Rosemary Guida of Workforce Investment gave the Wetzel County Commission updates July 22 on the progress, and upcoming changes, to Workforce programs.
Guida stated that 60 kids are currently involved with Workforce's Summer Youth Program. The Summer Youth Work Experience Program began on June 23 and will end on July 31. She stated there are a total of 18 work-sites within the six counties. Three work-sites are located in Wetzel County.
Guida said 140 youth are participating in the year-long Youth System Services program and 16 are participating in the ITA program provided by Northern Panhandle Workforce Investment Board.
Additionally, Guida supplied the commission with a year-to-date Rapid Response Report. Rapid Response is a process that provides information and services to employees in the region who experience job loss. According to Guida's report, when a layoff is announce, Rapid Response Coordinator Pam Hedrick links partner and community services to affected employees to assist them in securing new jobs. Guida remarked that the main layoffs involved TeleTech and Ormet. An informational meeting was held July 24, 2013, in Marshall County for Teletech employees. An informational meeting was held Aug. 28, 2013, in Monroe County for 28 affected Ormet employees, while Transitional/Rapid Response Meetings were held Oct. 22, Oct. 28, and Oct. 29, 2013, in Monroe County for 227 affected Ormet employees. Including meetings held for West Point Products, Koppers, Chrome Deposit, Defelice Care, and Computer Science Corp., a total of 479 out of 574 laid off employees were served by Rapid Response meetings.
According to Individual Training Account Program Activity from July 1, 2013, to June 30, 2014, with adult funding, there are currently 27 ITAs in progress, 30 completed, and 271 residents waiting to enroll into a training program. As to dislocated worker funding, there are 37 currently in progress with an ITA, 11 who have completed an ITA, and 165 who are waiting to enroll in a training program. Youth (older youth) funding has five involved in an ITA, 11 who have completed an ITA, and 12 who are waiting to enroll in a training program.
There is a $39,033 decrease in funding from the 2013-2014 year to the 2014-2015 budget year for adult funding; however, dislocated worker funding has seen an increase in funding from $235,628 in 2013-2014 to $250,276 in 2015-2016. Youth funding has seen a decrease in funding from $634,488 in 2013-2014 to $608,054 for the 2014-2015 budget year. However, Guida remarked that Workforce will receive additional state set-aside adult and dislocated worker funding during the program year 2014-2015.
Guida also spoke of changes that would be taking place due to Region 5's compliance with Senate Bill No. 354 and H.R. 798: Workforce Investment Act (WIA) of 2013.
Guida supplied a list of plans in which Region 5 had to comply with West Virginia's Senate Bill No. 354. The bill will require the Workforce Investment Council to provide information and guidance to local workforce investment boards that would enable them to better educate both women and men about higher-paying jobs including jobs traditionally dominated by men.
Guida stated that Workforce WV Career Center case managers and staff would continue to educate Workforce Investment Act eligible participants on non-traditional occupations, including but not limited to jobs in the oil and gas, mining, trades, etc. industries. Also, the staff would continue to invite WIA eligible customers to participate in monthly oil and gas workshops.
Furthermore, Guida stated that for the past two program years, the Northern Panhandle Workforce Investment Board has provided area counselors with the most recent labor market data along with various listings of "in demand" long and short-term occupations and occupational projections in the oil and gas industry. She stated that the area guidance counselor uses this information as a way to inform, prepare, and educate youth, boys and girls, on jobs "in demand" at any time.
Also, training provider report cards are prepared and/or updated by staff at the start of each program year and are on display for customers' information. They include information about the training provider including, number of years in the business, types of training provided, training location, number of participants enrolled/trained, completion rate of customers, average participant employment rate, and average participant wage rate.
Guida stated that the career center staff would include a representative from WV Women Works in the planning/preparation of regional career center fairs. The career center staff will distribute WV Women Works' brochures and flyers for customers. Further, a representative from WV Women Works will be invited to participate in a regular cross-training events and workshops.
Guida stated that the region's youth provider, YSS, would continue to work with area career tech centers, and information would be distributed to Workforce Investment Act eligible youth in year-long programs. YSS will invite women who are currently working in non-traditional occupations to speak with WIA eligible youth.
Finally, NPWIB will provide a form called Higher Wage Careers/Earnings and Social Security Benefits to career center case managers that will detail how participants can monitor earnings and social security benefits. Career Center Case Managers will review the form with participants, who will then sign the form, which will be maintained by their case manager.
Guida stated that participants would receive paperwork in their packet regarding non-traditional careers for women and hourly wages associated with the careers. Careers include automotive technician, tractor trailer truck driver, welder, electrician, computer programmers, cyber security analyst, and computer network support specialist. Non-traditional careers for men include paralegal, medical secretary, licensed practical nurse, registered nurse, dental assistant, dental hygienists, legal secretary, and medical records/health information technician.
As for House Resolution 798: Workforce Investment Act of 2013, this resolution involves streamlining workforce programs, strengthening workforce investment system accountability and promoting innovation and best practices within the workforce investment system. Guida stated she would update the commission on changes to the programs, as she receives more information.