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Greetings from Atlanta !
Posted on May 27, 2009 by
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The Region 3 Reemployment and Recovery Forum had it's official kick off this afternoon.
Helen Parker, the Administrator for Region 3 introduced the speakers and reviewed the 3 - day agenda.

John Ladd, the Administrator for the Office of Apprenticeship made a pitch to the audience to consider partnering with Registered Apprenticeship.  Among other things, he emphasized a new focus on Green Jobs.

We heard from Michael Thurmond, the Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Labor.  He's a very inspirational speaker and he challenged us to consider new comfort zones and to use constructive introspection in our relationship building.   He said, for example, that we limit ourselves by thinking we know what other people think.  He also thanked everyone for their public service and shared his personal history and career path with us.

Then we heard from Ray Uhalde, Senior Advisor for ARRA at the U. S. Department of Labor. He reviewed where we've been up until now, and with a tip of the hat to our Community of Practice, he said that the workforce system is able to communicate better than ever with new technology and tools.  He compared the recent readiness consultations to the stress tests that were conducted for the banking industry and emphasized how the workforce system has a renewed opportunity to prove itself to the public.  Other points of interest: the Green Jobs SGA that will be issued in June, the infrastructure modernization efforts that are underway or anticipated for about 30 states (including Georgia), the expansion of TAAA for service industries, sector strategies and regionalism, career pathways and credentialing, and an emphasis on the collaborations with the UI system.    He said that ARRA funding "calls the question".  The system now has an opportunity to prove itself and excuses are by the board.  He drew a connection between this new performance challenge and the system's ability to justify future funding increases.  He asked the audience to create successful Summer Youth programs and to put more people into training that helps them pursue career pathways that matter in the marketplace.

Later this afternoon, there'll be an interactive audience session and a discussion with state and federal leadership.

We're offering incentives to participants who blog during the Forum.

What do you know about the impact of ARRA on our friends in the agricultural sector?  On farmers, on farmworkers, on water conservation and energy efficiency?? I'm looking for information... if you've got some, do share.  

A great publication out of Oregon--

And a little info on Dept of Ag Recovery work --

Regional Recovery and Reemployment Forums – Region IV

Thoughts from the Helping Workers Navigate the Emerging Green Economy” Super Session  (Speaker:  Jennifer Cleary, Senior Project Manager, Heldrich Center for Workforce Development, Rutgers University)


I just attended this presentation on Green Jobs by Jennifer Cleary at the Region IV Forum.  Here are some highlights of what I heard:


Defining Green Jobs:  There is no standard definition of Green Jobs.  They can be clustered into:

         Protecting ecosystems and wildlife

         Minimizing waste and pollution

         Reducing energy usage and lowering carbon emissions.


Cleary focused on the latter category because that is where most of the policy activities are concentrated.


Green jobs cross a variety of industries and occupations.  Many are traditional jobs with a “green layer” of skills and knowledge.  The “green layer” is very variable depending on the standards set by states and employers.  For example, an insulator involved in retrofitting homes may not need additional skills.  However, the various standards set have an impact on workforce needs.


Many jobs created as a result of policy initiatives are construction jobs requiring mid-level skills.  Energy efficiency is the largest area of job growth.  For jobs related to renewable (clean) energy, the distribution will vary from state to state because they depend on geographic resources such as wind, solar power, space to grow corn, rivers, and so forth.  But energy efficiency is relevant everywhere.


The main drivers of green jobs are:

         Technology –major breakthroughs drive new jobs

         Economy – incentives to put resources into clean technology are not high right now because energy prices are low

         Energy policy - the biggest driver.  I recommend that you form partnerships with people in your state who are familiar with energy policy because it can get very complex.


The ARRA put into place $500 million in funds for Green Jobs Training, significant investment at federal level on weatherization projects, tax incentives for renewable energy, and R&D investments.  Most of the jobs developed out of ARRA dollars will be construction related


State policy is critical for driving Green Jobs.  One example is New Jersey’s Energy Master Plan.  The plan calls for reducing energy usage statewide 20% by 2020.  It includes a $500 million investment through the Governor’s Green Jobs Initiative, efficiency upgrades of 3 million existing buildings, and an offshore wind initiative.  The weatherization efforts will be implemented by utilities, and there is heavy union involvement in the commercial retrofitting. 


Training:  In terms of training needed for Green Jobs, start by building on the fundamentals.  Start with basic skills (e.g., construction), and then add on a “green layer” so that workers are trained to meet standards in your state/area, e.g, LEED, ResNet, and so forth.  If state has not set standards it’s often set at the employer level.  As more standards are set it is more likely the training needs to be tied to the standards.


Skills that will be more and more necessary include:

         Understanding of sustainability systems

         Systemic thinking on how various pieces of “green” are interrelated

         Range of options available

         Life cycle analysis, especially for engineers and architects

         Installation workers will need to understand the ROI because consumers will want to know.


Helpful tips for going after competitive grants:

         Form coalitions.

         Use employer advisory councils to understand how all the policy is trickling down to employer levels and turning into jobs.

         Understand the standards, so you know what employers are looking for.

         Timing matters – find out when hiring is likely to occur because it will vary by state, type of renewable energy, etc.

         Pull together inventories of educational resources and identify likely gaps so you can set up partnerships that will allow you to get the training in place quickly.

         Build formal articulation agreements so you have a pathway from energy auditor assistant to energy auditor or energy rater, or the transition from residential work to often unionized commercial work.

         Get together education, community organizations, the workforce system, economic development, labor unions, and involve policy makers as advisors at least.



         Florida Solar Energy Center was set up in 1970s to research and provide training.

         Los Angeles has a talent model with articulation agreements with career lattices and ladders.

         Massachusetts uses state level funding options for training.

         New Jersey augments federal investment and pushes the green economy forward,  and uses “ready grants” to allow community colleges and workforce boards to collaborate and consolidate their green jobs efforts.


Key action steps:

         Designate a green jobs expert.  This is a very complex issue and it helps to have one person who can focus on it rather than trying to get everyone up to speed.

         Begin to form partnerships with state policy makers, so you can project where policy is headed.  Check the DSIRE database to track state incentives.

         Interact with local employers and union reps to understand hiring needs.

         Begin, where appropriate, to form partnerships with labor unions because they do a lot of this training already – e.g., pre-apprenticeship models.

         Track development of green training and education in your state so you know where the gaps are and where to build new training.

         Focus initial efforts on construction/installation/maintenance related jobs. 

         Make sure you have jobs available for any training you do.  For instance, the Home Boy project in LA trains ex-offenders to become solar installers, but they’re not getting jobs.

         Participate in (or initiate) statewide and/or regional coordination efforts.


Link to Jennifer Cleary’s PowerPoint presentation here.


Link to Preparing the Workforce for a “Green Jobs” Economy, a recent Heldrich Center report, by clicking here.


And don’t forget, you can access handouts and other materials from the Region IV Forum and other Forums on the Workforce3One web site from the Forum resource page.


A message from Pete Fleming, Director, Office of State Systems, Region III

I learned aout CT's mortgage assistance progam wherein the LWIBs in the state can offer help to individuals who are 60 days overdue in their mortgage, can provide them with occupational training as well as financial traning and counseling.  Also, a group of 8 specialiasts (who were hired from the UI lines) can assist individuals in negotiations with their lenders to forestall foreclosure, work out payment agreements, etc.  This service was financed by special state legislation, and the participants are not currently dually enrolled in WIA, but CT is considering doing this.

A One-Stop Success Story

Blogger:  Lee Reynolds, ETA


Last week, I was attending the conference, Recovery and Reemployment: Regional Forums for Economic Change, in Boston.  I do love conferences; I learn so much, and it is a way to get reenergized about the work we do.  As I tell my friends, my job is to get Americans jobs, a mission I truly believe in. 


On that note, as I was taking the bus home the other night, I met a gentleman and we started to discuss what type of work we do for a living.  He works for a manufacturing company but has experienced periodic layoffs depending on the volume of work the company is getting and what he was hired to do.  Basically he was saying that because he was not certified to do a certain kind of work within the company, he was laid off temporarily a few times a year.  I started to tell him about the One-Stop system and how he may be able to upgrade his skills during the time he was laid off.  He then pulled out a card from a One-Stop Center in Boston and said that was exactly what he was doing.  He had talked with a career counselor and had been approved for an ITA.  He is currently receiving the necessary training for a certificate, which should mean he will work regularly at the company he is already employed with. 


It was heartening to hear this gentleman’s story, but I have also heard how the system does not work for many.  How can we make this kind of success story consistent across all One-Stops and states?  The One-Stop is part of a system that can work with people from all walks of life to improve their employment prospects.  How can we build one-stop capacity to meet the needs of low income and higher income workers?  I was very happy to hear of this one gentleman’s experience and I believe the system can become the one-stop for everyone to meet the needs of everyone in this challenging economy.

President Obama’s Remarks on Training for the Unemployed

The following is from the text of President Obama’s prepared remarks on Friday on government plans to provide educational opportunities for the unemployed, as released by the White House.

“This morning, we learned that our economy lost another 539,000 jobs in the month of April. While it's somewhat encouraging that this number is lower than it's been in each of the past six months, it is a sobering toll. The unemployment rate is at its highest point in twenty-five years. It underscores the point that we're still in the midst of a recession that was years in the making and will be months or even years in the unmaking; and we should expect further job losses in the months to come.

Although we have a long way to go before we can put this recession behind us, the gears of our economic engine are slowly beginning to turn. Consumer spending and home sales are stabilizing, and construction spending is up for the first time in six months. Step by step, we are making progress.”  Read more

Check out the Department of Labor and Department of Education collaborative reemployment effort at

Also, check out TEGL 21-08 for the related guidance on Pell Grants and Payment of Unemployment Compensation to Individuals in Approved Training.

Using Data and Data Tools to Drive Reemployment Strategies

Presenters:  Yustina Saleh, NJ DOL; Peter Neenan, NY DOL

Blogger:  Myriam Milfort, ETA


I just attended this presentation by Yustina Saleh and Peter Neenan, about Data tools to aid reemployment strategies.  Here are my reactions and best recollections of what I heard:


I was really excited by the innovative way New Jersey is utilizing real time economic data to help the one stop centers, policy makers and participants understand real job opportunities in recessionary times.


NJ highlighted three tools:

  1. Industry Specific Manuals for transitioning Dislocated Workers. 
  • Tool targets entry and mid-level income professionals
  • It is designed to connect dislocated workers with new and emerging job opportunities. Lists options available for job seekers in various occupation groups according to their career goals
  1. Report on Industries and Companies Hiring-Updated Monthly:
  2. Real Time Jobs in Demand Report-Updated Monthly
  • Incorporates long-term trends plus all current job openings in New Jersey. Provides information about competition over the same jobs
  • Based on all these factors, each job gets a "demand rank" that shows which ones are most in demand

New Jersey also provided a live demo of the data and discussed potential and current uses of their tools.


New York also presented in this workshop and they came up with a pretty easy way to match UI claimants to Job orders.


They were able to do this by the following process:

  • Find which occupations are in the pool of claimants.
  • Identify the most cost effective occupations for which to develop job orders.
  • Identify the most likely businesses that employ these occupations.
  • Have job orders ready for workers before they are laid off.

It seems like these two state LMI shops are developing tools that appear to be relatively easy to replicate and it provides real time information to the customer.


During this workshop, Tony Dais from the national office also highlighted upcoming webinars that will be available through a new WIN-WIN community of practice that will be live on workforce3one soon! In the meantime NY will host a webinar on this tool on May 8th and NJ hosted a webinar that teaches you how to replicate their model.


Early this month, we received a request from a green employer in our region needing help in recruiting experienced production workers.  Experience with a particular material was needed by this company so that it could ramp up production quickly and meet the demand for high quality product in a short timeframe.  Using the collective knowledge of our social network, we were able to respond to this request very quickly with good data and opportunities to fill their immediate need for skilled workers.

Through the engagement of the Iowa Innovation Gateway social network (an e-mail summarizing the request was sent out to the network), we quickly learned that TAA benefits for laid off workers include relocation expenses.  Relocation benefits are important because other industries that use similar materials in production are located outside of our region.  The network also provided information that ETA has a searchable database to locate companies by SIC code that have received TAA certification and therefore have laid off employees with TAA relocation benefits.  That searchable database can be found at: 

In searching the database, at least two locations matched the need of having a company in a particular industry using the same materials and an active TAA certification.  These locations were then communicated to the company so that they could focus their recruitment efforts in these locations and find production workers with experience in the same materials and with support to relocate for reemployment.

This example is just one tangible way that at the Iowa Innovation Gateway is fulfilling its vision of growing "a dynamic vibrant network that works collaboratively in creating a globally competitive region in Central Iowa" and how it met an immediate need to fill green jobs in the region.  


Colleagues:  The Council on Economic Advisers today released "Estimates

of Job Creation from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of

2009," a report detailing how the Administration will measure progress

creating and saving jobs under the Recovery Act.


Work began on the methodology in the earliest days of the Administration

and within days of the Recovery Act being signed into law, Chairman

Romer met with top economists from numerous agencies to develop a

simple, conservative and accurate model for measuring progress.  The

model pairs a macro approach based on projected and actual spending with

direct reporting by recipients to improve the level of accuracy.


To view the report, click


Using Assessments Effectively to Serve Youth & Dislocated Workers – Best Practices

Speakers:  Jackie McGravey, Capital Workforce Partners; Wanda Brown-Claitty, Our Piece of the Pie; Lauren Fairley-Wright, ETA

Blogger:  Minnie Holleran, ETA


I just attended this presentation by Jackie McGravey, Wanda Brown-Claitty, and Lauren Fairley-Wright, about how to use Assessments more effectively to serve youth and dislocated workers.  Here are my reactions and best recollections of what I heard:


Lauren Fairley-Wright’s bumper sticker for assesssment reads, “One size does not fit all.”  Lauren, who works for ETA, researches information related to assessments so that she can coordinate effective technical assistance projects.  She indicates that many One Stops still typcially use the TABE standard assessment, which is valuable, but it is not necessarily the most effective tool in serving the different popultations we are now seeing out our one stop centers.


When selecting an Assessment Tool, Lauren recommends the following:

1.    When selecting an assessment tool, focus on the customer – take the time to talk to them, this intake interview is crucial and also represents the initial assessment

2.    Correctly administer the test

3.    Know the type and quality of the assessment – what are you measuring; interests or aptitudes?

4.    Ensure the assessment is level appropriate, some ONET assessment tools require 6th grade level ability, does your customer have the appropriate educational attainment?

5.    Understand the reliability of the assessment selection

6.    Look for tools that measure more than just education and training.  A common assessment used by New York also takes into account the health & wellness of their customers.  Assessing the emotional state of your customer can be a valuable tool in helping in job search.

There are two model programs in Connecticut that use creative assessment tools, or  rather Discovery Tools, to help assess youth beyond their educational attainment to effectively place them in employment.  Both programs are aligned to serve the future workforce needs of the state.  In addition, both agencies serve the greater Hartford area, which currently has 19,000 youth in crisis.


Future Workforce Services, a program of Capital Workforce Partners, a local workforce area uses personal development profile which based on 40 developmental assessts.  One of the question asks youth “Do you feel safe at home?” In addition, the program utilizes the Harrington O’Shea tool which is a self assesment , and uses the results that that youth can develop their “dream resume” and research the educational and training requirements to realize that dream.  Finally, the career interest inventory assessment tool used by youth  in this program was developed as a result of signifant employer participation and helps youth connect directly to employer via company tours, employer visits and employer mentoring.


In Our Piece of the Pie (OPP), the 5th largest youth development agency in CT, youth sign a code of conduct or a Full Value Contract, which identifies the positive attributes they will bring to the workplace.  This “pie chart” is hung up at the center as a visual reminder of their positive contribution.  OPP also administers assessment tools such as ETO (Efforts to Outcome) and the CASAS test, but they don’t never call them tests, since that is a bad word for youth and only works if it is accompanied by pizza!


In the past, the workforce system has been finacially challenged to both research and implement new and creative assessment tools.  However, the good news is we now have the money to do implement some of the strategies noted above as wel l adopt  some of the assessment tools  used by youth programs.  Happy shopping!




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