Notice of Waiver Request for WIA Employer Training Funds Bookmark and Share

March 21, 2012

State of Maine Waiver Request

Customized Training: 50% of the Cost of Training Employer Match Utilizing WIA Program Funds

The Maine Department of Labor’s (MDOL)Bureau of Employment Services (BES) in coordination with the Statewide Workforce Investment Board and the four local area Workforce Investment Boards(Aroostook/Washington Counties Workforce Investment Board, Tri-County Workforce Investment Board, Central/Western Workforce Investment Board, and Coastal Countries Workforce Investment Board) submits this request for a waiver to change the required 50% employer contribution for customized training under WIA 101 (8)(c) & (31)(B) to a contribution on a sliding scale, ranging from 10 to 50 percent , based on the guidance in TEGL 13-06 (Increased Use of Flexibility Provisions in WIA) Through this approach, the employer match would range from a minimum of 10% to a maximum of 50% based on the size of the business.

Date: March 21, 2012
State: Maine
Agency: Maine Department of Labor/Bureau of Employment Services
Statutory and/or regulatory requirements to be waived

The MDOL BES in coordination with the Statewide Workforce Investment Board and the four local area Workforce Investment Boards submits this request for a waiver of WIA, Section 189(i)(4)(b)(General waivers of statutory or regulatory requirements) and WIA Section 101(8), 20 CFR Section 633.715 , and 20 Section 633.720 (Definition of customized training and requires employers to pay not less than 50% of the cost of training).

Actions undertaken to remove state or local barriers
There are no state or local statutory or regulatory barriers to implementing the proposed waiver.

Goals and expected programmatic outcomes of waiver
The mission/vision of Maine’s workforce development system is that economic success will be enhanced through world-class workforce development, contributing to a high quality of life and prosperous business communities. Employers will have a competitively skilled workforce and workers will have quality employment and opportunities for career advancement. Customized Training optimizes the resources available under workforce development initiatives to meet the needs of employers and job seekers. However, the current 50% employer match requirement limits the ability to offer the maximize benefits of customized training to many local employers. These added benefits would include:

  • Increase the percentage of employers using customized training as a means to hire and retain skilled workers.
  • Increase the percentage of workers trained and hired through customized training.
  • Increase the flexibility at the local level to service business and industry through a demand driven approach to their specific needs.
  • Equip workers with the relevant job training skills that lead to a more productive and there for profitable business.
  • Improve the ability of the LWIBs to respond to industry changing needs more expediently and impactful.
  • LWIB will increase their participation rates for skilled job seekers. that received training and found employment

Local employers too often conclude that 50% match requirement creates costs that outweigh the benefits of participating in the WIA customized training programs. Allowing employers to apply the sliding scale to determine the match amount will increase employer participation in WIA customized training programs at a local level. The proposed sliding scale for the employer match will create the necessary flexibility for employers to provide the required match at a rate that more appropriately represents a particular business’ cost benefit ratio of contributing to a match amount to receive skilled employees.

The sliding scale will answer employers’ primary reason for not participating in the training programs because of their Return on Investment (ROI) concerns especially for those small employers of less than 50 employers with limited resources but a great need for skilled workers.

In the State of Maine, as indicated in the chart below, 91% of the employers employ less than 20 workers. Of these 91%, 34% of the entire Maine workforce is employed in these extremely small businesses. These small businesses have in the past been unable to benefit from the WIA customized training programs because of their limited resources and the requirement that they match at least 50% of the wages while the employee is participating in training.

The proposed employer match sliding scale will range from 10% to 50% based on the following employer size:

  • Match up to 90% for employers with 50 or fewer employee; and
  • Match up to 75% for employers with 51-200 employees; and
  • Match up to 50% for employers with 200 or more employees.

Individuals impacted by the waiver
Customized Training optimizes the resources available under workforce development initiatives to meet the needs of employers and job seekers.

It is the purpose of this waiver is to enable many small businesses to benefit from the WIA services and to enable the employees of these small businesses the opportunity to update their skills to match industry demand.

Process for monitoring progress in implementation
The MDOL/BES will monitor the WIA customized programs. Technical assistance during the implementation phase of the waiver will cover areas as procurement, contracting and program design. Each LWIB and the MDOL/BES will monitor performance reports and compare actual performance with contract benchmarks, MDOL/BES will continue to make adjustments to monitoring performance requirements to ensure that performance goals and objectives are met for all WIA programs.

Notice to affected local boards
This request was developed at the request of the Statewide Workforce Investment Board and all four local workforce boards. A draft copy of the customized training waiver requests was electronically submitted to LWIB requesting comments and/or questions on their understanding of the waiver and their input on how they plan to implement the waiver if approved. Their comments and input were included in the completed waiver request. Endorsement of this waiver request has been received from all four LWIBs.

Public Comment
The completed waiver was posted to the home page of the Maine Department of Labor/ Bureau of Employment Services (BES) for public comment prior to the formal submission to USDOL-ETA. and on the individual websites of each LWIB.