Under the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), core partner programs are required to report on common measures. Data collection for this new requirement begins July 1, 2017. This will be a new endeavor for vocational rehabilitation (VR) agencies, that are accustomed to reporting on Federal Standards and Indicators.
Unlike many workforce programs like Wagner-Peyser that have been reporting on common measures for some time, VR agencies are now preparing their staff through training activities for a different and more involved form of data collection.
The VR common measures are:
- Employment in the Second Quarter
- Employment in the Fourth Quarter
- Median Earnings
- Credential Attainment
- Measurable Skill Gains
- Effectiveness in Serving Employers
At the forefront of planning is a requirement on the part of the Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) that reporting be correct. Inaccurate data reporting can be met with a financial penalty. Couple this with the fact that the comprehensive RSA-911 report will now have to be submitted on a quarterly versus annual cycle, and one can understand why federal reporting is one of their primary areas of focus within the VR community.
For some time, VR professionals have known that VR performance data reported by states will be designated as “baseline” in the first two years of the Unified or Combined Plan. The baseline data will be used for planning in future years. It will be interesting to see how this plays out over time. Comparing workforce programs may be more like an apple to oranges proposition versus apple to apples. The design and intent of workforce programs vary.
The challenge for VR will be to keep its identity and focus on serving the disability community. Historically, this has been relatively easy given that the previous reporting measure (Federal Standards and Indicators) were aligned with serving persons with disabilities. While VR will continue to serve this population, the new measures are considered more generic.
With July fast approaching, VR agencies are on the move to ensure that they have new system tracking methods and business practices in place. It will be very interesting to evaluate how things look a year from now, as the WIOA reporting requirements become the new normal.