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Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA)

How will States send their WIOA performance accountability data to the Department of Labor?

The Department has built the Workforce Integrated Performance System (WIPS), an information technology system that accepts State and grantee performance reporting data, generates quarterly and annual performance accountability reports from that data, and provides the platform for States and grantees to certify their reports. WIOA States and titles I and III grantees are required to submit the first year of annual participant data for Program Year 2016 (July 1, 2016 to June 30, 2017) on or before October 16, 2017, through WIPS.

Are any changes expected to WIPS?

During summer 2017, ETA has implemented a round of upgrades to the system to enhance user experience and make important refinements. Specifically, the August 4, 2017, release of WIPS updates focused on improving data quality, consisting mostly of new edit checks and updated logical validations. No file format change is expected through these WIPS updates, until any new or revised data elements are approved through the information collection process. This system will continue to be enhanced and improved over time.

Where can technical users find additional information on WIPS?

WIPS users with technical questions may contact the ETA WIPS User Resource Library Information Page located at: https://doleta.gov/performance/wips/. This site provides instructions and updates to WIPS as well as all required report templates, including the Participant Individual Record Layout (PIRL), which includes all the required data elements.

Are States expected to collect and report on the data elements proposed in the amended WIOA Common Performance Reporting ICR, published in January 2017?

None of the changes proposed in the amended WIOA Common Performance Reporting ICR will be incorporated into the WIPS until after the information collection request has been approved by the OMB. Any changes will be finalized after the Program Year 2016 reporting period. States should continue to follow the current reporting specifications, which may be found at https://www.doleta.gov/performance.

Are States still expected to report their WIOA performance accountability data at the end of the Program Year 2016?

States must submit their WIOA titles I and III annual performance report to the Department of Labor on or before October 16, 2017. ETA acknowledges that there will be few outcomes on this report; however, the information on participants served, their characteristics and services they received must be submitted and will be useful for program analysis.

Are Eligible Training Provider (ETP) reports due for PY 2016?

Since outcomes will not yet be available, and since some of the data elements and reporting format for the ETP report have not yet been finalized, States are not required to submit ETP information until further notified.

When will SWIS data sharing agreements be in place?

A new State Wage Interchange System (SWIS) is being developed to facilitate the exchange of wage data among participating States for the purpose of assessing and reporting on State and local performance for the programs authorized under WIOA, and other statutory provisions authorized programs identified as one-stop partners under WIOA, and for other purposes allowed under law. The Departments are reconciling input from states on the draft SWIS data sharing agreement; currently the Departments are analyzing the comments, and will make any necessary revisions before sending the data sharing agreement to the States for another review. A second State comment period is planned prior to the data sharing agreement being sent to States for their signature.

The Wage Record Interchange System (WRIS) and WRIS2 data sharing agreements remain in effect until each is terminated, according to the provisions of each agreement. The Departments do not anticipate that the WRIS or WRIS2 data sharing agreements will be terminated until after the SWIS is executed and effective. The drafting of SWIS involves joint renegotiation between the Departments as well as between Federal representatives and State signatories.

What is the current status of FEDES?

FEDES facilitates the exchange of federal employment information for the purposes of verifying performance outcomes, using federal employment data not otherwise available through the state wage records generally used for grantee reporting. ETA will suspend FEDES beginning January 2018 to assess its structure, costs and benefits to States. ETA is planning to have discussions with States, Federal partners, and other stakeholders, about FEDES, and will provide further information as next steps are determined.

How will the reassessment of FEDES impact program reporting?

States currently participating in FEDES will be able to query the FEDES for federal wage information through November 2017, which will cover Program Year 2016 reporting.

Describe the pilot for the Effectiveness in Serving Employers indicator of performance.

As part of an all-state pilot for this indicator, States must select two of three approaches described in the WIOA joint regulations to measure WIOA "core programs" Effectiveness in Serving Employers. States may also develop, at the Governor's discretion, an additional State-specific approach. The three approaches are:
  • Approach 1 - Retention with the same employer - addresses the programs’ efforts to provide employers with skilled workers who remain employed with the same employer for at least 12 months;
  • Approach 2 - Repeat Business Customers - addresses the programs’ efforts to provide quality engagement and services to employers and sectors and establish productive relationships with employers and sectors over extended periods of time; and
  • Approach 3 - Employer Penetration Rate - addresses the programs’ efforts to provide quality engagement and services to all employers and sectors within a State and local economy.

The pilot for this indicator began on July 1, 2016. However, due to the timing of available data under such definitions, the Departments understand that complete data will not be available for reporting in October 2017. States will begin reporting outcomes on this indicator in October 2018. The Department of Labor will conduct an evaluation of the pilot period, beginning fall 2017.

When selecting two of the three approaches (i.e., Retention with the Same Employer, Repeat Business Customers, and Employer Penetration rate) for the pilot, are States able to switch approaches along the way, or do States have to use the same two approaches throughout the entire pilot?

States may change the approaches that they decide to report during the pilot period. If a State decides to switch to one of the approaches that require the State to analyze data from prior years such as Repeat Business Customer approach, the State would need to be able to report on the required data from the prior years (i.e., looking back to July 2016, although not prior to July 2016).

For the Effectiveness in Serving Employers indicator, how will States report to their respective federal agencies?

The Departments recommend that data for this indicator be submitted by one lead agency. All data for each of the core programs should be combined and reported to the Department of Labor or Education by the State as one set of data.

For titles I (State and locals) and III State, the State would decide on how the data are compiled and reported to the State. The Effectiveness of Serving Employers performance indicator will not be reported in the 2016 WIOA Annual Report. However, titles I and III should use the Report Certification/Additional Comments section of the ETA-9169 to indicate which two approaches are being used for the pilot by the State. Reporting in this manner should continue until the titles I and III WIOA annual report narrative has been approved; States would then report this information in that narrative.

How does WIOA strengthen performance accountability and transparency?

WIOA ensures that Federal investments in employment and training programs are accountable to job seekers, employers, customers, and tax payers. WIOA establishes common performance measures across the four core programs and also requires other programs authorized by the Act to report on the same indicators. In addition, WIOA requires the establishment of primary indicators on credential attainment and skills gain and on the effectiveness of services to employers. The Secretaries of Labor and Education are to develop a statistical adjustment model that will be used take into account the economic conditions and the characteristics of participants served in negotiating and determining the levels of performance applicable to the primary indicators. WIOA also requires states, localities, and eligible training providers to publish performance data using common templates developed by the Secretary of Labor and the Secretary of Education.

Do states and locals have to collect new performance information?

By and large, DOL's Employment and Training Administration's grantees already collect most of the performance data required by WIOA. However, the primary indicators of performance specify outcomes with respect to quarters after exit that are different from WIA. There are also some additional data elements that will be required such as credentials attainment, measurable skills gain, training-related costs and information regarding employer engagement. The Department will be issuing guidance and technical assistance related to these new elements.

Apprenticeship

Can apprenticeship be counted as advanced training?

When a person enters a bona fide apprenticeship program, he/she is counted as entering employment. Apprenticeship should be recorded as unsubsidized employment.

H1-B Participants

Are H1-B participants and participants in “pathways to construction” captured on the WIASRD when they exit services?

The WIASRD report is used to report on individuals who exit from WIA Title I-B programs; outcomes of H1-B participants would not be reported on the WIASRD unless the participants were co-enrolled in a WIA title 1B program. We are unsure what “Pathways to Construction” is and, therefore, do not know the funding source for the project/program. The WIASRD would be used if the funding source is WIA title 1B formula funding.

There hasn't been much discussion regarding partnering with our sister agency - Adult Basic Education - to help implement the measure successfully. However, they may feel slighted if we request an assessment of a participant who just recently acquired their GED through ABE’s program. It would seem as if programs are questioning the validity of the GED if they were to follow this exercise. Cannot the GED be recognized as an assessment by proxy, especially in light of the fact that it is currently recognized and accepted by USDOL as an obtained credential?

No. The GED is an established training program, not an approved assessment instrument on the list of NRS. Only those assessments included in the NRS are acceptable assessments for this measure.

How much success have rural, isolated areas, especially those where timely assessment may not be so readily available, had with implementation of the literacy/numeracy measure? If an assessment can be administered, how can a WIA program help the participant achieve a gain from one educational functioning level to another without a local ABE office or other educational resource in the area?

Local programs should partner with educational entities such as community and technical colleges and alternative schools in order to achieve success in this measure. These are new measures and we will focus on implementation and continuous improvement over the next few program years. We encourage all areas, both rural and urban, to provide feedback to the Departments of Labor and Education so we are aware of successes and barriers.

If a participant refuses to undergo the assessment process, either pre-test or post-test, should services then be denied to a participant based on his/her unwillingness to comply with a program’s attempts to meet the measure? This is likely to occur with older out of school youth. Those who may already have a GED or High School diploma will see the effort as duplicative and may wonder why we are testing these areas?

Services should not be denied to such participants. Local WIA programs are responsible for communicating why these assessments are important and explaining why they will help the youth achieve greater access in employment and higher education.

If we have a youth who is tested as basic skills deficient in math and speaking and they increase an educational functioning level in speaking, is that a positive hit for Literacy/Numeracy?

Gains in oral and speaking areas can count towards literacy/numeracy measure for ESL participants only.

NEG Participants

Are NEG participants included in the WIASRD? If the answer is “yes,” then why does the data validation software kick them out?

NEG participants are captured on the WIASRD, and the validation software properly imports these records. States that have trouble importing records into the DRVS software should contact the appropriate technical assistance e-mail address for support and cc their regional performance specialist and/or etaperforms@dol.gov. For WIA issues, please e-mail WIATA@mathematica-mpr.com. For Wagner-Peyser funded programs please contact ESTA@mathematica-mpr.com.

Veterans

How does citizenship affect eligibility requirements? What about “right to work” and selective service?

ETA is aware of the confusion around these two issues, particularly as they pertain to serving customers in a self-service environment. ETA’s Office of Workforce Investment will develop guidance to address states’ concerns.

Is it acceptable for LVER and DVOP specialists to serve non-veterans and, if so, what are the parameters?

Only half-time DVOP specialists or LVER staff can serve non-veterans. The shared funding of these positions is most effective when the DVOP specialists and LVER staff members collaborate with other workforce professionals in identifying service delivery approaches that meet the needs of all those participating in One-Stop employment services and that observe the priority of service to which veteran participants are entitled.

The key parameter to be observed by half-time DVOP specialists and LVER staff is to see to it that they allocate their effort to veteran and non-veteran participants on the 50-50 basis that matches the funding for their positions. VETS recognizes that professional judgment is required to determine that the split in various measures of activity reflects the “fair-share” allocation to which both funding sources are entitled.

When the funding of DVOP specialist and LVER staff positions is to be shared, VETS encourages state and local program operators to use WIA funds in conjunction with VETS funds. The rationale for that preference is that this arrangement tends to strengthen the involvement of DVOP specialists and LVER staff members in decisions regarding training and positions them to play a constructive role in facilitating priority of service.

I seem to recall some kind of percentage or threshold of non-veterans that could be served by LVERs and DVOPs who are NOT part-time or half-time workers. Can you clarify this?

VETS has not published an official policy on any acceptable “threshold” of non-veterans that can be served by LVER staff or DVOP specialists. The questioner may be referring to the “3% difference” between services to veterans and non-veterans, which was an internally published document previous to the passage of the Jobs for Veterans Act.

Veteran status requires 180 days of active duty service. Does the 180 days have to be consecutive?

The required number of days of active duty service actually is 181 and those days do not need to be consecutive. As indicated in the ET Handbook No. 406, an individual may qualify as an “eligible veteran” in any of three ways.

VETS has programs that involve LVERs and DVOPs physically going into prisons and serving veterans (they can provide services up to 18 months prior to their potential release date). Since these people are incarcerated at participation, do they even count toward performance?

The Incarcerated Veteran Transition Program (IVTP) Demonstration projects provide funding to serve incarcerated veterans up to 18 months prior to separation. There are seven IVTP Demonstration Grants at this time. However, any DVOP specialist or LVER staff can provide service to incarcerated veterans. Incarcerated veteran participants are excluded from performance calculations under the common measures when they remain incarcerated at the time of exit or are found to be reincarcerated three quarters post exit.

Concerning source documentation for veteran status, although a DD-214 is required, why can't grantees use a letter received from the Veterans Administration (VA) that clearly states date of entry, exit and type of discharge? It could substitute for a DD-214 until one was secured.

This question is confusing reporting requirements with data validation requirements. PROTECH will work with VETS to determine if there are other possible documents that would be acceptable to document veteran status.

Wage Data

States create their extract files for validation in October, using the wage record files available. Sometimes, when they go to validate the wages, the wages in the Unemployment Insurance (UI) wage record system have changed because they have been updated. How should states deal with the dynamic nature of wage records?

Wage records are dynamic information: new information may arrive after the participant extract file is created. States need to account for this when validating wages. In other words, they must find a way to determine the actual wages at the time they calculate their annual report. This can be done in many ways, including freezing the wage record file by making a copy of the appropriate records at the time the extract file is created or working with the state's UI division to obtain the accurate wage record information.

How do we access/use FEDES data? For instance, the data are annualized.

ETA is developing technical assistance instructions around the use of FEDES data so that every state is consistent in its approach using these data sources. For more information about FEDES, states are encouraged to contact Heather Parker in the National Office and she will put them in touch with the contractor.

Wage Record Interchange System (WRIS)

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 will not be unilaterally resolved by the Employment and Training Administration. 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 WIA and UI programs.

A schedule of reviews and the results will be posted on the WRIS section of https://www.doleta.gov/performance/WRIS.cfm 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.

Will confidentiality compliance reviews be conducted, and if so, by whom?

Please refer to the answer above.

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 Communications Network (ICON). Maryland currently contracts with Affiliated Computer Services to operate the ICON and the WRIS.

Has the Agreement been reviewed by ETA's UI staff for conformity with UI laws in the Federal-State partnership and the new confidentiality regulations?

ETA's UI program staff was consulted during the drafting of the new WRIS Data Sharing Agreement and provisions referencing the new UI confidentiality regulations at 20 CFR Part 603 were inserted into the Agreement where needed to be consistent with the regulations, per the guidance of UI program staff and comments provided by the Department's Office of the Solicitor during the Agreement drafting process.

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.

Will states be able to electronically submit their validation results directly to the Department of Labor?

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 wris@dol.gov.

An e-mail response will be sent directly to the individual who posed the question in addition to it being posted to the WRIS FAQs page on ETA's website at: https://www.doleta.gov/Performance/WRIS_FAQ.cfm.

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.

Who will be signing the WRIS Data Sharing Agreement on behalf of ETA?

The WRIS Data Sharing Agreement will be signed by the Assistant Secretary for the Employment and Training Administration.

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) 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 National Association of State Workforce Agencies under the Agreement.

When is data element validation for the FY 2005 TAPR due?

States should submit their data element validation results for the FY 2005 TAPR by February 1, 2006.

What are National Farmworker Jobs Program (NFJP) 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 were amendments to the Consolidated WRIS Data Sharing Agreement recommended by the WRIS Advisory Committee not included in the new Agreement?

ETA's intent in drafting the new Agreement was to keep it as true to the previous agreement as feasible to ensure that all of the states that had signed the previous agreement would be able to sign the new Agreement as quickly as possible so the WRIS can once again operate with as close to full state participation as possible. Once the “status quo” is reestablished, amendments to the new Agreement will be considered and states can submit the amendments recommended by the WRIS Advisory Committee for consideration by the new governance structure.

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. The new Agreement merely states explicitly that it will continue to be in effect until one of the measures to terminate it has been taken.

Please elaborate on Section IV.D, regarding the Distributed Database Index (DDBI). Will states update the DDBI continuously or quarterly as was done in the past?

The DDBI will continue to be updated quarterly according to the schedule provided by the Operations Contractor, as was the case in the past. Section VI.A. of the Agreement specifically provides that the SUIA shall make submissions no later than the quarterly upload date established by the Operations Contractor. Although the definition of the DDBI in Section IV.D. is not identical to the DDBI definition in the former NASWA Agreement, there was no intent to modify the current DDBI updating process.

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.