Employment and Training Administration
Washington, D. C. 20210






August 24, 1993




August 31, 1994











for Regional Management




Data Communications Network for the Employment and Training Administration

  1. Purpose. To advise the employment and training community of the development and testing of a wide area communications network (WAN) for the employment and training community.

  2. Background. Many organizations in the employment and training community have expressed a desire to have electronic access to one another. Several have established independent electronic solutions for accessing information data sources. In order to meet the growing communications and information needs of the employment and training community - national, Regional, State, and local - ETA has, with additional impetus from the 1992 Amendments to the Job Training Partnership Act (JTPA), decided to develop a "corporate strategy" to communications and networking. An ETA-wide task force has been formed for this purpose and has come together to develop a collective approach to electronic communications.

  3. Objectives. The objectives that will guide development of ETA's networking strategy are threefold:

    to provide a facility for electronic communications between ETA and its grantee universe;

    to provide a facility for electronic communications among and between ETA grantees; and,

    to seamlessly interconnect ETA's three principal operating environments (the ETA LAN and its components, the Unemployment Insurance Service Artecon/Sun system, and the Office of Job Corps communications/data system).

    This effort will serve to bring all of ETA's existing and planned communications systems and initiatives under one umbrella.

  4. Design and Implementation Strategy. Several steps have already been taken towards establishing a network strategy.

    1. Task Force.  The Data Communications Network project is guided by a task force under the direction of David Morman, Deputy Director of the Office of Information Resources Management. Its members represent the ETA National and Regional Offices, the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Administration and Management, and the Office of the Inspector General. The task force, with the assistance of a technical consultant, has begun to review the configuration of existing hardware/software/communications systems within the employment and training community. This may entail some detailed data collect~on about these configurations. The task force has also begun to design and evaluate some architectural options for a wide area data network.

    2. National Conference.  To facilitate input/feedback from the employment and training community regarding its functional requirements and the overall network design, ETA has and will continue to host a series of meetings/ conferences with the user and grantee community.

      A conference is scheduled for August 26 and 27 at the Stouffer Hotel at the Inner Harbor in Baltimore, Maryland. This conference is intended to bring together all users within the ETA community to discuss the communications needs and expectations of each user group and to review the work to date on the network design. ETA has informally contacted the States to identify attendees representative of the employment and training community to attend this conference. Attached is a list of names submitted to the National Office to date, as well as detailed conference information.

    3. Network Pilot.  The next phase in our communications strategy, anticipated to begin in October 1993, will be to test a selected architectural approach, through the establishment of a pilot network. This will allow us to fine tune the overall design, and will provide a more in-depth understanding of potential usage of the fully implemented network. One of the ten ETA Regions will be identified as a pilot site to test network options; grantees in the selected Region will participate on a voluntary basis. From the pilot of the network we hope to learn: (1) what technical approaches work best, (2) the amount of traffic required by network, (3) how much it will cost to implement and maintain, and (4) how complex it may be to operate/manage the network. This phase will last 6 months. Upon completion of the pilot, the knowledge gained will be used to establish a strategy for developing a nationwide employment and training wide area network.

  5. Technical Workgroup. As an adjunct to the task force, a larger workgroup of users within the ETA grantee community is being formed. Members of this workgroup will provide their individual views and concerns as we proceed.

  6. Action Required. Recipients of this UIPL are requested to:

    1. Please widely share information in this UIPL with your State UI system;

    2. Determine if additional representatives from your State should attend the system-wide conference in August or join the large networking workgroup. If so, please submit the names, addresses, and affiliations of the additional attendees to the National Office by FAX to either Roxanne Rozek (FAX: (202) 219-6510) or Diane Mayronne (FAX: (202) 219-7190).

  7. Inquiries. Questions should be directed to David Morman at (202) 219-7133, Roxana Rozek at (202) 219-7590, or Diane Mayronne at (202) 219-5305.

  8. Attachments. 

    Attachment I -Partial listing of Conference Attendees

    Attachment II - Detailed information regarding the Conference