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8.3 Program Design

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8.3.1 Order of Services

Effective date: May 20, 2021

DWD-DET requires the following order of services1 for the Adult Program and Dislocated Worker Program:

Except for DWD-DET's requirements outlined above, there is no required order of services for career services.8 This means there is no requirement to provide basic career services before providing individualized career services.9 Career planners are to provide services in a manner that best meets individuals' needs.10

Additionally, DWD-DET prohibits local policy/procedures or individual career planner practices that require a standard order of services before participants receive training services.


  • 1 Under WIOA, there is no sequence of service (see TEGL 19-16, p. 3); however, to operationalize WIOA and comply with 20 CFR § 680.110, DWD-DET requires a limited order of services.
  • 2 20 CFR § § 680.110, 680.120, 680.130, and 680.220(a) require individuals to have received a determination of eligibility in order to receive services.
  • 3 The full name of this service in ASSET is Initial Assessment of Interests, Skill Level & Supportive Service Needs.
  • 4 The full name of this service in ASSET is Comprehensive Individualized or Specialized Assessment.
  • 5 If an individual is co-enrolled and has an existing IEP through the other program, the career planner must provide both assessment services prior to updating the existing IEP.
  • 6 DWD-DET is using the term "acknowledge" to mean "to accept" or "to agree to. " DWD-DET requires participants and career planners to acknowledge an IEP in one of the following ways: electronically acknowledging it using the Employment Plan tool that career planners access through the Comprehensive Employment Planning Toolkit (CEPT) and that participants access through Jobcenterofwisconsin.com; signing an electronic or printed copy; or stating in an email that they accept the IEP.
  • 7 20 CFR § 680.220(a)
  • 8 TEGL 16-16, p. 13; TEGL 19-16, p. 2
  • 9 TEGL 16-16, p. 13
  • 10 TEGL 16-16, p. 13; TEGL 19-16, p. 3

8.3.2 Priority of Service

Effective date: September 1, 2020

Overview

"Priority of service" means the right to take precedence over a person with lower priority in obtaining employment and training services. The person with priority receives access to a service earlier in time than a person with lower priority or, if the resource is limited, receives access to the service instead of the person with lower priority.1 Priority is not part of the eligibility determination for any program; rather, it is meant to emphasize access to individualized career and training services for these higher-need populations.

Priority of service must be assessed at the time of eligibility determination, and participants must be informed if they are to receive priority.2 If, during participation, the career planner learns of changes in an individual's status that allow him/her to receive a higher priority of service, s/he must be given increased priority. For example, if someone who was not low-income at program entry becomes low-income during participation, s/he starts receiving increased priority as soon as the career planner becomes aware of the change.

Aside from the exception discussed under "Eligible spouse," below, once a priority level has been assigned participants cannot move to a lower priority level during an episode. Priority levels must be reassessed at the beginning of each new program episode.

Veterans and eligible spouses receive priority of service in all WIOA Title I programs.3

For the Adult Program only, priority for individualized career and training services must also be given to participants who are designated:

Priority for low-income and basic skills deficient populations does not apply to basic career services within the Adult Program6 nor does it apply to any services in the Dislocated Worker Program.7

Note: Eligible individuals who are not low-income or basic skills deficient may still be served in the Adult Program.8

Participant's Status Adult Program Services Dislocated Worker Program Services
Veterans and eligible spouses receive priority of service in all WIOA Title I programs
  • Green checkmark indicating yes All Services
  • Green checkmark indicating yes All Services
Low-income or basic skills deficient
  • Red X indicating no Basic Career Services
  • Green checkmark indicating yes Individualized Career Services
  • Green checkmark indicating yes Training Services
  • Red X indicating no Supportive Services
  • Red X indicating no Basic Career Services
  • Red X indicating no Individualized Career Services
  • Red X indicating no Training Services
  • Red X indicating no Supportive Services
  • Green checkmark indicating yes priority of service applies
  • Red X indicating no priority of service does not apply

Additional Priority Populations

The local WDBs may give priority to populations beyond those mentioned above for the Adult Program, in accordance with the order of priority described below. If a local WDB chooses to do so, those additional priority populations must be described in the local WDB's Local Plan.9 It is up to the local WDB whether a newly designated priority population applies to all active participants or only to participants who enter the program after the new policy becomes effective.

Veterans and Eligible Spouses

For the purposes of implementing priority of service, a broad definition of the term "veteran" is used. Under this definition, "veteran" means a person who served at least one day in the active military, naval, or air service, and who was discharged or released under conditions other than dishonorable.10

Active military service includes full-time federal service in the National Guard or a reserve component. This definition of "active service" does not include full-time duty performed strictly for training purposes (which often is referred to as "weekend" or "annual" training), nor does it include full-time active duty performed by National Guard personnel who are mobilized by state rather than federal authorities (usually in response to events such as natural disasters).11

"Eligible spouse" means the spouse of:

  • a veteran who died of a service-connected disability;
  • an active member of the U.S. Armed Forces who, at the time of the priority determination, is missing in action, has been captured in the line of duty by a hostile force, or is being forcibly detained or interned by a foreign government or power for at least 90 days;
  • a veteran who has been evaluated by the Department of Veterans Affairs as having a total disability resulting from service; or
  • a veteran who died while a disability was in existence.12

A spouse can lose his/her priority if a living veteran or service member loses the status that was the basis for the priority of service determination (e.g. a veteran with a total service-connected disability receives a revised disability rating at a lower level or the couple divorces).13 Remarriage of a widowed spouse does not cause any loss of eligibility.14

See 12.3.2 Priority of Service for acceptable documentation to verify the status of veterans and eligible spouses of Adult Program participants. See 12.4.3 Required Federal Reporting for acceptable documentation to verify the status of veterans and eligible spouses of Dislocated Worker Program participants.

Order of Priority and Application

Priority of service must follow this order:

  • First: Veterans and eligible spouses who are low-income or basic skills deficient.
  • Second: Individuals who are low-income or basic skills deficient but are not veterans or eligible spouses.
  • Third: Veterans and eligible spouses who are not low-income or basic skills deficient.
  • Fourth: Anyone who does not belong to one of the groups above, but who belongs to a priority population established by DWD-DET or the local WDB.15
  • Last: Everyone else.16

It is not intended for a participant with higher priority to subsequently "bump" a participant with lower priority who has already been approved to receive a service. Priority of service applies up to the point that the participant receives approval to begin an individualized career or training service.17 At that point, the participant should continue to receive services as needed until the end of his or her episode, even if participants with higher priority must wait to receive services because funds are limited.

Note: If the local WDB has a waiting list for any individualized career or training services, participants must be placed on the list consistent with the order outlined above.18

Career planners should follow these steps to determine if a participant in the Adult Program must receive priority of service:

  1. Determine whether the individual seeking to enroll is a veteran or eligible spouse.
  2. Determine whether the individual is low-income.
    Note: Low-income status must be verified using the appropriate documentation outlined in 12.3.2 Priority of Service.
  3. If the individual is not low-income, s/he must complete the Basic Skills Screening Tool, which screens for basic skills deficiencies. If the individual answers "No" to any of the questions on the screening tool or is unable to complete the form without assistance, s/he is considered basic skills deficient.
  4. Assign order of priority (first, second, third, etc) as described at the top of this section and document it in the ASSET case notes.

Content being developed.

8.3.4 Economic Self-Sufficiency

Effective date: October 24, 2019

Background

One of WIOA's main purposes is to increase economic self-sufficiency (ESS) through workforce development activities.1

The U.S. Department of Labor requires local workforce development areas to follow a process for determining ESS for Adult Program and Dislocated Worker Program participants.2 Each state has the discretion to develop and adopt a method for calculating ESS that addresses the income needs of households based on household composition and geographic location within the state.3 Accordingly, DWD-DET adopted a standard for defining and determining ESS that is to be used statewide for the Adult Program and Dislocated Worker Program.

DWD-DET's standard takes into account the minimum amount of income required for a household4 to meet its basic expenses at a minimally adequate level, without public or private assistance. Under WIOA, this amount must always be equal to or greater than 100 percent of the most current Lower Living Standard Income Level (LLSIL),5 by household size.6

DWD-DET's ESS Standard for the Adult Program & the Dislocated Worker Program

Definition of Economic Self-Sufficiency

For the Adult Program, participants are considered economically self-sufficient if they:

  • have individual income that meets or exceeds 125 percent of the ESS level for a single adult household in their county of residence;7
  • have household income that meets or exceeds 125 percent of the ESS level for their household composition in their county of residence;8
  • AND
  • have household income that meets or exceeds the LLSIL for their household9 size.

For the Dislocated Worker Program, participants are considered economically self-sufficient if they meet all of the above criteria and one of the following:

  • have an individual income that meets or exceeds 80 percent of their dislocation wage;10
  • OR
  • have an individual income that meets or exceeds the 75th percentile of wages for all occupations in their county of residence.11

The ESS Calculator

DWD-DET developed a calculator that career planners must use to establish whether individuals they serve are economically self-sufficient according to the ESS definition. The career planners' ESS calculator is accessible in the CEPT application, through the "Self-sufficiency" widget.

To perform a calculation, the career planner either enters an individual's current income and other information into the calculator based on the field prompts for the applicable program or can use information from a calculation that the participant completed in My JCW.

Note: When performing an ESS calculation for a participant whose income varies (e.g., from week to week or month to month), the career planner must average the participant's income for the period the career planner feels best captures the individual's current circumstances. Additionally, it is DWD-DET's intent that the ESS calculation determines if a participant is economically self-sufficient without having to work multiple jobs. If a participant holds more than one part- or full-time job, the career planner must only use the income from the individual's highest-paying job to perform the ESS calculation.

The calculator (1) generates results based on the criteria outlined in the definition of Economic Self-sufficiency and (2) provides a breakdown of monthly income, expenses and possible tax credits for the ESS level of a household with the same household composition and geographic location.

To create a new ESS calculation in CEPT, click "Add" and complete the required fields. Career planners have 24 hours to make changes to content in the fields before the calculation is no longer editable. To use information from a calculation that the participant completed in My JCW, open a shared calculation in CEPT and click "Accept." If a career planner determines that the calculation should not be accepted, click "Reject" and provide a reason for rejecting the calculation.

When a career planner creates an ESS calculation, a case note automatically populates in ASSET, so the career planner does not need to manually create an ASSET case note. Career planners are able to modify the title and body of the case note through the CEPT ESS calculator.

The individual is to self-report information for the ESS calculation and attest to the information's accuracy in one of the following ways:

  • by accepting an ESS calculation that the career planner created in CEPT, through the individual's My JCW account;
  • by sharing a calculation with the career planner that the individual completed in My JCW;
  • OR
  • by signing a printout of the ESS calculator's results after one is created in CEPT.

If a career planner needs to perform an ESS calculation for a participant who resides in a county bordering Wisconsin, the career planner must find the Wisconsin county most equivalent to the border county by using the ESS Guidance: Bordering Counties tool.12 If the participant's state and county of residence do not appear in the dropdown list, email the participant's state and county of residence and DWD-DET will provide the most equivalent Wisconsin county to use for the participant's ESS calculation.

Requirements for Applying the ESS Standard

DWD-DET requires career planners to perform an ESS calculation in the CEPT "Self-sufficiency" widget after an individual has been found eligible for the Adult Program or the Dislocated Worker Program.13 The calculation must be completed within 30 days of the Actual Close Date of an Eligibility Determination service. This calculation is valid for the participant's entire period of participation.

Participants co-enrolled in the Adult Program and Dislocated Worker Program only need one ESS calculation; however, DWD-DET requires career planners to use the Dislocated Worker Program ESS criteria for co-enrolled individuals. If an Adult Program participant is subsequently co-enrolled in the Dislocated Worker Program, the career planner must perform a new ESS calculation in CEPT using the Dislocated Worker Program ESS criteria.

ESS and Training

Economic self-sufficiency is an important component of training eligibility determinations, although it is not the only criterion that must be considered when deciding if participants are eligible to receive WIOA Adult Program- or Dislocated Worker Program-funded training.

A participant may ultimately be determined eligible for program-funded training if s/he:

  • is not considered economically self-sufficient and needs training to obtain economic self-sufficiency;
  • OR
  • is considered economically self-sufficient but is unlikely to remain so without training.14

Note: If a participant can obtain or retain economic self-sufficiency through career services only, training is not approvable.15

The career planner must use the results from the CEPT "Self-sufficiency" widget to determine whether the participant is considered economically self-sufficient for purposes of receiving program-funded training.

A participant who has been approved for training will not lose eligibility for training if s/he becomes economically self-sufficient later in his or her period of participation.

Participants Expected to Lose ESS

There are two instances when a career planner may approve program-funded training even though the participant is considered economically self-sufficient:

  1. the participant is working but has received a notice of termination or layoff;
  2. OR
  3. the participant is expected to lose economic self-sufficiency within six months (e.g., expecting a child, spouse will need to stop working due to illness or to care for child or aging parent).16

For participants in one of these two situations, career planners must perform an initial ESS calculation with current information. To support program-funded training, the career planner must also perform another ESS calculation in CEPT that reflects the upcoming change(s) that will cause the participant to lose economic self-sufficiency and add a comment to the case note the CEPT system automatically generates to describe the anticipated change in circumstances. The participant could also begin the initial and/or subsequent calculation(s) through the Self-sufficiency Calculator in My JCW and share the calculation(s) with the career planner.

Reassessing ESS for Participants Whose Circumstances Have Changed

If a participant who was economically self-sufficient when the ESS calculation was initially performed has a change in income, household composition, or county of residence during the Title I program period of participation, the career planner or participant may perform a new ESS calculation. Subsequent calculations that demonstrate the loss of economic self-sufficiency may be used to support program-funded training and are valid for the remainder of the participant's Title I period of participation. If a new ESS calculation is performed to support program-funded training, the career planner must add a comment to the case note the CEPT system automatically generates. This comment must describe the change in the participant's circumstances that led to the new calculation being performed.

The career planner may wish to perform a new ESS calculation as an informational tool, even if a participant is not interested in training.

Other Ways to Use the ESS Standard

Career planners may wish to use ESS calculations in a variety of other ways to increase the quality of services provided under the Adult Program and Dislocated Worker Program. Examples include:

  • identifying occupations that would likely result in economic self-sufficiency using county-level occupational wage data;
  • measuring progress for participants embarking on a career pathway;
  • determining whether a participant has met the program goal of securing employment resulting in economic self-sufficiency;
  • and
  • using the breakdown of typical basic monthly expenses from the ESS calculator results to assist an individual with budgeting.

  • 1 WIOA Sec. 2(6)
  • 2 TEGL 03-15, p. 6
  • 3 WIOA Sec. 134(a)(3)(A)(xii); 20 CFR § 682.210(p)
  • 4 DWD-DET does not define "household" for purposes of assessing economic self-sufficiency. Career planners are to determine what constitutes an individual's household on a case by case basis, to best address financial responsibilities the individual may have for others (e.g., children and other family members who may not live with the participant full time).
  • 5 82 FR 23596
  • 6LLSIL uses the term "family," however, for purposes of ESS determinations only, career planners are to use household size instead of the potentially stricter definition of "family." The foundation for DWD-DET's ESS standard is household composition, therefore, use of "family" may not allow for equal comparison between the various criteria used in its definition of economic self-sufficiency.
  • 7 In 2016, DWD-DET contracted with the University of Washington to create an initial statewide data set and report to determine the income needed to cover an ordinary household's basic needs (aka its ESS level), taking into account household composition and county of residence. The data comes from federal and state sources. DWD-DET plans to update the data set approximately every three years to reflect changes in costs of basic needs. More information about the University of Washington's work on this topic can be accessed at http://www.selfsufficiencystandard.org/node/3.
  • 8 See footnote 7.
  • 9 See footnote 6.
  • 10 DWD-DET uses 80 percent, consistent with the Trade Adjustment Assistance Program's definition for "suitable employment," at 20 CFR § 617.22(a)(1). The intent of this ESS criterion is to address dislocated workers who are accustomed to earning wages that exceed 125 percent of the ESS level.
  • 11 The 75th percentile is calculated as part of DWD-DET's Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates. The intent of this ESS criterion is to address dislocated workers who are accustomed to earning wages that exceed 125 percent of the ESS level and who are overall high wage earners within their county of residence.
  • 12 DWD-DET will update the data set for the ESS Guidance: Bordering Counties tool approximately every three years to reflect changes in costs of living.
  • 13 Self-sufficiency is determined after program eligibility; it is not part of the Adult Program or the Dislocated Worker Program eligibility criteria.
  • 14 20 CFR § 680.210 states that participants are eligible for program-funded training if, among other things, they are "unlikely or unable to obtain or retain employment that leads to wages comparable to or higher than wages from previous employment" without training. DWD-DET interprets this language as only applying to dislocated workers. DWD-DET's ESS definition addresses this language by allowing a higher level for economic self-sufficiency for dislocated workers.
  • 15 20 CFR § 680.210(a)(1)
  • 16 DWD-DET has determined that six months is a reasonable amount of time to consider future changes that could cause a participant to lose self-sufficiency.

Content being developed.



Current Income

Effective date: October 24, 2019

DWD-DET considers current income to be an individual's income at the time the ESS calculation is performed. If an individual is separated from employment the same day the ESS calculation is performed, income from that employment is not counted, even if the individual has not yet received his or her final paycheck.



U.S. Armed Forces

Effective date: October 1, 2017

The U.S. Armed Forces include the Army, Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard and their reserves.



Period of Participation

Effective date: July 26, 2019

Period of participation refers to the period of time beginning when an individual becomes a participant and ending on the participant's date of exit from the program.

TEGL 10-16 Change 1, Attachment 1



English Language Learner

Effective date: August 20, 2018

English Language Learner means an individual who has limited ability in reading, writing, speaking, or comprehending the English language because English is not his or her native language OR he or she lives in a family or community environment where a language other than English is the dominant language.

WIOA Sec. 3(21); WIOA Sec. 203(7); TEGL 21-16, p. 3



Household composition

Effective date: July 26, 2019

DWD-DET defines household composition as the number of individuals who are members of a household and their ages.



Eligibility Determination

Effective date: July 26, 2019

DWD-DET defines eligibility determination as applying the information collected during program registration to the eligibility criteria to see if the individual is eligible for the program.

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