Employment and Training Administration
Washington, D. C. 20210






January 2, 2001





Deputy Assistant Secretary
SUBJECT : Partnership Between the America's Workforce Network (AWN) Toll-Free Help Line and America's Service Locator (ASL)


  1. Purpose. To provide information about the partnership between the AWN Toll-Free Help Line (1-877-US-2JOBS) and the Internet-based ASL (www.servicelocator.org) as the two key access points for information about workforce development services available under America's Workforce Network.

  2. Background. The AWN Toll-Free Help Line, a partnership among the Department of Labor, all 50 States, three jurisdictions, and local entities, is a telephone "front door" for customers seeking information about products and services within the workforce development system. The Help Line operates from a National Call Center (NCC) in Chantilly, Virginia, administered by Datatrac Information Services, Inc. Currently largely focused on information about dislocated worker services, the Help Line will expand to provide WIA-wide information by Spring 2001. Apart from the WIA framework, as a result of our partnership with the Office of Apprenticeship, Training and Employer Services, the Help Line also now functions as a major "first response" to employers and workers interested in apprenticeship.

    States may participate in the AWN Toll-Free Help Line in one of three ways. (The last option is a pilot effort presently limited to no more than two States.)

    ASL is an Internet based "front door" for customers seeking location and service information about the nearest physical site (service provider) that delivers the workforce development services that the customer needs. ASL also provides directions to the nearest physical site, and will ultimately provide directions via public transportation.

    The immediate connection and underlying premise of both tools is universal access to service, consistent with the principles of the Workforce Investment Act. Both the AWN Toll-Free Help Line and ASL seek to provide the necessary information to connect customers of the workforce development system to services at the State and local level. The partnership between these products effectively creates two means for users to easily access information about services offered through America's Workforce Network, whether by the telephone or the Internet.

    Our primary collaborative goal is to enhance the information currently available through the AWN Toll-Free Help Line by replacing the current locator software in the NCC Call Guide with the more robust ASL information. Customer Service Representatives responding to AWN Toll-Free Help Line calls will be able to access the same ASL data that is available through the Internet. Our second goal is to rapidly populate the ASL database.

  3. Partnership and Roles. The ultimate viability of this collaboration depends upon the partnerships formed among the National Office, our regional Toll-Free representatives, the States and three jurisdictions, and the local workforce development system. To facilitate the success of this initiative, we will utilize a phased implementation approach for populating the Service Locator. Quality assurance procedures, including performance metrics, call monitoring, and feedback from State and jurisdiction partners, will address customer service for both telephone contact and database integrity.

    Initially, ASL was populated with "seed" data taken from National Office records about State and local service locations. This early data has now been purged, and replaced with updated information provided by the Standard Partner States to populate the AWN Toll-Free Help Line database. In addition, current Federal-level service location information provided by the various ETA product lines has also been added to the Locator database. Thus, ASL can supplement existing State locator sites because it offers a more comprehensive set of information.

  4. Toll-Free Standard Partner Implementation. The phased implementation will involve local partners completing templates that define general provider information, site resources and services that each One-Stop or other workforce development site provides. Initially, States will be responsible for the oversight of this process. Partners at both the State and local level will be able to vet and maintain data in real time using authorized passwords. Standard Partner States, which already have grants to develop and maintain a database, will be asked to begin entering data into ASL. These States may elect to have Datatrac continue to maintain all their data, including ASL information.

  5. Toll -Free Affiliate States. There are a wide range of options for Affiliate States to participate in this partnership. Affiliate States may elect to become Standard Partners with the advantages of both receiving grant funds for populating the AWN Toll-Free Help Line and ASL, and having the option of utilizing Datatrac to maintain their State's data. Affiliates that still elect not to become Standard Partners may appoint multiple or single points of contact within their States who will work only with the Service Locator team. The team will offer Affiliates the option of providing their information in any format they wish and, should the Affiliate not have any type of locator of its own, the team will also do the initial data entry.

    Once the partnership between the AWN Toll-Free Help Line and ASL is fully realized, a single database of service locations will be available to all customers of the workforce development system-thus helping to bridge the "Digital Divide."

  6. Implementation Time Line. As noted in the Background section above, the goal of a full partnership between the AWN Toll-Free Help Line and ASL will be achieved through a phased implementation. A series of planning meetings will be held between ETA staff and Datatrac to delineate and track the progress of this initiative. Regional Toll-Free partners will participate in this process via conference calls, and will work with the States to identify appropriate staff contacts to begin data entry. ETA will issue a communication to our Affiliate States regarding the benefits of Standard Partnerships, including funding for populating the ASL database.

    Early in 2001, we will distribute a TEGL on the AWN Toll-Free Help Line/ASL partnership to all key State Employment and Training personnel. This TEGL, which will request that each State identify the key person(s) to be responsible for ASL data entry and maintenance, will include the following components:

    After the transmission of the TEGL, ETA will conduct a series of conference calls with the Standard Partner States to clarify expectations, and respond to any queries regarding the collaboration. Our target for the launch of the AWN Toll-Free Help Line/ASL collaboration is February 12, 2001, assuming approval of baseline State and Federal product line data.

  7. Action Required. Please share this TEIN with AWN Toll-Free Help Line State contacts, with staff who maintain State employment and training-related web sites, and any other appropriate staff who may be involved in the entry of State data into ASL.

  8. Inquiries. Questions concerning this TEIN should be directed to the appropriate Regional Office.