WIOA - Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act Issues: 1) 5% Administration Cap, 2) WIOA Data, 3) AwD
What is WIOA? As of July 1, 2015, WIOA provides funding to implement employment, education, training and support services to help job seekers access and succeed in the workforce and improve adult education and literacy programs. One of the primary purposes is "increasing access to, and opportunities for individuals to receive the employment, education, training, and support services necessary to succeed in the labor market, with a particular focus on those individuals with disabilities or other barriers to employment including out of school youth with the goal of improving their outcomes. 20 CFR § 675.100 (a).
Another purpose of WIOA is to streamline "service delivery across multiple programs by requiring colocation, coordination, and integration of activities and information to make the system understandable and accessible for individuals, including individuals with disabilities and those with other barriers to employment, and businesses." § 675.100 (c).
Funding is provided to organizations through grant applications to the state, which then allocates the federal fundings to the recipient organization. To ensure that the funding supports the jobseekers directly, at least 95% of the funding must be spent on adult education and literacy activities, and a maximum of 5% can be used towards administrative costs. 29 USC § 3323.
Issue 1: Was the 5% admin cap violated and were funds from the Adult Ed Block Grant improperly used to fund the WIOA grant supervisor position?
* 3/11/18 Update: Use of AEBG funding for WIOA position found not to be an allowable use.
WIOA prohibits the use of more than 5% of the WIOA grant funds for administrative costs. 29 USC § 3323(a)(2). If the amount is too restrictive, the recipient organization is supposed to negotiate with the state to try to obtain an adequate amount, §3323(b).
The current 2016/17 WIOA grant to MiraCosta is $223,616. Five percent of this amount would equal about $11,181. Despite this limited sum, MiraCosta created two new administrative positions in 2016 to implement the $223K grant (instead of using existing MiraCosta staff):
- WIOA "Grant Supervisor," and
- WIOA "Program Specialist."
Per MiraCosta documents, an interim WIOA grant administrator was hired for 4/1/16 - 12/30/16 at $32.13 per hour (or approximately $46,000) to implement the $223K grant. (The Adult Ed Block Grant administrator, by comparison, was hired on the same date for only $31.22 per hour to implement a grant of over $1 million.) The public requested documents to determine the original funding source of the WIOA position because the amount allocated exceeded WIOA's 5% administration cap. (The original WIOA personnel request has not yet been provided.)
Change in funding.
On December 1, 2017, MiraCosta's VP of instruction revealed publicly that the Adult Ed Block Grant had been used to hire the WIOA grant supervisor, even though this position was not included in the AEBG Consortium's 3-year plan submitted to the state (see Allowable and Prohibited Uses of AEBG funds). Per a "Personnel Requisition" dated May 16, 2017, an "account string change" had to be made so that funds from the Adult Ed Block Grant could be used to reimburse another funding source for the WIOA position for the period of 6/1/16 - 6/30/17 (see image lower left). The salary listed in the personnel request equaled $71,564, which not only exceeded the 5% admin cap under WIOA, but also the 5% admin cap under the Adult Ed Block Grant Act so it is unclear why MiraCosta's administration approved this.
Another concern that has been raised is whether the use of AEBG funds to replace the funding used originally to pay for the WIOA grant supervisor position is an allowable use of the public funds. The AEBG office has been very clear that AEBG funds cannot be used to supplant or replace funding.
The AB 86 Plan.
It is also unclear how or why MiraCosta approved the May 16, 2017 "account string change" because use of Adult Ed Block Grant funds must not only be reflected in the block grant Consortium's 3-year AB86 plan to be considered "allowable" (which the WIOA position was not), but expenditures must also be approved through a public meeting of the Consortium. However, the Consortium did not approve this funding allocation per the minutes of its April 18, 2016 meeting (or minutes of other meetings) and did not have any public meetings between April 18, 2016 and December 13, 2017, which is when the funding source change occurred.
Because this expenditure was not done via the public meetings required by state law, exceeded the block grant's 5% administrative costs cap, and was not an approved expenditure in the AB86 Grant Plan, the use of Adult Ed Block Grant funding for the $71,564 WIOA position appears to be prohibited by the Adult Education Block Grant Act (see prohibited uses of block grant funds).
With respect to the second WIOA position, per Transparent California, the WIOA "program specialist" was hired at $61,461, with a total cost of $85,997 once benefits are added. Although the funding source for the WIOA "program specialist" position is currently unknown, did MiraCosta spend around $150,000+ for salaries to administer a $223,000 grant?
UPDATE Feb. 2018: In a program review released in February 2018 (dated December 2017), the state investigator found that the use of AEBG funds to pay for a WIOA employee was questionable and that the Consortium had not held public meetings as required. It is unclear what type of corrective action will be taken by MiraCosta.
Issue 2: Accuracy of data?
MiraCosta recently was awarded an additional $400,000 in WIOA grant funding per its grant request for 2017-18, far more than most other institutions and over $200,000 more than its prior $223K grant. MiraCosta Watchdog contributors are interested in learning:
the enrollment numbers used to justify the increased grant;
the "persistence" numbers that demonstrate how many of the students continue in the classes after enrollment because there has been some evidence produced per document requests that suggest attendance is not taken;
whether any of the WIOA grant funds will be used to support students in the adults with disabilities program and whether the adults with disabilities program was excluded from the grant request? (Back to top)
Issue 3: Exclusion of adults with disabilities?
MiraCosta was awarded approximately $223,000 for the 2016-17 school year to provide WIOA services to its students. The WIOA funds are to be used "with a particular focus on those individuals with disabilities or other barriers to employment."
Unfortunately, despite the stated "focus" on those with barriers to employment such as disabilities (see above left information), per the adult ed block grant's filings, none of these funds were spent on MiraCosta's Adults with Disabilities Program. (See Year 2 "Member Allocations" on the Consortium's state filing page). This has raised concerns because of the stated focus per WIOA regulations that students with barriers such as disabilities should be supported, and because California's Employment First Act states that employment of Adults with Disabilities should be one of the state's "highest priorities."
Does MiraCosta exclude the AwD program in its grant request despite the focus of WIOA and MiraCosta's stated goals of diversity and inclusion?
Why aren't any of the WIOA funds being used on students in the Adults with Disabilities program?
(Back to top)
WIOA Program Specialist Position
(Source: Transparent California)