New York State Workforce Development System New York State
Technical Advisory
 
March 31, 2003
Workforce Development System Technical Advisory #03-4
 
TO: Chairpersons of Local Workforce Investment Boards
Chief Elected Officials
WIA Grant Recipients
WIA Fiscal Agents
WIA Local Area Contacts
SUBJECT:Local Area Procurement of One Stop Swipe Card Systems
Purpose:To alert Local Workforce Investment Areas and One Stop Operators of the need to collect information regarding customer volume and core services rendered in the One Stop Centers and to provide information regarding the availability of funds to procure or upgrade swipe card systems to capture such data
Background:The State Workforce Investment Board (SWIB) requested that the NYS Department of Labor investigate the means by which the State Board and the local areas might measure the impact of the One Stop Centers upon their communities. Although much data is available, the SWIB wants to assure that the information has some degree of standardization, is comprehensive, meaningful and will assist local areas in analyzing their One Stop systems and making good policy decisions. Additionally, implementation of a statewide swipe card system will provide a means for the One Stop Centers and local boards to meet the standards for efficiently collecting system outcomes, an anticipated element within WIA reauthorization. Therefore, at their January meeting, it was proposed and approved by the SWIB that the Department of Labor would pursue securing and utilizing a swipe card system for local use and for that data to be made available to local WIBs and the State WIB for further enhancement and development of system measures.

Samples of the swipe card systems currently in place were reviewed to help determine best features, practical considerations, commonalities and differences, cost comparisons, and unique local preferences. As a result, a set of minimum requirements for data collection and reporting has been established for each swipe card system throughout the state, whether newly purchased or currently operative.

This technical advisory sets forth the minimum standard requirements for a swipe card system and outlines the procedures for securing the funds to assure that each One Stop’s system meets those requirements.

Action:SWIPE CARD SYSTEM

Who must have a swipe card system? Each certified One Stop Center and formal affiliate* site throughout the state must have a swipe card system in place to capture specific information regarding the individuals who use the core services of the center, essentially the “front door traffic”. The swipe card system, through its use of scanned bar codes, will track access to activities and functional service areas and will generate reports based on this data. The emphasis is on collecting those core services and customer referrals made prior to registration for services under any of the mandatory one-stop partner programs and on interfacing that data with the One Stop Center’s participant reporting system. The resulting swipe card reports will enable local and state management to better assess the volume of services, customer flow, and system use.

If a One Stop Center already uses a swipe card system to capture their front door traffic, the existing system must provide the minimum requirements as specified in this technical advisory.

* A formal affiliate receives its designation from the local board. The local board certifies a site as a formal affiliate if it meets the requirements set forth in local policy.

What are the design elements of the swipe card system? Attachment C lists several key questions that can be used as the platform for discussions within a One Stop Center and by the board within the local area. Physical configurations, practices and procedures for use, coordination of effort among partners, ease of use by the customer – these are local determinations. The swipe card system is a tool that will provide One Stop Centers and local boards with the data necessary to make programmatic and financial determinations geared toward system improvement.

Local decision-making will enable each area’s swipe card system to evolve, making revisions and adjustments to their practices and procedures over time, and refining the system until it meets local needs. The experiences and lessons learned at the local levels will then be used to create best practices statewide. These best practices will become the foundation for a subsequent technical advisory that will set forth NYSDOL’s operational expectations for all swipe card systems.

Several local workforce investment areas currently use a swipe card system (see Attachment D). If sufficient interest is expressed, NYSDOL would be willing to coordinate a conference call(s) to current users enabling those who are new to swipe cards to benefit from the experiences of those whose systems have been operational. To request this service, please send an email to: usaswr@labor.state.ny.us

For a list of swipe card vendors who are on the state contract list, please consult the website for the Office of General Services: http://www.ogs.state.ny.us. On the Home Page, choose Search This Site. To get a complete list, do two searches: type “swipe card” and get results, then type “identification equipment” to get further results.

What are the required elements of a swipe card system? Each system must capture personal information, demographics, core services, and referrals and must be able to electronically export this information to a central statewide database. In addition, the system should be programmed so that the 3 Federally mandated customer satisfaction questions are randomly asked. While this does not supplant the mandated customer satisfaction report, it will provide the One Stop with valuable feedback regarding service delivery.

The swipe card system purchased must, at a minimum, enable the collected customer identification and demographic data to be interfaced with the local area’s participant reporting system (OSOS or alternative). This transfer of data must be timely, preferably in real time. The interface with the participant reporting system will eliminate duplicate data entry for issuing a swipe card and subsequently adding the customer’s data into the local reporting system. Where it is possible and practical, a non-OSOS local area should consider additionally interfacing data between the swipe card and OSOS. Assuring an interface with OSOS maximizes the ability of the system to transfer data in real time so that a customer may move from self-directed to partner assisted services and have those services recorded and the information readily accessible at the time the services were rendered.

Swipe card system data requirements are listed in the attachments to this technical advisory. If more detailed information is required, please send an email to usaswr@labor.state.ny.us.

Attachment A, Minimum Required Swipe Card Data Fields, lists the personal and demographic information (data fields) that must be captured by each swipe card system. A local area has the option to work with their vendor to customize the system and add additional fields, but the data fields listed on Attachment A are mandatory. Attachment A also lists the field definitions, the characteristics of the data fields as defined in Microsoft Access 2000.

Attachment B, Core Services and Referrals, lists a required set of core services and referral activities that must be tracked by each swipe card system. These are basic requirements determined by reviewing currently operating systems. Highly summarized data, based upon global service categories, does not allow a Local Board to analyze data and make recommendations regarding service usage, customer flow, staffing needs, etc. Attachment B lists a variety of common services which are general enough to be used by all One Stop Centers. Local One Stop Centers may determine that capturing more detailed information will allow them to track functional areas as well as front door traffic and adapt services based upon use including such decisions as space utilization, frequency of workshop need, staffing requirements. Attachment B contains the mandatory activities to be captured. Local areas may customize this to meet their vision for maximum system use.

The swipe card system will capture, by individual, the services and referrals that were provided on a daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly and annual basis for each One Stop Center and formal affiliate. Data should be compiled in a manner that counts each individual/ service/referral only once in a 24 hour period. The data must be reported in meaningful and standardized fashion.

Standard reports should include:

  • Report 1 - total number of individual customers using the One Stop filtered at various time intervals – daily, weekly, monthly etc.
  • Report 2 - review of services accessed, by customer list – what services were accessed and by whom
  • Report 3 - utilization of services – number of customers vs. number of services used – how many times was the service used and by how many customers
  • Report 4 - demographic report – total customer demographic information by data fields (listed in Attachment A)
  • Report 5 - demographic report by service use –services used filtered by demographic characteristics (listed in Attachment A)
  • Report 6 - customer service utilization summary – list of all services accessed by an individual customer
  • Report 7 - number of referrals to/from each partner or service provider
  • Report 8 - total number of services provided by partner after referral
  • Report 9 - customer satisfaction survey results by customer, by date, and in survey summary format

It is expected that the swipe card system will evolve and additional reports may be needed. Therefore, the ideal system will be flexible enough to allow a key user to customize reports or to promptly obtain customized reports from the vendor.

Not mandated, but identified as preferred features are the following:

  • the ability to transfer data from the participant reporting system to the swipe card system thus avoiding duplicate data entry
  • customized swipe cards containing a local area logo
  • a networked system wherein multiple One Stop Centers within a large LWIA could roll up the individual One Stop data to create an overall report for the LWIA
  • the ability to generate mailing labels

The One Stop Center should assure that they have PCs capable of supporting the system they are procuring including the use of Mircrosoft Access 2000. Those PCs designated to support the swipe card system should be housed in a secure, supervised area with limited permissions for data access.

Also highly recommended is the identification of a system administrator who has some degree of familiarity with Access databases. Programming capacity is not required but experience with Microsoft Access 2000 and a basic ability to create simple queries is desirable.

Are there reporting requirements for the Local Boards? Each Local Workforce Area, through its board, will be required to submit its swipe card report to the NYS Department of Labor on a quarterly basis. A future technical advisory will specify the reporting format and the email address of where the reports should be sent.

VENDOR REQUIREMENTS

What are the vendor responsibilities? The vendor will provide the hardware and software required to operate the swipe card system. This will require that the vendor and the One Stop Center(s)/LWIA jointly determine site configuration, necessary hardware/software, and consumable supplies required for site operation. Ease of re-configuration and the option of portable systems should be discussed. The vendor must provide the system hardware and software and initial consumable materials, assistance in system setup, staff training, technical assistance and problem solving, and a plan for keeping the system operational if one of the components requires maintenance or replacement. A warranty should cover the first year of operation at a minimum. The vendor should provide user guides and a readily available help desk contact with each purchase.

The purchase of service contracts for future year’s operation should be available and include general maintenance, software revisions and updates, hardware replacements, and the like. Purchase of these contracts will be the responsibility of the local One Stop system.

It is recommended that the vendor provide evidence of past experience in the customization of swipe card systems. It is also recommended that the vendor demonstrate the system’s ability to meet the requirements for both data collection and data interface with the participant reporting system.

What safeguards must be in place? The data, especially the Social Security number, must be protected on the swipe cards themselves, in the system and in transmission of data and reports within the LWIA and to the state. Data present in this card system that is accessed by a provider as part of its necessary services may not be shared outside the system except with the State and LWIA as needed for administration and monitoring.

TIMEFRAME

What are the timeframes for implementation? Swipe card systems must be operational in each One Stop and formal affiliate site within the local workforce area by July 1, 2003.

All One Stop Centers, formal affiliates, and local areas are expected to comply with the policy guidance set forth in this technical advisory. A local area not able to comply within the established time frame must provide written explanation for the delay and be aware of the potential negative impact upon fund availability for the swipe card system. A local area that chooses not to comply with this policy must provide a detailed explanation for how the data will be captured and interfaced. This information must be provided to the Director of Workforce Development and Training. (See below.)

FUNDING

What funds are available to the One Stops and affiliates to purchase the system? The NYS Department of Labor will issue a Notice of Obligational Authority (NOA) to each Local Workforce Investment Area grant recipient upon receipt from the LWIA of a cost estimate for acquisition and installation of the system. The State has already examined various local installations and has developed a scope for reasonableness of costs for systems which will capture the required data.

Those One Stops and formal affiliates that currently function with swipe card systems will also be eligible to receive funding which may be used: to bring their systems up to compliance with the minimum standards of data collection; to purchase or upgrade hardware and/or software; and/or to develop an interface for linking the swipe card data with their participant reporting system. The NYS Department of Labor will issue a Notice of Obligational Authority (NOA) to each Local Workforce Investment Area grant recipient for purposes of upgrading their current One Stop and formal affiliate systems based upon a cost estimate from the current vendor for this system upgrade.

What is the process and timeline for securing an NOA? Once the One Stop or formal affiliate has made the decision regarding the vendor, a purchase package must be submitted that includes a detailed justification of the amount requested. The package must be submitted to the Workforce Development and Training Division as listed below. This package should be received no later than April 22, 2003. Once approved, the Office of Contract Review and Expenditure Control will issue an NOA to the One Stop. All NOAs will be issued by May 9, 2003 and will carry an expiration date of June 30, 2003. All goods and services procured using these funds must be received or services completed (accrued) by June 30, 2003 and all final expenditures completed August 31, 2003. Cash must be ordered and received by the local area by the August 31, 2003 date. Local One Stops should be testing their systems by June 15 to assure that implementation can be achieved by July 1, 2003.

Submit the package to:

Margaret Moree, Director
Workforce Development and Training Division
NYS Department of Labor
Building 12, Room 450
State Office Building Campus
Albany, NY 12240

For questions regarding this Technical Advisory, please contact Stephen Ryan at 518-457-0217.

Attachments:
  1. Minimum Required Swipe Card Data Fields
  2. Required Core Services and Referrals
  3. Issues for Consideration in Designing a Local Swipe Card System
  4. Local Workforce Investment Areas Currently Using Swipe Card Systems