Legislative Counsel presented an overview of a new strikeout to H.707 to the House Commerce Committee on Wednesday. The bill overhauls the governance of the states workforce development system. The primary change in the system is that the Commissioner of Labor will no longer be the leader of workforce development. The newly created Executive Director of Workforce Expansion and Development will now be the leader of workforce education and training in the state.
The bill also makes major changes to the Workforce Development Board. Membership from 60 to 26 who will serve at the pleasure of the Governor (who is also a member of the Committee) unless otherwise indicated. There are a number of WIOA (workforce innovation and opportunity act) requirements which must be met for funding of the program to continue. Some changes to the makeup of the committee are as follows:
- Only one member instead of two from the House and Senate.
- Three members that represent core programs represented by the Commissioner of Labor, Secretary of Education and Secretary of Human Services.
- Two representatives from labor organizations.
- One from the state registered apprenticeship program.
- Three representatives from organizations who deal with individuals facing barriers to employment such as veterans, the disabled, or out-of-school youth.
- Two elected local government officials who represent a city or county.
- Twelve business representatives (to include one small business representative).
The bill also creates an executive committee comprised of the Executive Director, a Chair, the Commissioner of Labor, the Director of Career and Technical Education and five business representatives.
NOTE: The current chair of the Workforce Development Committee is Adam Grinold from the Brattleboro Development Corporation.
Legislative Counsel reviewed the duties of the Committee as outlined in the bill. Adam Grinold also testified, talked a great deal about WIOA and how its rules and regulations govern workforce development at the Department of Labor (VDOL). He mentioned that WIOA has a list of duties to which Chairman Marcotte suggested that the Committee would want to review to ensure there is no overlap and that the duties are being assigned to the appropriate position.
The duties laid out in H.707 are as follows:
- Executive Director shall have the administrative, legal, and technical support of VDOL.
- The Executive Director shall report to and be under the supervision of the Governor.
- The position is being included in statute so that it will remain in effect.
The bill also creates a task force to study the proposed data management models provided to the special oversight committee on workforce expansion and development (funded by WIOA dollars).
Jay Ramsey (Director of Workforce Development, VDOL) discussed how apprenticeship and how displaced workers funds work. He noted that if a worker is in a training program during the time they should be looking for work (in the unemployment program), VDOL has the authority to waive job hunting requirements so that the WIOA funds can be used to ensure completion of training. He also reminded the Committee that if additional members are added to the Board from outside the core programs, then a member of the business community should be added as well.
He also noted that in, response to questions, that the language in the bill is copied from WIOA requirements and may not be totally applicable to Vermont. As long as the bill maintained the spirit of the WIOA language and the members of the workforce system were balanced and represented the states landscape and makeup, it should be in compliance. Marcotte questions whether the Executive Director should be a voting member of the Board, he thought the committee should have that discussion.
The Committee ran out of time for further testimony on H.707 but will plan to return to the bill soon.