• Publication Date:
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  • Title:
    Request for Information; Comment Request; Department of Labor Research and Evaluation Plan for 2016
[Federal Register Volume 81, Number 5 (Friday, January 8, 2016)][Notices]  
[Pages 967-970]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2016-170]



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.

Guiding Principles

    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 
DOL Programs;
     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 
statistical databases:
     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 
Developing Countries;
    [cir] Policies and Strategies to Address Child Labor and Forced 
Labor; and
    [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).
     WIOA Implementation
    [cir] Implementation of WIOA; and
    [cir] Strategies and Services Delivery in One Stop Centers/American 
Job Centers.
    [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 
Compliance Assistance
    [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 
Compliance Assistance
    [cir] Deterrence Strategies for Improving Compliance with Labor 
Standards Laws and Regulations;
    [cir] Evaluation of Voluntary Compliance with Labor Standards Laws 
and Regulations;
    [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-
being; and
    [cir] Effectiveness of Tax Credits and Wage Subsidy Strategies on 
Employment Outcomes.
     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 
young scholars);
     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, 
for example:
     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.
    Electronic Access to This Document: The official version of this 
document is the document published in the Federal Register. Free 
Internet access to the official edition of the Federal Register and the 
Code of Federal Regulations is available via the Federal Digital System 
at: www.gpo.gov/fdsys. At this site you can view this document, as well 
as all other documents of the Department published in the Federal 
Register, in text or Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF). To use PDF 
you must have Adobe Acrobat Reader, which is available free at the 
    You may also access documents of the Department published in the 
Federal Register by using the article search feature at: 
www.federalregister.gov. Specifically, through the advanced search 
feature at this site, you can limit your search to documents published 
by the Department.

    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]