WIOAPL 16-02.1 (Eligible Training Providers)
Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act Policy Letter No. 16-02.1
May 28, 2019
TO: Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act Local Workforce Development Board Directors, Fiscal Agents, and OhioMeansJobs Center Operators
FROM: Kimberly Hall, Director
SUBJECT: Eligible Training Providers

I.Purpose

The purpose of this policy is to establish the criteria for eligible training providers (ETPs) who may receive WIOA funding to provide training services and the procedures for approving them on the State ETP list.

II.Effective Date

Immediately

III.Rescission

ODJFS, Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) Policy Letter No. 16-02, Eligible Training Providers. (November 10, 2016.)

IV.Background

The workforce development system established under the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) emphasizes informed consumer choice, job-driven training, provider performance, and continuous improvement. The quality and selection of providers and programs of training services is vital to achieving these core principles. The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) plays a leadership role in ensuring the success of the ETP system in partnership with the local workforce development boards (WDBs), the OhioMeansJobs system, and its partners.

As required by section 122 of WIOA and 20 C.F.R. 680.400, the State, in partnership with the local WDBs, must identify providers of training services that are qualified to provide WIOA-funded training to adults, dislocated workers, and youth. Therefore, WIOA requires that each state maintain a list of ETPs and their programs of training services along with relevant performance and cost information. The State must establish eligibility criteria and procedures for initial determination and renewals of eligibility for training providers and training programs to receive funds under WIOA title I-B. The State ETP list and the related eligibility procedures must ensure the accountability, quality, and labor-market relevance of programs of training services. In administering this process, the State and local workforce development areas must work to ensure that qualified providers offering a wide variety of job-driven training programs are available.

An individual training account (ITA) is one of the primary methods through which training is financed and provided for adults, dislocated workers, and youth, including youth who are in school and permitted to receive ITAs through waiver authority granted by the United States Department of Labor (USDOL). ITAs are established on behalf of a WIOA participant to purchase a program of training services from ETPs. Further guidance may be found in the policy letter on the use of ITAs.

Providers of on-the-job training (OJT), customized training, incumbent worker training, internships, paid or unpaid work experience, or transitional jobs are not funded through ITAs, are not included on the State ETP list, and are not subject to the eligibility criteria pertaining to ETPs.

Pursuant to the State policy letters on training services for adults and dislocated workers and youth program services, and paragraph (E)(4) of rule 5101:14-1-02 of the Administrative Code, training services and occupational skills training for which ITAs are used shall only be delivered by providers who have met the eligibility criteria and are included on the State ETP list.

V.Definitions

Accreditation: Recognition by an accrediting agency that an institution or specific training program offered by the institution maintains standards for its graduates to gain admission to other reputable institutions of higher learning or to achieve credentials for professional practice.

Community-based organization: A private nonprofit organization (which may include a faith-based organization) that is representative of a community or a significant segment of a community and that has demonstrated expertise and effectiveness in the field of workforce development.

Eligible training provider (ETP): An entity that meets the criteria and procedures established by the State to be eligible to receive WIOA title I-B funds to provide occupational skills training and to be included on the State ETP list.

Occupational skills training: An organized program of study that provides specific vocational skills that lead to proficiency in performing actual tasks and technical functions required by certain occupational fields at the entry, intermediate, or advanced level, and results in attainment of a recognized post-secondary credential.

Program of training services: One or more courses or classes, or a structured regimen, that leads to:

1.A recognized post-secondary credential;

2.A secondary school diploma or its equivalent;

3.Measurable skill gains toward the above credentials; or

4.Employment.

Recognized post-secondary credential (RPC): A degree, license, or certification consisting of an industry recognized certificate or certification, a certificate of completion of an apprenticeship, a license recognized by the State involved or Federal Government, or an associate or baccalaureate degree awarded by an accredited college or university.

State ETP list: An online database of the ODJFS-approved training providers who may receive WIOA title I funds to provide training services to eligible WIOA title I-B participants, including relevant performance and cost information on each training program.

VI.State Requirements

A.Eligible Training Providers (ETPs)

ETPs may include:

1.Accredited institutions of higher education that provide programs which lead to recognized post-secondary credentials;

2.Entities carrying out programs registered under the National Apprenticeship Act (29 U.S.C. 50); or

3.Public or private providers of training services, which may include:

a.Community-based organizations;

b.Joint labor-management organizations; and

c.Eligible providers of adult education and literacy activities under title II of WIOA (in Ohio, known as Aspire) if such activities are provided in combination with occupational skills training.

In determining which entities may qualify as ETPs, priority is granted to those offering training programs that lead to recognized postsecondary credentials (RPCs) that are aligned with in-demand industry sectors or occupations in the State and or a local workforce development area (local area). An RPC is awarded in recognition of an individual’s attainment of measurable technical or industry/occupational skills necessary to obtain employment or advance in a career field.

B.Certifications of Basic Skills or Work Readiness

Minor certifications of basic skill attainment or work readiness, although frequently provided to WIOA participants to help them enter employment, do not meet the definition of an RPC. Therefore, providers of such credentials are not included on the State ETP list. Any coursework or instruction provided by such providers to help individuals attain a minor certification is not considered occupational skills training under WIOA and is not funded through an ITA. Local WDBs may use procurement methods other than the State ETP list to make available minor credentials that verify basic skills and work readiness where necessary and appropriate.

However, some minor certifications are embedded within a regimen of training leading to an RPC and are used to document interim progress and measurable skill gains toward completion of the RPC. Thus, notwithstanding the previous paragraph, providers that offer training leading to an embedded minor certification are considered ETPs and may be included on the State ETP list; and participants who will continue their training to complete an RPC may receive the training needed to earn an embedded certification through an ITA.

Attachment A to this policy provides additional guidance on the defining characteristics of RPCs and other types of workforce credentials along with a checklist template that local areas may use or adapt to determine whether a credential meets the RPC criteria.

C.Management of the State ETP List

ODJFS establishes the criteria, information requirements and procedures for the State ETP list, including procedures identifying the respective roles of the State and the local areas governing the eligibility of ETPs. The State is responsible for the following activities:

1.Ensuring the development and maintenance of the State ETP list;

2.Ensuring programs meet the eligibility criteria and performance levels established by the State;

3.Removing programs that do not meet State-established program criteria or performance levels;

4.Taking appropriate enforcement actions against providers that intentionally provide inaccurate information or that substantially violate the requirements of WIOA; and

5.Disseminating the State ETP list to the public and the local WDBs.

D.Initial Eligibility Procedures for ETPs

Any provider offering a program of training services to be funded through WIOA using ITAs must be included in the State ETP list. Except for registered apprenticeship programs, any provider that has not previously served as an ETP under section 122 of WIOA or section 122 of the Workforce Investment Act of 1998 (WIA) must apply for consideration by submitting the following information in the State’s designated online system for managing the State ETP list:

1.Provider Information

a.Name, address, e-mail address, and contact person;

b.Entity type (e.g., higher education, apprenticeship, etc.);

c.Number of years the provider has been in business;

d.Ability to provide training services to individuals with barriers to employment (e.g., availability of financial aid, grants, and scholarships);

e.Information on Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliance; and

f.To the extent possible, alignment of the training services with in-demand industry sectors and occupations in Ohio.

2.Program Information

For each program of training services to be offered by the provider, the following information must also be submitted:

a.Program name, description, and website;

b.Location(s) that offer the program;

c.Type of degree, certificate, or other attainment earned;

d.Name of associated credential;

e.Classification of instructional programs (CIP) code and title for the program;

f.Occupational Information Network (O*NET) code for the program;

g.Program length (credit or clock hours);

h.Program prerequisite (e.g., experience, course-work, diploma or degree);

i.Program format (in-person, online, etc.);

j.Indication of whether the credits transfer to another institution;

k.Program duration and term; and

l.Cost of tuition and related fees.

3.Indicators of program performance and waiver authority

To assist participants in selecting training activities and providers of training services, ETPs are also required to provide outcome data for the following indicators of program performance for individuals who attended each training program:

a.Number of individuals who attended the training program;

b.Number of individuals who exited (including attendees who completed, withdrew, or transferred out of the program);

c.Number of individuals who completed the program;

d.Number of program exiters who are employed in the second quarter after exiting;

e.Number of program exiters who are employed in the fourth quarter after exiting;

f.Median earnings of program exiters in the second quarter after exiting;

g.Number of program exiters who attained a credential during participation in the training program or within one year after exiting;

h.Average (mean) earnings of program exiters in the second quarter after exiting; and

i.Average (mean) earnings of program exiters in the fourth quarter after exiting.

However, under a temporary waiver granted by the USDOL, training providers who do not have systems or processes in place to gather one or more of the indicators of program performance may indicate in their application that the data is not available, in which case:

 

  • The training provider may be added to, and remain on, the State ETP list if all other ETP criteria are met and may provide WIOA-funded training services to participants while the waiver authority remains in effect;
  • The ETP must begin working to implement the necessary systems or processes to be able to submit data on some or all of the indicators of program performance on its subsequent State ETP list renewal request; and
  • The performance outcomes for WIOA participants who attended the ETP’s program, exclusive of attendees who were not funded by WIOA, will be reported by ODJFS.

4.Additional ETP requirements

To qualify as an ETP, a provider of training services must also meet the following criteria:

a.Remained in business for two years or longer;

b.Registered with the Ohio Secretary of State to do business in Ohio, is exempted from such registration, or registered to do business in another state if the provider does not have a significant presence in Ohio;

c.Is not debarred, suspended, proposed for disbarment, declared ineligible, or voluntarily excluded from participation in transactions by USDOL or the State of Ohio;

d.Does not owe any outstanding tax liability to the State or Federal government more than six months past due; and

e.Does not owe any outstanding civil, criminal, or administrative fines or penalties at the State or Federal level.

The State will review all applications for inclusion on the State ETP list and will notify each training provider via e-mail of the approval or denial decision for the provider and for each training program proposed by the provider.

ETPs may apply for approval of additional programs of training services at any time after initial eligibility by following the same procedure.

E.Continued Eligibility Procedures for ETPs

To remain active on the State ETP list and continue to receive WIOA funding, an ETP must renew its status in the State’s designated system for managing the State ETP list at least once every 12 months following the date of the previous approval. The renewal process requires an update of basic provider information, the information pertaining to each program offered by the ETP, and the indicators of program performance to reflect outcomes using the most recently available data that pertain to each performance measure (if such data are available) as required for performance reporting.

The State will review all submitted renewal requests and will terminate and remove providers that fail to meet criteria necessary to remain eligible. The training provider will be notified via e-mail when its status has either been renewed or terminated.

If an ETP does not renew its status within 90 days following the 12-month renewal date, the provider will be terminated and removed from the State ETP list. The training provider will no longer be permitted to provide ITA services funded by WIOA until completing the initial eligibility process described above and obtaining ODJFS approval.

If an ETP does not renew the status of one or more of its training programs within 90 days following the 12-month renewal date for that program, the program(s) will be removed. The provider may remain on the State ETP list if it maintains at least one active program. Providers with no available programs will be removed from the State ETP list as described in the previous paragraph.

F.Registered Apprenticeship Programs

Registered apprenticeship programs, upon approval by ODJFS, are automatically included on the State ETP list unless the sponsor requests to be excluded. When applying to become a registered apprenticeship program, the sponsor will be informed of this eligibility and the benefits of inclusion on the State ETP list.

Once included on the State ETP list, registered apprenticeship programs will remain on the list until they are deregistered or until the registered apprenticeship program notifies ODJFS that it no longer wishes to be included on the list.

Inclusion of a registered apprenticeship program on the State ETP list allows eligible adults, dislocated workers, and youth who are authorized to receive ITAs to use WIOA funds to cover the costs of classroom training provided as part of the apprenticeship program, subject to policy limitations by ODJFS or the local WDB.

G.Dissemination of State ETP List

To assist participants in choosing employment and training activities, the State ETP list will be disseminated to local WDBs in the state, members of the public, the OhioMeansJobs delivery system, and program partners, including the State’s secondary and post-secondary education systems.

To ensure informed consumer choice, the State ETP list is widely available to the public through electronic means and includes searchable databases. The State ETP list is accessible to individuals seeking information on training outcomes and participants in employment and training activities funded under WIOA, including individuals with disabilities.

The State ETP list contains appropriate information to assist participants in choosing employment and training activities, including:

1.Recognized post-secondary credential(s) offered;

2.Provider-supplied information as part of eligibility; and

3.Training program performance and cost information.

H.Loss of ETP Eligibility

A training provider must deliver results and provide accurate information to retain its status as an ETP. Providers determined to have intentionally supplied inaccurate information or to have substantially violated any provision of title I of WIOA or the WIOA regulations, including 29 CFR part 38, must be removed from the State ETP list.

Upon determination that a provider of training services intentionally supplied inaccurate information or substantially violated any requirement of WIOA, the eligibility of such provider to receive funds under WIOA shall be terminated for at least two years.

A provider of training services whose eligibility is terminated for either intentionally supplying inaccurate information or substantially violating WIOA requirements shall be liable for the repayment of funds improperly secured or received during the period the violation(s) occurred.

I.Appeal Process for ETPs

If an institution or training provider was denied ETP eligibility, has lost eligibility, or has been terminated from the State ETP list, the institution or training provider may appeal the denial or termination by requesting an appeal within 14 days from the date of receipt of notice of termination. The appeal may be submitted by: 

  • Using the automated appeal module available within the State’s designated information system for managing the ETP list;
  • Sending an e-mail, with relevant information and exhibits attached, to WIOAQNA@jfs.ohio.gov; or
  • Mailing a written request to ODJFS, Office of Workforce Development, P.O. Box 1618, Columbus, OH 43216-1618.

The State will review the appeal, gather any necessary information from the individual who submitted the appeal, provide an opportunity for a hearing, and issue a written decision within 60 days of the receipt of the appeal.

VII.Local WDB Requirements

The local WDB is responsible for the following activities pertaining to ETPs:

1.Carrying out procedures assigned to the local WDB by the State, such as informing the State of concerns related to the quality of providers or inaccurate performance data;

2.Working with the State to ensure there are sufficient numbers and types of providers of training services, including ETPs with expertise in assisting individuals with disabilities or in need of adult education and literacy activities; and

3.Ensuring the wide dissemination and appropriate use of the information available in the State ETP list.

Additionally, the local WDB may:

1.Make recommendations to the State on the best procedure for identifying qualified ETPs;

2.Request additional information from ETPs to assist adults, dislocated workers, and youth in making an informed choice; and

3.Conduct site visits to assess the quality of the providers, and report on the findings.

Local WDBs may supplement information requirements defined in this policy to support informed customer choice and the achievement of local performance measures. This additional information may include:

1.Information on programs of training services that are linked to local in-demand occupations;

2.Information that shows how programs are responsive to local workforce development area needs; and

3.Other appropriate information related to the objectives of WIOA.

Local WDBs are not required to provide WIOA funding to a training provider listed on the State ETP list and may establish local policy regarding how ETPs will be utilized locally. However, this policy must not inhibit consumer choice. For example, a local WDB may decide against using ETPs that did not provide data on the indicators of program performance if a sufficient number of ETPs remain available within a reasonable commuting distance for participants to receive the training services they need to enter in-demand occupations.

VIII. Technical Assistance

Requests for technical assistance may be sent to ODJFS, Office of Workforce Development: WIOAQNA@jfs.ohio.gov.

IX.References

Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, §§ 122, 123, 129, 134, and 188, Public Law 113-128.

20 C.F.R. §§ 680.340, and 680.400 through 680.510.

USDOL, Training and Employment Guidance Letter No. 41-14, WIOA Operating Guidance, Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA or Opportunity Act) Title I Training Provider Eligibility Transition (June 26, 2015).

O.A.C. 5101:14-1-02(E)(4).

ODJFS, Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act Policy Letter No. 15-09.1, Training Services for Adults and Dislocated Workers (January 8, 2018).

ODJFS, Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act Policy Letter No. 15-10, Youth Program Services (July 15, 2015).

ODJFS, Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act Policy Letter No. 15-11.1, Use of Individual Training Accounts (ITA) (January 8, 2018).

ODJFS, Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act Policy Letter No. 17-04, Waivers for Implementation of the Comprehensive Case Management and Employment Program (January 22, 2018).

Attachment A: Credential Classification Checklist Template