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Workforce Investment News Archive

"Financing Workforce Development in a Devolutionary Era": A New Paper from the Atlanta Federal Reserve
Apr 28, 2016
Stuart Andreason is the senior community and economic development adviser, specializing in human capital and workforce development, at the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta. His paper was recently posted on the Federal Reserve's website.


Workforce development financing has changed significantly over the last 25 years. In 2008, federal funding for the traditional workforce development system was 83 percent lower in real terms than it had been in 1980. As the federal system plays a smaller role in workforce development financing, the job training landscape better represents a "marketplace" where students and job seekers use federal training vouchers and grant and student loan money from various sources, primarily the Higher Education Act's Pell Grant and Federal Student Loan programs. Additionally, increasing volatility in the labor market has changed the relationship between employer and employee, leading to the need for a very different workforce development delivery and financing system than currently exists. These trends mark changes in the way that the broad workforce development financing system is consumer driven rather than driven by government or institutional priorities. Also, federal workforce development financing often carries significant restrictions on its use, limiting access to funding for innovative workforce development programs.

In the context of less centralized decision making, declining federal formula funding for workforce development financing, and increasingly complex and changing training needs, workforce development programs and state and local governments often find themselves responsible for developing and funding training. Devolution of responsibility for workforce funding has led to nascent innovation in state and local financing of workforce training, but many of the models have not been widespread. This paper examines the potential for some of these newer models of financing, such as bonding incremental payroll tax and social impact bonds as well as several prospective training models, including income-share agreements.

Download the full text of this paper (504 KB)

NTIA Releases "Planning a Community Broadband Roadmap"; New Toolkit Includes Six-Step Approach to the Task, Best Practices, and Case Studies
Apr 28, 2016

This April 28 advisory from colleagues at the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) should be of interest to the public workforce system.

From the thriving tech hub of Seattle to the small mountain town of Silverton, Colo., communities around the country understand that broadband access and adoption are essential to staying competitive in the 21st century. A high-speed Internet connection combined with relevant digital skills can unlock a range of opportunities for residents, including better job prospects, access to educational and health care resources, and discounts on goods and services.

As local leaders take on the challenge of expanding broadband in their communities, NTIA is here to help. Our BroadbandUSA program is harnessing the expertise we gained overseeing the $4 billion in grants issued through the Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP). Through technical assistance, regional workshops, guidance and resources, BroadbandUSA is building on the lessons learned from across our grant portfolio to support communities as they seek to build infrastructure, pursue public-private partnerships, or increase adoption.

Our efforts continue today with the release of a new toolkit called Planning a Community Broadband Roadmap . A Community Broadband Roadmap contains a community's strategic vision and goals, analyzes existing community resources and needs, and guides the tactical plans to realize this vision. An effective roadmap will also identify potential collaborations that can lead to additional businesses, programs and economic growth.

This resource will help public officials, planners, citizen groups and other stakeholders in making their broadband project the best it can be. The core of the toolkit is a six-step approach to creating a roadmap, designed to work with projects of all sizes. It includes best practices identified by BTOP grantees, as well as nine case studies of how different states, counties, tribes, towns and non-government organizations implemented these best practices. Among those featured are:

  • The Blandin Foundation, which encouraged broadband adoption in rural Minnesota by identifying local "broadband champions" and supporting them to develop local broadband planning teams and community-focused projects.
  • The Nez Perce Tribe, which undertook a gap analysis of broadband infrastructure and service on its 1,200-square-mile territory to and plan a wireless broadband network to benefit residents and institutions.
  • The City of Chicago, which created a plan to scale many digital inclusion projects across the City without losing the neighborhood touch.

Whether your community is looking to enhance public computer centers, expand broadband to unserved areas, encourage public-private partnerships, or promote broadband connectivity, the Planning a Community Broadband Roadmap toolkit can guide your process and help ensure its success.

There are more resources available on the BroadbandUSA website, including aGuide to Federal Funding of Broadband Projects and an Introduction to Effective Public-Private Partnerships, which provides information on developing a successful partnership model for broadband investments. We also offer a Broadband Adoption Toolkit that guides the planning and implementation of effective adoption programs with a wide variety of audiences, including youth, low-income families, and seniors.

Upcoming toolkits will dive further into the formation of broadband partnerships as well as address how to implement infrastructure projects and sustain broadband networks.

WIOA Partners: OCTAE Announces Final Priorities, Requirements, Definitions, and Selection Criteria for the "Performance Partnerships Pilots for Disconnected Youth"
Apr 28, 2016

The Department of Education's Office of Career, Technical and Adult Education today has published the Final Priorities, Requirements, Definitions, and Selection Criteria for the Performance Partnership Pilots for Disconnected Youth.

The Department may use the priorities, requirements, definitions, and selection criteria for competitions for fiscal year (FY) 2015 and later years, taking this action in order to support the identification of strong and effective pilots that are likely to achieve significant improvements in educational, employment, and other key outcomes for disconnected youth.

These priorities, requirements, definitions, and selection criteria are effective May 31, 2016.

The Department published an October 22, 2015 FEDERAL REGISTER notice of proposed priorities, requirements, definitions, and selection criteria In response to public comment, today's (April 28) notice reduces burden on applicants by removing several application requirements that had been proposed in the NPP.

This NFP also revises the priority for disconnected youth who are unemployed and out-of-school (Priority 4) to limit the priority to those unemployed and out-of-school youth who face significant barriers to accessing education and employment. Additionally, this NFP revises the priorities for projects designed to improve outcomes for subpopulations of high-need disconnected youth (i.e., youth who are unemployed and out of school, youth who are English Learners (ELs), youth with a disability, homeless youth, youth in foster care, youth involved in the justice system, and youth who are immigrants or refugees) to specify that, in order to meet the priority, a project must serve the particular subpopulation identified in the priority and be likely to result in significantly better educational or employment outcomes for the subpopulation. Finally, this NFP establishes an additional priority for projects that serve disconnected youth who are pregnant or parenting and that are likely to result in significantly better educational or employment outcomes for such youth.

The April 28, 2016 FEDERAL REGISTER provides the Departmental responses to parties that commented on the original notice and the full enumeration of the priorities, requirements, definitions, and selection criteria.

Department of Labor Awards $112 Million to States and Territories for Reemployment Services and Eligibility Assessments
Apr 27, 2016

The Department of Labor today (April 27) awarded $112 million to 50 state and territorial workforce agencies, including those in Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and the District of Columbia, to operate reemployment services and eligibility assessments programs for those receiving unemployment insurance benefits. Estimates based on the budgets in the past 10 years show that the program has reduced individual use of UI services by approximately one-and-a-half weeks, saving on average $3 for every dollar spent in costs.

This is the 12th year that the department has awarded grants through this initiative. Recipients prioritize RESEA services to transitioning, honorably discharged veterans and individuals likely to exhaust their UI benefits.

The funds will be used to connect participants with in-person assessments and re-employment services through their local their local American Job Centers including developing an individual re-employment plan; providing relevant and timely labor market information, identifying job skills and employment prospects; and reviewing claimant's continued eligibility for UI benefits.

Click here for the news release and award table.

Department of Labor Publishes "The Employer's Guide to the Family and Medical Leave Act"
Apr 27, 2016

The Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division (WHD) has published The Employer's Guide to the Family and Medical Leave Act

WHD notes in the introduction:

The U.S. Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division is responsible for administering and enforcing the FMLA for most employees. In most instances, an employee also has the right to file a private law suit under the FMLA in any federal or state court of competent jurisdiction.

The Wage and Hour Division is committed to strengthening compliance with the FMLA by providing assistance to employers and helping increase their knowledge of the law. This Employer's Guide to the Family and Medical Leave Act is designed to provide essential information about the FMLA, including information about employers -- obligations under the law and the options available to employers in administering leave under the FMLA. The Guide is organized to correspond to the order of events from an employee?s leave request to restoration of the employee to the same or equivalent job at the end of the employee's FMLA leave. It also includes a topical index for ease of use.

The Department of Labor is providing this Guide in an effort to increase public awareness of the FMLA and of the various Departmental resources and services available to the public. This publication is a guidance document that is subject to change in the future. The United States Code, Federal Register, and the Code of Federal Regulations remain the official sources for legislative and regulatory information. For more information about the FMLA, please visit the Department's website at, call us at 1-866-4US-WAGE (1-866-487-9243), or visit the nearest Wage and Hour Division Office.