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Workforce Information Council Conference Call January 9, 2008 *** Draft: will become final during March 2008 WIC meeting Welcome and Roll Call Participating: Chet Chinsky (for James Moore), Tony Dais, Keith Ewald, John Filemyr, Tom Gallagher, Jack Galvin, Pat Getz, Deep Gupta, Mark Hughes, Naomi Harada, Jay Mousa, Tom Nardone, Bill Niblack, Becky Rust, Graham Slater, Dixie Sommers, Roger Therrien, Gary Crossley. Absent: Gay Gilbert, James Moore, Janet Sten, New WIC members -- James, Jay, Mark, Tom – were welcomed. Transition to New State Co-Chair Graham, the new state co-chair, thanked Roger for his years of leadership with the group. Discussion of BLS Budget Reductions (This conversation was confidential at the time of the WIC conference call, but details have now been made public.) Jack gave an overview of the BLS budget situation. The omnibus budget bill reduced the BLS 2008 budget below the 2007 levels and below the levels already approved by committees in Congress. BLS sought to make reductions that could be temporary in nature, depending on future budget decisions. Jack shared the Bureau’s plan to cover the entire shortfall. Even though the FY08 cooperative agreements were based on the FY08 Request level, the obligational authority given to states has thus far been based on the FY07 levels. Put another way, we have to find workload reductions totaling $2.5 million, but the actual loss in funding, from what the states have been receiving in obligational authority, will be less. In FY07, total state allocations were $80.8 million; total trust funds were $77.1 million. In FY08, total state allocations were $81 million; total trust funds were $78.3 million. Now the FY 2008 allocations will come down $2.543 million; total trust funds were also down $2.543 million. CES Reductions Pat’s assignment was to find a $1.5 million reduction in state allocations. (Pat also had to cut $2.8 million in BLS salaries and expenses.) BLS came up with two options for the State workload and trust fund cut: 1. Eliminate employment and hours and earnings from the smallest 121 MSAs – any MSA with less than 65,000 employment. 2. Eliminate hours and earnings from all MSA and employment from the smallest 65 MSAs – any with less than 50,000 employment. BLS used cost information from the 2006 CES Budget Reduction workgroup to estimate these reductions. Regarding the WIC State Representatives’ suggestions from 1/8/08: Delaying development of ACES is not a viable option for BLS, because only small amounts of funding are dedicated to ACES development and those amounts are not part of the trust fund-sourced state allocations. BLS staff had not had opportunity to review the state’s suggestion of eliminating all hours and earnings, statewide as well as MSA, before cutting employment series, but BLS will consider this. As part of the BLS internal budget reduction, they will no longer support the collection of the quota sample units that some states kept outside of the CES probability sample. There are about 10,000 of these sample unit members actively reporting, spread among 26 states. In all of the above cases, BLS would make the changes as quickly as possible. BLS would announce the ending of these series in their next news releases. They would allow states to still produce any of the data series they choose, using ACES, but BLS would not supply the inputs they currently provide – no small domain models, no birth-death factors, etc. If states wanted to continue collecting the quota units, they could do that. Regarding the elimination of BED, BLS noted that almost no state allocations are used for BED. BLS has made the determination to take $2.543 million from the states, partly because that’s the most direct link with the trust fund and partly because BLS is already handling even larger cuts within the Bureau. The Bureau always gives all of the trust fund to the states, so when those funds were cut, the reductions were passed on to the states. OES Reductions Dixie’s task was to reduce expenses by a little over a million and a half, including a million out of the state allocations. The only way to do that was to reduce sample size in the May 2008 panel. BLS does not yet have the answers on how they will implement the reduction of 40,000 sample units. A possible option is to eliminate the possibility of four balance-of-state areas. One of BLS’ goals is to distribute the reductions as equitably as possible across states. BLS has reviewed the states’ comments from January 8, 2008. Tom Gallagher reflected on information from an OES-NCS survey from last year, which supported the State Representatives’ belief that preserving the “balance of state” regions is a top priority. BLS has not really discussed the November 2008 panel at this time. Early thinking is to plan for November to be back at the normal level, but have a contingency plan just in case. No ETA funds go into BLS OES funding. BLS’ Next Steps 1. BLS is waiting for OMB approval of their budget reduction impact statement. 2. Once OMB approves, these discussions are no longer confidential. 3. BLS needs to make final decisions on the CES and OES cuts, and communicate back to WIC, and communicate through the Regions to all States. 4. Once the implementation decisions are made, allocations will be re- computed and distributed ETA Budget ETA is on a program year basis, so the omnibus spending bill will not impact them until July 1. There is an across-the-board 1.8% rescission for WIA programs. State workforce information groups that get funding from WIA programs may be impacted. Workforce information is a small part of the overall workforce budget. Last year’s funding for the line item that includes workforce information was $63.9 million. The omnibus bill level for this funding is $52 million. There will be competition for these dollars between core products workforce information ($31.8 million last year) and other ETA discretionary activities (the O*Net site, Career Voyages, Projections Managing Partnership, Analyst Resource Center, etc.). Funding planning allotments will be published in March. ETA will work to keep the workforce information grant at the highest level possible. Funding for the Projections Managing Partnership was approved at a $600,000 level for management of the system and $300,000 for training. BLS 2009 Cooperative Agreement Changes WIC members discussed the State Reps’ review of BLS’ proposed CA changes. Re. administrative requirement G.3, a new paragraph was added because of an audit finding against one state. BLS feels they have to add this language in response to the audit and to protect states from future violations. However, Tom Gallagher noted that if BLS is requiring the states to provide additional paperwork, they need to provide clear guidance on this and quantify the added burden. ACTION: BLS will discuss this with their administrative staff. Re. administrative requirement M.5, the states are concerned about BLS’ ability to unilaterally modify the fund allocations to the states. ACTION: BLS agreed to put the example back into the statement and they will review the CFR referenced by Tom Gallagher. Re. administrative requirement U, BLS authorizes states to use CA funds for postage of publications, but they are not providing specific dollars to do so. BLS will identify funds for survey-related postage costs in each of the programs and will fund those directly, but they will not provide specific funds for publication distribution. Re. OES, the addition of monthly data transmittals was requested by the Office of Field Operations. BLS believes this would be minor from a workload standpoint and useful from a management evaluation perspective. The OES Policy Council has been discussing this, and Dixie would like the results of their conference call, before making a final decision. Re. CES, the “top-down estimation” requirement has been dropped; more detail on sum-of-states estimates will be in an S-memo; the Policy Council’s recommendations also resulted in changes. Becky noted that Ken Roberston was very responsive to the states’ proposals. Re. QCEW, the requirement for agent codes has been dropped; agreements for blanket sharing can be checked or not, with no variance; BLS will probably eliminate the reference to LED sharing with Census. After the October 2007 WIC meeting, Jack and John discussed the BLS funding period with BLS budget officers. They learned that BLS has to close its books within 45 days of the end of the fiscal year. Overall, BLS returns miniscule amounts of salaries and expenses funding, but a somewhat larger amount of trust funds, back to the U.S. Treasury. BLS Budget Officers will discuss this further with the WIC during the March meeting. QCEW Data Sharing Team This group will recommend procedures and policies for the QCEW program, so that Census and federal tax information can be incorporated for statistical purposes, but not used for non-statistical purposes. Jack proposed that the group will meet for a day and a half, appended to the WIC meeting during the week of March 17. Most likely, this group would meet Monday afternoon and all day Tuesday; WIC State Representatives would meet on Wednesday; and the full WIC would meet all day Thursday and Friday morning. Communication from ETA Graham has had recent positive communications with Gay Gilbert, and has a phone call scheduled with her on Friday. ETA Workforce Investment Transformational Forums There have been two workforce investment transformational forums. In those, ETA organized small teams that discussed items of shared interest. John Dorrer and Becky Rust participated in these groups. Groups were able to work on their “home plans”, with assistance from these experts. ETA Federal Registry LMI Notice Tony affirmed the main purpose behind the federal registry notice: in order for ETA to collect information from states, they have to get OMB authority every three years. That’s what the federal registry document was for. A draft TEGL, similar to last year’s, is attached to the federal registry notice. There’s no intention to make significant direction changes from what was done last year. 2008 WIC Meetings and Locations Jack proposed that the March WIC meeting be moved to Washington DC.
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