Take Time To Review, Comment on Agency Draft Strategic Plans

November 7, 2017 | By Jerry Ashworth | Post a Comment

at-work-1236769Without trying to date myself, I recall that the early 1970s was an era of some truly sappy love songs. Some of the leading contenders include “Lovin’ You” by Minnie Riperton, “Muskrat Love” by the Captain and Tennille, and “Close to You” by the Carpenters. But the introductory lines to another on this list brings me to the true topic of this blog post. If you recall the song, “Do You Know” by Diana Ross, the first stanza goes, “Do you know where you’re going to? Do you like the things that life is showing you? Where are you going to? Do you know?”

I’m sure many of us these days would like to be able to answer those questions. Sometimes having a plan for the future is the best way to respond. We’re starting to see that on the federal level in recent weeks as agencies have begun issuing their draft strategic plans for federal fiscal years (FY) 2018-2022. So far, such draft plans have been made available for public comment by the Department of Transportation, Environmental Protection Agency, and most recently, the Department of Labor.

So what are these strategic plans? The Government Performance and Results Modernization Act (GPRMA) requires that federal agencies establish performance goals and identify long-term goals and objectives in their four-year strategic plans. The strategic plan meets the requirements of GPRMA and often serves as the agency’s foundation for planning and budget activities. The most recent finalized federal agency strategic plans covered FYs 2014-2018.

Stakeholders can glean some idea of agency priorities through these strategic plans. For example, as mentioned in DOL’s draft plan, DOL’s Veterans’ Employment and Training Service (VETS), recently increased the grant ceiling for Homeless Veteran’ Reintegration Program grantees from $300,000 to $500,000, adding that this increase will help grantees to serve the chronically homeless, a population that requires specialized interventions resulting in higher costs than other programs. Meanwhile, VETS will examine several program factors including revising the significant barrier definition; options to incorporate marginally attached veterans, including underemployed veterans, into the Jobs for Veterans State Grants funding allocation; and strategies to mitigate risk associated with potential service delivery disruptions caused by partner program funding changes. These efforts aim to improve the employment rate for veterans.

When agencies release these draft strategic plans, they make them available for 30 days for public comment. For example, stakeholders have until Dec. 7 to comment on the DOL draft plan. In recent blog posts, we’ve emphasized the importance of the grants community to keep abreast of such notices and rulemakings that federal agencies are issuing to ensure that their voice is heard as agencies plan. Here is another case where you can respond and express any concerns you may have with these plans. Take the time to go through these draft strategic plans to and comment on anything you feel is necessary. That way, if you hear the question, “Do you know where you’re going to?”, you’ll have a better answer.

Let us know what you think about these agency’s draft strategic plans. We’d love to hear from you.

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