Agencies Hear WIOA Input

by Rachel Zinn
November 21, 2014

WDQC staff and several of our partners — National Skills Coalition, CLASP, National Association of State Directors of Career Technical Education Consortium (NASDCTEc) and Center for Regional Economic Competitiveness — attended a town hall this week to speak with officials from the Departments of Labor and Education about performance requirements under the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA).

Federal leaders are drafting regulations to govern implementation of the law, which passed earlier this year. Draft regulations are scheduled for release in January.

The all-day town hall, held at Department of Labor’s headquarters, solicited input from national, state and local workforce development professionals about how to regulate portions of the law related to data and accountability. About 50 people attended in person, and hundreds participated online.

WDQC staff offered recommendations on multiple topics, including:

  • Credential reporting. The credential attainment measure includes a variety of credentials, including licenses and certifications, which are often challenging to track but are important to acknowledge, as they appear to have significant value in the labor market. Federal regulations on credential attainment reporting should strike a balance between incentivizing collection of better data and unfairly penalizing states that do not have the ability to reliably measure attainment of all types of credentials.

  • Adjusting performance targets. The Departments should use a statistical model to adjust performance targets for all programs, and use this model as a starting point for target negotiations. The statistical model should include as inputs both participant characteristics and economic conditions that would likely represent barriers to employment.

  • ETPL performance reporting. Clear guidance from the Departments will aid in implementation of the WIOA requirement that training providers with access to WIOA funding be able to report key information about their performance outcomes for all students. For states that are unable to immediately assist providers in determining employment outcomes, the unified planning process could be a way to encourage states to adopt best practices and ensure continued progress while not unfairly restricting WIOA participants’ access to training.

Measuring how well WIOA programs serve employers was another issue on the agenda. Program managers noted a number of possible metrics such as repeat employer customers, the portion of local employers served and the number of times employers referred other businesses to the program. Some commenters noted that the Departments should look at multiple metrics to capture the different ways that programs interact with employers.

Other topics included how to assess program participants’ skill gains and ways to build integrated fiscal and performance management systems.