In the fall of 2018, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) was one of three agencies to receive an award in the second round of funding from the Technology Modernization Fund (TMF) Board. At the time they were using an outdated paper-based process to issue labor certifications to employer applicants for certain types of work visas. The manual process involved a dedicated certification printing room, specialized printers, expensive security paper and two steps that had to be completed through the mail.
With support from the TMF, DOL was able to supplement the modernization of the Foreign Labor Application Gateway (FLAG) system, which launched in January 2019. Specifically, the TMF funding supported the implementation of the datahub that enables case-data information sharing across multiple government systems.
The FLAG system uses GSA’s login.gov as a common authentication system to share and display user information and authoritative data between DOL, the Department of State’s Bureau of Consular Affairs, and the Department of Homeland Security’s U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). This is a great use of federal government shared services, and DOL now serves its applicants more quickly because employer applicants no longer need to receive their certifications through the mail and do not need to send their certifications to USCIS through the mail. The operational benefits of this project include cost savings, increased efficiency, and improved citizen-facing processes.
In July 2020, USDA’s Farmers.gov portal integrated with the FLAG system via the datahub. Farmers can access in near real-time the status of their applications when they log onto either FLAG or Farmers.gov. This is another example of cross-agency collaboration with the use of TMF funds.