign the new Agreement, so the WRIS can once again operate with as close to full state participation as possible. The previous agreement had an indefinite duration because it did not have an expiration date and provided specific procedures for termination of the Agreement. T he new Agreement merely states explicitly that it will continue to be in effect until one of the measures to terminate it has been taken.
  • What data will be provided to the national grant programs operated by the Department of Labor, such as Job Corps, and how will that be accomplished?
    ETA has negotiated an agreement with the State of Kansas , under which Kansas will request Wage Data for program participants of each of the grantees and calculate the common measures and other outcomes on behalf of the national grant program grantees. ETA will receive only a quarterly aggregate outcomes report for each grantee from the State of Kansas

    The process for developing the quarterly aggregate outcomes reports for ETA is as follows: The national grantees will collect and submit to ETA individual records that contain SSNs on those participants that complete the program. ETA will transmit the individual client data to Kansas for matching purposes against the WRIS. Kansas will then populate longitudinal files with appropriate Wage Data to facilitate the production of the quarterly common measures reports. Kansas will calculate the common measures outcomes for each grantee and send a quarterly aggregate performance outcomes report for each grantee back to ETA for dissemination to the grantees.

    No individual outcomes or Wage Data will be shared with ETA or any of the national grantees.