NASWA Bulletin - July 20, 2015

In This Issue:

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Please Register for the 79th Annual Conference; October 7-9, 2015

NASWA and the Indiana Department of Workforce Development are pleased to announce the 79th Annual NASWA Conference, to be held October 7-9, 2015.   For more information about the Conference as well as attendee, sponsor, exhibitor and vendor registration, please visit the Conference website here.

A block of rooms have been reserved at the Sheraton Indianapolis City Centre at the government rate of $98 for a standard room, plus applicable tax. The government rate is available 4 days pre and 3 days post of the meeting dates based on hotel availability. Reservations must be made by Saturday, September 12, 2015.

Reservations at the Sheraton Indianapolis City Centre can be booked online or via telephone by calling 1(317) 635-2000. When calling, please identify yourself as a member of NASWA Annual Conference for the room block rate.  Cancellation without penalty must be greater than 24 hours prior to arrival.  Group rate available until September 12, 2015.  Subject to availability.

The Board of Directors meeting will take place on Tuesday, October 6, 2015. The Annual Conference will start Wednesday morning, October 7, and conclude before noon on Friday, October 9. All conference activities will be held at the Sheraton Indianapolis City Centre in downtown Indy.

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TAA Program Signed into Law – Petitions for New Categories Must be Filed by Midnight - September 27

On June 29, 2015, President Obama signed into law the Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) Reauthorization Act of 2015 (TAARA 2015), (TAARA) which reestablished the TAA program in effect as of December 31, 2013, and extends the program for six years through June 30, 2021. 

Before enactment of TAARA 2015, only trade-affected production sector workers could be certified as eligible to apply for TAA program benefits and services, and only if increased imports of articles or a shift in production of articles overseas to a country in which the U.S. has a Free-Trade Agreement contributed importantly to their actual or threatened job losses. 

TAARA 2015 makes service sector workers and individuals whose jobs are negatively impacted by trade from countries that are not parties to Free Trade Agreements with the United States, such as China and India, also eligible for certification of group eligibility to apply for TAA benefits.  These paths to TAA certification were in effect before January 1, 2014, under what the U.S. Department of Labor (USDOL) refers to as the 2011 Program.  Please click here for a detailed summary.

Because these two categories of workers only have 90 days to file petitions from the date of enactment, State Workforce Agencies, Rapid Response Teams and One-Stop Centers may want to let potentially affected groups of workers know about this opportunity.  These petitions must be received by midnight September 27, 2015.  After that date, workers negatively impacted by trade, no more than one year before the date of filing of a TAA petition, may be covered by a certification of that petition. The specifics are as follows:

  • Petitions filed before September 28, 2015 - If certified, may cover job losses occurring as far back as January 1, 2014;
  • Petitions filed on or after September 28, 2015 - If certified, may cover job losses occurring as far back as one year before the date the certified petition was filed.

Directions on how these groups can file a petition can be found by clicking here on the USDOL website.  Further guidance from USDOL will be forthcoming in the next few weeks.   USDOL will notify petitioners who withdrew their petitions during the January 1, 2014 through June 28, 2015 period, and may have done so because they learned that certification then was only available to production sector worker groups, and they may file a new petition that will be considered under the current expanded certification criteria. 

Transitioning and Serving Workers Certified Under the Reversion 2014 Program

States will continue to administer the Reversion 2014 Program benefits, including ATAA, to workers covered under petition series TA-W-85,000 through TA-W-89,999, through September 27, 2015. Beginning Monday, September 28, 2015, they will administer 2015 Program benefits and services to those workers covered by petition series TA-W-85,000 through TA-W-89,999 certifications.

Serving Workers Certified Under the 2002 Program, the 2009 Program, and the 2011 Program
States will continue to administer benefits and services (including ATAA and RTAA, as applicable) to workers covered by certifications issued under the 2002 Program; the 2009 Program; and the 2011 Program in accordance with applicable guidance and regulations.  For questions, please click here to access the TAA contact information on the USDOL website.

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Appropriations Outlook -- FY 2016; Senate Appropriations Restores Governors Set-Aside to 15%

Although the House and Senate Committees on Appropriations have approved most of their 12 annual funding bills; it is unlikely many will pass both Chambers due to Senate opposition and a White House veto threat because of low funding levels to avoid sequestration.  However, it has been well over 10 years since the House and Senate Appropriations Committees have approved most of their 12 bills and it marks a starting point for negotiations.  Significantly, the Senate bill increases the Governors set-aside to 15 percent; providing an additional $111 million in flexible funding for workforce programs at the state level.  (The House bill increased the set-aside only from 10 to 11 percent).  We anticipate further discussions between House/Senate Leaders and the White House before the 2016 Fiscal Year begins on October 1, 2015. 

RESOURCES:  For a budget table comparing the House and Senate funding levels, please click here.  For complete details on the House and Senate Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations bills, please click here.

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WOTC and Other Tax Extenders to be Considered This Week by Senate Finance

Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, has scheduled a mark-up for tomorrow, July 21st to consider his proposal to address tax provisions that have expired or are about to expire without congressional action.

Among the extensions is the Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC).  The proposal extends for two years the present-law employment credit provision (for individuals who begin work for the employer on or before December 31, 2016).

The proposal is effective for individuals who begin work for the employer after December 31, 2014.  Click here for the proposal which may be found on Pages 31 -37.

This mark-up of the Chairman’s proposal is the first step in consideration of a further extension of WOTC as part of the larger “tax extenders” package that is likely to be passed in some form this year. To become effective the proposal will need to clear the Senate and be adopted by the House.

State Workforce Agencies have the responsibility of administration and processing of the WOTC.  The recent lapses over the last several years have been challenging for SWA’s to keep-up with the backlog and federal funding for administration of the credit, and for some states, has been insufficient.

For more information or to view the mark-up on July 21 on the Senate Finance Committee website, please click here.  

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White House Releases Updated FY 2016 Budget Estimates

The White House last Tuesday revised its fiscal 2016 deficit forecast to $455 billion, down $128 billion from its last estimate in February, due to new calculations of higher revenues and lower spending.  The projections, known as the Mid-Session Review budget update, shows the White House is now expecting real gross domestic product to rise by just 2.0 percent during calendar 2015. This is down from 3.0 percent estimated in February based on data collected before severe winter weather that affected the economy in the first quarter.

The U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Unemployment Insurance, also revises their assumptions for FY 2016 and the years after.  Highlights of the analysis for the FY 2016 President’s Budget Midsession Review are detailed below.  The total unemployment rate (TUR) is assumed to average 5.5% in FY 2015 and 5.0% in FY 2016, down from 5.6% and 5.2% respectively in the FY 2016 President’s Budget.  Under these assumptions:

  • The insured unemployment rate (IUR) is projected to average 1.8% in FY 2015 and 1.7% in FY 2016, down from 1.9% and 1.8% in the President’s Budget.
  • State UI regular benefit outlays are estimated at $32.2 billion in FY 2015 and $31.4 billion in FY 2016, down a total of $5.7 billion from the President’s Budget.
  • Revenues and interest income for state trust fund accounts are projected to exceed benefit outlays by $14.7 billion in FY 2015 and by $15.5 billion in FY 2016.
  • State trust fund account balances, net of loans, are projected to nearly double to $35.1 billion in FY 2015 and increase an additional $18.2 billion in FY 2016. This would mark the highest year end level since FY 2008 when account balances, net of loans, were 36.8 billion.
  • State borrowing from the Federal Unemployment Account (FUA) is expected to continue to decrease over the next few years with less than $5 million in new loans beginning in FY 2019.  Outstanding loans are projected to be largely repaid with less than $0.1 billion remaining at the end of FY 2018.
  • FUA completed repaying its general fund advance balance in June of 2015. EUCA is projected to finish repaying its general fund advance balance in FY 2019 before then beginning to repay the noninterest bearing advances made from FUA.

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NASWA's 2015 Salute to Leadership Awards Now Being Accepted; Please Provide Nominations Here!

Don’t miss out on this great opportunity to recognize an innovation, program, or hard-working individual in your state!  Every year, NASWA's President, Board of Directors and Committees present awards recognizing state and individuals for their excellent contributions to the public workforce system.  Award winners will be announced and recognized at NASWA’s 79th Annual Conference scheduled to take place in Indianapolis, Indiana, October 7-9, 2015.  To nominate an individual or state to receive an award at this year’s Annual Conference, simply login to NASWA's website with your user name and password, and follow the link below to make your nominations.  Make your nominations for the 2015 Salute to the Leadership Awards today!

The deadline for nominations is Friday, August 7, 2015.  The award categories include:

  • The State Excellence Award for Leadership (SEAL) Award -- honoring a state for a workforce related program addressing an issue or challenge.  
  • The Eagle Award -- honoring individuals who soar to new heights in their efforts to serve employers and workers in the United States.
  • The James F. Walls Employee Award -- honoring an employee whose conduct demonstrates outstanding dedication to customers and colleagues, and extraordinary service to the local community.
  • The James F. Walls Team Award -- honoring a local office, one-stop center, central office division or unit, or a special team, demonstrating extraordinary service in its assignment area, functions, local community or area.  
  • The Mark Sanders Award for Exceptional Service to Disabled Veterans -- recognizing efforts of an entire local office/one-stop center, not just a veterans’ unit or veterans’ staff, whose efforts demonstrate “exceptional” service and dedication to improving employment opportunities for disabled veterans.
  • The Merrill Baumgardner Award -- honoring an individual who has demonstrated excellence in the field of information technology in a state workforce agency.
  • The Vladimir Chavrid Award -- recognizing excellence in the field of Labor Market Information (LMI) and Employment Security operations research.
  • The William J. Harris Equal Opportunity Award -- recognizing excellence in the field of equal opportunity (EO) and to honor a state workforce agency administrator and the EO workforce agency director/officer for outstanding accomplishments within the agency; and,
  • The NASWA National Business of the Year Award -- recognizing a business demonstrating outstanding accomplishments resulting in a positive impact on its workforce, industry and community. 

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NASWA Participates in National Academy of Sciences Symposium on Middle-Skills Jobs

The National Academy of Sciences held a symposium on June 24th and 25th on The Supply Chain for Middle-Skill Jobs.  NASWA Policy Director Yvette Chocolaad participated on a panel focused on Federally-funded Workforce Development Programs.  Responding to a presentation by Carolyn Heinrich (University of Texas-Austin), Ms. Chocolaad was joined on the panel by Maureen Conway of the Aspen Institute, Scott Cheney of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, and moderator Susan Scalfani of the Pearson Foundation.

Dr. Heinrich reported on the mostly positive research findings on federal job training programs, while emphasizing the limitations of the current evidence base.  The evidence base was a factor behind the new flexibility granted states and localities under WIOA to shift training funds toward disadvantaged adults versus dislocated workers.  She recommended increasing funding for sectoral programs and expanding training in high-demand, middle-skill sectors, as well as continuing to fund, evaluate and scale up innovative work-based learning strategies for youth.  Improving access to data on the costs and impacts of training programs will be key to identifying high-return interventions.  And she also recommended more federal support for cross-state information exchange and research facilitated by NASWA and other organizations. 

Ms. Chocolaad said states are moving quickly to establish a vision and plans for the new workforce legislation, while addressing implementation hurdles—some significant—related to timelines, service strategies, performance measurement and basic technology and staff infrastructure. Regarding the latter, while Dr. Heinrich mentioned the importance of linked program data to the success of the new law, Ms. Chocolaad reported that many state agency leaders want the federal government to play a much more active role in supporting them in this area, especially as funding for the workforce system has lagged inflation and demand, and efficiency gains from shared technology solutions are needed.

She also spoke about the labor side of infrastructure.  Success with vulnerable populations will depend on counselors/navigators/advisors helping provide information, support and linkages at critical times.  Studies like a recent MDRC study on the City University of New York’s ASAP program, which found the ASAP program doubled community college graduation rates, attest to the critical role of intensive advising.  WIOA recognizes this by emphasizing more staff assisted services.  But within the workforce system, many states are struggling to increase frontline staff capacity and the major funding stream supporting this function has lost half of its value in the last twenty years.  This is another area where state workforce agency leaders would like additional support, but in the meantime, within NASWA, are focused on finding efficient ways to share training resources and best practices.

Ms. Chocolaad also reported states are interested in additional resources to help reemploy unemployment insurance claimants, a strategy that has a high return on investment and helps feed the talent pipeline for businesses hiring middle skill workers.  

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2015 UI Directors' Conference Oct 19-22, 2015 in Albuquerque, NM

The New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions invites you to join us in Albuquerque, NM for the 2015 NASWA UI Directors’ Conference and IT/Legal Issues Forum October 19-22, 2015.  The 2015 conference is a forum to share innovative ideas, policies and best practices for the federal-state unemployment insurance (UI) system and will celebrate UI’s 80th anniversary.  Online registration is now available.  Early bird registration ends August 28, 2015. Attendees can make hotel reservations online thru September 21, 2015.  Click here for hotel details.   If you are interested in Sponsoring or Exhibiting please download the Sponsor/Exhibitor Prospectus.

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SIDES Update Report

NEW! SIDES State Report Available:  Access here

In an effort to build best practices for all states, including those who have or will recently join SIDES (Alaska, California, Connecticut, Florida, Indiana, and Virginia), the National SIDES Team has collected data pertaining to states’ practices in operating and marketing SIDES Web Services and E-Response.  All state SIDES teams who are currently in production with SIDES completed an online survey, and their responses have been collated and graphically represented in this Improving Online Employer Response to State UI Requests: Report of Current State Practices of Employer Engagement, Outreach, and Marketing resides on the SIDES web site under SIDES E-Response.

Highlights of the report feature:

  • States with innovative employer engagement, outreach, and marketing through a multi-faceted approach; a dynamic and easily navigated SIDES page on the state website; mass employer marketing through mailings and print ads; and a consistent social media presence.

SIDES is a web-based system allowing state UI agencies to communicate electronically with employers and their representatives referred to as Third Party Administrators (TPAs).  SIDES data provides the following: Separation Information, Earnings Verification, Monetary and Potential Charges, and Determinations and Decisions.

California Goes Live on SIDES

June 17, 2015, the California Employment Development Department (EDD) went live on SIDES utilizing Web Services and E-Response with Employers Edge which is a TPA headquartered in Westminster, Colorado.  Employers Edge is currently live in forty states.   California is the 46th state to go live with SIDES.  According to USDOL UI Data Summary, California had 631,337,000 in the first quarter of 2015; the largest number of initial claims, followed by Pennsylvania with 306,647,000.  Indiana and Virginia plan to go live later in 2015 and Alaska and Connecticut plan to go live in 2016.

Indiana and Virginia plan to go live later in 2015 and Alaska and Connecticut plan to go live in 2016.

Barnett Associates Goes Live on SIDES

June 23, 2015, Barnett Associates went live on SIDES with the Texas Workforce Commission.  Founded in 1983, Barnett Associates, a TPA headquartered in Garden City, New York, is recognized as a foremost authority in state unemployment tax consulting, unemployment claims management, and verification of employment services.  Barnett provides these services to 70 companies in the Fortune 500 as well as 200+ other companies of varying size and industry.

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Federal Security Assessment Checklist for UI IT Systems

Is your agency prepared for a security assessment conducted by the IRS, SSA, or NDNH on your UI IT system?  Below is a checklist developed by ITSC that provides a high-level roadmap for assuring that the most critical security controls are in place or identify major deficiencies that need to be corrected in preparation for a security assessment from federal agencies.

The checklist provides a high-level view security preparedness of the IT systems supporting UI operations. This checklist is focused on formal assessments based on NIST 800-53. This includes assessments conducted by and for the IRS, SSA and NDNH.  These assessments cover 17 general areas (e.g., control families) and within each of these areas there are dozens of subtopics that may be addressed.  In some situations, a federal assessor’s checklist may contain a more exhaustive list of individual items. The checklist does NOT cover every area that may be reviewed by a Federal assessor. The focus is on those controls whose absence will lead to a critical finding.

After completing the checklist, management (business and IT) should have a better sense of the existing security posture. This includes an understanding of where major deficiencies will probably be identified by a formal or even informal assessment.  If remediation is possible prior to the assessment it should reduce the number of critical findings.  Even if remediation is not possible, the results should facilitate planning and better prepare the organization to deal with major (i.e., critical) findings.  If all the items in this checklist are fully satisfied, it is likely that assessors will have some findings since they have hundreds of items to choose from.  However, if the key areas identified in the checklist are in place, remaining problems should be manageable.

How to download? The checklist is available for states to download from the ITSC Members Only Website under the Technology heading on the left hand side of the main Members Only page. To request access to the ITSC website, e-mail  For more information or questions regarding this check list, you may contact John Quichocho at or (202) 650-5165.

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NASWA Announcements

New National Labor Exchange (NLx) Operations Manager

Ms. Josephine “Josie” Link was promoted as the NLx Operations Manager for the National Labor Exchange (NLx).  Ms. Link joined NASWA in the fall of 2012, and most recently worked as the NLx Program Specialist, providing overall support to the initiative and coordinating the Hilton HHonors Military. 

In her new position, Ms. Link will manage the daily operations of NLx -- a public-private partnership whose web-based system has created the most accurate and comprehensive collection of online job openings.  In addition to supporting the NLx as Program Specialist, her prior experienced at NASWA included supporting the equal opportunity and labor market information committees, as well as assisting in survey research for policy initiatives important to NASWA.  Ms. Link also contributed to NASWA communication efforts, including the weekly Newswire and social media engagement.  Josie holds a Bachelor’s Degree in History with honors from Stanford University, with a spring quarter abroad at the Institut superieur d’electronique de Paris.  Congratulations Josie!

Justin Prister Promoted to Accounting Manager

Mr. Justin Prister was promoted to accounting manager on July 1, 2015, as part of a restructuring of the accounting function at NASWA.

Over the past three years, Justin has handled NASWA’s payroll and benefits accounting, individual state reporting requirements, NASWA cash management, assisting in the auditing cycle, and has been the “go to” person for financial related questions.   In his new position, Justin will be streamlining NASWA’s document flow; preparing and analyzing NASWA’s financial statements; implementing a formal budgeting process; responding to financial inquiries; and handling NASWA’s relationship with America’s Job Link alliance (AJLA). 

Justin holds an accounting degree from Wayne State University in Detroit, MI and has worked for other non-profit organizations, including College Summit.  Congratulations Justin!

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ITSC Training: An Introduction to the Business Analyst Role for UI Managers

NASWA’s Information Technology Support Center (ITSC) is pleased to announce a new course, An Introduction to the Business Analyst Role for UI Managers. This live online course will be offered on August 6 with a repeat session on August 12.  Each session is approximately 3 hours and 30 minutes.  Below are links to register for the sessions. After your request has been approved, you'll receive instructions for joining the meeting.  Click here for the full course description.

August 6, 2015 | 9:00 am to 12:00 pm ET | REGISTER

August 12, 2015 | 12:00 pm to 3:30 pm ET | REGISTER

This course is designed to provide Managers and Supervisors with an overview of the role their states' UI subject matter experts (SMEs) will play as they transition into the position of UI Business Analysts (BA) for UI IT Modernization projects.

  • The course assists Managers and Supervisors in understanding the tasks the UI SME, acting as a business analyst, will perform. This includes how the business analyst contributes to improving UI business processes; developing and documenting UI requirements; learning practical approaches based on UI-specific successful practices of states and consortiums; and collaborating with development vendors in working on UI IT Modernization projects.
  • The course will also provide Managers and Supervisors with an expectation of how the state’s UI IT Modernization project may impact themselves and others in their agency. Additionally, this course will inform Managers and Supervisors about what SMEs from their state will learn if they are attending ITSC’s workshop, the Business Analyst Boot Camp for UI Subject Matter Experts.

For more information about this course or to discuss other UI IT training opportunities offered by ITSC, you may visit ITSC’s website at or contact John Quichocho at or (202) 650-5165.

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Announcements, Notices, and Advisories

ETA Notices and Advisories

  • July 17, 2015:  ETA issued UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE PROGRAM LETTER No.17-15 to initiate the SQSP process, provide supplemental instructions, and define additional requirements for the FY 2016 SQSP.
  • July 01, 2015:  ETA issued TRAINING AND EMPLOYMENT GUIDANCE LETTER No. 03-15 to provide guidance to the workforce system on providing services under the Adult and Dislocated Worker programs under WIOA Title I, and individuals served by Wagner Peyser, as amended by WIOA Title III, beginning July 1, 2015. This guidance also includes clarifications and flexibilities on using these funds and guidance to States for making sub-state allocations with Adult, Youth, and Dislocated Worker formula funds.
  • July 01, 2015:  ETA issued TRAINING AND EMPLOYMENT GUIDANCE LETTER No. 02-15 to provide guidance to the workforce investment system on the policies and priorities that govern the award and use of the Secretary's discretionary National Dislocated Worker Grants (DWG), under the WIOA, Title I, Section 170, which becomes effective July 1, 2015. The new program is preceded by National Emergency Grants (NEG) under Title I of the Workforce Investment Act of 1998 (WIA), and National Reserve Account grants under the Job Training Partnership Act Title III.
  • July 01, 2014:  ETA issued TRAINING AND EMPLOYMENT GUIDANCE LETTER No. 01-15 to communicate the Employment and Training Administration's (ETA) waiver policy for PY 2015 for Workforce Investment Act (WIA) waivers currently approved for many states. This guidance addresses the status of such waivers during Program Year (PY) 2015, when most provisions of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) go into effect. This guidance also communicates ETA's position on waivers under WIOA.

Recent Publications

  • New Publication Highlights How Corps and Workforce Boards Can Form Partnerships

The Employment and Training Administration, the National Association of Workforce Boards and The Corps Network have released Snapshot: Youth Corps and Workforce Partnerships, which provides information on how Corps and workforce systems can collaborate together and help engage and reconnect youth to education and the workforce opportunities

  • State PY 2013 WIA Annual Report “Success Stories” Now Available

The Employment and Training Administration (ETA) has released the Program Year 2013 Workforce Investment Act State “Success Stories” for access and review.

  • Workforce Investment Area Interactive Map

The Upjohn Institute has compiled an interactive map containing all of the nation's Workforce Investment Areas. Available are the most recent statistics on the employment outcomes and characteristics of WIA Adult, Dislocated Worker, and Youth participants, along with each area’s unemployment rates.  For more information, go to:

  • GAO Study on Veterans' Employment Workshops

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has released a report on the Department of Labor's employment workshops for veterans and their spouses as part of its Transition Assistance Program (TAP) examining a 2-year pilot that ended in January 2015.

U.S. Chamber Report: Analyzing Talent Flow

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation released a new report, Analyzing Talent Flow: Identifying Opportunities for Improvement, which explores an employer-driven approach to closing the skills gap called talent flow analysis. 


  • Youth Employment Programs Linked to Better Data, Partnerships
    The Urban Institute released a brief detailing strategies for improving data collection and program assessment in youth employment initiatives. 

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For questions or comments, please contact NASWA Bulletin Editor Marc Katz at