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   Workforce Update - January 14, 2008

National Current Developments

 H-2B Workers Cap Reached
The Department of Homeland Security's Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS) announced that as of January 2, 2008, the cap for H-2B visas for the second half of fiscal year 2008 had been reached.  This period is for an employment start date after April 2, 2008.  The H-2B workers fill seasonal or one-time temporary labor needs in occupations such as construction, health care, landscaping, lumbering, manufacturing, food services, food processing and resort and hospitality services.  CIS plans to continue processing petitions to extend the stay of current H-2B workers in the United States, change their terms of employment, or allow them to change or add employers.

ETA Provides States with Information on FY 2007 and FY 2008 Rescissions
The Employment and Training Administration has sent a memorandum to State Workforce Agency Administrators providing them with information on the FY 2007 and FY 2008 rescissions and prospective reductions for PY 2008 for WIA Adult, Dislocated Workers and Youth programs as enacted by Congress and signed by the President.  The memo explains the additional complexity of the situation since there are three separate rescissions with span several program years as well as a reduction in the upcoming FY 2008 allocation which has yet to be applied.  Further explanation of the rescission will be provided during a conference call that ETA has scheduled with states on Monday, January 14 at 2:00 p.m., EST.  Notice about the call was sent by ETA to all State Workforce Agency Administrators and they were encouraged to invite their budget and finance directors to participate as well.

 The memorandum sent by ETA includes a number of charts that provide preliminary estimates of the impact for each state of the retroactive rescissions.  Additional guidance in the form of a TEGL, along with final estimates will be sent to states by mid-February or earlier.

 In addition to the memo, ETA has developed a draft set of Questions and Answers on the rescissions, as well as a map that depicts the impact of the rescissions by state, based on the preliminary estimates.  The Q&A states that Congress enacted the rescissions in the FY 2008 and the FY 2007 appropriation acts, and the Department of Labor is required to implement them.  It is important to note that the Department of Labor's FY 2008 Budget Proposal recommended a rescission of $335 million from WIA funds.

 Please see the following links to view the documents:

Rescission Map
Rescission Question and Answer Document
Rescissions to be Applied in FY2008
Rescission Table

 Unfortunately, the rescissions are final and cannot be reversed.  For the future, States are encouraged to keep their Congressional Delegations informed about the impact on their workforce services in the state.  The upcoming FY 2009 budget process will kick off in a few weeks when the President unveils his proposed FY 2009 budget in early February.

 ETA Senior Staff Changes Continue
The departure of ETA Assistant Secretary Emily Stover DeRocco on January 3 and several senior staff retirements has prompted a number of personnel changes at the Employment and Training Administration.  In addition to the retirements of Jack Rapport, administrator of Field Operations and Tony Swoope, administrator of the Office of Apprenticeship, Jennifer McNelly who
headed up the Business Relations Group and most recently the Office of Regional Innovation and Transformation (ORIT), has announced she is leaving ETA to accept a position outside of government.  Byron Zuidema, administrator of the Chicago Regional Office, will be "acting" administrator of the Office of Financial and Administrative Management (OFAM) and Helen Parker will serve as "acting" administrator of ORIT until these positions are filled.

 John Ladd has been appointed as the new administrator of Apprenticeship, and Jacqui Shoholm will be moving to ORIT. In addition, Chris Paslawski will be returning to ETA from another agency in the Department to work in the Office of Policy Development and Research, focusing on budget issues.  Finally, Ralph DiBattista will move into the deputy administrator role in the Office of National Response (ONR) and Erin Fitzgerald will serve as the "Acting" Trade Director until the position is filled.

 ETA Shares Vision on STEM
The Employment and Training Administration has released Training and Employment Notice (TEN) 23-07.  The TEN provides the Department of Labor's vision for the public workforce systems role in developing the talent needed for high growth industries requiring science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) skills.

 The TEN catalogues the Department's current contributions to a stronger STEM pipeline, and examines the role of the public workforce system in building and sustaining a prepared STEM workforce.  It provides synopses of programs and initiatives which are "potential resources for furthering the acquisition of STEM skills among adult and youth learners."  The TEN also conveys a report (The STEM Workforce Challenge: The Role of the Public Workforce System in a National Solution for a Competitive Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Workforce) prepared for the Department by Jobs for the Future.  

 For a copy of the TEN, go to: http://wdr.doleta.gov:80/directives/corr_doc.cfm?DOCN=2568

 ETA Proposes Revision to Information Collection for WOTC Program
The Employment and Training Administration (ETA) has proposed the extension, with revisions, of the collection of information and use of program materials for the consolidated Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) program.

 Legislation signed by the President last May extended and modified the WOTC Program for a continuing 44-month period through August 31, 2011. The new provisions and amendments to certain target groups apply to new hires that begin to work for an employer after May 25.  Previous legislation consolidated the program by merging the Welfare-to-Work Tax Credit into the WOTC, as well as streamlining the program and to make it easier for the business sector to participate.  As a result, there are numerous reporting, processing and administrative forms and materials for the program, including implementation of an automated system for processing and reporting. 

 The January 9 Federal Register provides full background, summarizes burden hour estimates and describes the desired focus for public comment.  This notice also provides instructions for obtaining a copy of the information collection request and the submission of comments.  Comments are requested by March 10.

 ETA Publishes Five-Year Research, Demonstration, and Evaluation Plan (2007 - 2012)
Under Section 171 of Workforce Investment Act (WIA), the Secretary of Labor is required to submit, every two years, a plan that describes demonstration and pilot, multi-service, research and multi-state projects.  The Strategic Plan focuses on priorities for the Employment and Training Administration (ETA) with respect to employment and training for the five-year period following the plan.  The January 3, 2008 Federal Register contains The Five-Year Research, Demonstration, and Evaluation Strategic Plan for 2007-2012. 

A downloadable PDF copy of the plan will be available on the ETA Occasional Paper Web site.

For additional information, please contact Heidi M. Casta, USDOL/ETA, Office of Policy Development and Research; phone: (202) 693-3700; e-mail: casta.heidi@dol.gov

News from NGA

Additional Materials Posted on NGA 2007 Workforce Development Policy Forum, "Competing in an Innovation Economy," Wiki
A number of additional presentations and documents have been posted on the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices' 2007 Workforce Development Policy Forum conference website or "Wiki."  The Forum was held in December in Washington, DC.  These additional materials include Emily DeRocco's remarks and summaries of the various plenary sessions and breakouts and links to numerous other presentations. 

For those who attended the Forum, we encourage you to complete the electronic evaluation that is available on the Wiki.  It can be returned by e-mail or fax.  If returned by fax, please alert Tiffany Boiman by e-mail at tboiman@nga.org

To access the Wiki, go to: http://innovationandprosperity.pbwiki.com/  

Announcements

The Next Skills Academy for Sector Leaders Announced 

To support the next generation of innovative leaders in sectoral workforce development, the Sector Skills Academy was created to provide a unique opportunity for peer learning, skills development, and professional growth.   The Sector Skills Academy is a joint project of the Aspen Institute's Workforce Strategies Initiative and Public/Private Ventures, with principle support from the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation.

Designed for leaders from states, community-based organizations, community colleges, labor-management partnerships and business associations, the Academy is a year-long program involving workshops, mentoring, technical assistance and peer support. During the three 3-day workshop participants will hear from leading sectoral practitioners, share ideas and experiences, and develop relationships that will influence the future of sectoral workforce development strategies.  

The Academy's fourth class of approximately 25 participants will begin in June 2008. In addition to being exposed to innovative ideas and creative leaders in today's sectoral development field, participants also have the opportunity to work one-on-one with experienced professionals serving as mentors.

 

Applications to the Academy will be accepted through March 3, 2008. To learn more about the Academy, visit: www.sectorskillsacademy.org.   If you are ready to apply you can download an application and send it in.

 *Prepared by Kathleen Cashen and edited by NGA Center staff
  Provided as a service for states participating in the NGA Center EVT Fee-for-Service Program
**Excerpt from NGA's "This Just In"

 Martin Simon
Director
Workforce Development Programs
NGA Center for Best Practices
444 N. Capitol Street, Suite 267
Washington, DC  2001-1512
P 202-624-5345
F 202-624-5313
msimon@nga.org