By Leon Bennett,2014-07-06 12:59
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    Discretionary Grants Back-to-Basics

    Data Collection, Data Processing

    and Reporting Presentation

    About This Guide

    This guide is designed to provide grantees with a

    comprehensive set of handouts from the Data

    Collection, Data Processing, and Information and

    Reporting presentation. The handouts included in this

    guide provide detailed information about the

    Department of Labor, Employment and Training

    Administration’s common measures initiative as well

    as information pertaining to assessment and case

    management. In addition, the guide provides

    discretionary grantees with information about the

    context of performance management and reporting

    and how it affects the operation of their grant. This

    guide is meant to be a resource for discretionary

    grantees and their Federal Project Officers. Grantees

    should always consult their individual grant

    agreement and grant award documents when

    establishing data collection, data processing, and

    information and reporting systems.


    Understanding the Context of Performance Management

    There is increased attention from Congress, the President, and the American people on ensuring that programs and projects funded by the Federal government are well run and results-oriented. Below are some key documents and laws that set the context for performance measurement and accountability in Federal programs.

The Government Performance and Results Act

    One of the first initiatives to focus Federal agencies on performance accountability was through the passage of the Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA), which was enacted in 1993. The main purpose of GPRA is to provide for the establishment, testing, and evaluation of strategic planning and performance management in the Federal government. Basically stated, Congress expects that Federal agencies demonstrate results and a return on the public’s investment by requiring agencies to show program results. Instead of focusing on measuring processes, GPRA requires Federal agencies to focus on outcome-based results. For example, while collecting information on the number of people completing training is absolutely important, one of the GPRA goals for the Workforce Investment Act is how many people became employed as a result of the services received. For additional information on GPRA, visit

    Workforce Investment Act

    One of the key principles of the Workforce Investment Act (Public Law 105-220), which was signed into law August 7, 1998, was increased accountability at the Federal, state, and local levels for results. For increased accountability, states and local areas were given greater flexibility in designing and operating their programs. The goal of the Act is to increase employment, retention, and earnings of participants, and in doing so, improve the quality of the workforce to sustain economic growth, enhance productivity and competitiveness, and reduce welfare dependency. The Act established a performance accountability system to assess the effectiveness of state and local areas in continuously improving workforce investment activities and specified core indicators of performance that apply to all formula-funded state and local workforce investment programs. For additional information on WIA, visit

President’s Management Agenda

    In August 2001, the President developed a report outlining areas requiring improvement in the Federal government. One of the primary goals addressed in the report emphasized program effectiveness and the need for Federal agencies to evaluate the outcomes of their programs and grants. In addition, the report stated that achievement of results be tied to budget decisions. The report stated that ―What matters in the end is completion. Performance. Results. Not just making promises, but making good on promises.‖ This quote applies to every agency, institution, or organization receiving

    Federal fundseveryone must collect information, analyze data, and report on how their projects performed. For additional information on the President’s Management Agenda, visit


    Handout 1 - Data Collection, Data Processing, and Information and Reporting Handouts

Appropriations Act

    The Appropriations Act, authorizing the use of Federal funds for discretionary grants, contains language requiring the Department of Labor to assess the performance of programs and services funded by the department.

    Common Measures Initiative

    As part of the President’s budget and performance integration initiative, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and other Federal agencies developed a set of common measures for programs with similar goals. OMB Director’s Memorandum M-02-06

    and other OMB documents outlined broad indicators of performance for job training and employment programs.

    Programs administered by six Federal departments, including the U.S. Department of Labor, Education, Health and Human Services, Veterans Affairs, Interior and Housing, and Urban Development are implementing common measures for many of their grants. Training and Employment Guidance Letter (TEGL) No. 17-05, dated February 17, 2006, provides detailed instructions on common measures for DOL grantees. At this time, DOL does not require reporting of common performance measures outcomes for all discretionary grants. However, efforts are underway to use common measures more frequently in DOL projects. DOL encourages grantees and ETA Federal Project Officers (FPOs) to review the grant award documents to ascertain whether reporting of common performance measure outcomes is applicable to the project(s). For additional information on DOL’s common measures initiative, visit


    Handout 1 - Data Collection, Data Processing, and Information and Reporting Handouts


    Developing a Performance Management System

    Now that you understand the context and the increased attention on reporting outcomes and linking funding decisions to results, it is time to turn our attention to specific steps grantees can take to develop a performance management system. In a nutshell, performance management is a systematic process that involves the following critical areas:

     Monitoring the results of activities;

     Collecting and analyzing performance information to track progress toward

    planning results;

     Using performance information to influence program decision-making and

    resource allocation; and

     Communicating results achieved, or not achieved, to advance

    organizational learning and to tell the project’s story.

    Performance management involves every layer of your organization because it means that managers and staff are using all available information and datafiscal and

    programmaticto make decisions and improve processes. While performance

    measurement may be the purview of a few technical staff, everyone involved in the day-to-day operations of your grant needs to understand how what they do affects the project’s results. Therefore, sustained, meaningful improvement is possible only with sustained, meaningful measurement.

    Data Collection & Management Information Systems

    “What matters in the end is completion.

    Performance. Results. Not just making promises,

    but making good on promises.”

    This quote from the President’s Management Agenda emphasizes the need for data collection systems. It is vital that grantees have a process and management information system that at a minimum captures needed data elements, performs necessary calculations, and reports information needed to manage the grant and meet Federal-reporting requirements contained in your grant award agreement and in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 95 and Part 97. Thus, there are basically three elements to an effective management information system:

Data Collection

    Refers to the process grantees use to collect information for the management of the project, including information from participants, employers, service providers, partners, and project staff. Grantees need to answer one core question: ―How are we going to obtain the information?‖ Some examples of data collection tools include: attendance


    Handout 2 - Data Collection, Data Processing, and Information and Reporting Handouts

    sheets, intake/eligibility forms, activity forms, progress reports, customer satisfaction surveys, copies of diplomas/training certificates, etc.

    Data Processing

    Refers to the process grantees use to input raw data and information gathered from forms, interviews, and partner programs; finding and correcting any errors in the data; and tabulating it into a user friendly format (i.e., spreadsheets) so that response patterns can be read, reviewed, and interpreted. Some examples of data processing elements include data entry, organizing and compiling information, aggregating data, computer-processing software, including proprietary systems and off-the shelf software packages like Microsoft Excel and Microsoft Access. Additional information about Management Information Systems can be found in Handout 5.

    Information and Reports

    Refers to the ability of grantees to use data processing techniques to develop reports that are useful to identifying areas requiring project improvement and to assess project outcomes. Some examples of reports include internal management reports, quarterly project narrative reports, reports to partners and stakeholders, participant services reports, and customer satisfaction results.

    Without the aforementioned elements, grantees cannot process the information they gather in order to answer stated research questions, test hypotheses, and evaluate actual performance against expected levels of performance. Collecting information should not be perceived as something you do for someone else (e.g., ETA in order to meet Federal-reporting requirements) rather, it is something you do for your own use and benefit (i.e., to improve your project’s services, activities, and processes). Collecting

    information and measuring performance becomes a powerful mechanism for managing



    Handout 2 - Data Collection, Data Processing, and Information and Reporting Handouts

HANDOUT 3 (REVISED 9/5/2007)

    Data CollectionDeveloping Intake and

    Eligibility Processes and Procedures


    Grantees should develop policies, procedures, and definitions related to program eligibility, unless eligibility requirements are already enumerated in the Solicitation for Grant Award (SGA) and/or your grant award agreement. Section 101(34) of the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) of 1998 states that a participant is an individual who has

    been determined to be eligible to participate in and who is receiving services (except

    follow-up services authorized under this title) under a program authorized by this title. Participation shall be deemed to commence on the first day, following determination of

    eligibility, on which the individual began receiving subsidized employment, training, or other services provided under this title (emphasis added).

    While the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), Employment and Training Administration (ETA) does not require all discretionary grantees to follow the same eligibility criteria established in WIA, Title IB programs. ETA does require discretionary grantees to develop their own policies and procedures and to verify and document participant eligibility as defined in the grant. Note: In some cases, eligibility criteria are enumerated in the SGA. In these cases, discretionary grantees would be required to follow the terms and conditions of the grant award.

    Eligibility for grant services and activities is usually documented during the intake or enrollment process. Intake refers to the process of gathering information and assessing an individual’s appropriateness for a given set of services or activities. In the context of establishing participant eligibility, verification means to confirm whether individuals meet certain requirements based on an examination of official documents (e.g., birth certificates, public assistance records, or speaking with official representatives of cognizant agencies, etc.). Documentation means to maintain on-file physical evidence, which is obtained during the verification process, that an individual is eligible for participation in your project(s). Information can be obtained from partner organizations, participants, employers or through electronic systems. Such evidence, often referred to as source documentation, includes copies of documents, completed

    telephone/document inspection forms, and signed applicant statements (self-attestation forms) and is usually maintained in participant case files.

Establishing Eligibility Documentation and Verification

    ETA allows considerable flexibility in establishing eligibility processes and procedures for discretionary grants. Therefore, grantees may establish their own documentation and verification policies and procedures. It is highly recommended that the documentation and verification process be customer-friendly and not add to the frustrations already experienced by individuals who are out of work or seeking employment and training services. It is the purpose of DOL-funded programs to assist people who are having difficulty finding employment. It is not the intention of DOL to discourage participation by imposing difficult documentation and verification requirements.

    Discretionary grantees and their sub-grantees (i.e., service providers) must make reasonable efforts to document eligibility for grant activities and services. However, the


    Handout 3 - Data Collection, Data Processing, and Information and Reporting Handouts

    use of applicant statements or self-attestation forms is allowable to document those items that are not verifiable or are not readily available. The applicant’s difficulty in obtaining documentation does not need to entail privation or suffering (undue hardship) to justify using an applicant statement. In taking an applicant’s statement, it is not necessary to obtain corroboration unless there is reason not to believe the applicant. It is, however, highly recommended that the participant self-attestation form be written, signed, and dated by the individual and the case manager. The grant-specific Post-Award Guides contain examples of participant and employer self-attestation forms.

    Discretionary grantees are required to provide the participant the opportunity to provide equal opportunity information (the ethnicity, race, sex, age, and where known, disability status of participants). A response to these questions is voluntary, and the responses must be provided by the participant, not by observation by the intake specialist. Detailed guidance about Equal Opportunity information is available in your grant-specific Post-Award Guide.

    Table 1 provides a sample of acceptable source documents grantees may use to verify information collected during the intake process. The information and documents used to verify eligibility will differ substantially, based on the grantee’s eligibility criteria and the types of individuals to be served through the grant. Please keep in mind the examples listed below are not inclusive of all the available sources of information. Rather, the table is provided as an illustration of the types of documents that grantees can use.

    Table 1: Samples of Acceptable Source Documentation

    Examples of Examples of Common Data Elements Acceptable Documentation or Eligibility Criteria

    Birth Date/Age ; Birth certificate

    ; Baptismal or church record

    ; Driver’s license

    ; Federal, State, or local government-issued

    identification card

    Race (EEO question) ; Self-Attestation

Ethnicity (EEO question) ; Self-Attestation

U.S. Work Authorization: Grantees may require ; Verification of document(s) that satisfy List A

    that participants have a legal right to work in of the I-9

    the U.S. For up-to-date information on the INS ; Verification of document(s) that satisfy List B Form I-9 go to and C of I-9’formsfee/forms/I-



    Handout 3 - Data Collection, Data Processing, and Information and Reporting Handouts

    Examples of Examples of Common Data Elements Acceptable Documentation or Eligibility Criteria

    Selective Service Registration: Each male ; Acknowledgement letter

    registrant 18 years of age or older born on or ; Form DD-214 after January 1, 1960 must present evidence ; Screen printout of the Selective Service that he has complied with Section 3 of the Verification Internet site: Military Selective Service Act. ver/verification1.asp

    ; Selective Service Registration Card

    ; Selective Service Verification Form (Form 3A)

    ; Stamped Post Office Receipt of Registration Reside in Geographic Area: Grantees may ; Driver’s license

    choose to limit services to individuals living in ; Utility bill or credit card statement showing a specific geographic area. current known address

    ; Self-Attestation

    Terminated/Laid-off from Work: Some ; Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification

    grantees may be serving dislocated workers Act (WARN) notice

    who may have received a layoff notice or ; Photocopy of media article or general who may not return to a previous industry or announcement by the company occupation. ; Employer or union representative letter or


    ; Self-Attestation

    ; Invitation letter of Self-Employment Assistance


    ; Screen print of SEA schedule

    ; Internet site indicating lack of

    industry/occupation availability

    ; Statement from doctor, local One-Stop, or

    partner program stating individual inability to

    return to previous industry/occupation due

    to physical limitations

    Self-employed ; Business license

    ; Copy of completed Federal income tax return

    ; Self-Attestation

    Displaced Homemaker ; Self-Attestation

    Underemployed ; Employer statement or verification

    ; Employment specialist/case manager


    ; Self-Attestation

    Not Employed ; Review of UI wage records

    ; Self-Attestation


    Handout 3 - Data Collection, Data Processing, and Information and Reporting Handouts

    Examples of Examples of Common Data Elements Acceptable Documentation or Eligibility Criteria

    Veteran Status ; DD-214

    ; Veteran’s Administration letter or records Cash Public Assistance ; Authorization to receive cash public


    ; Copy of public assistance check

    ; Public assistance identification card

    ; Public assistance records/printout

    ; Refugee assistance records/printout

    ; Signed statement from Health and Welfare


    ; Telephone verification Family Income ; Accountant statement

    ; Alimony agreement

    ; Bank statements

    ; Social Security benefit records

    ; Unemployment Insurance documents

    ; Pension statement

    ; Copy of completed Federal income tax return Homeless ; Self-Attestation

    ; Statement from Social Services Agency

    ; Statement from individual or organization

    providing temporary housing or meal


    Individual with a Disability (EEO question) ; Self-Attestation

    Basic Skills Deficient ; School records

    ; Standardized test scores School Dropout ; School records or statement

    ; Self-Attestation

    Pregnant or Parenting ; Birth certificate

    ; Hospital record of birth

    ; Medical card showing dependents

    ; Statement of physician

    ; Copy of completed Federal income tax return

    ; Self-Attestation

    Offender ; Court documents

    ; Letter of parole officer

    ; Police records

    ; Statement of halfway house

    ; Statement of probation officer

    ; Newspaper

    ; Self-Attestation

    ; Telephone verification


    Handout 3 - Data Collection, Data Processing, and Information and Reporting Handouts

Intake Process

    Grantees should develop an intake or enrollment process where eligibility determination can be obtained and documentation collected. Any documentation collected or obtained during the intake process should be maintained in the participant’s case files.

    Most grantees collect identification and demographic information during the intake process as well as conduct a mini-assessment of participant’s supportive service and career needs. Additional information about participant assessment instruments and procedures is available in Handout 4.


    Handout 3 - Data Collection, Data Processing, and Information and Reporting Handouts

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