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DOL's Strategic Plan - Live Q&A Session with ETA - Static Page

This chat about the DOL Strategic Plan was held on Monday, April 5 at 1 p.m. EDT with ETA.

12:53 Moderator: Our chat is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. EDT, but you can start sending your questions or comments into the queue at any time.

1:01 Moderator: Welcome to the Employment and Training Administration web chat, this is ETA Assistant Secretary Jane Oates. Today I’ll be soliciting your input and answering your questions as it relates to our activities in the job training portion of the DOL strategic plan. DOL’s strategic plan will be published in September 2010 and your feedback as a stakeholder will help us carry out the Secretary’s vision of “Good Jobs for Everyone.” A public strategic planning comment process of this scope is unprecedented, and, I encourage you to submit your comments for response during this chat. Through today’s chat, and beyond, your suggestions will help make a lasting impact in strengthening job training and services for all workers.

1:02 Asst. Sec. Jane Oates: My opening statement went up under the moderator's name, but I'm here and ready to take your questions.

1:05 Comment From Ann Randazzo: I notice that you are planning and additional $85 million for "green" job training in 2011. Will the evaluation of the $500 million Recovery Act Green Jobs Innovation Fund for effective practices be completed before those grants are out?

1:05 Jane: We will not have the evaluations of the ARRA grants completed prior to the 2011 competition. We will use preliminary lessons learned to inform the competition.

1:08 Comment From Ross Eisenbrey: DOL Outcome Goal 1.5: Secure wages and overtime. ETA Performance Goal: Maintain oversight to ensure that employers are compliant with wage and overtime laws with respect to certified foreign laborers. Program Performance Indicator Foreign Labor Certification (FLC) Percent of resolved permanent FY 2010 FY 2011 FY 2016 applications selected for integrity review and found in compliance Target* Target* Target* 60% TBD This is the wrong performance goal for ETA. ETA should set a goal that 100% of the requests for foreign temporary workers are sent to the SWA and to every one-stop within reasonable commuting distance of the employer and that every request is met with a referral of 20 WIA grads. There is no excuse for ETA certifying that US workers were not available for the 50,000 landscape laborer positions filled in 2009 by H-2B workers. Your WIA performance statistics would improve, and US workers would have jobs instead of being unemployed. This strategy would be even more successful if the H-2B program set prevailing wages in an economically defensible way. ETA should settle the case brought against you for using a prevailing wage methodology that drives wages down arbitrarily. It is wrong to litigate this case in order to un

1:08 Jane: Ross, thank you for your input. Please note that H-2B labor certification by the Department is on the Dept's Regulatory Agenda, with publication of a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking scheduled for November 2010. We look forward to receiving input from a wide range of stakeholders and suggestions on such improvements of the program.

1:08 Comment From Guest: To have a successful Workforce (talent) development system, there must be strong alignment and even some integration with education and economic development. How does the strategic plan address that issue?

1:08 Jane: Dear Guest. Your vision of having strong alignment and some integration among workforce, education and economic development programs is key to any successful strategic planning effort. Reaching out and identifying resources and challenges as part of a strategic planning process is key to improving the prosperity of workers and their families, businesses, and the communities in which they live. This means taking into account public resources at all levels and private resources and aligning them to achieve strategic goals.

1:09 Comment From Barbara Somson: I note and applaud that you've included on your legislative agenda fixing EB. Does this include - - or will you consider including - - the need to address federal solvency reform?

1:09 Jane: Barbara, while not in the budget, the department is actively working with states to address solvency issues and is providing technical assistance to congress on this issue.

1:09 Comment From Ross Eisenbrey: Your earnings goals for WIA grads are too low. The labor market should be so much better in 2016 that earnings should increase over 2010, taking inflation into account. Will you adjust them?

1:09 Jane: Ross, We started developing these models in 2009, and we are now getting ready to implement them in pilot states in program year 2010. We will be adjusting the models, including for the issue you raised, to take wage increases into account using the Consumer Price Index or some other measure.

1:10 Comment From Terry Watson: DOL often gives grants directly to state/ and local entites and in some cases to entities outside of the DOL system. Since the State and local workforce boards are charged with developing the state and local workforce sytem- how does the DOL intend for the state and local boards to oversee and develop a system when it does not have any input into these great decisions?

1:10 Jane: Terry, moving forward we will examine mandatory and recommended partners in competitive grant competitions to make sure that we are connecting to the public workforce system to the greatest extent possible.

1:12 Comment From Ann Randazzo: Thanks. I know you are soliciting information on the definiton of green. Is it correct that the new definition will be used in the new competition?

1:12 Jane: Ann, We will be working with our sister agencies to attempt a cross agency definition. We appreciate any suggestions our experts in the field might offer.

1:13 Comment From Robin Shaffert, AAPD: I would like to thank you Asst. Sec. Oates for hosting this web chat. I would appreciate it if you would comment on what ETA is going to do to ensure full participation of people with disabilities in the efforts ETA is undertaking to create good jobs for everyone.

1:13 Jane: Thanks, Robin. The joint ETA/Office of Disability Employment Policy Intiative, the Disability Employment Program will build upon the effective investments of the Disability Program Navigator in FY2010. We welcome any suggestions you and others might have to ensure that our system is more physically and programmatically accessible.

1:13 Comment From Guest: In many cases- Competitive grants are given to entities directly by DOL. In DOL's strategic planning efforts- What should the role of the workforce board be in alingment of servcies across funding streams?

1:13 Jane: The Workforce Investment Boards play a critical role in identifying the workforce needs of their local areas. Input for the development of grants that are submitted to DOL may be given to your local workforce center prior to submitting the request. This will assure that the requests for funding will address the need in your community. In addition, the Workforce Board should be intricately involved in the development of the local workforce areas' strategic plan. Reaching out and identifying resources and challenges as part of a strategic planning process is key to improving the prosperity of workers and their families, businesses, and the communities in which they live. This means taking into account public resources at all levels and private resources and aligning them to achieve strategic goals.

1:14 Comment From Barbara Somson: I'm sure you read yesterday's NYT front page story on Talx and the growing industry in denying eligible laid off workers thier UI benefits. This is not only unfair to workers, but also a resource burden to state agencies. Will DOL be offering guidance to states on this practise?

1:14 Jane: Barbara, the Department is actively working with third party administrators to identify new processes that will speed decision-making for unemployment claims. We are piloting a new process in six states.

1:14 Comment From Ross Eisenbrey: Jane, I'm glad H-2B is on the reg agenda, but your litigation on the prevailing wage methodology works against your goals of raising wages for the US workforce. How much coordination is there between your different programs? Can you get your training and Employment Service people to work more closely with the foreign labor cert people to develop joint strategies? They should be able to find US workers for every landscape laborer position requested in the H-2B program.

1:17 Jane: Thank you, Ross, for your comment. Unfortunately the Department cannot comment on pending litigation.

1:17 Comment From Barbara Somson: What is the definition of “certificate” wrt the 2012 goal of increasing by 10% the number of WIA, TAA &I Career Pathway program completers who attain a degree or a certificate?

1:17 Jane: Barbara, a certificate or credential refers to a formal recognition of demonstrated skills or knowledge to perform tasks associated with an occupation by an industry or employer. ETA will be providing additional information about the credentialing measure, as this is a priority for us.

1:18 Comment From Ann Randazzo: On the performance measures and targets - I see that the measure is to attain a GED, HSD, or certificat by the end of the third quarter "after exit" from the program. We are planning to use both YouthBuild and Job Corp in the Get Into Energy Pathway model, but thought the participates would have a GEI or HS Diploma on exit. Is that correct?

1:18 Jane: Thanks, Ann. For the Job Corps program the majority of students in this measure have a GED/HSD on exit. However, since the pool of students in this measure includes all participants, there will be a small percentage who will require GED/HSD instruction.

1:18 Comment From Mike Shiffer: I am pleased to learn of the strategic planning initiative and want to know what internal process will ETA use to design the plan prior to public comment?

1:19 Jane: The internal process that ETA will use to design the strategic plan prior to public comment was developed by the Department of Labor. The plan development process includes internal consultations with employees, and external consultations with stakeholders (including this web chat). Comments will be taken into consideration as they relate to performance measures, targets, and strategies and means. The public comment period will allow all stakeholders to review and comment on a draft version of the complete 2010-2016 strategic plan.

1:20 Comment From Maria Flynn: The high-priority goal to increase credential attainment by 10% by 6/12 is great. Will you include WIA adult/dislocated worker targets as part of goal 1.2?

1:20 Jane: Thanks, Maria, for the thoughtful question. Inclusion of WIA Adult and DW is under consideration.

1:20 Comment From Jonathan: The funding for the WIA Youth Activities formula has been cut in half in real dollars since FY 2001, yet the ETA continues to push the goalpost for performance expectations each year. The small competitive grant program proposed by the administration does not come close to filling the gap and will also mean that communities without experienced grant writers may even end up with less funding. My question is a) is the ETA moving away from the formula based system that many communities depend upon and b) is the ETA expecting communities, especially communities who may not receive competitive grants, to essentially, once again, do more with less resources?

1:20 Jane: Jonathan, the answer to a) No, the vast majority of ETA's funds are formula based and there is no plan to change that. b) the formula funds cover all communities within the country. In addition, the Recovery Act provided a very large amount of formula dollars for use throughout the country. The youth innovation fund is designed to promote creative and innovative approaches and present those programs to a national audience.

1:22 Comment From K.J. Hertz, n4a: What is the Department’s vision (and goals) for strengthening existing workforce programs to meet the current and future employment needs of older adults? This is particularly important in light of recent economic forces, the aging of the population and the ever-growing need for many people to work beyond traditional retirement age.

1:22 Jane: First, the Department is beginning a series of national discussions on adult learner strategies. We fully anticipate that as a result of these discussions we will hear many promising practices targeting older workers. We welcome your input on this and all other areas. The Department also has just released an addition $225 million in Senior Community Service Employment Program funds to supplement the ongoing funding of the program, which targets a very specific older worker population.

1:22 Comment From Andrew Moore: As you know, the Department of Education through Promise Neighborhoods, and HUD through Choice Neighborhoods, are seeking opportunities to provide federal support for place-based initiatives. To some degree, the Promise and Choice initiatives may invite partnership on the part of other federally-funded initiatives. How is ETA currently thinking about connecting its strategies, and programs, with these or other place-based initiatives that may emerge from the Administration?

1:22 Jane: Andrew, we are currently working with our sister agencies on a variety of place-based initiatives.

1:24 Comment From Ann Randazzo: Thank you, Jane, for the opportunity to review and comment. I look forward to reviewing the plan.

1:24 Comment From Kimberly Green: What is the definition of certifications (performance indicator for career pathways)? Also, any thoughts on how the new community college SAFRA funds will be distributed, measured or focused under TAA?

1:24 Jane: Kim: Related to your second question about the TAA Community College and Career Education program--we are working on the design of this TAA program. The resources provided by this bill will expand the resources of institutions of higher education to meet the needs of workers who have lost their jobs and of employers in their communities, contributing to regional economic development and growth.

1:29 Comment From Maria Heidkamp: Hi, Jane. Will the ETA and DOL strategic plans be coordinated with efforts at the Department of Education, especially around postsecondary education and community college initiatives?

1:29 Jane: Maria, thank you for the question. ETA is working collaboratively with the Department of Education and community colleges. These efforts will help us further explore post-secondary credentialing issues.

1:29 Comment From Mike Shiffer: Registered Apprenticeship was not one of the WIA partners in the beginning. What guidance will the strategic plan provide to SWAs regarding integration of RA as a recommended service?

1:29 Jane: Mike, similar to other policy guidance provided by ETA for Recovery Act implementation and grant opportunities under ARRA, ETA will continue to advocate for expanded partnerships between WIA, Education and Registered Apprenticeship as a means to achieve some of the goals of the strategic plan.

1:29 :

1:30 Moderator: That is a photo of Assistant Secretary Jane Oates answering your questions.

1:30 Comment From Christine Quinn: First - I appreciate being able to take part in this type of process - thank you. Noting some of the performance indicators - the reality of what is happening within our communities and the jobs lost versus those coming in are at odds to replacement wages and starting wages was well as "new" jobs being created - and the fact that many people entering programs now need remediation and training - how have these factors been used to set the targets?

1:30 Jane: First, we appreciate your participation in our planning. The regression process with wages will respond to the economic impact on wage replacement.

On the need for remediation, our partnership with the Department of Education is focusing on how we address contextualized adult literacy efforts to accelerate the progression from unemployment to employment.

1:30 Comment From Peter Neenan: Jane, As you know, a strong, well coordinated LMI program is essential to carrying out many of the strategic goals that you have outlined. What plans do you envision to adequately fund and strengthen the resource allocations for the Workforce Information Grant in the years ahead?

1:30 Jane: LMI will be strengthened through the sharing of best practices from the Recovery Act Green LMI grants, the WIN/WIN community of practice and ongoing technical assistance.

1:30 Comment From Terry Watson: Will the DOL strategic plan and the strategic plans of other sister agencies inlcude the same goals and outcomes? Is there work being done to coordinate strategic planning efforts of sister agencies?

1:30 Jane: Terry, we have invited our sister agencies to join this Web chat. We are planning to share the strategic plan with sister agencies within the Department, and we will do the same with other federal sister agencies to solicit feedback.

1:30 Comment From Barbara Somson: I LIKE the photo!! Thanks for giving us the chance to sound off.

1:31 Comment From Kathy: Have you considered using a UI overpayment prevention goal vs. the detection goal mentioned?

1:31 Jane: As part of the President's focus on improper payments government-wide, the Department is reexamining performance measures related to overpayments, including the possibility of an overpayment detection measure. We would welcome input on how that would be structured.

1:34 Comment From Guest: I'd heard a USDOL official recently compare the proposed WIA Innovation Fund to the Education Department's Race to the Top, which only awarded funds to two states in its first round. Can you please comment on this?

1:34 Jane: Dear Guest, as part of the proposed workforce innovation fund from the Administration we will be working closely with the Dept. of Education to ensure coordination among workforce, education and related programs. We anticipate a competitive process for this fund.

The Dept. of Education's Race to the Top Initiative is solely the Dept. of Education's responsibility.

1:36 Comment From Guest: Is there still a focus on the dual customers? The draft plan seems to reference jobseekers but not employers.

1:36 Jane: Dear Guest, we are still committed to our dual customers -- employers and job seekers. We see that focus as the on-going foundation of WIA.

1:36 Comment From Edrichus R Sykes: My name is Edrichus R. Sykes ™; I am the CEO and Pure Green Sustainability Architect of Pure Green Coatings ™ (PGC). We are a Veteran Minority Owned Small and Economically Disadvantaged Enterprise headquartered in Atlanta, GA. Our Vision is businesses are increasing efforts into appearing Green, while environmental legislations tighten, backed by Green government funding and Green incentives. Even at a household level, individual citizens are attempting to improve their environmental awareness and minimize their environmental impact. As public sentiment towards the environment strengthens, industry growth opportunities swell. Our grassroots mission is to provide holistic sustainable Green Health, Green Energy and Green IT solutions; that have the efficacy to create Healthy Homes, Healthy Business and Healthy Vehicles. Jane you stated earlier that DOL, “…moving forward we will examine mandatory and recommended partners in competitive grant competitions to make sure that we are connecting to the public workforce system to the greatest extent possible.” However, would the DOL join the PGC team in a Public/Private Partnership in development of our Green High-Growth and Emerging Work Ready program to be implemented as part of DOL’s updated Strategic Plan? If so how shall we proceed? We have assembled a diverse team of extremely gifted and talented professionals, whom are preparing to greatly aid DOL in fulfilling its strategic goals, mission and vision.

1:36 Jane: This question does not relate to the subject of this forum. You should look for future grant solicitations as they are published on www.doleta.gov/grants.

1:36 Comment From Christine Quinn: Measuring results from the vision of "good jobs for everyone" is targeted but if there is no tie into collaboration among business and economic development there are no jobs to help people get into - how is this being addressed by the strategic plan?

1:36 Jane: Christine, thanks for the question. ETA has a number of specific strategies to involve the business and economic development community in our strategic planning efforts. We're depending on our local partners to begin conversations with small and medium sized businesses so they are aware of their emerging needs. All job training should be done only after studying local labor market information, and the best source of that would be direct conversations with business owners.

1:37 Comment From Keith Ewald: I see three elements to ETA: Support (ex. UI), Employment Services (ex. WIA programs) and labor market information for informed career exploration and stratigic planning. Yet, in the materials sent in preparation for today LMI is not very explicitly raised. What particular roles do you see for LMI?

1:37 Jane: LMI should be the foundation of all workforce development strategic planning and service delivery.

1:37 Comment From Eleni Papadakis: Focusing on middle class jobs is new for ETA--a very positive step in my view. Will this mean an allowance for post-placement support-to get folks beyond entry level employment? Are there plans to more directly engage the employer community in this goal?

1:37 Jane: Thank you, Eleni, for the intriguing question. Your suggestion to more directly engage employers in setting goals is innovative and worthy of consideration.

1:39 Comment From Michael I. Callanan: In DOL Outcome Goal 1.3 you list "Registered Apprenticeship" as one of the programs to help workers who are in low-wage jobs find a path to middle-class jobs. Please expand upon what specific role you believe Registered Apprenticeship can play in achieveing this goal. Additionally, what specific funding measures have you taken to provide the necessary resources to achieve this goal? Are there provisions for increased funding for the Office of Apprenitceship to help facilitate these efforts?

1:39 Jane: Thanks for your question, Michael. As you know, Registered Apprenticeship has been providing a pathway to the middle class for Americans for over seventy years. We believe that by promoting greater partnerships between WIA, Education and Registered Apprenticeship, we can help workers who are in low-wage jobs advance along a career pathway that includes a Registered Apprenticeship. Regarding your comment on funding, the FY2010 and FY2011 budgets have increased the budget for the Office of Apprenticeship by approximately 25%, and the FY2011 budget includes a specific funding initiative to expand apprenticeship opportunities.

1:39 Comment From Phil Dionne: Do you see a stronger connection between Carl Perkins and WIA State Plans

1:39 Jane: Thanks for your question, Phil. We support strong connections between education and workforce programs, such as Perkins.

1:41 Comment From Guest: When will the competive grants for DPN be posted

1:41 Jane: The solicitation of grant applications for the new Disability Employment Initiative will be posted in the summer of 2010.

1:42 Comment From Joan Kuriansky: Hi there. I am afraid my earlier comment did not go through. The abbreviated comment and question related to performance measures. Will you have the ability to change or expand upon performance measures without changing WIA. if so, what are the measures you are thinking about?

1:42 Jane: Joan, we recognize the need to overhaul WIA performance measures to ensure that performance information is transparent and that the measures themselves encourage services to people at all skill levels. We believe this is best addressed through WIA reauthorization, which we strongly support.

1:43 Comment From John OKane: The new health care plan is raising many questions about the future availability of physicians and para-physicians to meet incresed demand. How is this being met in your panning?

1:43 Jane: Thank you for the question, John. We are working closely with HRSA to ensure that we are meeting all healthcare workers' needs.

1:43 Comment From R Thomson: Who does one contact for suggesting a new training program, that fits your new strategy?

1:43 Jane: You may contact Laura Watson of our Office of Grants and Contract Management. Her mailing address is 200 Constitution Ave. Room N-4716 Washington, DC 20210.

1:43 Comment From Pradeep Kotamraju: To what extent has there been discussion within the strategic plan to connect different federal databases so that state and local agencies can better provide information on return on investment

1:43 Jane: The Department is working on the Workforce Data Quality Initiative that was funded in the Fiscal Year 2010 budget. The Department will award grants to 10 or more states later this year to create longitudinal administrative databases that can be used for a number of purposes including calculating return on investment for workforce programs.

1:44 Comment From Barbara Somson: In measuring success, is it possible to have the “average earnings indicator” include benefits, e.g., health care insurance, pension, and paid days off?

1:44 Jane: Barbara, Those are great suggestions and we'll take them into consideration.

1:44 Comment From Mala Thakur: Under the strategy for Preparing Workers for Jobs two new innovation funds are proposed to improve services for adults and disconnected youth. Can you describe how the innovation funds will work how disconnected youth will be defined?

1:44 Jane: Mala, we anticipate that there will be a variety of examples of innovative programs with disconnected youth as well as adults. Thank you for the question.

1:46 Comment From Montana: Do you anticipate another round of SESP grants?

1:46 Jane: The original grants were funded by the Recovery Act. At this time, Congress has not appropriated additional funds for SESP.

1:46 Comment From Guest: When will the WIA Inovation grants be posted.

1:46 Jane: Dear Guest, funds are not yet available and we anticipate solicitations in the Fall of 2010.

1:47 Comment From Guest: I am concerned that ETA is proposing to use part of the Governors' Discretionary Funds to fund the Youth Innovation Grants. These funds are often the Governors best opportunity to fund innovative programs. It seems to me that Governors are in a better position to determine what is innovative than the Federal Government. Can you please comment on this?

1:47 Comment From June: A few years back there was an Employers Roundtable that met with the Assistant Secretary and provided valuable input into the skills and credentials needed to be competetive in tomorrow's workforce. Does this group still meet and if so, what is the gap between our training and tomorrow's need? And how will we meet the challenge in order to meet the goal of good jobs for everyone?

1:47 Jane: Thanks for expressing your concern. The President's budget request supports a 15% investment from the WIA Youth Formula Grant program for the new Youth Innovation Fund. This includes new funds and 5% of the governors' 15% set aside under the Youth Formula funding stream. A governor will still have funds at his or her discretion to support the governors' workforce initiatives under the youth funding stream.

1:47 Jane: June, ETA remains committed to engaging employers to better understand the skills and credentials that will help our workers remain competitive. Most of our grant funding opportunities, for instance, require applicants to collaborate with employers to make sure participants receive training leading to careers. We look forward to opportunities to work with trade associations, employer groups and individual employers in the future.

1:49 Comment From Brenda Cleary: I think the middle class is endangered so I am pleased to see that it is addressed in ETA Strategic Goal 1. It seems to me, especially with current BLS projections, that investing in high growth occupations (e.G. RNs) that pay wages consistent with middle class parameters and lifestyles will be critical along with front end jobs.

1:49 Jane: Brenda, thanks for your comment. We agree. We are also anxious to ensure that low-income individuals have pathways out of poverty in order to access these good jobs.

1:51 Comment From Joan Kuriansky: Thanks, Jane, for this opportunity. My comments today concern the performance measures- measures for success. The average earnings indicators tend to result in the creaming of the best clients. WOW recommendsdisaggregating the information, using relative measures,like those related to self-sufficiency/ family sustaining wages to the impact of earnings in a community, providing more demographic information together and separate (like older women) and including a measure relative to non-traditional occupations like that in Perkins. Ideally, we would like to see measures consistent across various workforce training and education systems.

1:51 Jane: Joan, thanks for your thoughtful input on suggestions for performance measures. ETA is looking at a range of options, and the experience of organizations like yours in working with women in non-traditional occupations will be an important part of the information that we will consider. Let's all commit to eliminating creaming.

1:51 Comment From Pradeep Kotamraju: Where can we go to get more information on the Workforce Data Quality Initiative?

1:51 Jane: Pradeep, a solicitation for grant applications is in final clearance and should be published in the Federal Register shortly.

1:52 Comment From Eleni Papadakis: Hello Jane, I'm heartened to see the $40 million investment in transitional jobs. I think it will be important though to align at the federal level with TANF, HUD, and others to be truly successful with our most disadvantaged customers. Are there plans for such alignment?

1:52 Jane: Eleni, we are just as excited about this investment in transitional jobs and we will be building on previous investments in other federal agencies and programs nationwide to make sure our investments do not duplicate and build on lessons learned. As part of this effort, we are in conversations with our sister agencies to ensure such coordination and alignment.

1:52 Comment From Susan Rees: Thanks, Jane for this opportunity. As you know, for women's success in getting and keeping employment, access to supportive services such as dependent care isvery important. Does ETA have plans to increase attention to this factor?

1:52 Jane: Susan, ETA recognizes the importance of supportive services, particularly for individuals who face challenges in maintaining and successfully completing education and training. We will continue to emphasize the need for these services in both formula-funded and discretionary programs.

1:53 Comment From R Thomson: Who does one contact to propose a new training program for your new strategy?

1:53 Jane: I think I already answered your question. Please see above.

1:53 Comment From elise lowe-vaiughn: will the other federal agencies strategic plans align with ETA's?

1:53 Jane: Elise, thank you for your question. We are working together, so I am hopeful that you will see that shared work in all of our strategic plans.

1:54 Comment From Terry Watson: Can you elaborate on how the Community College initiative fits into DOL's strategic plan- and how it will connect with a comprehenisve workforce system? Thank you.

1:54 Jane: The Community College Initiative is under development and we will make every effort to align it with our other programs.

1:55 Comment From Elaine Kost: I am the DPN Lead for NYS. You stated that the SGA for the new Disability Employment Initiataive will be posted in the summer of 2010. I was under the impression that the SGA would be posted April/May of 2010. As you know, the program as we know it ends on 6-30-10. NYS DOL has applied for a no cost extension. We currently have 52 full and part time DPN's. Is there any chance that the SGA can be posted sooner rather than later?

1:55 Jane: The ETA's funding for the new Disability Employment Initiative does not become available until July 1, 2010. The SGA will be out prior to July 1.

1:56 Comment From Bob Garraty (PA): We're starting to strategically look at market-penetration rates. Based on your experience, what is a good market-penetration percentage a state should shoot for in the area of the employer population?

1:56 Jane: Good question, Bob. I would say that both states and local areas should be working every day to expand their employer reach. We're happy to help individual states do a business reach analysis.

1:57 Comment From Guest: Hi, Jane. Will the ETA strategy include efforts to encourage the One Stops to be more universally designed to better serve all customers, whether people with disabilities, ex-offenders, older workers, limited English speakers, etc.?

1:57 Comment From Guest: Glad to hear response to Andrew's question, but still concerned that ETA goals do not seem to reflect the comprehensiveness of the mission statement, nor the work of workforce boards, as distinct from programs. Board are (generally) in the employment, learning, competitiveness and prosperity business, but the goals focus narrowly on worker training and preparation. Maybe this content is in goals #2, which seems to be missing?

1:57 Jane: The Administration wants to be sure that the One Stop service delivery system is just that. Any individual should be able to enter through various doors - both physical and virtual - to access labor market information and services they need to obtain or maintain a good job.

1:57 Jane: Please provide us with specific suggestions, and we'll consider.

1:58 Comment From Guest: When will we see the Department's proposal for reauthorizing WIA?

1:58 Jane: Thank you for the question. The Administration is continuing to provide Congress with technical assistance. We remain hopeful that reauthorization will include innovations and build on successful practices in the current WIA.

1:58 Comment From Bob Baird: Workers continue to be ill prepared to enter the workforce due inadequate preparation in such things as employability skills and basic math, reading and science. Is there any provision/funding in the ETA budget to help facilitiate discussions/actions with DOL/Dept of Education/Industry to specifically identify and address these deficiencies.

1:58 Jane: Bob, I share your concerns. We are working very closely with our colleagues in education to address these deficiencies through a range of initiatives to better meet the needs of industries like yours. One specific initiative to meet the needs of these low skilled workers is the transitional jobs proposal in the FY 11 budget.

1:58 Comment From Francis: Job Corps expends a great deal of time in the verification of a graduate's employment status and weekly earnings. Is there a stratigic plan to automate or provide access to this information from existing UI or other employment information sources? It would free up staff resources to provide greater job development for the students completing the program.

1:58 Jane: Thank you, Francis. The office of Job Corps is working to use unemployment insurance wage records for measuring employment verification and wage levels. We plan to implement this strategy in the near future.

1:59 Comment From Terry Watson: Secretary Oates- Thank you so much for making yourself available in this format. It is very much apprciated and very refreshing. We look forward to continued dialugue.

1:59 Comment From Nanine Meiklejohn: Greetings from Georgia where I've just spent several days at Warm Springs visiting FDR's little white house and learning more about how his experiences here influenced many of the New Deal programs. One of the important features of these programs was the way in which the federal government established "systems" to address national problems. The employment security system (UI, employment services, labor market information) is one of the more enduring although in need of much strengthening. What specific operational policies are you considering in order to strengthen this system while balancing the more localized and disparate operations of WIA funded activities?

1:59 Jane: Nanine, thank you for your comments about these critical systems. I strongly agree that they are important both as a safety net and to ensure a strong economy. I would welcome your suggestions about ways to strengthen them and ensure their viability for the future.

2:00 Comment From guest: In Strategic Goal # 1 - does this include phasing out of FLSA 14c subminimum wage so that people with disabilities can work in integrated community employment settings at prevailing, minimum wage? Thanks!

2:00 Jane: Guest, the FLSA is governed by the Wage and Hour Division of the Department of Labor. We cannot address any changes to that law.

2:01 Comment From Eleni Papadakis: Will the plan include investments to make better use of new technologies? Improved MIS, on-line career planning--that sort of thing?

2:01 Jane: Eleni, we are interested in taking advantage of new technologies to provide more effective services at a lower cost to a greater number of people. This strategic approach will be reflected in future investment plans.

2:01 Comment From Lynn: Do you envision a revamping of customer choice to focus on training that leads to a good job as defined by federal performance expectations?

2:01 Jane: Lynn, thanks for your question. Yes, we will work to improve our own customer service as well as working with our local partners to do the same.

2:01 Comment From Sheila Fesko: What strategies will ETA implement to significantly increase the participation of people with disabilities in services offered through the One-Career Centers, and to improve the labor market outcomes they achieve after receiving services? And how do you anticipate measuring those changes in participation and outcomes?

2:01 Jane: Sheila, we have been working closely with ODEP and ETA and RSA in the Department of Education to ensure participation of people with disabilities in One-Stop Career Centers. In addition, for FY 2010, Congress has funded ETA and ODEP for the Disability Employment Initiative, and this will be developed jointly by both agencies.

2:05 Comment From G Thompson: The Department's goals for the reauthorization of WIA included streamlining service delivery. What is the vision for "streamlining service delivery"? Does it include relaxing of some eligibility criteria?

2:05 Jane: G. Thompson, changes to eligibility need to be addressed in terms of program specificity. We have heard from many sectors about using free lunch for youth eligibility. As we work for better ways to determine disadvantaged adult eligibility, we look forward to hearing your suggestions.

2:07 Comment From Joel: Do you regard the Senior Community Service Employment Program as a workforce development program targeting 55+ eligible individuals or an aging program that focuses on community service? What is the relationship between USDOL and the Nat'l Assoc of State Units on Aging (NASUA) and DHHS Admin on Aging in order to reconcile strategic planning, program focus and outcome goals/performance measures efforts between the aging network and the workforce development system? Thanks.

2:07 Jane: Joel, the Senior Community Service Employment Program provides both employment opportunities for older individuals to contribute important services within communities and to acquire skills to enhance their employability. ETA is currently working with its federal partner, HHS Administration on Aging, on the reauthorization of the Older Americans Act. A joint listening session is scheduled for April 26.

2:08 Jane: Thank you for taking the time to participate in today's web chat. I look forward to your suggestions as we move forward with the strategic planning process. We touched on a lot of different topics today but I could not get through everything during today’s chat so I encourage you to submit them to: ETA.StrategicPlan@dol.gov. I’ll be reviewing every comment that comes in so I look forward to hearing from you.

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