Labor Department Updates WIOA Reporting

Rachel Zinn
January 20, 2017

For the first time, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) plans to collect detailed information about Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) training provider programs, including the specific credentials that participants can receive.

This week, DOL proposed an amended information collection request that specifies additional data for states to report about training programs eligible to receive funding under WIOA Title I. It includes about a dozen new data points about training providers, including cost information, program length, occupations for which the program prepares students, and the “specific name of certificate, certification, license, or degree participants can receive (e.g., Certified Welding Inspector [CWI]).”

The information request also requires a narrative performance report from states of up to 25 pages about best practices and lessons learned, including implementation of sector strategies and career pathways.

Information about WIOA implementation will help DOL assess how well the program is working to help participants earn credentials and obtain good jobs. The new requirements for credential reporting also will add to the growing body of knowledge how different types of credentials connect with occupations and have value in the labor market.

WDQC recommendations call for a national credentials directory that captures information about credentials earned by participants in federally-funded workforce programs, including the data that DOL is now requesting.

While we appreciate the additional data fields for eligible training provider reporting, the information request could be more clear about the process for calculating employment outcomes. States can collect much of the required information from aggregate data reported by each training provider, but it will be difficult for many providers to accurately calculate employment outcomes on their own. Instead, we recommend that states develop processes to collect individual-level data from eligible training providers for wage record matching.

Public comments on the new information collection are due March 20.

DOL also issued guidance recently that builds on WIOA performance rules. The guidance:

• Confirms that data sources other than Unemployment Insurance (UI) wage records may be used for employment reporting when necessary, such as for self-employment. Future guidance will elaborate on how to report data from supplemental sources.

• Clarifies the definition of recognized postsecondary credentials, which include degrees, certificates, licenses, and certifications “awarded in recognition of an individual’s attainment of technical or industry/occupational skills.” Work readiness certificates do not qualify.

• Explains that skill gains may be measured through five different methods for WIOA core programs, except Title II adult education programs, which may only use two of the five methods. National Skills Coalition comments previously objected to Title II having more limited measures of skill gains than other WIOA programs, because it may inhibit program cooperation.

• Requires states to track co-enrollment and give unduplicated participant counts for each program, which may require reporting system modifications.

• Clarifies that incumbent worker training participants are not included in performance measures, but some data will be reported.

• Provides details on how to report data on participants who exit and re-enter programs.

• Offers examples for calculating performance indicators for each program and then calculating an average indicator score across programs.

• Confirms that states must choose two of three employer service indicators: worker retention with the same employer, repeat employer customers, or employer penetration rate (portion of all state employers using services).