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Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez
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Strategic Goal 1: Prepare Workers for Good Jobs and Ensure Fair Compensation

Date: Monday, August 5 at 2 p.m. EDT

Participating agencies:

  • Employment and Training Administration
  • Veterans' Employment and Training Service
  • Bureau of International Labor Affairs
  • Wage and Hour Division

How to Participate

  • Enter your question directly into the live chat window found on the interactive page.

1:42 Moderator: This chat will begin at 2:00 PM. You can start submitting your questions now.

2:00 Moderator: On behalf of the Department, the Performance Management Center and the Office of Public Affairs welcome you to the FY 2014-2018 Strategic Plan Stakeholder Webchat for Strategic Goal 1 – Prepare workers for better jobs and ensure fair compensation.

The Strategic Objectives associated with this Goal are to advance employment opportunities for US workers, provide marketable skills and knowledge to increase workers’ incomes and help them overcome barriers to the middle class, secure wages and overtime, and foster acceptable work conditions and respect for workers’ rights in the global economy to provide workers with a fair share of productivity and protect vulnerable people.

The Employment and Training Administration (ETA), Bureau of International Labor Affairs (ILAB), Veterans’ Employment and Training Service (VETS), and Wage and Hour Division (WHD) are prioritizing their activities and strategies; emphasizing those efforts most likely to help us achieve our Strategic Goal and Objectives – which are central to the Department’s mission to ensure access to opportunity for all.

This is your opportunity to influence our strategies and the implementation of our priorities and we thank you for your participation. Today, we want to:

• Collect your feedback on DOL’s proposed strategies to prepare workers for better jobs and ensure fair compensation and listen to your ideas on implementing our priorities.
• Consider your views and concerns as we prepare the Strategic Plan.

We are joined by Acting Assistant Secretary Eric Seleznow from ETA, Chief of Staff Amit Pandya from ILAB, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy Teresa Gerton from VETS, and Deputy Administrator Laura Fortman from WHD.

As a reminder, there are no audio or visual components to today’s webchat.

2:03 Comment From Roni: Can we look forward to any new requests for proposals for workforce development projects in the near future

2:03 Eric Seleznow: Yes – the opportunities will be posted on Grants.gov as they become available.

2:09 Comment From Jean Ann, Ohio: Will Rapid Response be integral to the plan to match worker skill set to needs of demand employers?

2:09 Comment From Jean Ann, Ohio: In moving forward, will DOL advertise the power of early intervention services (in RR process)to employers and the positive outcome that comes from minimizing the time to re-employment?

2:09 Eric Seleznow: Thanks, Jean Ann, for your great questions. Rapid Response is an integral part of the plans to inform workers about jobs and skills required in the local labor market and the services available to help them get those jobs. ETA has a website that provides information on best practices, including early intervention based on evidence in various studies – workforce systems strategies.
Please go to: http://strategies.workforce3one.org/ .

2:10 Comment From Ryan: I have been working as an Employment Specialist through the Homeless Veterans Reintegration Program (HVRP) grant for 3 years and we have been blessed to receive the grant for a second renewal. I see this grant through VETS as the best program to employ, refer, and ultimately house homeless Veterans. Do you see this grant continuing past 2015? Thank you.

2:10 Moderator: We just awarded the HVRP grants for 2013. We hope to continue this critical program, but our ability to award future grants depends upon continued Congressional authorization for the program.

2:13 Comment From Kristin Wolff: HI Eric: It seems like congrats and happy birthday (to DOL) greetings are in order so I'll start there. And I know the focus here is the first strategy, but I did also want to offer kudos to the person who is responsible for upping the ante on the communications front. The posts on FB and the newsletter content are much improved. This is no small thing when the narrative around work, working people and the role of DOL (and government more generally) in it is well...not all that clear.

2:14 Comment From Kimberly: Are there any forthcoming RFPs for vocational training of the formerly incarcerated or persons with conviction histories?

2:14 Eric Seleznow: Yes, we anticipate two funding opportunities for the Reintegration of Ex-Offenders (RexO) – one for juvenile offenders and one for adult offenders. We hope to continue support for promising practices serving this population, including diversion and work release training programs.

2:15 Comment From Brian: What are ETA's overall priorities for the Job Corps Program, as it relates this Strategic Goal?

2:15 Eric Seleznow: Thanks Brian for the question.
Job Corps priorities are to exceed our goals for job placement and wages for our students by providing training and academic credentials to students at Job Crops Centers that are full to their capacity.

2:15 Comment From William Sala: What is the status of the IVTP and FHRVP programs going forward?

2:16 Terry Gerton -VETS: The IVTP and HFVVWF programs are subsets of the HVRP program. We just awarded the HVRP grants for 2013 and we will soon be announcing the HFVVWF grants for 2013. We hope to continue these HVRP programs, but our ability to award future grants depends upon continued Congressional authorization for the program.

2:17 Comment From Randy Johnson: Two trends recent trends are apparent - 1.) if there is any additional funding available, DOL tends to put it out for competitive bid, and 2.) DOL seems to be making fewer & larger grants, because they think it saves DOL monitoring time & money. My point would be that these trends are choking off the existing basic workforce system, and w are all consuming thousands of hours writing proposals that don't get funded, and we are starving to death in the process. If DOL believes in its delivery system, then additional funds could just aswell be added to our regular allocations

2:17 Eric Seleznow: Thank you very much for your input. We will continue with our formula grants program. I understand how challenging the development of competitive grant proposals can be. We will consider your input for future funding.

2:19 Comment From Bob Knight: While serving the unemployed is important, it seems to me that the workforce system (mainly WIA and ES) could do a great deal more to assist low-income, underemployed workers through new models of service that would greatly advance the middle class goals of the Administration. Will the strategic plan address this issue?

2:19 Eric Seleznow: Bob, good question. We will address reconnecting unemployment insurance recipients with reemployment services under strategic goal 4 which will be discussed Thursday, August 8. Please know that ETA has launched a project to make the UI claimant processes a seamless part of the broader ‘job seeking ‘.

2:19 Comment From Brandy: What types of strategies do you have for ensuring fair compensation?

2:19 Moderator: WHD’s strategic enforcement is a balance of complaint and self-initiated (or directed) investigations; outreach to workers, worker advocates, and community organizations; and compliance assistance to employers. WHD is increasing the number and percentage of those directed investigations that focus on those business models that contribute to non-compliance. Complementary to the emphasis on directed investigations, WHD is prioritizing complaints consistent with the agency’s priorities, while ensuring that complaints involving a threat of imminent danger remain an immediate priority. WHD is also prepared to address sudden changes in local economies that place significant pressure on labor markets, leading to labor violations – from rapid industry growth or the devastating effects of a natural disaster.

To ensure that investigations achieve long-lasting results, WHD is emphasizing enforcement tools that provide incentives for employers to continue to comply with applicable labor laws. Those tools may include the use of civil money penalties under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), Migrant and Seasonal Farmworker Protection Act (MSPA), Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), and the immigration programs, assessment of liquidated damages as provided for in the FLSA and other statutes, the use of enhanced compliance agreements, and the imposition of debarment, revocation of certificates, and other sanctions.

WHD is also providing incentives for employers who have been investigated to stay in compliance and to provide non-investigated employers incentives to evaluate their wage and hour policies and make necessary changes. Those strategies may include, for example, leveraging the enforcement authority of local, state and other federal agencies and messaging through mainstream media and community resources such as newsletters, radio and television shows, websites, and waiting room monitors. Stakeholder coordination will provide avenues for information gathering on compliance issues and will provide opportunities to develop meaningful compliance assistance tools. Public information releases, issued through various news media and new technologies will be used to inform the public of WHD laws, compliance actions taken, and penalties assessed. WHD is also providing outreach and compliance assistance to regulated businesses to ensure that businesses that want to be compliant with the law have every opportunity to know the requirements and responsibilities.

2:20 Comment From Christina Herzog: To what degree do you expect employer engagement to inform priorities 1 and 3 of the ETA's strategic plan? What forms do you anticipate this taking?

2:20 Eric Seleznow: ETA is committed to increasing its outreach to and engagement of employers. We believe it’s vital to use proven training models to prepare workers for better jobs and provide employers with a skilled workforce that meets the demands of 21st century jobs.

We have, for example, described active employer engagement in discretionary grants, most recently in the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College Career Training competition (TAACCT). The TAACCCT solicitation characterized employer involvement as identifying the necessary skills and competencies for the skill training program; assisting with curriculum development and program design, and participating in such activities as providing resources to support education or training such as equipment, facilities, instructors, funding, internships, apprenticeships, and other work based training opportunities, where applicable, and committing to hire, promote or retain qualified program participants.

We are working to strengthen our partnerships among the workforce system, business, community colleges, and labor organizations to improve acquisition of in-demand skills by job seekers. It is important to be inclusive since strong partnerships will contribute to better serving job seekers and workers wanting to succeed in today’s labor market and employers needing skilled workers to successfully compete in the marketplace.

We will continue to work with our federal partners to make sure the different federally-funded workforce-related programs are better integrated and aligned to meet the needs of employers and job seekers.

2:20 Comment From Sarah Rempel: We have received many reports that fair and carnival workers (H-2B) are being paid illegally low wages-do you have a plan for increased outreach and monitoring of this industry?

2:20 Laura Fortman: Sarah, Thank you for your question. H2B enforcement is a priority for the Wage and Hour Division. We have had several enforcement cases involving carnival workers. We continue to enforce all wage and hour laws applicable to these workers, including the H2B provisions of the Immigration and Naturalization Act. We encourage you and anyone else who may have information on violations in this industry to contact the Wage and Hour Division through its toll free number 1-866-4US-WAGE.

2:24 Comment From Guest: Under VETS Strategies you state "analyze more detailed dta from AJCs". Can you offer additional info on what this would mean?

2:25 Terry Gerton - Vets: The Jobs for Veterans Act requires that any workforce preparation program directly funded, in whole or in part, by the Department of Labor provide priority of service to eligible veterans and spouses of certain eligible veterans for the receipt of employment, training, and placement services. VETS and ETA will conduct more joint monitoring activities to ensure priority of service delivery at American Job Centers. The agencies will also measure and report on their efforts to monitor the delivery of priority of service. VETS will use the data to improve services to and the employment outcomes of program participants.

2:25 Comment From Rob Macy: I've seen much movement towards serving the legally challenged population in recent months with "Face Forward", "Training to Work, Adult Reentry", "YouthBuild" and others. What coordinated efforts are being done to resource the local JobLink Centers, community colleges, correctional institutions, and other service providers to more effectively serve this population?

2:26 Eric Seleznow-ETA: Rob, thank you for your question. We are working closely with the Department of Justice’s Federal Interagency Reentry Council to support workforce development and alignment with organizations involved with criminal and juvenile justice systems. In addition, we are working to align federal resources to support enhanced collaboration among critical workforce partners such as American Job Centers and Workforce Investment Boards. We also will continue to encourage strong local partnerships among these entities, business leadership, schools, and community organizations through our Solicitations.

2:27 Comment From Stephanie Powers: I am interested in how income support would be provided to people when "work is impossible or unavailable" as stated in Strategic Objective 4.1 under Goal 4. What does this refer to? This would certainly have immense implications for people with disabilities who want to work but find it difficult to secure jobs in the competitive market, as well as people who are among the long-term unemployed and are now so discouraged, they have just stopped looking for work. Is the government preparing to help discouraged workers with some new forms of income supports?

2:27 Eric Seleznow: Stephanie, thank you for your question. Our workforce and unemployment insurance programs are focused on re-connecting UI claimants and re-employment services. ETA has launched a project to make the UI claimant process become a more seamless part of the broader job seeking process. For a more detailed discussion on income supports, please join us on Thursday, August 8th at 2 pm to discuss Goal 4.

2:27 Comment From Annette: Would you speak to your upcoming initiatives for strengthening internet-based resources, especially to help employers and vets link up, and in general for providing good links for employers to advertise positions and find qualified employees (and vice versa, for qualified employees to learn about true job openings).

2:27 Terry Gerton - Vets: In collaboration with the Department of Defense, VETS will develop a virtual TAP curriculum. The virtual curriculum will cost-effectively reach broader audiences, such as already-separated veterans or service members nearing separation who may require a refresher course. VETS anticipates that the virtual curriculum will also increase military spouse participation. Additionally, VETS will design a single portal of employment resources that can be accessed 24/7.

2:29 Comment From Kim: What do you see as the role of the job corps system in serving low-income, disconnected youth?

2:29 Eric Seleznow: Thanks, Kim. Job Corps’ mission is dedicated to educating and training young people for good jobs and careers. Students must be economically disadvantaged and have barriers to employment to participate. Typically, students have not completed high school, they read below the 8th grade level, and they have never had a full-time job. However, we have great success, over 80% of students graduate from Job Corps, and over 60% are placed in jobs or further education.

2:32 Comment From Leslie Dwight: Will you include in your strategy any future pay-for-performance or pay-for-success initiatives, specifically those that will target low-income workers with major barriers to employment?

2:32 Eric Seleznow: Thank you, Leslie, for your question. We are preparing to announce the results of our first pay-for-success competition targeting individuals with barriers to employment in September. The President’s budget request for FY 2014 included a request for additional pay-for-success efforts.

2:33 Comment From Jack: Does USDOL anticipate establishing any wage or skill acquisition levels or mainitaining existing performance targets?

2:33 Charlotte Hayes-OASAM: Thanks, Jack, for your interest in our performance targets. DOL sets yearly performance targets and publishes them in our annual performance report. You can see targets on our webpage at http://www.dol.gov/dol/budget/2014/PDF/CBJ-2014-V1-01.pdf.

2:34 Comment From Geneva Faris Workforce WV: Other than our formula funds, TRADE is our biggest funding for retraining dislocated workers (due to no fault of their own- foriegn trade). A stong support for the TRADE reauth to 2020 would continue to assist with reshaping communities that have been turned over by the large factor dislocations.

2:37 Comment From Randy Johnson: When is the next round of H1b Visa funds to be out on RFP, and is it likely that these funds will remain with the Dept.in the future?

2:37 Comment From Jean Ann, Ohio: Preparing workers for good jobs oft times means integrating training with OJTs. Will there be grants for the recently unemployed to entice demand employers to consider OJT while upgrading worker skill sets with training thus reducing the break in individual employment?

2:38 Eric Seleznow: Thank you Randy and Jean Ann for your questions. The Department has not made a final decision regarding the timing of additional rounds of H-1B Technical Skills training grants. The H-1B grants focus on public-private partnerships featuring employers, the educational system, the workforce system and others; and, OJT has been one strategy that this solicitation has focused on in prior years. The following websites, www.doleta.gov and www.grants.gov, will be updated when more information is available.

2:39 Comment From Leslie Dwight: I know you have a strong focus on industry-recognized credential. However, much research has focused on results that demonstrate that this focus doesn't address the needs of low-income workers with multiple barriers to employment. Can you tell me how you are thinking about this issue moving forward?

2:39 Eric Seleznow: Leslie, thank you for the thoughtful question. Credential attainment is strongly associated with improved labor market outcomes for workers. We will work with states and local areas to improve the skills of low-income workers through a mix of services to help them take an important first step along a career path. We also will continue to work with the US Department of Education to jointly encourage states and local workforce areas to align and leverage adult basic education and literacy services and post-secondary education services available through community colleges and community organizations with the services of the workforce system.

2:40 Comment From Annette: I love the idea of the 24/7 portal of employment sources for vets. When will this be launched and how will you advertise it's availability?

2:41 Terry Gerton-VETS: DOL, in partnership with DOD and VA, is working to have the portal operational in the fall of 2013. Once it is operational, its availability will be broadly announced across all three departments.

2:44 Comment From Guest: Will there be another round or H1-B training grants this fall?

2:44 Eric Seleznow: Thank you for your question. The Department has not made a final decision regarding the timing of additional rounds of H-1B Technical Skills training grants. The H-1B grants focus on public-private partnerships featuring employers, the educational system, the workforce system and others; and, OJT has been one strategy that this solicitation has focused on in prior years. The following websites, www.doleta.gov and www.grants.gov, will be updated when more information is available.

2:45 Comment From Kim: Do you foresee bringing current job corps centers back up to capacity, or will they remain at decreased levels?

2:45 Eric Seleznow:
Thanks, Kim. Job Corps took action this year to reduce the number of student slots to ensure that Job Corps operated within the dollars appropriated for the program. The President’s FY2014 budget for next year requests additional funds that will allow Job Corps to increase the number of student slots. We will take action based on funds Congress makes available to Job Corps .

2:47 Comment From Kristin Wolff: Annette: Great question. Have you seen Joining Forces? http://www.whitehouse.gov/joiningforces. If you follow the links you can find all kinds of ways to get engaged, engage your neighbors, and connect with firms in your community who've made commitments to vets and their families. It's not quite what you are talking about but it's a great gateway (also a good example of a cross-agency Code for America project).

2:48 Comment From Kim: Will discretionary programs provide set-asides for disadvantaged populations?

2:49 Eric Seleznow: Most of ETAs discretionary programs support disadvantaged populations, including disconnected youth, veterans, persons with disabilities, and the long-term unemployed. I would encourage you to continue monitoring Solicitations from ETA for specific information about resources for serving this population and other populations at Grants.gov.

2:49 Comment From Britanny: The Goals refer to ensuring worker compensation and worker rights generally, but are there objectives or plans around addressing labor trafficking both in the U.S. and abroad?

2:49 L.Fortman and A.Pandya: Brittany, thank you for your question. The Department of Labor participates in the President’s Interagency Taskforce on Trafficking and is part of the Strategic Action Plan to combat trafficking.
The Wage and Hour Division has an active enforcement program in industries in the United States in which trafficking for labor is likely to occur. We have trained our investigators to increase their ability to detect incidences of trafficking and to refer those to the appropriate law enforcement agencies. Wage and Hour generally assists those agencies in providing restitution, such as back wages, to the victims of trafficking and may also help in the development of those cases.
Through its International Labor Affairs Bureau (ILAB), the Department of Labor has for many years produced a report annually on goods produced by trafficked labor worldwide. ILAB also addresses concerns about trafficked labor in its negotiations and diplomatic exchanges with other governments. In designing its technical assistance grants to promote workers’ rights and to fight child labor abroad, ILAB incorporates initiatives against trafficking where appropriate.

2:50 Comment From Hank: Will USDOL be looking to establish consistency in eligibility, definitions, goals and performance across workforce programming?

2:50 Eric Seleznow: Hank, great question. While eligibility varies by statutory requirements, DOL uses a set of common performance measures across its workforce programs including entered employment, employment retention and earnings. DOL also collects data on the number of individuals who retain industry recognized credentials in these programs. In addition to this set of measures, individual programs may establish additional performance metrics. Governors at the state level may also establish additional performance metrics.

2:51 Comment From Kristin Wolff: Eric: Lots of interest in Job Corps (which by that way is the subject of a great FB post here: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10152079849334056.1073741828.190226429055&type=1). Has anyone taken a look at Job Corps sites that have leveraged other public, private, or foundation dollars to maintain the numbers of students they serve? Or found income-generating social-enterprise models to maintain service levels that other sites could learn from?

2:55 Comment From Roni: Many RFPs are targeted to Community colleges. Agencies that have been in the business of providing workforce development and have been successful at it feel their efforts and outcomes have been overlooked. Will there be more access for others to provide workforce programs in this new round of funding opportunities?

2:55 Eric Seleznow: Thank you, Roni, for your comment. The workforce system is a critical partner in implementing ETA’s competitive grants, and we continue to look for ways to highlight your important work. We encourage you to monitor grants.gov for new funding opportunities.

2:55 Comment From Richard Metts DVOP in RI: I have a veteran client in immediate need of a OSHA 10 card to get hired. The cost is approx. $80. Is there a program in place where a Vet could be funded quickly for such a small amount?

2:55 Terry Gerton-VETS: There are several programs funded by DOL that may be of assistance to your client. We would recommend sending them to the nearest American Job Center where they can receive one-on-one counseling to assist with their specific needs. You can find the nearest AJC at www.servicelocator.org.

2:58 Comment From Sandy: What new initiatives or enhancement to existing initiatives will be available to more closely assess the employer's needs in order to train our unemployed or underemployed work force to adequately fill those needs?

2:59 Eric Seleznow: Thank you for your thoughtful question. ETA is committed to increasing its outreach to and engagement of employers. We believe it’s important to use proven models to prepare workers for better jobs and provide employers with a skilled workforce that meets the demands of 21st century jobs. These models include registered apprenticeship, on-the-job training, and customized training among others.

For example, Office of Apprenticeship reaches out to employers to assess their skill needs, and help them develop skills standards for a range of occupations, including new occupations in emerging industries such as IT, healthcare, advanced manufacturing and traditional industries like construction. The apprenticeship model offers the opportunity for unemployed or underemployed workers to acquire skills and careers leading to the middle class.

3:04 Comment From Jason: How is the DOL strategy going to ensure better jobs and fair compensation? Can you descrive some of the specific plans DOL plans to implement and monitor?

3:04 Eric Seleznow: Thanks Jason for your question.
The ETA strategies to achieve our goals and objectives include:
• Helping job seekers of all ages compete in today’s labor market by increasing credential attainment and improve education and employment outcomes in training programs.
• Promote strategies, including a focus on career pathways, for the WIA Youth formula-funded program and discretionary youth grants, that lead to credential attainment and improve education and employment outcomes for disconnected youth.
• Partner with other Federal agencies to better align and leverage resources devoted to serving low-income, disconnected youth.
• Provide more opportunities for such youth to receive work experiences, including summer employment.
• Strengthen partnerships with business to provide more opportunities for such youth to receive work experiences, including summer employment.
• Engage employers to ensure they have a workforce skilled for the demands of 21st century jobs.
• Strengthen partnerships among the workforce system, business, community colleges, and labor organizations to improve acquisition of in demand skills by job seekers.

The VETs strategies to achieve our goals and objectives include:
• Prepare separating services members for civilian careers through an effective interactive transition assistance employment workshop built on the latest adult learning models. Develop a Virtual Curriculum
• Design a Single Portal of Employment Resources
• Provide focused and intensive services to veteran customers of the American Job Center and ensure veterans are receiving priority by the workforce system. Monitor and Ensure Priority of Service
• Analyze More Detailed Data from the American Job Centers

3:04 Comment From Chris T: It seems as if many agencies are going with an internship programs. There also seems to be issues with internships and pay. What's in the strategic thinking about how states and other programs can figure out how to navigate these internships without any legal ramifications for both the employer and the agency?

3:05 Laura Fortman: Wage & Hour Division issued Fact Sheet 71, available at http://www.dol.gov/whd/regs/compliance/whdfs71.pdf, describing the circumstances under which employers may provide unpaid internship opportunities. This Fact Sheet should provide information for both employees and employers about the FLSA rules as they apply to unpaid internships.

Additional information related to internships under subsidized work-based training programs for unemployed workers can be found at: http://wdr.doleta.gov/directives/attach/TEGL/TEGL12-09acc.pdf.

3:05 Moderator: Thank you for your participation. If you want to provide further feedback, please submit your ideas and comments to DOLstratplan@dol.gov.

3:05 :

 

 

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