Public Notice (March 30, 2018)
Notification for Public and Local Board Comments
In accordance with the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), Public Law 113-128 and its implementing regulations at 20 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) 676.145, the State of Missouri is submitting a modification to its Combined State Workforce Development Plan, which is subject to the requirements outlined in 20 CFR 676.140 for public review and comment. A copy of this request has been provided to Local Board directors.
Any comments received will be forwarded to the United States Department of Labor and included as a modification to the State’s Combined Workforce Development Plan. Further, the impact of these waivers, should they be approved, will be assessed and their performance impact reported and summarized in the State’s WIOA Annual Report.
The state of Missouri seeks approval of the following statutory waivers in accordance with the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) at Section 189(i)(3) and the WIOA Regulations at 20 Code of Federal Regulation (CFR) 679.600 thru 679.640.
Request for Waiver of Regulatory Requirements
Regulatory Requirements to be Waived – Eligible Training Provider Performance for Non-WIOA
Missouri requests the consideration of a waiver from the requirements in WIOA, Sections 116 (related to performance) and 122 (related to the Eligible Training Provider List), and at 20 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) 677.230 and 20 CFR 680.400-680.530. In whole these regulations constitute a burdensome requirement for the collection and reporting of performance outcomes for all students, above and beyond WIOA participant students, participating in training programs listed on Missouri’s Eligible Training Provider System.
Missouri has been innovative in the implementation of significant improvements to its Eligible Training Provider List- denoted as the Eligible Training Provider System (ETPS) in Missouri. Since 2013, the workforce agency discontinued contracting with the State education agency to bring the ETPS in-house at the Division of Workforce Development (DWD). The system was taken from a paper application process to one fully completed on-line, including the online approval denotation and enabling local workforce development boards to select specific schools approved for their area. Missouri ETPS is recognized by school staff as a fully enhanced customer friendly user experience. In June of 2017 Missouri’s ETPS policy guidance was launched for WIOA compliance. Since January 2018 the system is being enhanced to integrate with Missouri’s new case management system to automate participant outcome reporting with the WIPS federal software.
The DWD has developed close leadership and working relationships with the Missouri Community College Association throughout this ETPS deployment process. Several significant challenges remain:
- Ensuring there is sufficient diversity of training programs to provide a robust market place for WIOA participants.
- Developing a fair and equitable approach to setting performance thresholds using context provided by providers and observed behavior of students.
- Reducing the burden on training providers to submit performance information which they do not uniformly research, follow-up with or verify outcomes.
- Significant proprietary schools that are effective training providers but do not have the resources to develop follow-up research, surveys or other outcome validation with students.
- Reticence for providers to be placed on the ETPS given this reporting burden for all students.
- While Missouri is fully prepared to report WIOA student outcomes and to begin to establish reasonable performance thresholds, subsequent years of actual data are needed for normalizing this information. The training providers themselves are reliant upon our case management system to provide reliable outcomes. Requiring the same oversight of all other, non-WIOA participants, is an unfunded burden that schools and the workforce system should not be responsible for eventually providing in collaboration with developing the context of the results for WIOA participants.
Waiver Goals and Outcomes:
- Remove the most significant disincentive for schools and training providers to participate in the ETPS, in anticipation of maximizing the available marketplace of training curriculum.
- Developing contextual research and establishing performance thresholds in partnership with Higher Education, the individual public and proprietary schools, and other labor market analysis to create truly engaged sector strategy connections to the ETPS.
- Enhanced ability of staff at local job centers to more effectively respond in meeting the needs of job seekers and employers alike.
Individuals impacted by the Waiver:
Missouri job seekers, the Job Center and DWD staff, and subcontracted service providers, especially the training provider staff will benefit from this waiver.
Monitoring Progress and Implementation of the Waiver:
DWD will provide annual on-site programmatic reviews that will include sampling and evaluation of how this waiver has impacted local programs, processing applications, enabling students and performance outcomes are being met.
Regulatory Requirements to be Waived – Excluding Work Experience for Measurable Skill Gain
Missouri requests the consideration of a waiver to include structured work experience in resulting the Measurable Skill Gain performance measure. WIOA Section 680.420 What is a “program of training services?” includes: One or more courses or classes, or a structured regimen, that provides the services in §680.200 and leads to:
- An industry recognized certification of certification, a certificate of completion of a registered apprenticeship, a license recognized by the State involved or the federal government, an associate or baccalaureate degree;
- Consistent with §680.350, a secondary school diploma or its equivalent;
- Employment; or
- Measurable skill gains toward a credential described in paragraph (a) or (b) of this section or employment.”
Because work experience does not count toward the Measurable Skill Gain performance indicator, there exists a disincentive to enrolling participants in work experience. Work experience in the WIOA Title I Adult and Dislocated worker programs is not considered education or training and so the measurable skill gain indicator does not apply to those participants engaged only in work experience under WIOA Title I Adult and Dislocated Worker programs. Missouri submits waiver consideration to argue that work experience should be considered at least a type of work-based training.
Missouri’s workforce development system has a history of contracted services being skilled at providing excellent outcomes in Work Experience programs. A foundation of experienced workforce development professionals can result in the design and delivery of structured work experience that is as meaningful in skill attainment as other activities that count in the measure.
Waiver Goals and Outcomes:
- If approved, this waiver will permit the number of participants in work experience program components to persist or even expand.
- Remove the disincentive to include work experience as a part of a continuum of program elements that result not only in demonstrated measurable skill gain, but employment and retention for participants.
- Contribute to maintaining or expanding success levels in the Measurable Skill Gain performance indicator.
Individuals impacted by the Waiver:
Missouri job seekers wishing to be part of a work experience program, the Job Center and DWD staff, and subcontracted service providers, will benefit from this waiver.
Monitoring Progress and Implementation of the Waiver:
DWD will provide annual on-site programmatic reviews that will include sampling and evaluation of how this waiver has impacted local programs and the processing of participant enrollment in work experience.
Regulatory Requirements to be Waived – Changing the time Limitations for Measurable Skill Gain
Missouri requests the consideration of a waiver of the time frame design in WIOA regulations (training guidance) for calculating the Measurable Skill Gain indicator. Under the existing regulations, participants enrolled later in the program year, such as June 1, are provided only 30 days to achieve a skill gain before beginning the next program year. If the same participant achieves a gain in July, they are still counted as a negative for the first year of participation. Missouri proposes the provision of a window of time for at least 60 days from the point of enrollment to achieve a skill gain.
Training and Employment Guidance Letter (TEGL) 10-16, Change 1, Section 6(E) states:
The Measurable Skill Gain indicator is the percentage of participants who, during the program year, are in education or training programs that lead to a recognized postsecondary credential or employment and who are achieving measurable skill gains, defined as academic, technical, occupational, or other forms of progress toward such a credential or employment.
Missouri proposes a solution to permit implementation of the waiver and at the same time permit submitted data to pass the Workforce Information Performance System software. Participants deemed eligible and scheduled for enrollment in the Measurable Skill Gain indicator, by May 1 each program year, allowed to delay enrollment for WIPS edit checks reporting until July 1 of the next program year.
Goals and Outcomes
This waiver will increase the administrative ease of collecting data for the Measurable Skill Gain indicator, assist case managers in understanding how to enroll participants in the measure and it would increase the likelihood of achieving negotiated goals for this measure. Ultimately it eliminates a redundancy about the current method of calculation time-frame.
Individuals Impacted by the Waiver
All individuals enrolled in the Measurable Skill Gain indicator and thus the WIOA program categories they fall into.
Monitoring Process and Implementation of the Waiver
Missouri has a robust data capture capacity to enable a comparison of using the old method compared to the method sought within the waiver sufficiently to determine its benefits. Administratively, it will provide guidance, training and staff support for implementing the waiver.
Regulatory Requirements waived – Reduce Out-of-School Youth Expenditure Mandate
This waiver request will assist Missouri to further enhance its existing efforts designed to establish a talent pipeline that will address the labor market needs of local Missouri businesses and attract new business to the state supported by a skilled workforce
Missouri is requesting the following waivers to this regulatory provision:
- A waiver of the requirement to expend 75 percent of funding on the out-of-school (OSY) population. Missouri is requesting that this percentage be lowered to 50 percent.
- A waiver of the requirement that local funding must meet the 75 percent minimum expenditure requirement. It is requested to allow a state-level Out-of-School Youth target instead of requiring individual areas to each meet the minimum expenditure requirement.
- A waiver of the requirement to expend 75 percent of Statewide Activities funding on the OSY population. It is requested to eliminate this percentage to allow flexibility of funding for special projects that meet the vision and mission of the state.
The State of Missouri has demonstrated its commitment to emerge as a leader in the country with the expansion of its apprenticeship program. In 2016, Missouri received a federal grant of $1.5 million dollars to support Missouri’s registered apprenticeship program. Recently, the Missouri Division of Workforce Development (DWD) has earmarked another $3.9 million in funding to expand the program. The agency has pledged to support opportunities for students and workers in high growth industries in the state including the healthcare, information technology, and advanced manufacturing sectors.
DWD and the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) are developing registered apprenticeships for youth and young adults aged sixteen and older. Both pre-apprenticeships and apprenticeships allow high school junior and seniors to simultaneously further education options and earn wages. Youth apprentices face a lower risk of dropping out of high school, and are engaged in a transition to post-secondary education. The Missouri Research and Information Center (MERIC) has found that job openings that require education and skill level beyond high school are in high growth occupational fields and pay higher salaries.
This waiver request will provide Local Workforce Development Boards (LWDBs) the flexibility to serve more youth and young adults in work-based learning and the apprenticeship model regardless of school status. It will facilitate the provision of the necessary funding and the ease of current regulations essential to designing programs that will aid youth and youth adults in the preparation for long-term participation in the Missouri labor force. Economic growth in Missouri and its high-growth industries will be sustained with the infusion of skilled workers ready to fill current job openings and adequately trained for future openings.
Actions the State has undertaken to remove State of local barriers:
There are currently no state or local statutory or regulatory barriers to implementing the requested waiver. The state of Missouri regulations, policy guidance and issuances are in compliance with federal law.
Waiver Goals and Outcomes:
To increase the number of youth and young adults prepared to enter post-secondary training or registered apprenticeships. With the approval of this waiver, it will create a supply of workers introduced in high school to apprenticeship models that will serve as a springboard to the state’s high growth industries and occupations. The United States Department of Labor and the state of Missouri have identified the apprenticeship model as a priority and a key mechanism to train a skilled workforce.
To increase the number of youth and young adults enrolled in pre-apprenticeship and apprenticeship, regardless of school status. With the approval of this waiver, the state of Missouri and Local Workforce Development Boards will have the flexibility to utilize federal funding to increase the number of youth and young adults enrolled in pre-apprenticeship and apprenticeship activities. Local Boards and youth staff will also have the ability to provide the comprehensive services needed and personal contact required to ensure student success.
Individuals, groups or populations benefiting from this waiver:
Missouri students and eligible youth population, Missouri’s employers and high-growth industries will benefit from this waiver.
Monitoring Waiver Implementation:
The Missouri DWD conducts annual WIOA on-site reviews of all its programs. Additionally, it can employ data capture sufficient to examine basic comparisons of outcomes for in-school vs. out-of-school programs sufficient to make conclusive statements about the policy implications of exercising the waiver compared to not reducing the expenditure limitation.
Comments about these waiver proposals are requested by Monday, April 30, 2018 by 5:00pm CST. Persons wishing to comment on these waivers for the “Missouri Combined State Plan Modifications” may mail them to:
Missouri Workforce Development Board
ATTN: Dave Overfelt
P.O. Box 1087
Jefferson City, MO 65102
Or send comments by FAX (573) 751-2370 (this is not a toll-free number or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.