[Federal Register Volume 81, Number 5 (Friday, January 8, 2016)][Notices]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2016-170]
DEPARTMENT OF LABOR
Office of the Secretary
Request for Information; Comment Request; Department of Labor
Research and Evaluation Plan for 2016
AGENCY: Office of the Assistant Secretary for Policy, Chief Evaluation
ACTION: Request for information.
SUMMARY: The Department of Labor (DOL), as part of its continuing
effort to improve the quality and use of research and evaluation, is
requesting comments from the public on its 2016 Research and Evaluation
DATES: Written comments must be received by the office listed in the
addressee section below on or before February 8, 2016.
ADDRESSES: A copy of this research and evaluation plan may be obtained
free of charge by contacting Jonathan Simonetta, Chief Evaluation
Office, U.S. Department of Labor, Room S-2312, 200 Constitution Avenue
NW., Washington, DC 20210, Email: ChiefEvaluationOffice@dol.gov.
You may submit comments by one of the following methods:
Email: ChiefEvaluationOffice@dol.gov; Mail or Courier: Jonathan Simonetta,
Chief Evaluation Office, U.S. Department of Labor, Room S-2312, 200
Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20210. Instructions: Please
submit one copy of your comments, preferably by email. We continue to
experience delays in receiving mail in the Washington, DC area,
therefore commenters are strongly encouraged to transmit their comments
electronically via email or to submit them early by mail.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Jonathan Simonetta, Chief Evaluation
Office, U.S. Department of Labor, Room S-2312, 200 Constitution Avenue
NW., Washington, DC, 20210, by telephone at 202-693-5959 (this is not a
toll-free number), or by email at ChiefEvaluationOffice@dol.gov.
SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: U.S. Department of Labor, Chief Evaluation
Office, Fiscal Year 2016 Evaluation Plan Priorities and Themes.
The U.S. Department of Labor's Chief Evaluation Office (CEO)
directly funds and sponsors evaluations and also collaborates with
other DOL agencies and programs to design and conduct evaluations that
those agencies sponsor. The Department's annual evaluation plan is
based mainly on agencies' priorities, the Department's Strategic Plan
priorities, statutory requirements for evaluations, and continuing
discussions with agency leadership and program staff.
In addition to funds appropriated for Departmental Program
Evaluations (DPE), Division G, Title I, Section 107 of Public Law 113-
235 of the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2015
(the Act) authorizes the Secretary of Labor to reserve not more than
0.5 percent from specific budget accounts for transfer to and use by
the Office of the Chief Evaluation Officer for departmental program
evaluation. The accounts referred to in subsection (a) of the Act are:
Training and Employment Services, Job Corps, Community Service
Employment for Older Americans, State Unemployment Insurance and
Employment Service Operations, Employee Benefits Security
Administration, Office of Workers' Compensation Programs, Wage and Hour
Division, Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs, Office of
Labor-Management Standards, Occupational Safety and Health
Administration, Mine Safety and Health Administration, funding made
available to the Bureau of International Affairs and Women's Bureau
within the Departmental Management, Salaries and Expenses account, and
Veterans Employment and Training. Set-aside funds are transferred to
CEO and are available for evaluations of programs administered by the
agencies responsible for those budget accounts.
Evaluation funding (core and set-aside) must be obligated within
two years. The following sections present principles followed in
developing the evaluation plan and a summary of the priorities and
themes for potential evaluation projects expected to be initiated in FY
2016. Of particular note is that the Workforce Innovation and
Opportunity Act (WIOA) of 2014 requires several specific evaluations,
which will be carried out collaboratively by CEO and the Employment and
Training Administration (ETA); some WIOA-specific studies are included
in this plan and others will be included in subsequent years' plans.
Three principles guide the Department's overall evaluation plan and
all studies initiated by the CEO:
1. Prioritize studies that focus on measuring the effectiveness of
key program outputs and outcomes consistent with Departmental
priorities, the Departmental Strategic Plan, Agency Learning Agendas,
and Agency Operating Plans.
2. Encourage the most rigorous evaluation designs possible to
address the evaluation question of interest, particularly experimental
designs, but also non-experimental designs, in a manner that is
realistic given the programmatic missions/goals, programmatic maturity,
data availability, and analytic capability.
3. Expand the capacity, knowledge, and utilization of high quality
evaluation designs and methods department-wide; and improve the quality
of data that can be used for evaluations.
Agency Learning Agendas identify priorities for evaluations that
can help agencies measure their effectiveness, their progress towards
goals and outcomes, continuous improvement, and, in some cases, meet
Congressional requirements for reports and evaluations. Evaluations
focus on program performance and outcomes, measuring the impacts of
core programs and services, evaluating new programs and initiatives,
and testing the relative effectiveness of alternative program
practices, using the most rigorous methodologies possible.
Evaluation Priorities and Themes for FY 2016
These themes reflect a diverse mix of potential activities designed
to build evidence about what works and the factors that influence or
are related to Departmental programs. Broadly, four types of projects
are considered in pursuing the priorities:
Statistical Analyses of Trends in Programs, Labor Supply
and Demand, Economic Conditions, and the Labor Market as they Relate to
Exploratory, Formative and Implementation Evaluations, and
Designs and Evaluability Assessments for Pilots and Demonstrations;
Formal Evaluations of Programs and Demonstrations; and
Research and Evaluation Capacity Building Activities.
A. Statistical Analysis of Trends and Surveys
In FY 2016, CEO is exploring the following themes, possibly through
statistical analyses using agency administrative data, surveys or
Labor Market and Occupational Trends in Selected Industry
Gender Patterns and Pay in Occupations and Industries;
Caregiving and Women's Retirement Security;
Unemployment and Unemployment Insurance;
Labor Enforcement Program Data (OSHA, WHD, OFCCP);
Immigration, Immigrants, and Work Visas;
Employment of Veterans; and
Analysis of Adult Skills and Competencies.
B. Exploratory, Formative and Implementation Evaluations, Evaluability
Assessments, Feasibility Studies, and Structured Evidence/Literature
In FY 2016, CEO is exploring the following priorities and types of
studies, possibly through exploratory evaluations using formative and
implementation analysis methods, and evidence reviews.
Evidence and Literature Reviews
[cir] CLEAR Reviews. Structured literature and evidence reviews
will be conducted using the review standards and guidelines established
for the Clearinghouse for Labor Evaluation and Research (CLEAR);
[cir] Active Labor Market Policies and Livelihood Services in
[cir] Policies and Strategies to Address Child Labor and Forced
[cir] Education, Training and Certification Pathways.
Job Driven Skills and Training
[cir] Models for Improving Basic Skills and Career Preparation
(e.g., GED and new testing mode, career education);
[cir] Occupational Credentialing and Training Program Practices;
[cir] Characteristics of, Services to, and Employment Outcomes for
Unemployed and Dislocated Workers;
[cir] Employment Effects of Soft Skills Training and Job Search
Strategies for Adults and Youth; and
[cir] Models of Engagement with, and Effect of Programs on,
Businesses and Employers (e.g., Job Corps and other youth programs,
adult workforce programs, job training programs, veterans programs).
[cir] Implementation of WIOA; and
[cir] Strategies and Services Delivery in One Stop Centers/American
[cir] Strategies and Models of Employment Services for Serving
Veterans and Alternative Models; and
[cir] Models for Improving the Transition of Individuals from
Active Military Duty to Civilian Employment.
Other Special Populations
[cir] DOL Programs and Services in Native American, Tribal, and
Pacific Islander Urban and Rural Communities;
[cir] Employer Practices Regarding Accommodation and Talent-
development of Employees with Disabilities; and
[cir] Role of Intermediaries, including Non-Farm Labor Contractors,
in the Hiring of Farmworkers.
Labor Standards, Worker Safety and Health, Compliance, and
[cir] Worker Rights in Developing Countries;
[cir] Child Labor Information and Technical Assistance Efforts in
Developing Countries; and
[cir] Labor Standards in Supply Chains in Selected Industries.
C. Formal Evaluations of Programs and Demonstrations
In FY 2016, CEO is exploring the following themes, possibly through
formal evaluations to test promising strategies, replicate proven
models, and estimate the effectiveness of program components and
service delivery approaches:
[cir] National Guard Youth ChalleNGe Job ChalleNGe Demonstration;
[cir] Performance Partnership Pilots (P3) for Disconnected Youth;
[cir] Job Corps Innovations Pilots; and
[cir] Youth Build.
Job-Driven Skills and Training
[cir] American Apprenticeship Initiative Grants;
[cir] Employment and Training Services for Adults, Dislocated
Workers, Out of School Youth, and Foster Youth;
[cir] Innovative Career Pathways Models; and
[cir] Subsidized Employment and Tax Credit Strategies to Increase
Employment and Reemployment
[cir] Innovative Strategies for Improving Employment Outcomes for
Incarcerated and Formerly Incarcerated Individuals and
[cir] Effective Reemployment Strategies for Unemployed Workers and
Recipients of Unemployment Insurance.
Behavioral Economics and Insights
[cir] Evaluations Using Behavioral Insights to Improve Program
Outcomes in DOL Employment and Training and Worker Protection Programs.
Labor Standards, Worker Health and Safety, Compliance and
[cir] Deterrence Strategies for Improving Compliance with Labor
Standards Laws and Regulations;
[cir] Evaluation of Voluntary Compliance with Labor Standards Laws
[cir] Effectiveness of Various Methods and Strategies for
Inspection, Compliance, and Enforcement; and
[cir] Improving Injury and Illness Reporting.
Worker Security, Benefits, and Tax Strategies
[cir] Effectiveness of Financial Literacy Strategies;
[cir] Effect of Worker Benefits on Family, Worker, and Child Well-
[cir] Effectiveness of Tax Credits and Wage Subsidy Strategies on
Outreach, Information, Training, and Technical Assistance
[cir] Effective Translation and Adoption of Federal Policies by
States and Localities;
[cir] Effectiveness of Inspector Training Programs; and
[cir] Effectiveness of Technical Assistance and Outreach.
D. Research and Evaluation Capacity Building Activities
It is important to complement evaluation studies with other
activities designed to continuously reinforce the role of evaluation at
DOL: The importance of evaluation for achieving performance goals and
objectives; the integration of evaluation into ongoing management; and
the expectation of high quality products and reports. Dissemination of
evaluation reports and access to accumulating evidence is also
essential, as is the commitment to developing a pipeline of labor-
focused young evaluators/scholars. This category includes various
activities to continue to build DOL's evaluation capacity, such as:
DOL Scholars Research Program (with priority given to
Collaborative Cross-Agency Statistical Analysis; and
Wage Record Data Exchanges for Evaluations.
BLS, Bureau of Labor Statistics
CEO, Chief Evaluation Office
EBSA, Employee Benefits Security Administration
ETA, Employment and Training Administration
ILAB, Bureau of International Labor Affairs
MSHA, Mine Safety and Health Administration
OASP, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Policy
ODEP, Office of Disability Employment Policy
OFCCP, Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs
OLMS, Office of Labor-Management Standards
OSEC, Office of the Secretary
OSHA, Occupational Safety and Health Administration
OWCP, Office of Workers' Compensation Programs
SOL, Office of the Solicitor
UI, Unemployment Insurance
VETS, Veterans' Employment & Training Service
WHD, Wage and Hour Division
WB, Women's Bureau
Instructions, Who Should Respond: We invite practitioners, policy
makers, program directors, business and industry associations,
nonprofit organizations, and researchers to provide feedback on the
priorities, the themes and the types of studies and approaches included
in the 2016 plan, and suggestions for related evaluation areas topics,
Are there other themes or topics that should be considered
for inclusion in the evaluation plan?
What types of evaluations or topics would be of most
relevance to program practitioners?
Are there any particular data or resource constraints that
should be considered?
Guidance for Submitting Documents
On page one of your submission, please indicate your name, the name
of your organization (if applicable), and your contact information
(including phone number, postal address, and email address). While not
required, it would assist us in reviewing your information if you also
included the type of organization you represent (public, private, not-
for-profit, or philanthropic), the field(s) in which you work and the
level at which you operate (national, state, regional, local or
Rights to Materials: By submitting material in response to this
RFI, the respondent is agreeing to grant the Department a worldwide,
royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable, non-exclusive license to use the
material and to make it publicly available. Further, the respondent
agrees that it owns, has a valid license, or is otherwise authorized to
provide the material to the Department. The Department will not provide
any compensation for material submitted in response to this RFI.
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Signed: at Washington, DC this 17th day of December, 2015.
Sharon I. Block,
Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy, U.S. Department of
[FR Doc. 2016-170 Filed 1-7-16; 8:45 am]
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