State Workforce Board

January 29, 2016: 9:30 AM
Frances Perkins Room, CMCC

Jan 29, 2016 State Workforce Board Meeting Minutes

Attendees: Fred Webber, Terry Young, Mel Clarrage, Jim Howard, Nicole Morin-Scribner, Chip Roche, Kevin Healey, Jonathan Mason, Susan Hammond, Tracey Cooley, Joanne Harris, Mike Hersey, Jennifer McKenna, William Beardsley, Jeanne Paquette, Rhonda Fletcher, Ryan Bushey, Mary Mayhew. Those participating via conference line: Renee Kelly, Senator Amy Volk, Excused: Ed Mckersie, Scott Knapp, Liz Rensenbrink, Tom Davis Absent: Robert Carmichael, Scott Good, Sallie Chandler, John Leavitt, Rep. Erin Herbig,

Chairs report: Fred Webber provided a brief review of the WIOA national convening that he attended earlier in the week in Washington D.C. Based on his experiences from the conference; Fred stated that he believes Maine is ahead of other states in the development of a state plan under WIOA. Garret Oswald also attended the convening in D.C. and provided an update. The emphasis of the conference was ‘breaking down siloes of programs’ and ‘leveraging all dollars’ to develop and integrated and comprehensive workforce system. Garret noted that the development of the final regulations (by the feds) is taking longer than expected and thus states will be given more time to submit their plans. The new submission date is April 1st. He also expects time frames to be extended for other implementation items. Ginny Carroll attended the conference and noted that compliance with performance requirements for state plans is being pushed out to 2017. Approval of 11/20/15 Minutes Kevin Healey motioned and Tracey Cooley seconded, to approve the minutes from the last State Board meeting, 11/20/15. All were in favor; the vote to approve the minutes was unanimous. Legislative update: Julie Rabinowitz stated that the Department has not submitted any WIOA specific legislation. The Department is waiting for the final regulations before taking any action. The Department put forth an amendment to LD 90 which would position the State Workforce Development Board (State Board) as the primary coordinator of workforce development activities in Maine. The amendment did not pass, but did raise awareness of the State Board and workforce development. Items that did pass include a heightened focus on assessing the return on investment of training activities. The goal is to ensure that training results in increased skills, higher wages and employment. Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act Strategic Plan Review and Discussion: Garret Oswald, Paul Leparulo, Gail Senese, Karen Fraser, Ginny Carroll and Dawn Mealey provided an overview of the 2016-2020 Unified Plan. Board members made the following comments regarding the draft of the plan:
Mel Clarrage—stated that he’s sat on the board for a long time, going back to the Maine Job Council days. This is an amazing document (in terms of 508 compliance). Mel stated that he could view everything with his screen reader and is strongly encouraged by this. He also said the document has lots of great info for persons with disabilities. John Mason—acknowledged that this was an impressive document. He is interested in more color on how the employer engagement process will work. He noted that since he’s an employer, this section is important to him. John asked, “How will employer engagement be executed?”
Garret responded that employer engagement will be implemented through sector strategy initiatives that incorporate best practices. We will need to monitor and keep track of engagement and progress. We’ll ask employers how we can build it in a way that works for them. We’ll need to engage employers and get their feedback on this. Chip Roche—employer engagement is always the hardest part, but the promise has never matched the hype. It’s hard to engage employers who are looking at the whole population when our programs target a minority (seven percent) of the population. Says funding streams address seven percent of the population but employers are interested in the other 93 percent. Sector strategies are good but they haven’t taken off or produced the results. Chip says the key is having a champion that’s funded. How do you get someone to take the initiative and bring employers into the fold? He says programs for employers should focus on the larger, broader population. Ryan Bushey—commented that it is important to be sure we have representation at the local board meetings. He recommends that we use connections more effectively. Says he’s excited about the merging of the two boards. Kevin Healey—says the plan describes a broad brush, high level approach. The focus of the plan is on asking what employers needs are, but this is broad brush. For example, his company needs an information security officer but none are available in Maine. The urgency of this position is growing. What to do? They are not looking for government to solve the problem, rather, just to provide assistance. How will engagement work? Kevin recommends that short term solutions be developed in addition to long term ones. He says that if the only solution is to start by educating high schoolers or those who are entering college, this will take too long; his bank and other employers can’t wait five years to fill critical positions. He feels that training someone who’s been displaced by the paper industry also may not be the solution. Bill Beardsley—how do we implement this? He suggests another approach to developing the economy—cutting taxes. This is what Ireland did after their real estate market crashed. He cited an article from the New York Federal Reserve, which stated that while most of those with college degrees outperformed those with only a high school education, the bottom fourth of those with bachelor degrees did not. He would like to reengineer high schools to decrease the need for remediation which would allow the community colleges to have more of a polytechnic focus. He said that giving tax credits to existing industries that will hire college students is another and more direct approach. Adding some of these twists will help the report. Nicole Morin Scribner—suggested that we explore a push vs pull mentality, which would involve engaging employers when we see they have job openings to see if we have what they need. Terry Young—his company posts open positions on Linked In. They don’t know how to connect with MDOL for this. He stated that the state needs more of a focus and education capacity in technical fields such as automation. His company has a variety of openings that can’t be filled, including positions in micro biology, lab technicians and floor operators. Many times they train a person and that individual will leave the state for higher wages. Joanna Harris –the world is moving fast and the state moves at a much more slowly. These facts pose challenges to developing solutions that meet employers’ needs. She encourages the use of more innovative thinking to create solutions that help employers find workers with the appropriate skills. Joanna hopes that the enthusiasm surrounding this report does not wane. She noted that ‘breaking down siloes’ has been discussed for decades and asked, “how will things be different this time?” She acknowledged that we need to develop speedy solutions; employers can’t wait five years. She encouraged everyone to view the Sony executive leadership video that’s available on Youtube. Richard Freund noted that sector partnerships are making an impact and taking hold. He said that this plan address more than seven percent of the population; we have apprenticeship and other programs that can be used to target different population groups. He noted that the next steps are critical—how will we implement, track and measure progress of this plan? Mary Mayhew—expressed concern that this plan is not disruptive enough. She asked, “What are the concrete, measurable items that we are proposing?” She suggested that we need to do more than just planning; we need to galvanize around what can be accomplished. More tangible goals are needed in this document.
Garret responded that this is not an implementation plan and that tangible goals will be developed as we begin implementation. Jim Howard—stated that this is a readable document. He said the plan provides a basis for why we’ll do this work. Renee Kelley—noted that the draft needs more emphasis on integrating with the k-12 education system. Also, the plan needs more emphasis on internships. Internships are a great way to connect employers with students. Rhonda Fletcher —noted that unless we get community colleges at the table it will be tough to implement this plan, especially because so many of the new jobs will require postsecondary training. Mike Hersey—said the document is very informative but thinks it needs more concrete items before going to the governor. Ginny cited many concrete things we do as workforce developers, but not all these items are explicit in the plan.
Fred—asked for approval from the State Board to keep moving forward with the plan. The State Board was affirmative in their response.

Minutes submitted by Paul Leparulo.