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Summary of Responses and Comments

Summary of Responses and Comments

Prior to publication, draft policies were presented for public inspection. The Performance Advisory Committee, local workforce development boards and partner programs had an opportunity to comment on the Title I performance policy sections. The Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development Division of Employment Training (DWD-DET) appreciated the efforts of members of the public who reviewed and commented on this policy. Several commenters suggested edits to clarify the language used and to correct typographical errors. Generally, these suggestions were implemented in the final version.

11.5.7 Credential Attainment Rate

A commenter pointed out that the revised policy removed the positive performance incentive that had been gained by co-enrollment.

Response: Co-enrollment and related practices of "blending" and "braiding" fund sources are still encouraged by DOL and DWD. Given the clarifying guidance from DOL regarding which participants are included in the credential attainment rate/measurable skill gain indicator for Adult and Dislocated Worker programs, the "positive performance incentive" of receiving credit for a credential/measurable skill gain from a participant receiving training funded by a non-common exit program fund source is replaced with the reduction of risk associated with co-enrollment of participants who are in a training program funded by a program not in Wisconsin's common exit policy and do not attain a credential or measurable skill gain. The clarifying guidance is risk averse opposed to performance boosting for the Title I and TAA programs. DWD-DET programs are designed with the intention that multiple fund sources should be able to take "credit or accountability" in supporting an individual participant's ability to meet educational attainment standards as defined by the performance indicators.

Several commenters asked if specific certificates were considered credentials and certain exams were considered measurable skill gains.

Response: The comments are out of scope for the policy. The comments have been forwarded to the Credential Attainment Rate Workgroup at wisperforms@dwd.wisconsin.gov. Wisconsin's WIOA core programs and TAA established a workgroup to assist in determining what constitute a credential and measurable skill gains.

A commenter wanted to confirm whether a participant who received both On-The-Job training and an occupational classroom training still counted in the credential attainment rate denominator.

Response: Yes, On-the-Job Training and Customized Training services alone do not include the participant in the Credential Attainment Rate for the WIOA Title I Adult, Dislocated Worker and Trade Adjustment Assistance Act programs. However, DWD-DET notes that On-the-Job Training and Customized Training do not exclude participants from the Credential Attainment Rate when another qualifying form of training is received such as occupational classroom training.

A commenter requested further clarification of two statements that explained the relationship between training services and fund sources and the inclusion into the Credential Attainment Rate and Measurable Skill Gain indicators.

Response: DWD-DET modified the language to ensure the list referenced was clear to the reader.

11.5.8 Measurable Skill Gain

A commenter requested clarification on whether Title I staff are responsible for entering and tracking credential and measurable skill gain information even if Title I services are closed.

Response: The comment is out of scope for this policy since it intends to change operating procedures. Title I and Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) share responsibility for entering credential/measurable skill gain documentation as both programs are held to the same performance indicators and may share reported information. The comment was forwarded to the appropriate program area(s) for consideration.

A commenter inquired whether a previously entered measurable skill gain, not funded by a WIOA fund source, would still count in the performance indicators.

Response: DWD-DET If a participant still qualifies for the Measurable Skill Gain indicator due to having at least one training service funded by the WIOA Title I Adult, Dislocated Worker or Trade Adjustment Assistance program, the participant and the Measurable Skill Gain will be counted in the performance indicators. If the participant did not receive at least one training service funded by the WIOA Title I Adult, Dislocated Worker or Trade Adjustment Assistance program, the participant will not be included in the indicator nor does the participant receive a Measurable Skill Gain. Furthermore, there is not any federal restrictions that reported credentials and measurable skill gains must be earned using funding from WIOA Title I Adult, Dislocated Worker, Youth, National Dislocated Worker Grants, or Trade Adjustment Assistance Act fund sources. The federal clarifications and revisions only address the inclusion of participants in the Credential Attainment Rate and Measurable Skill Gain indicator denominators.

11.6 Exclusions

A commenter agreed that the timeframe qualifying an institutionalized participant for an exclusion from performance indicators did not have a minimum length however, requested further clarification on when this exclusion would apply.

Response: The Department's guidance is the exclusion may only be used when the participant is institutionalized and unable to continue to receive program services. TEGL 10-16 states "the participant exits the program because he or she has become incarcerated in a correctional institution or has become a resident of an institution or facility providing 24-hour support such as a hospital or treatment center during the course of receiving services as a participant." The exit is a direct result of the entry into the institution and the inability of the participant to continue services. There is flexibility in the length of time in an institution and each case must be reviewed for the appropriateness of continued services. For example: the participant who becomes institutionalized for 30 days and misses critical components of a training class causing the participant the inability to complete the training should be exited for exclusion and reviewed for reenrollment when the participant is prepared to complete services. The Department does not expect that participants that experience short term stays in an institution that do not impact the ability to continue services are exited from the program. For example, a participant who visits the hospital or stays in a hospital for a few days without interruption to their ability to participant in the WIOA program should not be exited for exclusion. There will be further guidance in the revised TEGL 10-16 regarding exclusions from WIOA performance indicators during the four quarters following exit. No changes will be made to the policy until further guidance from DOL is received.

11.15 Participant Triggering Services

A commenter asked why Adult and Dislocated Worker supportive services do not trigger nor extend participation.

Response: 20 CFR § 680.910 states, "Supportive services may only be provided to individuals who are: (1) Participating in career or training services as defined in WIOA secs. 134(c)(2) and (3); and Unable to obtain supportive services through other programs providing such services." TEGL 10-16 specifies the services that trigger participation are staff assisted career and training services. This applies to the Adult and Dislocated Worker Program support services, not Youth program supportive services. No changes to the policy will be made.

11.16 Credential Attainment Rate and Measurable Skill Gain Rate

A commenter raised concerns about partner program's ability to report training that would include the participant in the Credential Attainment Rate or Measurable Skill Gain Rates. A commenter asked if training not approved by the WDA would be included in the Credential Attainment Rate and Measurable Skill Gain. Another commenter asked if a participant who took less than 12 credits because the participant does not have time for more credits would be included as a measurable skill gain.

Response: Partner programs that report into ASSET have data validation requirements similar to the Title I programs. WIOA Core programs are required under Sec. 116 (d) to establish data validation procedures. Other ETA partner programs must comply with reporting requirements outlined in the ETA Specific Information Collection Requests. All partners in the one-stop center are expected to work together with each other to accurately report activity. All training/education provided by any WIOA core or partner program is reported in ASSET regardless of WDA approval. Partner programs must work together to assist participants meet their employment and education needs. Regarding the measurable skill gain, participants who are in postsecondary education and cannot earn 12 credits in 2 consecutive semesters do not meet the minimum credits to qualify for a measurable skill gain. States do not have the flexibility to lower the credit limits for part time and full-time students. Participants that do not meet the credit requirements of the state unit's policy for academic standards should be reviewed to determine if they meet any of the other 4 methods. No changes were made to the policy will be made.

11.21 Incumbent Worker Performance Policy

Collections concern and burden

A few commenters expressed concerns about the additional reporting requirements from the State of Wisconsin beyond what the Department of Labor requires. The commenter was concerned these requirements may discourage businesses from participating in government programs because of the burden and invasiveness of the collection. These commenters also requested clarity on the necessity to collect earning information three quarters prior to participation.

Response: USDOL Training Employment Guidance Letter 10-16, dated December 19, 2016, allows states and local areas to require additional data element collection from WIOA Incumbent Worker trainees. As outlined in the first paragraph of this policy, the State of Wisconsin requires additional data elements to strive towards providing efficient, effective, transparent and accountable government for its citizens. Businesses, stakeholders and incumbent workers enjoy the benefits of ensured long term quality of training providers, despite the short-term inconvenience. The first paragraph of this policy describes the department's cautious attitude towards additional data collection. It should be noted DWD-DET did not require elements such as disability status, race, ethnicity, veteran status, education levels, non-WIOA funded program involvement and many other elements that are required for WIOA program participants. The elements proposed were designed to enhance the experience of the public workforce system and return of information regarding program outcomes to its stakeholders. For example, collection of an incumbent worker's name, date of birth and gender are not federal mandated collection. These elements provide value by allowing workforce providers the opportunity to determine if an incumbent worker already has a unique identifying number. A unique identifying number is a mandatory report requirement. Collection of the incumbent worker's earnings during the three quarters prior to incumbent worker training allow evaluation to determine the impact incumbent worker training services have upon the businesses success and individual's earning ability. Three quarters of earnings prior to program entry were selected as the timeframe to provide a more complete picture of the work history prior to receipt of incumbent worker training. Our experience from the Dislocated Worker program is the quarter directly before program entry often provides anomalous results because of the economic condition, change in business practices or other circumstance that lead the business to become interested in incumbent worker training. Collection of the three quarters before program entry controls for these anomalous conditions. The state requires collection whether the individual is authorized to work in the United States to protect taxpayer funds from inadvertent services to individuals not authorized to work in the United States.

States are required to report business service activity in accordance with the approved Information Collection Requirement (OMB Control: 1205-0526, Expires 06-30-2019) necessitating the collection of the businesses information. The Department of Labor and Office of Management and Budget have determined the reporting burden of business information is necessary and acceptable for WIOA programs.

The first paragraph in the policy describes DWD-DET's cautious attitude towards additional data collection. Although it seeks to provide benefits to its stakeholders, businesses and clients, DWD-DET also is sensitive to privacy concerns of individuals involved in its programs. DWD-DET did not require many data elements such as disability status, race, ethnicity, veteran status, education levels, non-WIOA funded program involvement and several other elements that are required for WIOA program participants. The elements selected in addition to the federal requirements provide evaluative value for the incumbent worker program.

Reporting comments

A commenter asked if there would be additional guidance on how to record incumbent worker program services into the Automated System Support for Employment Training (ASSET). A second commenter expressed concern over when reporting incumbent worker courses would become effective and whether incumbent worker trainings that have already began or have completed would be subject to this policy.

Response: Wisconsin's WIOA Title I Technical Assistance Guide (TAG) provides step-by-step directions on how to input Incumbent Worker training services into ASSET and business services into JCW Business. Additional demonstrations are planned for new WIOA entries into ASSET and JCW Business throughout PY 17 and PY 18.

Any Incumbent Worker Training contracts using WIOA funds that are finalized after the effective date of this policy must include reporting the required elements. Reporting retroactive, prior to the effective date of this policy, incumbent worker information is not required, however is authorized. The workforce system is reminded that TEGL 10-16 Attachment 8, was published on December 19, 2016 and provides the federal collection requirements. Any contracts finalized after December 19, 2016 must collect and report the federal required data elements.

Requests to clarify definitions

A commenter inquired about the definition of UI Root Number. Another requested the employer eligibility criteria for participation in incumbent worker training in the policy.

Response: The UI Root Number is also known as the business's UI account number. Each business that is required to report quarterly earnings and employment history has an account number assigned by the Division of Unemployment Insurance. DWD-DET is changing UI root number to UI account number and making removing it from mandatory collection in the draft policy to strongly encouraged collection. The collection of this data element assists in the process of matching with proper business records in JCW-Business.

The WIOA Incumbent Worker Program employer eligibility criteria are defined by WIOA Public Law 113-128 Sec. 134 d (4) (ii) and WIOA Final Rule 20 CFR § 680.810. DWD-DET will provide additional program requirements in a separate policy. This policy is not intended to address program requirements associated with incumbent worker training programs. The policy is solely focused on data collection.

Social Security Number Collection

A commenter expressed desire for the state to encourage collection of the individual's social security number (SSN) as strongly as it does for other programs. Another questioned why the state was not requiring collection of the last 4 digits of the SSN for wage matching.

Response: Wisconsin supports the comment to encourage collection of the individual's social security number and the policy reads, "strongly encourages local WDBs to request each Incumbent Worker's social security number" to match outcomes with the wage file. Wisconsin believes this collection, although invasive, provides tremendous value and enhances the overall experience for program providers, businesses and incumbent workers by reducing repetitive follow-up for earning, employment information. Wisconsin nor United States Department of Labor are authorized to require collection of social security numbers for WIOA programs as outlined in the Privacy Act of 1974. Federal, state and local government agencies are prohibited from requiring disclosure of a social security number as a requirement for the provision of government services unless specified in statute. WIOA statute does not specify this requirement. Wisconsin DWD-DET strongly encourages the collection of the full nine-digit SSN to match unemployment insurance wage records.

Future WIOA Performance and Program Implications

A commenter asked what the relationship between incumbent worker training and WIOA performance and if additional funding opportunities for innovative pilots for Incumbent Worker Training were being considered.

Response: WIOA performance indicators outlined in 20 CFR § 677.155 only include program participants. WIOA funded incumbent worker trainees do not meet the definition of participants in 20 CFR § 677.150. Incumbent workers are not included in Adult, Dislocated Worker or Youth program performance indicators. Incumbent Workers that become enrolled as a program participant in any of these programs will be subject to the performance accountability system consistent with their program participation. Workforce professionals can analyze the federal required elements in TEGL 10-16, Attachment 8 and conclude there is a possibility of future federal performance implications that include incumbent workers. Any new federal performance indicators must be approved through the ICR process and approved by the Office of Management and Budget. Any additional indicators the state determines must be included in the combined state plan. Ample notification and lead time will be provided to the workforce system if any new indicators are created.

DWD-DET is not currently planning to conduct a statewide incumbent worker pilot project however, may in the future. DWD-DET through its monitoring process will share promising practices related to incumbent worker training programs between local areas. Local areas are reminded that incumbent worker training funds are available by reserving no more than 20% of a local area's Adult and Dislocated Worker allocation for programmatic activities only, for incumbent worker training or may be paid through Rapid Response funds.

Required Documentation Comments

A commenter asked if verification of being authorized to work in the United States may be through the verification of I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification or testament by employer.

Response: The methods of verifying form I-9 or written testament by the employer are acceptable methods of verifying the worker's authorization to work in the United States. While enforcement of immigration and customs law is not DWD-DET's primary focus, its workforce development programs must mitigate the chances of inadvertently aiding illegal activity.