U.S. Department of Labor
Washington, D. C. 20210





January 21, 2005





Assistant Secretary
SUBJECT : Announcing the Soon-to-be-Published Proposed Revisions to the Planning Guidance and Instructions for Submission of the Strategic Five-Year Plan for Title I of the Workforce Investment Act of 1998 (WIA) and the Wagner- Peyser Act; and Workforce Investment Act Unified Planning Guidance

  1. Purpose.
    1. To inform states of the Employment and Training Administration's (ETA) intent to publish in the Federal Register proposed revisions to the Planning Guidance and Instructions for Submission of the Strategic Five-Year Plan for Title I of the Workforce Investment Act of 1998 and the Wagner-Peyser Act as well as Workforce Investment Act Unified Planning Guidance.

    2. To provide advance information that ETA is seeking Office of Management and Budget (OMB) clearance under the Paperwork Reduction Act for the new planning guidance. The Federal Register Notice will include a 30-day opportunity for public comment.

    3. To provide advance information on the new themes to expect in the guidance to enable states to begin working with their state workforce investment board immediately on the planning process.

    4. To alert the states that ETA wants to publish the planning guidance in final by March 15, 2005, but no later than March 30.

    5. To inform the states that the new state plans will be due to the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) on or before May 31, 2005.

    6. To provide information on additional administrative requirements.

  2. References. Wagner-Peyser Act, as amended (29 U.S.C. 49 et seq.); Workforce Investment Act of 1998, (WIA) as amended, (29 U.S.C. 2801 et seq.)

  3. Background. While authorization of appropriations for WIA expired at the end of Fiscal Year 2003, authority for the program has been extended under the DOL appropriations for FY 2005, enacted as part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2005 (PL 108-447). Although Congress has not enacted a reauthorization bill, DOL is issuing this guidance to announce its intent to publish revised Planning Guidance.

  4. Publication of new Planning Guidance. All states will enter into a new planning cycle in PY 2005. To be eligible for FY 2005 WIA and Wagner-Peyser Act knding, states must have an approved WIA plan in place. The Department will be publishing in the Federal Register revised Planning Guidance and Instructions for Submission of the Strategic Five-Year Plan for Title I of the Workforce Investment Act of 1998 and the Wagner-Peyser Act as well as Workforce Investment Act Unified Planning Guidance. State and local workforce investment boards will need to utilize the published Planning Guidance in the development of their strategic plans.

    Since reauthorization of WIA is likely, states will be authorized to submit only the first two years of the five-year plan under this new guidance. This abbreviated planning period will allow states to adapt their plans and their state strategies according to the reauthorized statute, once enacted. Please note that the guidance documents will remain in effect until a reauthorization bill is enacted.

  5. Summary of Planning Guidance Policy Highlights. The Workforce Investment Act of 1998 created dramatic changes to the public workforce system. The overarching goal was to streamline, consolidate, and integrate a wide array of employment and training programs. Because of this, system changes have spanned every facet of operation, including governance, administration and funding, and service delivery. However, while the vision of WIA is for an integrated workforce investment system, many barriers remain and need to be addressed.

    Since passage of WIA, the workforce investment system broadly has made strides in implementing a better service delivery architecture. However, there remains significant opportunity for states and local areas to utilize the framework of WIA to realize the vision as well as to set the stage for the planning process in the context of the 21st century economy. The revised Planning Guidance focuses on two overarching priorities: (1) reforms envisioned by the Workforce Investment Act; and, (2) national strategic priorities and direction.

    Reforms envisioned by the Workforce Investment Act

    1. Integrated, seamless service delivery through comprehensive One-Stop Career Centers.
    2. A demand-driven workforce system governed by business-led workforce investment boards.
    3. Maximum flexibility in tailoring service delivery and making strategic investments in workforce development activities to meet the needs of state and local economies and labor markets.
    4. Customers making informed choices based on quality workforce information and accessing quality training providers.
    5. Increased fiscal and performance accountability.

    National Strategic Priorities and Direction

    1. Implementation of a demand-driven workforce system.
    2. System reform to eliminate duplicative administrative costs and to enable increased training investments.
    3. Enhanced integration of service delivery through One-Stop delivery systems nationwide.
    4. Refocusing WIA youth investments on youth most in need.
    5. Improved development and delivery of workforce information to support workforce investment boards in their strategic planning and investments and to provide quality career guidance directly to workers and youth.
    6. Descriptions of how faith-based and community-based organizations play an enhanced role in workforce development.
    7. Enhanced use of waivers and workflex provisions in WIA to provide greater flexibility to states and local areas in structuring their workforce investment systems.
    8. Discussion of the implementation of common performance measures across federal employment and training programs.

  6. Additional Administrative Requirements.

    Waiver Extensions: Many states have WIA Title I waivers that expire June 30,2005. States may request extensions through June 30, 2007, by submitting an abbreviated waiver request that references the original waiver plan submission and provides a brief rationale for the extension. Waiver extension requests should be submitted to Ms. Christine Kulick, USDOL/ETA Office of Workforce Investment, Division of One-Stop Operations, Room S-4231,200 Constitution Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20210, or electronically to kulick.christine@dol.gov.

    Negotiated Levels of Performance: States should submit their proposed levels of performance for PY 2005 and 2006 as part of their new plan submission.

  7. Inquiries. Questions regarding this guidance should be directed to Ms. Christine Kulick at (202) 693-3045 or kulick.christine@dol.gov.

  8. Attachments.

    Attachment I: Table of Contents—Revised WIA State Planning Guidance