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WIOAPL 16-11 (Development of the Memorandum of Understanding for the Workforce Delivery System)
Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act Policy Letter No. 16-11
July 19, 2017
TO: Chief Elected Officials, Local Workforce Development Board Chairpersons, Local Workforce Development Board Directors, and OhioMeansJobs Center Operators
FROM: Cynthia C. Dungey, Director
SUBJECT: Development of the Memorandum of Understanding for the Workforce Delivery System

I.          Purpose

The purpose of this policy is to define the requirements for the development and negotiation of the local workforce development area’s (local area’s) memorandum of understanding (MOU) for the delivery of workforce and other related services.

II.         Effective Date


III.        Background

Integrated service delivery is the cornerstone of the public workforce delivery system, through which workforce development, educational, and other human resource services are made available to individuals and employers at the American Job Centers (in Ohio, called OhioMeansJobs centers) in each local workforce development area. Management of the local service delivery system is to be shared among states, local workforce development boards (WDB), core Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) programs, required partners, additional partners, and OhioMeansJobs center operators.

WIOA sets forth the requirements for local workforce development systems. Section 121 of WIOA identifies the required partner programs and defines the responsibilities of local WDBs, chief elected officials (CEOs), and partners in the operation of the local workforce development system. Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act Policy Letter (WIOAPL) No. 16-09, Establishment of the Workforce Delivery System, provides the guidance for determining required and non-required OhioMeansJobs center partners.

Required partner programs must make services available through local workforce development systems and local OhioMeansJobs centers. Required partners must also use a portion of their program funds to maintain local workforce development systems in proportion to the use of and relative benefit received. This includes costs of infrastructure and other costs associated with the operation of the local workforce development system.

Local WDBs, CEOs, and local required and additional partners in each local area must enter into good-faith negotiations to determine:

1.         How services and activities will be coordinated;

2.         Which services will be shared;

3.         How proportionate shares of costs will be determined, allocated, and funded;

4.         How referrals will be made; and

5.         How all parties will ensure that programs, services, and activities are accessible to all individuals, including those with barriers to employment and individuals with a disability.

Once consensus is reached among the parties, the result of negotiations will be written into a local WIOA memorandum of understanding (MOU).

A.        Content of Memorandum of Understanding

The MOU is a product of local discussion and negotiations and should serve as a blueprint that clearly outlines the roles and responsibilities of the local WDB, local partners, and partners’ staff in the local workforce development system. Each provision of the MOU should be written in a manner that provides any new local WDB member, CEO, local partner, or other stakeholder a clear understanding of how services are coordinated through the local workforce development system and how infrastructure and other shared costs are funded. Each local area MOU must comply with section 121(c) of WIOA and Part C of 20 C.F.R. 678.

As a courtesy, the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) has developed an MOU template that includes the WIOA-required and other provisions listed below. The template may be modified as needed. The local WDB or its designee has the responsibility to complete each provision to clearly and accurately reflect the terms and costs as agreed-upon during the negotiation process.

The MOU template is available on the Office of Workforce Development’s website at https://jfs.ohio.gov/owd/OneStops/owd-one-stops-mou-home.stm. Any required modifications to the template must be completed by February 1 for the subsequent fiscal year.

The contents of each provision should include the details described below:

1.         Services –A description of all services provided through the local workforce development system and a description of how the local WDBs and partners will coordinate delivery of those services, which should also include:

a.         Identification of each comprehensive, affiliate, and specialized OhioMeansJobs center where local partners will make services and activities available;

b.         A description of how each partner program will make services and activities available, including:

i.          The number of partner staff members who will maintain a physical presence at each OhioMeansJobs centers;

ii.         The number of hours per week the staff members will deliver services at each OhioMeansJobs center; and

iii.        How partners that do not maintain a physical presence will provide a direct linkage to services through technology and/or training of a different program partner who is physically present at the OhioMeansJobs center.

c.         Identification of the services that will be shared by local partner’s staff members;

d.         Contribution of the partner staff time;

e.         The number of staff and staffing hours per week required for delivery of each shared service;

f.          The method to determine each local partner’s proportionate share of staff time to contribute;

g.         Each local partner’s proportionate share of staff time; and

h.         How coverage will be ensured in the event of absences.

2.         Operating Costs – A description of how the local WDB and local partners will fund infrastructure and other shared costs associated with the operation of the local workforce development system. The MOU should include:

a.         A budget that identifies all infrastructure and other shared costs;

b.         A description of the method used to determine each partner’s proportionate share of costs;

c.         A description of the method used to allocate costs to each partner;

d.         A description of the resources each partner will use to fund its proportionate share of costs, which may be cash, noncash, or third party in-kind contributions;

e.         A description of a method to reconcile budgeted costs to actuals on at least a quarterly basis and to distribute updated budgets to the local partners;

f.          A description of the state infrastructure funding mechanism that will be implemented should the parties fail to reach consensus on local infrastructure costs through the local infrastructure funding mechanism (local negotiation of infrastructure costs); and

g.         The local infrastructure funding agreement (IFA), which will be incorporated by reference to the MOU.

The MOU template includes the necessary components of the IFA (e.g., effective time period of agreement, identification of partners, modification process). The MOU budget attached to the MOU includes both the infrastructure costs and additional costs necessary to operate the OhioMeansJobs center. The infrastructure costs are the costs listed in the Facility, Resource Room, Equipment and Supplies, Outreach and Marketing, and Miscellaneous Costs Pools of the budget attachment. The additional costs are the costs listed in the Center Personnel Cost Pool of the operating budget. By signing the MOU, the parties (i.e., local WDB, CEO(s), and partners) also agree to the terms of the IFA, including the modification and review process to ensure equable benefit among partners, process to resolve issues when consensus cannot be reached, operating budget, and projected partner contributions.

The IFAs must be executed and incorporated into the MOUs in accordance with the United States Department of Labor (USDOL) Training & Employment Guidance Letter (TEGL) 17-16 and WIOAPL No. 16-06, State Mechanism for Funding OhioMeansJobs Center Infrastructure Costs.

3.         Accessibility- The days and hours of operation for each center, with access to programs, services, and activities in the comprehensive center(s) to be made available during regular business days. A description of the methods that will be used to ensure that both general access to services and programmatic accessibility to services, including via technology and materials available through the workforce delivery system, will address the needs of job seekers, youth, Limited English proficient (LEP) individuals, and individuals with barriers to employment, such as individuals with disabilities. A description of any service hours available beyond regular business hours or the plan in place to accommodate schedules of individuals who cannot visit a center during regular business hours.

4.         Methods of Referral- A clear description of the methods and processes for referral of customers to appropriate services and activities between the OhioMeansJobs center operator(s) and partner programs.

5.         Agreement Period- The effective beginning and ending dates for the MOU and for the MOU renewal period. The MOU period may cover an annual or biennial period that is consistent with the state fiscal year and state fiscal biennium. The MOU must include an assurance that the MOU will be reviewed by local WDBs and partners no less than every two years.

6.         Amendment Process- A detailed description of a process to amend the MOU, including the events or circumstances that will necessitate an amendment to the MOU.

7.         Termination/Separation-A description of the conditions that will prompt termination of the MOU as well as the process and potential consequences for separation by a partner.

8.         Confidentiality-A description of how the parties will ensure confidential information will be safeguarded in accordance with the applicable federal and state laws and regulations applicable to each partner program.

9.         Dispute Resolution- The process the parties will follow to resolve disputes in the event of an impasse during the negotiation process or implementation of MOU provisions.

10.       Safety & Security – Identification of each partner staff member at the management level who will serve as the point of contact for each respective partner program in regard to safety and personnel issues.

11.       Signatories- Signatures of the CEO(s), local WDB director, and authorized representatives of all required and additional partner programs that are making services available through the local workforce development system. Each signature line must identify the partner entity and the partner program. The name of each authorized representative must be printed below the signature line.

12.       Negotiation- Documentation of the negotiation process and efforts to reach consensus.

The MOU may contain any other provisions agreed to by the parties that are consistent with WIOA title I, the authorizing statutes and regulations of the OhioMeansJobs center partner programs, and the WIOA regulations.

B.        Memorandum of Understanding Negotiations

WIOA emphasizes full and effective partnerships between local WDBs, chief elected officials, and OhioMeansJobs center partners. Local WDBs, CEOs, and all required and additional partners must enter into good-faith negotiations. Local WDBs, CEOs, and partners may also request assistance from the State agency responsible for administering the partner program, or other appropriate parties on other aspects of the MOU.

Should the parties reach an impasse, the local WDB or partners must report it to the State and provide the documentation of the negotiation efforts, including the MOU and/or budget if either have been developed and signed by one or more parties.

If the impasse is not resolved by May 31 of the state fiscal year immediately preceding the state fiscal year in which the renewal will take effect, including failure to agree upon infrastructure funding costs, the State will be required to implement the state infrastructure funding mechanism and determine each local required partner’s proportionate share of infrastructure costs in accordance with WIOAPL 16-06.

Should a required partner file an appeal to dispute the amount determined by the State per WIOAPL 16-06, and the appeal results in an adjustment of that partner’s share of infrastructure costs, the MOU, budget, and IFA, if developed, must be amended to reflect that adjustment. Copies of the updated MOU, budget, and IFA must be sent to all parties to the MOU in a timely manner.

The IFA must be executed by May 31 of the state fiscal year immediately preceding the state fiscal year in which it will take effect, consistent with the MOU execution deadline.

C.        Amendment and Renewal

WIOA requires that all MOUs contain provisions that specify when amendment of the MOU is required during the agreed upon MOU period, and the process and time-frame for renewal of the MOU at the conclusion of each MOU period.

1.         Amendment- The circumstances listed below will require an amendment to the MOU. The local WDB and partners may agree to additional circumstances that will prompt the amendment process.

a.         The addition or removal of a partner entity;

b.         A change of OhioMeansJobs center operator, the physical location of an OhioMeansJobs center, or the administrative structure of a local workforce development system; and/or

c.         A change that significantly alters negotiated terms of the MOU, such as changes in shared services, service delivery, referral methods, or cost sharing.

Amendments that do not impact negotiated terms (e.g., the addition of another partner entity that decreases partner costs and does not impact shared services or the separation of a partner that has no impact on shared costs or services) need only be signed by authorized representatives of the local WDB, the CEOs, and the affected partner(s).

Any changes to the negotiated terms that affect all parties must be signed by all parties, and may require re-negotiation.

Quarterly reconciliation of the budget and IFA will not require a formal amendment to the MOU.

Regardless of whether all parties have to sign, the MOU should include a process to ensure that all parties receive advance notice of the amendment and are provided the opportunity to comment. The MOU should also include a provision to ensure that each party receive a copy of each executed MOU amendment and updated budget and/or IFA, as applicable, within a timely manner.

An amendment to the IFA will not require an amendment to the MOU. However, an IFA amendment will require signatures of the local WDB, CEO(s), and all local required partners.

2.         Renewal – All local WDBs and partners are required to renew the local MOU no less than every two years, with an MOU period that is concurrent with the state fiscal biennium (beginning July 1 of even-numbered years and ending June 30 of the subsequent odd-numbered year). Annual MOUs must be renewed concurrent with the state fiscal year (beginning July 1 of the current fiscal year and ending June 30 of the subsequent state fiscal year).

Regardless of whether the MOU period is annual or biennial, all parties must meet at least once annually, preferably during the third quarter of each state fiscal year to review the current MOU, budget, and IFA to determine if re-negotiation of terms and/or costs is necessary.

If the parties agree that changes are necessary to an MOU executed for a biennial period, the MOU may be amended instead of renewed—unless the changes are so substantial that re-negotiation of the MOU is necessary, in which case the existing MOU must be terminated upon the execution of a new MOU.

For the renewal MOU period, the IFA must be negotiated and executed concurrently with the MOU.

All renewal MOUs must be executed by May 31 of the state fiscal year immediately preceding the state fiscal year in which it will take effect. If an MOU is in process, but all signatures will not be acquired by the May 31 deadline, local WDBs must provide written notice to ODJFS that signatures are forthcoming and provide an estimated date of submission. In order to avoid delay in payment of partner contributions, MOUs should be executed prior to the end of the current MOU period.

IV.       Definitions

Access: To each partner program and its services means:

1.         Having a program staff member physically present at the OhioMeansJobs center;

2.         Having a staff member from a different partner program physically present at the OhioMeansJobs center appropriately trained to provide information to customers about the programs, services, and activities available through partner programs; or

3.         Making available a direct linkage through technology to program staff who can provide meaningful information or services.

Affiliate OhioMeansJobs center: A site that makes available to job seeker and employer customers one or more of the programs, services, and activities of the OhioMeansJobs Center’s partners.

Comprehensive OhioMeansJobs center: A physical location where job seeker and employer customers can access the programs, services, and activities of all required OhioMeansJobs center partners.

Core program: A program which is authorized under one of the following program provisions:

1.         Chapters 2 and 3 of subtitle B of WIOA Title I, relating to youth workforce investment activities and adult and dislocated worker employment and training activities;

2.         Title II, relating to adult education and literacy activities;

3.         Sections 1 through 13 of the Wagner-Peyser Act (29 U.S.C. 49 et seq), relating to employment services; and

4.         Title I of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (29 U.S.C. 720 et seq), relating to vocational rehabilitation services.

Disability: Per section 29 C.F.R. 38.4(q) means, with respect to an individual:

1.         A physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more of the major life activities of such individual;

2.         A record of such an impairment; or

3.         Being regarded as having such an impairment.

Direct linkage: Providing direct connection at the OhioMeansJobs center, within a reasonable time, by phone or through real-time Web-based communication to a program staff member who can provide program information or services to the customer.

Good faith: Negotiations that include fully and repeatedly engaging partners, transparently sharing information, and maintaining a shared focus on the needs of the customer.

Infrastructure Funding Agreement (IFA): An agreement between local WDBs, CEOs, and local required partners that identifies local infrastructure costs and includes provisions for determination of partner shares and resolution of infrastructure funding-related issues that may arise. The IFA details are to be completed within and generated from the state’s County Finance Information System (CFIS) using the MOU Functions menu item.

Limited English proficient (LEP) individual: Per section 29 C.F.R. 38.4(hh) means an individual whose primary language for communication is not English and who has a limited ability to read, speak, write and/or understand English. LEP individuals may be competent in English for certain types of communication (e.g., speaking or understanding), but still be LEP for other purposes (e.g., reading or writing).

Local WIOA Memorandum of understanding (MOU): An agreement developed and executed between the local WDB, with the agreement of the CEO(s) and the OhioMeansJobs center partners, relating to the operation of the OhioMeansJobs delivery system in the local area.

Local workforce development system: A system under which entities responsible for administering separate workforce development, education, and human services programs collaborate to create a seamless system of service delivery that will enhance access to the programs' services and improve long term employment outcomes for individuals and businesses.

OhioMeansJobs center partner: An entity described in section 121(b)(1) or (b)(2) of WIOA that participates in the operation of the local workforce development system.

Partner Entity: The grant recipient, administrative entity, or organization responsible for administering the funds of the specified program in the local area.

Programmatic accessibility: Per section 29 C.F.R. 38.4(tt) means policies, practices, and procedures providing effective and meaningful opportunity for persons with disabilities to participate in or benefit from aid, benefits, services, and training.

Specialized centers: Centers that address specific needs, including those for dislocated workers, youth, or key industry sectors, or clusters.

V.        State Requirements

A.        Negotiation Assistance

Upon request by local WDBs and/or local partners, ODJFS will provide assistance to support negotiation efforts and/or to help resolve disputes that may arise. ODJFS will also coordinate with state-level WIOA partners as appropriate to mediate with local parties in an effort to resolve the impasse.

The State Board, called the Governor’s Executive Workforce Development Board (GEWDB), and the State agencies overseeing the partner programs may consult with the appropriate Federal agencies regarding impasse situations related to issues other than infrastructure funding, if ODJFS and state partner intervention fails to resolve local disputes.

The Governor or the GEWDB must report the failure to resolve an impasse to the Secretary of Labor and to the head of any other Federal agency with responsibility for oversight of a partner’s program.

B.        Good Partnership

ODJFS, in its role as the WIOA State Agency, has executed an MOU with the other state-level partner agencies to demonstrate the State’s commitment to good partnership by ensuring that staff members participating in negotiations have the knowledge and information needed to be well prepared for the negotiation process.

The state-level partners also agree to make the best efforts to delay any staffing or other significant changes to the beginning of the next state fiscal year and to work with local WDBs to minimize the impact of any such changes on the other local partners. The state core partner agencies include:

1.         Ohio Department of Higher Education (Adult Education and Basic Literacy);

2.         Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities (Vocational Rehabilitation), and

3.         Ohio Department of Aging (Senior Community Employment Services Program).

VI.       Local Workforce Development Area Requirements

A.        Convening Negotiation Meeting

Prior to the beginning of the program year starting the biennial budget, the local WDB must provide all partners at the OhioMeansJobs center(s) the opportunity to participate in a negotiation process to determine how to fund the costs of the local area’s OhioMeansJobs center(s) in the upcoming two program years. On an annual basis, the local WDB must also provide partners the opportunity to review the current MOU, budget, and IFA to determine if re-negotiation of terms and/or costs is necessary and if the MOU needs amendment or renewal. Local WDBs and partners must enter into good faith negotiations.  The negotiation process must include at least one annual meeting, preferably during the third quarter of the current state fiscal year, to discuss the MOU. The local WDB and/or its director must schedule this meeting and any additional meetings that are necessary. The purpose of the meeting is to assess the partner’s roles, responsibilities, benefits, and ability to assist in funding the OhioMeansJobs center(s).

The following topics should be covered during the negotiation meeting:

1.         Partner’s presence or access to partner services in the OhioMeansJobs center.

2.         Partner’s role(s) and responsibility(ies) in the OhioMeansJobs center.

3.         Coordination of partner services offered through the local workforce development system.

4.         Partner benefit to having a presence in the OhioMeansJobs center (e.g., effortless referral to partner program(s), cost savings, etc.).

5.         Identification of infrastructure and other shared costs.

6.         Methods to determine each partner’s portion of infrastructure and other shared costs and to allocate costs to partners.

7.         Resources each partner will use to fund its proportionate share of costs, which may be cash, noncash, or third-party in-kind contributions.

It may take more than one negotiation meeting to reach agreement, prepare the partner’s portion of the MOU based upon these negotiations, and obtain the partner’s signature.

It is strongly encouraged that the parties reconvene once the MOU, budget, and IFA are developed to review and sign the documents. If this isn’t feasible, the local WDB must develop a process for local partner review and signature of the MOU, budget, and IFA that ensures each partner has the opportunity to review each document and return the documents with signatures and allows sufficient time for local WDBs to gather all signatures and submit the documents to ODJFS.

B.        MOU Submission

1.         Local WDB Review- Prior to submission to partners for signature, the local MOU and budget should be reviewed thoroughly to ensure:

a.         All parties to the MOU are identified in the introduction and are included on the signature pages of the MOU;

b.         All negotiated terms have been included in the MOU in the proper location and are clearly and accurately stated;

c.         The signature lines for each partner, identify:

i.          The partner entity;

ii.         The partner program; and

iii.        The individual authorized to sign the MOU on behalf of the partner entity, by name and by title;

d.         The budget accurately lists the agreed upon costs and cost methodologies; and

e.         All other attachments are accurate and up to date.

2.         Partner review- Once the local WDB review is complete, the MOU, budget generated as a report from the CFIS system, and all attachments should then be distributed to all local required and additional partners for review and signature, excluding the ODJFS signature which is obtained later. If the parties cannot reconvene to sign the MOU in person, the local WDB shall ensure the parties are given instructions to return the complete MOU (MOU, signature pages and attachments) by a specified date that allows the local WDB sufficient time to collect all signatures and complete a final, review prior to submission to ODJFS.

3.         Submission- Once all local signatures have been collected, each MOU should be reviewed to ensure that no changes or redactions have been made. Once the final review is complete, the MOU, the signature pages, and all attachments should be combined into a single pdf document and submitted to ODJFS, Office of Workforce Development (OWD) at WIOAMOU@jfs.ohio.gov. Any additional attachments may be sent separately from the MOU.

If the pdf is too large to be emailed or if mailing the MOU is preferred by the local WDB, a hard copy of the MOU, the signature pages, and all attachments may be sent to: ODJFS, Office of Workforce Development, Grants Administration, 4020 East 5th Avenue, Columbus, Ohio 43219.

4.         ODJFS Review and Signature- Upon receipt of each MOU, the OWD Grants Administration Unit will conduct a review to ensure all of the following:

a.         All parties are identified;

b.         All local signatures are included (ODJFS will not process any MOU that does not have the signatures of all parties);

c.         All required provisions are clearly written, and

d.         The cost-sharing provisions are consistent with the budget attachment and correctly entered in CFIS.

Upon completion of its review, Grants Administration will obtain the signature of the ODJFS Workforce Administrator, who will sign for ODJFS in its role as the required partner, and the signature of the ODJFS Assistant Director, who will sign for ODJFS in its role as the administrative and oversight agency for WIOA programs and the statewide workforce development system and as the required partner.

Grants Administration will send a pdf copy of each fully signed and executed MOU with all attachments to each local WDB. Local WDBs or their designees have the responsibility to ensure that the CEOs and each local partner receive a copy of the fully executed MOU and attachments.

VII.      Technical Assistance

ODJFS, OWD Grants Administration will provide guidance and technical assistance to local WDBs and partners on matters relevant to the MOU, including, but not limited to:

Negotiation preparation;

MOU and/or IFA development;

Compliance with WIOA and all applicable federal and state laws, regulations, and policies; and

Any other matters that may arise.

Requests for technical assistance may be sent to OWD, Grants Administration at WIOAMOU@jfs.ohio.gov.

VIII.     References

Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, §§121 and 188, Public Law 113-128.

20 C.F.R. §§ 678.500 – 678.510.

29 C.F.R. § 38.4.

34 C.F.R. §§ 463.500 – 463.510, and 361.500 – 361.510.

USDOL, Training and Employment Guidance Letter WIOA No. 17-16, Infrastructure Funding of the One-Stop Delivery System, (January 18, 2017).

USDOL, Training and Employment Guidance Letter One-Stop Operating Guidance for the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act No. 16-16, One-Stop Operations Guidance for the American Job Center Network, (January 18, 2017).

ODJFS, Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act Policy Letter No. 16-09, Establishment of the Workforce Delivery System, (May 30, 2017).

ODJFS, Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act Policy Letter No. 16-06, State Mechanism for Funding OhioMeansJobs Center Infrastructure Costs, (November 10, 2016).