Employment and Training Administration
Washington, D. C. 20210






October 3, 1994





for Regional Management
SUBJECT : Program Year 1994 Program Improvement Initiative

  1. Purpose. To provide the States information on the availability of JTPA Title III Technical Assistance and Training (TAT) funds to support the Program Improvement Initiative for Program Year (PY) 1994.

  2. Reference. Training and Employment Information Notice (TEIN) No. 27-93, dated January 11, 1994; TEIN No. 43-93, dated March 25, 1994; TEIN No. 49-93, dated April 25, 1994; and Federal/State/local partnership "Next Steps" conferences held around the country during March, April and May, 1994.

  3. Background. The increased funding for Title III in Program Year (PY) 1994 presents a unique opportunity to improve the dislocated worker program, and the overall employment and training system.

    As mentioned in TEIN No. 27-93, a portion of PY 1994 Title III discretionary funds has been earmarked for special TAT projects designed by and for the States to encourage and support program improvement projects as part of State efforts to improve program quality and capacity.

    There are two related efforts to improve program quality and capacity. Many States and substate areas, called Pioneers, have volunteered to undertake customer service improvements and measure customer satisfaction, which has been identified as a priority objective by the Department of Labor. Also, as part of the effort to build a partnership among the Federal, State and local levels of the employment and training system, an Enterprise Council has been formed. It consists of representatives from each of the three partners. The council will coordinate review of critical issues for EDWAA reinvention and customer service improvement.

  4. Discussion. The Program Improvement Initiative is to include a comprehensive review of the status of the State's Title III system in several critical areas. The process includes 1) an assessment of the current capabilities of the State's Title III delivery system, 2) the goals/standards to be used to assess effectiveness of current and future capability, and 3) priority program improvement actions to be completed in PY 1994. This initiative is an effort to encourage and support on-going program improvement efforts by the States, and should be coordinated with other fund sources and program improvement plans.

    These funds are to implement improvements to the delivery of services to dislocated workers in the Title III program. States should ensure that Title III program improvement projects take into account the need for coordination and integration of the entire JTPA/ES/UI training and employment system, including UI profiling and related reemployment services, capacity-building efforts under JTPA (TEIN Nos. 43-93 and 49-93), and one-stop career centers.

    Any State desiring to access funds set aside for this initiative must prepare a "Program Improvement Project Plan." Attachment I includes a description of the program dimensions which program improvement projects may address, and a set of tables which describe the information to be provided. The tables are for illustrative purposes, and it is up to the States to decide if they will use them for their submission.

    This plan should supplement, not supplant, ongoing State TAT activities. Some examples of types of projects that could be undertaken as part of this initiative are State and substate staff training related to customer satisfaction measurement and feedback systems, the preparation of individualized service plans, and the development of customer-focused information on program services and capabilities. Pioneer States and substate areas should consider how projects funded under this initiative can assist in their customer satisfaction efforts.

    The assessment of current capability and standards/goals to be used to assess effectiveness must be completed for all the program dimensions identified in Attachment I, plus any others identified by the States. The State can choose which program dimensions it wishes to address with program improvement actions in PY 1994. For the selected program dimensions, the State should describe the planned actions, indicate whether any existing State resources will be used, and whether additional funding will be required under the Program Improvement Initiative. ETA anticipates that the assessment of current capabilities and the preparation of the Program Improvement Plan will be undertaken jointly by State and Substate partners.

    All projects must be completed by the end of PY 1994 to the extent possible, but in any event, no later than six months from the receipt of the funds by the Regional Office.

    Note that the program dimensions identified may apply to many or all parts of the State's training and employment system, and that systems in place to address these dimensions may serve more than just the Title III dislocated worker program.

    Regional Office staff will be available to assist States in assessing current capabilities and in identifying potential areas for TAT investments. Regional Offices will convene meetings of the States within each Region in order to have States share their draft plans and determine if there are areas where coordination or collaboration would be feasible, and to inform the States of the procedures that the Regional Offices will use to review the final Program Improvement Project Plans. In addition, Regional Title III coordinators will exchange information on the plans of their States in order to ascertain if there are opportunities for coordination or collaboration across Regions.

    In their final plans, States should indicate whether a project will be undertaken in collaboration with one or more other States, and the level and types of resources being provided.

    Attachment II is a chart which lists the funds apportioned to each State against which States can draw to the extent they wish to fund projects in an approved Program Improvement Project Plan. The amounts for each State were determined by providing a base amount for each State, with an additional amount related to the number of SSAs in the State.

  5. Submission of Program Improvement Project Plans. The final Program Improvement Project Plan should be submitted as soon as possible but not later than January 13, 1995 to the Regional Office. A copy should be sent to the following address:

    James D. Van Erden, Administrator
    Office of Work-Based Learning
    Attention: Program Improvement Project
    Employment and Training Administration U.S. Department of Labor, Room N4649
    200 Constitution Avenue, N.W.
    Washington, D.C. 20210

    Regional Office staff will review the plans for relevance to the program dimensions and the identified needs, and will forward their comments to the National Office. A State which does not intend to request these TAT funds is not required to submit a Program Improvement Project plan. Any funds not awarded will be used for other TAT purposes.

    Funds will be made available through a vehicle designated by the Regional Offices, such as a state cooperative agreement or 8A contract.

  6. Other Activities Under the Initiative. Each Regional Office will also receive additional TAT funds that can be used for program improvement projects in States in their Region, for multi-regional program improvement efforts, and for costs associated with the meetings discussed in Section 4. In addition, some funds will be set aside for the National Office to address any topics which seem of wide interest based on the program improvement projects underway in the States and possibly for a national meeting to review program improvement efforts.

  7. Action. Regional Offices will contact States about scheduling the meetings on the Program Improvement Initiative as soon as possible. States should continue preparation of their program improvement project plans, and plan to attend regional meetings to share their draft plans.

  8. Inquiries. Inquiries about the TAT Initiative should be directed to Zenowia Choma, Office of Worker Retraining and Adjustment Programs at 202-219-5577.

  9. Attachments.

    1. Program Improvement Projects and Illustrative Tables

    2. State Allocations of TAT Funds