Final WIOA Rule Released

Rachel Zinn
July 1, 2016

The Departments of Labor and Education yesterday released final Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) regulations and performance reporting requirements.

The final rules maintain language from the proposed regulations, clarifying that individual Unemployment Insurance (UI) wage records may be shared with “public officials” at a variety of education entities for performance reporting required by WIOA or other laws. These include state education agencies, postsecondary commissions, Boards of Regents, and technical or community colleges.

This clarification will facilitate states matching UI wage records with student data to report aggregate outcomes for program completers. Aggregate employment outcomes are important to help WIOA participants pick training programs that lead to good jobs, and help policymakers see that programs are getting results.

The rules do not allow disclosure of individual UI wage records to non-public institutions (for-profit or non-profit). WDQC recommendations on the proposed WIOA regulations suggested that a limited amount of UI wage record information be available to these schools. The Departments did not change the regulation in response to this suggestion, but promised further guidance on use of wage records.

The Departments also recommit to updating the Wage Record Interchange System (WRIS) to improve reporting on WIOA participants across state lines. 

The final rules generally made few changes from earlier proposals on performance issues, but notable new information includes:

  • Use of Supplemental Data. The final rule permits the use of supplemental data sources, in addition to UI wage records, for performance reporting. The Departments took this position in response to several comments about the need for additional data sources when WIOA participants cannot be found in wage records, such as those who do not provide Social Security Numbers or are self-employed. Future guidance will provide details on what data sources are allowed.
  • Common exit. The Departments previously asked for comments about whether program exit should be defined as exit from multiple WIOA programs. The final rules give states the option to use a common exit for programs funded by Department of Labor. It is not currently required, though the rule says the Departments envision all states moving in this direction over time. 
  • Adjusting performance targets. For all WIOA programs, negotiation of performance targets will include use of a statistical model that adjusts outcomes based on economic and participant characteristics. The proposed adjustment factors are described in Sec. 677.170. The Departments determined that additional factors may be used without being specified in regulation, and will consider adopting other factors in the future. 

The regulations ​​will be published in the Federal Register in July and be effective 30 days after published. WDQC will continue reviewing the final regulations and performance documents in the coming weeks, and will participate in a National Skills Coalition webinar about the rules on July 12.