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Wagner-Peyser Act

Contact: Kelly Lindseth
Employment Security Department
P.O. Box 9046
Olympia, WA 98507-9046
Telephone: (360) 902-9762
E-mail: klindseth@esd.wa.gov

State Website: www.go2worksource.com

Participation: 322,973 job seekers and 5,930 employers were served by WorkSource offices between July 1, 2012 and June 30, 2013. These numbers reflect job seekers who were assisted by WorkSource staff and excludes those who opted for self-service. The number of employers reflects only those employers for whom WorkSource listed and "managed" a job order.

Who is served: All job seekers and employers in Washington are eligible for services funded through federal Wagner-Peyser allotments.  Unemployment Insurance claimants are the largest customer component and, like all customers, have the opportunity to receive work skills assessments, counseling, job and training referrals.  Veterans and eligible spouses receive priority referral to jobs and training, as well as special employment services and assistance coordinated with the Veterans Administration. Special programs are also available that offer extra assistance to people who have the hardest time finding employment, such as the long-term unemployed, individuals with disabilities, at-risk youth, parents receiving Temporary Assistance for Needy Family support, and dislocated workers.

Program Description: Wagner-Peyser provides all job seekers access to job search preparation and placement assistance.  Employers may receive general or specialized recruitment services through self-service or staff-assisted job orders. Services are available through a network of more than thirty WorkSource offices in communities across the state, and online through go2worksource.com.

Job seekers have access to a wide range of job-related services including skill assessments, career counseling, job-matching assistance and free skill development workshops or online course modules aimed at improving employability. All interested job seekers may receive guidance and counseling to assist toward a productive work search. Another responsibility under the program is to ensure claimants are actively seeking work.

Employers receive a range of services, including job posting, applicant screening, job fairs, free bonding for some employees, access to on-the-job training reimbursement, tax credits for hiring certain types of workers and assistance to avoid or minimize layoffs. The system also offers extensive and award winning labor market information products to help employers and job seekers make informed decisions.

Other Program Characteristics: Recovery Act funding was a temporary boost to the Wagner-Peyser resource through September 2010 used to address heavy customer demands at the height of the Great Recession. Improvement in program design continues with increased customer opportunities for short-term skill development through online learning tools to all workers—both unemployed and employed throughout the state.  

Program History: The Wagner-Peyser Act established a national public Employment Service as part of the New Deal legislation passed in 1933. Following the Great Depression of 1929, it was intended to help the unemployed get back to work while benefiting employers by referring potential workers. In 1937, the Washington Legislature authorized the state’s public employment service. Over decades, through many economic downturns and growth periods, the Employment Security Department has enhanced its capacity to be a ready resource, regardless of the ups and downs of the business cycle, for employers and job seekers. Congress amended the program in 1998 to be part of each state’s mandated one-stop service delivery system that includes several related employment and training programs. In Washington, this system is branded WorkSource.

Planning Cycle: Five-year. Wagner-Peyser is part of Department of Labor integrated workforce program planning along with the Workforce Investment Act Title I-B programs and is typically updated every two years.

State Core Measures: See Workforce Training Results at http://www.wtb.wa.gov/WashingtonStateCoreMeasures.asp       

Other Outcome Measures: Federal common measures include entered employment rate, employment retention rate and average earnings. State measures include credential rates, median earnings, retention rate and participant satisfaction. Methodologies vary for calculating and reporting program performance data to the U.S. Department of Labor, the governor, various stakeholders within the Employment Security Department and its partner agencies, and to WorkSource partner organizations.

Funding and Regional Division: Funds are allocated by the U.S. Department of Labor to the state based on the state’s relative share of individuals in the civilian labor force and unemployed job seekers among all states. The Employment Security Department retains responsibility for all funds authorized under the Wagner-Peyser Act.

State Funding: None.

Federal Funding: Wagner-Peyser formula allocation $14,676,520 (July 1, 2012-June 30, 2013)

Statutory Authority: Federal Wagner-Peyser Act of 1933 as amended by the federal Workforce Investment Act of 1998. Administered by the Employment Security Department.

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