No Worker Left Behind News
December 15, 2009
Dear Friends –
The last few months have been great for No Worker Left Behind.
I have already shared with you the news that the U.S. Department of Labor (USDOL) awarded Michigan $38 million in American Reinvestment and Recovery Act grants – the largest discretionary award ever given by a U.S. Secretary of Labor outside a natural disaster.
I also emailed you about No Worker Left Behind eclipsing its goal of enrolling 100,000 participants into training – 10 months early. By the end of October, we put over 105,000 people into training! Both August and September were all-time record months for the number of Michiganders enrolling into training.
Now, I have more great news to share with you. On the heels of the first outcomes report for No Worker Left Behind, Gov. Granholm announced that NWLB is now the permanent workforce policy for the state of Michigan. To read about this announcement, the first outcomes report, and more – please check out the articles below about recent news items related to No Worker Left Behind.
DELEG Releases the First Outcomes Report for NWLB
On October 26, 2009, the Department of Energy, Labor, & Economic Growth (DELEG) issued the first outcomes report for No Worker Left Behind. This report is a comprehensive review of the results of No Worker Left Behind’s first 18 months. The data provides information about the duration and type of training participants receive, whether they have found jobs, and whether those jobs are related to their training. The report found that during the period studied, 62,206 people enrolled in training. Overall, 34,355 No Worker Left Behind participants completed training, and of those who completed training, 72 percent or 24,699 either obtained or retained jobs. This is an amazing result given Michigan’s current economic climate.
Two other statistics provide key insight on why President Obama and the nation are taking notice of No Worker Left Behind. Michigan is enrolling people in workforce training at a rate far faster than the national average. The percentage of unemployed and underemployed workers enrolled in workforce training in Michigan is double the national average. Among those unemployed and underemployed workers still enrolled in NWLB, 77 percent are in training programs of one year or longer, which is more than triple the national percentage of people in long-term training.
The most telling statistic, though, is whether the new jobs people got were related to training. This statistic answers the fundamental question: is No Worker Left Behind training worthwhile? Among unemployed and underemployed workers who had already found new work, 86 percent got a job related to their training. Training appears to be an essential element to re-employment.
Granholm: NWLB is Permanent Workforce Policy for the State of Michigan
Gov. Granholm recently announced that the No Worker Left Behind program will continue as Michigan’s permanent workforce policy with the goal of helping to diversify the state’s economy and give workers the skills they need for new job opportunities. Several federal funding streams will be pooled to maximize the resources available to continue to train Michigan citizens.
“No Worker Left Behind has helped tens of thousands of Michigan workers get the education and training they need to get 21st century jobs,” Granholm said. “No Worker Left Behind is making a critical difference for workers across our state, and it is imperative that the program continues.”
This announcement came shortly after two major milestones were reached for No Worker Left Behind: the positive results of the first outcomes report, and the eclipsing of the goal of enrolling 100,000 people into training.
Here are a few things which, when put together, make NWLB such a strong policy initiative, representing a dramatic change of direction from the past decade of national workforce policy.
- NWLB is creating a better educated workforce. The majority of economists agree that higher education correlates with higher income and higher employment. Studies show that states with the highest educated workforces have the strongest economies. NWLB is training a higher volume of people for better credentials than ever before in Michigan’s history. NWLB is positioning Michigan and its citizens for success.
- NWLB means many more and a much higher percentage of participants are in longer-term training, rather than in either short-term training or solely job search assistance.
- NWLB moves from workforce maintenance to workforce transformation; it represents a fundamental shift from “quick fixes” that won’t help dislocated workers much, to investing in increasing educational attainment that carries market-useful credentials.
- With NWLB, Michigan is leading the nation in shifting our focus to where President Obama and Congress are heading – upskilling and lifelong learning.
- NWLB creates universal, statewide eligibility requirements and benefits levels for Workforce Investment Act (WIA) participants. In almost all other states, many aspects of WIA policy are left to local workforce boards, leading to a patchwork of inconsistent policies.
- NWLB creates an umbrella that covers all federal and state funded job training. This has multiple, powerful, mutually reinforcing effects:
- It creates a strong brand identity for job training and lifelong learning.
- It drives citizens to the program.
- It allows us to understand better how different federal funding streams and programs work and compare to each other.
- It allows us to market the program not just to workers, but to employers – we will train workers for any new jobs created in our state.
- NWLB maximizes the availability of income support during training by systematizing the eligibility of participants for UI payments.
- NWLB creates a more strategic, demand-driven workforce system capable of focusing on growing sectors and employers by developing a universal job training “currency” and a stronger state hand to leverage workforce dollars for specific opportunities.
- NWLB requires and represents a greatly enhanced partnership between the state and its workforce partners, especially the Michigan Works! Agencies and community colleges.
- In order to achieve universal eligibility criteria, benefits and so forth, we had to get and maintain ownership from our partners.
NWLB on YouTube: Western Michigan Woman Gets Degree And New Job
Michigan Has a Chief Workforce Officer – New Title, Responsibilities
Gov. Granholm announced in November that she named me the Chief Workforce Officer (CWO) for the state of Michigan. I am honored that the governor wanted to enhance my role and focus more attention and effort on helping Michigan workers gain new skills and renewed prosperity.
Here is her statement:
Levin’s duties as Chief Workforce Officer are in addition to his current responsibilities as Deputy Director of the Department of Energy, Labor & Economic Growth.
“Preparing our workforce for the 21st century economy is crucial for Michigan’s economic turnaround,” Granholm said. “Michigan’s No Worker Left Behind program has become a national model for workforce policy. We must continue to innovate and provide Michigan’s citizens every chance to succeed, and that’s why I am creating the position of chief workforce officer.”
Levin’s duties as CWO include:
- working to ensure all levels of state government are maximizing resources to train and reemploy our workforce;
- working under the direction of the lieutenant governor to rationalize and consolidate workforce services in state government as part of the streamlining government initiative; and
- leading Michigan’s effort to develop recommendations for national workforce policy.
Levin will give the governor a progress report on the commencement of these efforts within 60 days of being named CWO.
In just over two years, Levin has emerged as a national leader on workforce policy. He eliminated the outdated bureaus of workforce programs and career education and replaced them with the Bureau of Workforce Transformation, creating a more efficient, capable and strategic state workforce agency.
Levin has overseen the implementation of Governor Granholm’s No Worker Left Behind initiative and made it a guidepost for national workforce policy. Under his direction, No Worker Left Behind has greatly increased the number and proportion of workers who get the kind of long-term training that can change lives.
Levin led efforts to acquire more than $74 million in additional federal funding for workforce programs in Michigan through aggressive and creative use of all available avenues, including the Workforce Investment Act, Trade Adjustment Assistance Act and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
New Michigan Emerging Markets Skill Alliance for Tool and Die to Train 400 Workers
Recently, DELEG collaborated with employers from the tool and die and related industries in Genesee and Shiawassee counties to establish the Michigan Emerging Markets Skill Alliance (MEMSA) in conjunction with Gov. Granholm's Green Jobs Initiative. That initiative, part of the state's No Worker Left Behind program, is providing start-up funding of $150,000 for the MEMSA using Workforce Investment Act dollars provided by the U.S. Department of Labor. Funding for training is being made available to qualified participants through No Worker Left Behind.
MEMSA employers have projected a need to train approximately 400 workers for new energy-related jobs as tool and die makers, machinists, machine builders, machine repairers, industrial electricians and mold makers. The first-of-its-kind nontraditional curriculum designed by the alliance goes well beyond the classroom to give workers targeted training that emphasizes hands-on, practical experience in the shop.
NWLB in the News
MiBiz: Retooling Michigan’s workforce
AP: Review finds Mich. retraining grads get, keep jobs
Grand Rapids Press: Retrained Grand Rapids mother thanks Governor Granholm for Michigan's No Worker Left Behind program
NBC 25: Granholm praises worker retraining at Delta College
Midland Daily News: State reaches No Worker Left Behind goal; Granholm speaks at Delta
Detroit News: State program teaches agriculture to homeless veterans
MLIVE: New Michigan program aims to upgrade workers' tool and die skills for green energy jobs
Grand Rapids Press: Michigan, Indiana and Ohio to share $4 million federal grant to study skills needed for green jobs
Washington Independent: Long-Term Job Losses Demand Large-Scale Fix
Aligning workforce education with employer need is not only strategically sound – it’s common sense. By focusing on in-demand jobs, participants become re-employed faster and companies thrive. Even if Michigan was experiencing an economic boom, this would be wise policy. But given our ongoing economic crisis, continuing No Worker Left Behind is essential.
There is no silver bullet to turn Michigan around, but a few things are absolute requirements for a bright economic future. One of them is meeting the demand of our workers to get new skills and degrees so that our already extraordinary workforce is among the best trained and educated in the nation.
I look forward to sharing more good news in the future.