State Workforce Board meeting

December 1, 2017: 9:30 AM
Perkins Room, CMCC


STATE WORKFORCE BOARD MEETING DECEMBER 1, 2017 Present: Fred Webber (Chair), Liz Rensenbrink, Guy Langevin, John Butera, Rhonda Fletcher, Richard Freund, Anna Black, Dan Belyea, David Duguay, Jeremy Kendall, Jennifer McKenna, Mel Clarrage, Tracey Cooley, Susan Hammond, Renee Kelly, Senator Amy Volk, Representative Ryan Fecteau, Jonathan Mason, Terry Young, Ryan Bushey, Suzan Beaudoin, Tom Davis, Doug Ray, Joanne Harris (phone), Governor Paul LePage (proxy), Edward McKersie (proxy), Laura Zajac (proxy), Scott Good (proxy) Robin Dostie, Court Recorder

Staff: Garret Oswald, Joshua Howe, Cheryl Moran

Welcomes & Introductions – Fred Webber Fred opened the meeting with welcomes and introductions stating when we come to the Minimum Training Expenditure Policy, the people in the back of the room will have an opportunity to ask questions after we have satisfied Board member inquiries. Fred asked Board members (including people in the back of the room and on the phone), to please identify yourself and your affiliation each time you speak because we have Robin Dostie, who is a recorder and we want to make sure we have accurate minutes of this very, very important meeting. Fred then asked Garret Oswald if we have a Quorum. Garret replied yes.

Chairs Report – Fred Webber Fred decided to skip the Chairs Report.

9/29 Minutes – Fred Webber Fred asked for approval of the 9/29/17 meeting minutes. Susan Hammond motioned. Guy Langevin seconded. Minutes approved unanimously as written.

2018 SWB Meeting Schedule – Fred Webber A copy of the 2018 SWB Meeting Schedule was provided. There were no objections to the meeting dates.

Workgroup Updates: Future of Service Delivery – Joshua Howe Josh reported the group has been meeting - research and brainstorming around what the future of our System might look like given the federal budgets. They have been meeting over the last few months. They did an exercise where the group came up with different independently blue sky proposals and what they’re trying to do at this point is to kind of narrow those down. Three of them were evolutionary micro changes, and then three of them were revolutionary big system changes. They are going to try to boil those down into two proposals to hopefully present at the next SWB meeting in January. • Improving our industry partnerships • Improving the marketing of the workforce system • Collaboration and coordination among both state agencies as well as employers and community agencies

Hire-A-Vet – Fred Webber Fred reported 78 days into the Campaign, working with 144 employers, 107 Veterans hired. 2-3 Veterans are showcased per week. Every showcased Veteran is getting a lot of activity, emails, calls, and interviews. The Veterans Employment Committee wants to keep this Program going year-round. The Veterans Committee is a highly active group.
He pointed out that this is one program coming out of the System that has been very successful. Advanced Military 202 training helps Veterans make the transition from the military culture into civilian. Veterans do very well because of their military training and their ability to transfer their skills to the civilian workforce.
Senator Amy Volk mentioned that she, Representative Ryan Fecteau, and the LCRED Committee have a carry-over Bill that deals with looking at the credentials from the military and to make it easier to obtain licenses in the civilian world. Commissioner John Butera stated he is very aware of that and it is critical. He also stated that one of the challenges is the different languages that each institution speaks. We want to make sure that the skills and experience that the Veterans bring back is very applicable and we want to make sure everybody understands it.
Fred – Certification procedures can present barriers.

Silver Collar Awards – Cheryl Moran Fred Webber – Cheryl Moran is going to talk about the Silver Collar Awards. Preliminarily he stated that he attended all four award ceremonies and wow, these employers take this one seriously. They’re very proud of their achievement. Cheryl first explained what the Silver Collar Employer Award is. The Silver Collar Employer Award is an annual award presented by the Older Worker Committee that honors employers who hire and maintain employees age 50 and over. The award recognizes workplaces whose policies and practices support their older employees. Winners of the Silver Collar Award have attested that their hiring, training and supervision practices are geared toward recruiting and retaining workers over the age of 50. Silver Collar employers offer benefits, flexibility and training opportunities that encourage older Mainers to remain productive members of the workforce. These employers go through a vetting process to make sure they are in good standing with no past issues of any kind. The winners are announced during National Employ Older Workers week which is the last week in September followed by a press release. Each winning company is offered an opportunity to have the award presented at their company location. These employers are thrilled an honored to be recipients of this award and to have the award presented at their place of business. This year, 4 employers were honored based on their policies and practices that match the needs of the older employee. • Associates for Training and Development (A4TD), Lewiston • Care & Comfort, Waterville • Community Health Options, Lewiston • Moody’s Co-Worker Owned, Inc., Gorham Cheryl finished by pointing out that Maine is the oldest state in the nation with a medium age of 44.5. Today, workers age 55 and over comprise one quarter of the labor force. That share is expected to rise over the next decade as the large baby boom generation advances in age. These employers are part of the solution and we commend them for leading the way in support of Maine’s valuable and dedicated older workers. Fred asked what is the process to apply? Cheryl responded to apply, the application is available on the SWB website at www.maine.gov/swb. Employers can self-nominate. The application announcement usually goes public in May or June.
Cheryl asked Fred if he had anything else that he would like to add? Fred stated what moved him was the number of employees that joined the hierarchy of the company to witness the presentation of the award. They were very proud of their company and we were very proud of them.

Minimum Training Expenditure Policy A copy of the Minimum Training Expenditure Requirement for WIA and the Proposed Changes to the Minimum Training Expenditure Policy #13-01 for the Workforce Innovation & Opportunity Act (WIOA) was provided.
Garret Oswald – We had this policy a couple of years ago, and last year we had an influx of funds through job-driven national emergency grants and sector partnership emergency grants. We put this policy on hold because we knew those additional funds would drive the percentages down. Maine is actually one of the few states that allows for a waiver of this policy going forward as well, so keep that in mind. The Governor’s consistent position since he took office has been that the funds go into skills training and should be maximized because it directly benefits Maine workers and we think that’s critically important. Several efforts have been made to achieve more funds going directly into skills training under what was then called the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) and is now called the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA). Garret Oswald provided a history of the Policy; Spring 2012 – The Governor proposed changes to the workforce system to allow a greater share of the federal workforce funds to go to direct job skills training in the State Workforce Investment Act Plan.
Summer 2012 – Under the existing configuration, the existing footprint of the Workforce Development System, less than 20% of the approximate 9 million dollars of federal funds were available to pay specifically for occupational skills training for job seekers and in some areas of the state that number was even lower. It was less than 10% dedicated to actual training.
Fall 2012 and winter of 2013 – this body, the State Workforce Investment Board (SWIB) established a Policy Workgroup to respond to the Governor’s request for increased training expenditures. After a few months and many meetings, one of the end products was the Minimum Training Expenditure Policy that you have in front of you today.
The workgroup consisted of voting members of the State Workforce Investment Board; Scott Good, Kevin Healey, Chip Roche, Gerard Salvo, Gail Senese, Gary McGrane, Fred Webber and that workgroup was staffed by Peaches Bass and Garret Oswald.
They invited many people to attend those meetings. They had lots of different people that came in and out of those meetings. They were broadcasted across the state so they could increase participation and they invited the Directors of the Local Workforce Investment Board (LWIB) at the time, Ryan Pelletier, Jeff Sneddon, Joanna Russell and Mike Bourret to participate and present to the group.
Winter 2013 – The Minimum Training Expenditure was approved by the SWIB which is the one that was provided to the current members. Ultimately, the goal was to have more money and job specific skills training. Two years ago, the average percent of funds going towards skills training statewide was 15%. With the changes implemented, they bumped that up to about 20% and the plan had set a target, this was in 2013, that the plan had set a target of 40%.
In 2016, the statewide goal was still 40% and the statewide average was just short of that, in the high 30’s. In 2016, the Policy was rescinded due to the enactment of WIOA. And the fact that WIOA was a different fiscal environment and contained something called a Cost-Sharing Infrastructure Agreement, which was put in place when it was originally put out last June. The Feds bumped that date to June 2017 and then again bumped the deadline to January 1, 2018. They also had the influx of the SP and JDNEG grant money, which needed to be spent down, and again, by spending that money on dislocated workers, the Dislocated Worker fund and the goal of spending 40% was going to be impacted, they realized that, that it is going to drive that number down. So, this Board voted to suspend that Policy.
In 2017, the Governor asked to eliminate one layer of bureaucracy, again, in an effort to have more funds go directly to skills training. There was a request for a waiver to have a single state local planning area.
Ten (10) states our size plus or minus a million people in terms of population already do, and that also chose differently in 1998 to set themselves up in a sustainable manner knowing that they could not afford a large footprint and unfortunately the feds said no.
We have been waiting months. We have not been provided citations from the feds. We are very concerned that there is different application and interpretation of the law depending on which USDOL region your state happens to reside in. There seems to be discrepancies across the country. After that was denied, a request was made to the feds to deliver the money directly to the LWIBs as was threatened in 2012 by the Boston Regional Office. The Governor made it very clear in the Bangor meeting back in July, Richard Freund did a presentation, that the Governor was looking to eliminate one layer of the bureaucracy and it could be either one because that would allow more funds to pass down through.
The Governor was perfectly willing to withdraw the state but the Feds said no to that, not allowed, even though they had threatened us with that previously. The Governor is asking the system to spend more money on the customers of the system than on the system itself with this new 60% goal.
Again, the Governor’s approach has been consistent with what’s been done in other areas and other departments and other programs, for instance, the RSU’s and the superintendents. We know that we need to respond to this new environment with less bricks and mortar and more targeted outreach. That’s not just Maine, that’s all across the country. We know we need to modernize our System. That’s why we had a few years ago, an effort called CareerCenter 2.0 that focused on technology and different ways of delivering the service. And we currently have a workgroup that you heard a brief update on that’s working forward called The Future of Service Delivery and is looking to create both an evolutionary model based on what we already have as well as a revolutionary model that could push us forward in a different direction. We also think that by adding the additional allowable activities that you’ll hear about in just a minute that the 60% goal is a reasonable goal. We need more flexibility in the System. We need not be held hostage by decisions that were made 20 years ago. That would be like operating your business on a 20-year-old business plan, which is exactly what we’re doing right now. The Governor is asking this Workforce Development System to be a national leader and show others how it’s done and to push forward.
Proposed Changes to the Minimum Training Expenditure Policy #13-01 for the Workforce Innovation & Opportunity Act (WIOA); Garret Oswald – What we are proposing to change in this Policy is three things: 1) WIA changed to WIOA (pretty straightforward) 2) Change goal from 40% to 60% 3) Allow additional activities to be included in that calculation (Transitional jobs, Adult work experience, English language acquisition, Work Ready/occupational skills training, and Integrated education and training)

Vote #1 – 60% Motioned was called to accept proposed changes and to reinstate the Minimum Training Expenditure Policy. Mel Clarrage, I would move that we adopt this Policy - motioned. Jonathan Mason seconded. Votes counted (members present in the room, phone and by proxy) – 11yes-11no - did not pass because of tie, motion did not carry.
Fred Webber stated now we’ll get into the discussion phase and will start with the Board. He pointed out stating since this is a Board meeting, he will make every effort to recognize other folks, but he wants to give the Board members priority. The main topics of discussion with Board members and non-Board members was who will pay for the infrastructure cost of delivery and what’s missing is the data that tells us where we’re at other than just a percentage.
Vote #2 – An amended motion to the original motion was called by Ryan Bushey. Tom Davis seconded. 45% in PY17 50% in PY18 55% in PY19 – 11yes/11no, motion did not carry.

Vote #3 – Terry Young called for motion on original proposal except to change the year to PY18 instead of PY17. Mel Clarrage seconded. 60% in 2018 – 8yes/14no, motion did not carry.

Vote #4 – final vote Senator Volk called for an amended motion. Guy Langevin seconded. 45% PY18 60% PY19 Starting in PY19, case management will be an allowable activity which can be counted towards the goal. Up to 10% maximum of the local award expended on case management can be counted toward this goal. Additionally, high quality placements will be added to waiver criteria. 13yes/9no – MOTIONED CARRIED.

*Please note: The Transcript of this meeting provided by Robin Dostie, Court Recorder is available upon request.

Meeting Adjourned

Next meeting will be held on January 26, 2018 from 9:30 – Noon in the Frances Perkins room, Central Maine Commerce Center, Augusta.

Respectfully submitted by Cheryl Moran


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