Topics Of Interest
Infrastructure Week 2014 (May 12 – 16)
The Infrastructure Week 2014 Steering Committee has recently announced that Building America’s Future (BAF), a bipartisan coalition of elected officials dedicated to bringing about a new era of U.S. investment in infrastructure - has joined in the initiative to co-convene Infrastructure Week 2014, set to take place May 12-16th in Washington, D.C.
Infrastructure Week will be a series of events designed to build awareness and educate both the public and policy makers about America’s infrastructure challenges. If such challenges are not soon addressed in a long-term, strategic way; they will have enormous implications on America’s economic prosperity, jobs, and competitiveness.
The week will explore emerging solutions, innovative approaches, and best practices being developed nationwide to modernize aging infrastructure. Daily signature events organized by steering committee members will focus on major infrastructure challenges, including freight and goods movement, passenger transportation, and drinking water and wastewater treatment.
To learn more about Infrastructure Week 2014 visit www.infrastructureweek2014.com.
NASWA Publishes State Supplemental Funding Survey FY 2013
Over the last 20 years, the National Association of State Workforce Agencies (NASWA) has surveyed state workforce agencies to determine the amount of state funds used to supplement federal grants to operate a variety of federal workforce and unemployment insurance programs. The NASWA State Supplemental Funding Survey is the Association’s longest running survey, with NASWA collecting supplemental funding information from states since 1994.
The NASWA State Supplemental Funding Survey, overseen by the NASWA Administration and Finance Committee, helps gauge the actual expenditures for unemployment insurance (UI) administration, Wagner-Peyser Employment Services (ES), Workforce Investment Act (WIA) programs, labor market information (LMI) activities, interest payments on Title XII Unemployment Trust Fund balances, and any other activities which are supported with state funds, but cannot be classified into one single category. The four categories of funding sources include: State Penalty and Interest, State General Fund, State Administrative Tax, and Other Funds. In addition, the Survey captures how states have spent funds allocated to them from Reed Act Distributions.
The results from the FY 2013 NASWA State Supplemental Funding Survey show state supplemental funding appears to have turned a corner, as state budgets have moved from reductions in state spending due to a decline in economic activity during and after the Great Recession resulting in lower tax revenues, to slight increases in spending because of improved economic activity.
The following are some highlights from the fiscal (FY) 2013 NASWA State Supplemental Funding Survey:
• All fifty states, the District of Columbia and Guam responded to the NASWA Survey, representing the first time the survey has captured data for all states in a fiscal year.
• State workforce agencies contributed slightly more than $620 million dollars of state funds to the above mentioned programs and activities.
• Approximately 93 percent of all supplemental funds provided by states went to three primary programs: UI administration, ES and WIA, with UI receiving the most.
• Ninety-one percent of funds states used came from three sources in FY 2013: Other Sources, Administrative Taxes, and Penalty and Interest fees.
• States reported approximately $40 million in Reed Act funds used to supplement UI and ES operations. After FY 2010, Reed Act expenditures dropped substantially, with the lowest amount expended in FY 2013 over a ten year span.
• For FY 2013, states reported payment of approximately $755 million dollars in interest for Title XII UTF balances, with 50 percent coming from state general funds.
HHS/OCS/ACF Announces Opening of New Grant Cycle for Individual Development Accounts
The Office of Community Services (OCS) within the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) announced on March 7 that competing applications will be accepted for grants to administer projects for the national Assets for Independence (AFI) of Individual Development Accounts (IDAs). The projects will provide IDAs and related services to individuals and families with low incomes.
A primary feature of each AFI project is that participants save earned income in an IDA to purchase a home, capitalize or expand a business for self-employment, or attend postsecondary education or training. Projects also ensure that participants have access to financial education training and coaching, including family budgeting, debt and credit counseling, using mainstream financial products, and accessing refundable tax credits.
Participants use their IDA savings to purchase a first home, capitalize or expand a business for self-employment, or attend higher education or training.
As a condition of their federal AFI grant, grantees must provide non-federal funds to support their AFI project in an amount at least equal to the Federal AFI grant amount.
Deadlines for this “rolling” competition:
FY 2014: 05/07/2014 and 07/14/2014
FY 2015: 10/25/2014 and 04/20/2015
FY 2016: 10/19/2015 and 04/18/2016
National League of Cities Announces Homeless Veteran Leadership Network
The National League of Cities (NLC) announced on March 9 the Homeless Veteran Leadership Network" (HVLN), a national effort to challenge cities to meet the Administration''s goal to end veteran homelessness in 2015. Sixteen cities have initially signed on to the HVLN to meet the Administration's recent challenge to mayors by partnering with community stakeholders and offering support for strategies to end veteran homelessness. Each HVLN city will aim to engage in a "friendly competition" with another comparable city to be the next community to achieve this goal. The HVLN is co-chaired by NLC President Chris Coleman, Mayor of Saint Paul, Minn., NLC 1st Vice President Ralph Becker, Mayor of Salt Lake City, Utah and Mayor Greg Stanton of Phoenix, Ariz.
In 2013, NLC helped facilitate a "friendly competition" between Phoenix and Salt Lake City to see which city could end veteran homelessness first. Recently, both cities have announced that they succeeded in ending chronic veteran homelessness.
Participating cities will connect with existing and emerging efforts in their communities, form community partnerships and offer strong municipal support for strategies that put an end to veteran homelessness. The initial cities participating in the HVLN include:
• Saint Paul, Minn. • Salt Lake City, Utah • Phoenix, Ariz. • Minneapolis, Minn. • New Orleans, La. • Columbus, Ohio • Des Moines, Iowa • Washington, D.C. • Miami, Fla. • Winston-Salem, N.C. • Eugene, Ore. • Joplin, Mo. • Waco, Texas • Charlotte, N.C. • Little Rock, Ark. • Pittsburgh, Pa.
For more information on how to join the HVLN, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Funding Opportunity: Rescue & Restore Victims of Human Trafficking
The Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) within the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) has announced the availability of funds for its Rescue & Restore Victims of Human Trafficking Regional Program. Building on the work of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Rescue & Restore Victims of Human Trafficking Campaign, which began to establish local anti-trafficking coalitions, ORR seeks to continue and expand its efforts to increase identification of foreign victims of trafficking and promote local capacity to prevent human trafficking and protect victims of human trafficking.
Grant recipients will serve as focal points for the identification of foreign victims of severe forms of trafficking in persons as defined by the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 and their referral for protection and assistance in their targeted geographic area. Foreign victim identification activities include direct outreach to victims, anti-trafficking training and outreach to local professionals and organizations or entities that may encounter victims of trafficking, active participation in a strong-multidisciplinary anti-trafficking coalition or task force, and strategic public awareness activities.
Rescue & Restore Program grant recipients must build local capacity by providing training and technical assistance on human trafficking to local individuals and organizations that are not involved in the anti-trafficking coalition. These activities must improve the ability of these individuals and organizations to identify and assist victims of human trafficking in the geographic area of the project.
Topics for training and technical assistance must include, but are not limited to the following:
• The federal definition of severe forms of trafficking in persons; • Information about human trafficking, including types of trafficking and tactics used by traffickers to recruit and retain victims; • Indicators that a person may be a victim of human trafficking; • Community outreach strategies; • Safety protocols for those in direct contact with potential trafficking victims; • Modifications to organizations’ intake forms to screen for trafficking indicators; • Services available for foreign victims who have or have not yet received a Certification Letter or Eligibility Letter from ORR; • How trafficking victims become eligible for benefits and services to the same extent as refugees; • Continued Presence and T nonimmigrant status; • HHS anti-trafficking programs and resources; • Special considerations for child trafficking victims, which may include relevant legal and social welfare systems such as juvenile justice, child welfare, and immigration; and • State anti-trafficking laws in the specified geographic area.
IREC Calls for Comments on Standard for Clean Energy Certificate Programs
The Interstate Renewable Energy Council brings this opportunity to comment on Standard for Clean Energy Certificate Program to the attention of the workforce community.
In its role as an American National Standards Institute (ANSI) accredited standards developer and national leader in training credentials, the Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC) has undertaken standards activities to develop IREC Standard 14732:201X General Requirements for the Accreditation of Clean Energy Certificate Programs.
The proliferation of workforce-related training and credentialing programs in the clean energy sector has led to confusion in the marketplace and inconsistency in workforce skills. IREC has identified a need to differentiate between certification and certificate programs, and to describe best practices and requirements that form the foundation for accrediting clean energy certificate programs.
The scope of the draft standard is as follows:
This standard forms the foundation for the accreditation of certificate-awarding entities that develop and administer credit or non-credit clean energy related programs offered in formal educational institutions and other legal entities. For the purposes of this standard, clean energy technologies and practices include renewable energy, energy efficiency, distributed renewable energy generation, and other sustainability practices.
Impacted or interested parties are encouraged to provide comments on the content of the standard. Comments should be specific to requirement(s) of the standard and include sufficient detail so as to enable the reader to understand the commenter's position, concerns and suggested alternative language, if appropriate.
Comments will be accepted until April 14, 2014.
Use our survey tool to submit your comments.
Also see: Renewable Energy Competency Model
Asset Formation for Low-Income Individuals: CFED Selects Savings Innovation Learning Cluster Participants
Late last year, CFED announced a new venture in partnership with the MetLife Foundation, the Savings Innovation Learning Cluster (SILC). SILC will seek to foster the development and testing of innovative products and strategies that facilitate savings by low- and moderate-income (LMI) individuals and families. Through a learning cluster model, CFED will work with six organizations to develop, implement and evaluate their savings innovations and identify promising ideas that can then be further refined, replicated and brought to scale.
CFED announced 114 organizations submitted applications; a total of six were selected. • Cooperative Federal(Syracuse, NY) • John H. Boner Community Center (Indianapolis, IN) • Live the Solution (Tucson, AZ) • People’s Community Action Corporation (St. Louis, MO) • The Midas Collaborative (Boston, MA) • United Way for Greater Austin (Austin, TX)
In addition to peer learning, SILC members will receive targeted technical assistance from CFED to design and test their savings innovations. CFED will provide periodic updates on this project.
Powering Advanced Industries: A Dialogue on State Strategies
On February 20, the Metropolitan Policy Program at Brookings hosted a forum highlighting the importance of the nation’s advanced industries and state-level actions being taken to expand them. Brookings Vice President Bruce Katz and McKinsey Americas Advanced Industries Director Daniel Pacthod framed the discussion by describing the nature and importance of advanced industries. Their remarks were followed by a bipartisan dialogue between Govs. Haslam and Hickenlooper, discussing their efforts to expand key advanced industry clusters and the need for a supportive federal platform for those efforts.
The video and event materials from the forum are now available here.
MDRC Publishes Five New Briefs on Intersection of Welfare and Disability Programs
Both Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) serve low-income individuals with disabilities. Yet the two programs’ differences in approach and structure pose challenges to coordinating services. To understand how best to help TANF recipients with disabilities, the Administration for Children and Families and the Social Security Administration, the parent agencies of TANF and SSI, contracted with MDRC and its partners to conduct the TANF/SSI Disability Transition Project. The following publications were all produced as part of that research effort.
Overall, the project found that the overlap in populations between TANF and SSI is not large, suggesting that the interaction between the two programs has little to do with TANF recipients being pushed toward SSI due to changes in TANF policy, as some had thought. This new understanding of the interaction between welfare and disability may better position policymakers to address other important questions, including how best to provide services to meet the special employment and support needs of low-income adults with disabilities. Toward that end, the TANF/SSI Disability Transition Project profiled three promising pilot interventions in California, Michigan, and Minnesota that are intended to address how TANF and SSI can work together. Finally, the project developed two practice briefs — one a guide to SSI for TANF staff members and the other a description of assessment strategies used by local TANF agencies to identify the needs of clients with disabilities and offer them appropriate services.
Connections Between TANF and SSI: Lessons from the TANF/SSI Disability Transition Project
. This brief summarizes the project’s findings overall, covering the analysis of merged data, field assessments, and the pilot interventions.
Examining the Interaction Between Welfare and Disability: Lessons from an In-Depth Data Analysis
This brief uses MDRC’s analysis of merged national-level TANF and SSI data — two rich data sources that have never before been linked — to better understand the extent of the two programs’ overlap.
The TANF/SSI Disability Transition Project: Innovative Strategies for Serving TANF Recipients with Disabilities
This report describes the implementation and findings of three promising pilot interventions intended to address how TANF and SSI can work together.
Understanding Supplemental Security Income (SSI): A Guide for TANF Staff Members
This brief compares the SSI disability determination process with TANF procedures, discusses how some TANF agencies gauge who is likely to qualify for SSI, and reviews the employment support programs of both.
Assessing and Serving TANF Recipients with Disabilities
This practice brief describes assessment strategies used by local TANF agencies and organizations to identify the needs of clients with disabilities and offer them appropriate services. It discusses the strengths and weaknesses of these various strategies and offers points to consider in choosing methods.
Department of Education Releases New Guidance on Protecting Student Privacy While Using Online Educational Services
The U.S. Department of Education's Privacy Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) has recently released new guidance to help school systems and educators interpret and understand the major laws and best practices protecting student privacy while using online educational services.
The guidance summarizes the major requirements of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and the Protection of Pupil Rights Amendment (PPRA) that relate to these educational services, and urges schools and districts to go beyond compliance to follow best practices for outsourcing school functions using online educational services, including computer software, mobile applications and web-based tools.
"As an education community, we have to do a far better job of helping teachers and administrators understand technology and data issues so that they can appropriately protect privacy while ensuring teachers and students have access to effective and safe tools," said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. "We must provide our schools, teachers and students cutting-edge learning tools—and we must protect our children's privacy. We can accomplish both—but we will have to try harder to do it."
Recent advances in technology and telecommunications have dramatically changed the landscape of education in the United States and resulted in the proliferation of student data. Today's classrooms increasingly employ on-demand delivery of personalized content, virtual forums for interacting with other students and teachers, and a wealth of other interactive technologies that help foster and enhance the learning process. While these technologies have the potential to transform the educational process, they also raise new questions about how best to protect student privacy.
The Department is issuing this guidance to answer questions from schools, districts and vendors about how student data can and should be used, what steps are necessary to protect students' privacy, and how to prevent the misuse, abuse and commercialization of students' information. The guidance addresses a range of concerns regarding the security and privacy of student data. For example: "What does FERPA require if personally identifiable information from students' education records is disclosed to a provider?" and, "Do FERPA and PPRA limit what providers can do with the student information they collect or receive?"
The guidance is online at http://ptac.ed.gov.
The Department established PTAC as a one-stop resource for education stakeholders to learn about data privacy, confidentiality, and security practices related to student-level longitudinal data systems and other uses of data. PTAC provides timely information and updated guidance on privacy, confidentiality, and security practices through a variety of resources, including training materials and opportunities to receive direct assistance with privacy, security, and confidentiality of student data systems.
Kauffman Foundation’s Announces “America’s New Entrepreneurial Growth Agenda”
The Kauffman Foundation has recently released a video and policy brief highlighting ideas to spur entrepreneurial growth. The new research initiative called America''s New Entrepreneurial Growth Agenda, which is geared toward identifying ways the United States can foster a faster-growing and more broad-based entrepreneurial economy.
Manufacturing Sector: NIST Invites Applications from Eligible Florida Applicants to Administer MEP Center
The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) announced it is inviting applications from eligible applicants for funding one MEP center in the State of Florida. The objective of the MEP center is to provide manufacturing extension services to primarily small- and medium-sized manufacturers in the state of Florida. The MEP center will become part of the MEP national system of extension service providers, currently comprised of more than 400 centers and field offices located throughout the United States and Puerto Rico.
Applications are due by May 14. The earliest anticipated start date for awards made under this notice and the corresponding Federal Funding Opportunity (FFO) announcement is expected to be October 1, 2014.
Economic Competitiveness, Trade as Source of Jobs: Executive Order 13659 – Streamlining the Export/Import Process for America’s Business
Executive Order 13659 “Streamlining the Export’/Import Process for America’s Businesses” was recently published in the FEDERAL REGISTER.
… In particular, we must increase efforts to complete the development of efficient and cost-effective trade processing infrastructure, such as the International Trade Data System (ITDS), to modernize and simplify the way that executive departments and agencies (agencies) interact with traders. We must also improve the broader trade environment through the development of innovative policies and operational processes that promote effective application of regulatory controls, collaborative arrangements with stakeholders, and a reduction of unnecessary procedural requirements that add costs to both agencies and industry and undermine our Nation''s economic competitiveness. By demonstrating our commitment to utilizing technology, coordinating government processes, fulfilling international obligations, and embracing innovative approaches to promote new opportunities for trade facilitation in the 21st century, we can lead by example and partner with other countries willing to adopt similar programs. This will encourage compliance with applicable laws and, more broadly, result in a more prosperous, safe, secure, and sustainable trading environment for all.
Also see: WWW.BUSINESS.USA.GOV
Business Engagement: SBA Announces April – June Meetings of the National Small Business Development Center
Business Engagement: SBA Announces April – June Meetings of the National Small Business Development Center The Small Business Administration announced today that conference calls of the National Small Business Development Center (SBDC) Advisory Board will be held on:
• Tuesday, April 15, 2014 at 1:00pm EST • Tuesday, May 20, 2014 at 1:00pm EST • Tuesday, June 17, 2014 at 1:00pm EST
National Advisory Committee on Racial, Ethnic and Other Populations to Address Census Issues on March 20 – 21
The Census Bureau has published a notice that the National Advisory Committee on Racial, Ethnic and Other Populations (NAC) will meet in plenary session on March 20 – 21. The NAC will address census policies, research and methodology, tests, operations, communications/messaging, and other activities to ascertain needs and best practices to improve censuses, surveys, operations, and programs.
Department of Education Seeks Comment on Information Collection – Measuring Educational Gain in the National Reporting System for Adult Education
The Department of Education has published the thirty-day notice today for “Measuring Educational Gain in the National Reporting System for Adult Education.
Title 34 of the Code of Federal Regulations part 462 establishes procedures the Secretary uses to consider literacy tests for use in the National Reporting System (NRS) for adult education. This information is used by the Secretary to determine the suitability of published literacy tests to measure and report educational gain under the NRS.
The Office of Management and Budget projects 15 respondents with a total burden hour estimate of 600 hours.
Click here for the notice. Comments are due by March 27.
VEVRAA: DOL/VETS Publishes Notice of Proposed Rulemaking Proposing Changes to Federal Contractor and Subcontractor Reporting
The Department of Labor Veterans’ Employment and Training Service today has published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) to propose revisions to the regulations implementing the reporting requirements under the Vietnam Era Veterans' Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974, as amended, (VEVRAA). VEVRAA requires Federal contractors and subcontractors to annually report on the total number of their employees who belong to the categories of veterans protected under the Act, and the total number of those employees who were hired during the period covered by the report.
• The NPRM proposes rescinding the regulations which prescribe the reporting requirements applicable to Government contracts and subcontracts entered into before December 1, 2003, because VETS believes the regulations have become obsolete.
• The NPRM proposes revisions to the regulations which prescribe the reporting requirements applicable to Government contracts and subcontracts of $100,000 or more entered into or modified on or after December 1, 2003.
• The NPRM proposes revising the annual report prescribed by the regulations to require contractors and subcontractors to report the specified information for protected veterans in the aggregate rather than for each of the categories of veterans protected under the statute.
• The NPRM proposes renaming the annual report prescribed by the regulations the Federal Contractor Veterans' Employment Report VETS-4212 (`VETS-4212 Report).
• The NPRM proposes to revise regulations that address the definitions of terms used in the regulations, the text of the reporting requirements clause included in Government contracts and subcontracts, and the methods of filing the annual report on veterans' employment.
VETS proposes that contractors begin complying with the reporting requirements in the revised regulations one year after the effective date of the final rule.
Comments are due by April 25, 2014.
Education Commission of the States Offers Summaries and Databases on Career Technical Education, Dual Enrollment, STEM, and Executive Branch and Legislative Branch Activity
The Education Commission of the States has provided this helpful update on the release of some of its recent publications as well as databases for the workforce community interested in career technical education, dual enrollment programs and STEM strategies.
Section of the dual enrollment database that describes CTE-specific components to dual enrollment programs:
Landing page for the full database:
ECS monitors state activity on CTE, including enrolled/enacted/vetoed legislation, substantive changes to administrative code, and executive orders:
ECS also tracks economic/workforce development policy initiatives:
and STEM initiatives: http://www.ecs.org/ecs/ecscat.nsf/WebTopicView?OpenView&count=-1&RestrictToCategory=STEM
2014 State of the State Addresses Education-Related Proposals by Educational Issue http://www.ecs.org/ecs/ecscat.nsf/WebStateofStateTopic2014?OpenView&Count=-1.
Labor Certification Process for the Temporary Employment of Aliens in Agriculture: ETA Issues Guidance on Meals and Travels
The Employment and Training Administration has announced:
- the allowable charges for 2014 that employers seeking H-2A workers may
charge their workers when the employer provides three meals a day, and
- the maximum travel subsistence meal reimbursement that a worker with receipts may claim in 2014.
The March 5, 2014 FEDERAL REGISTER provides full background.