District of Columbia, Department of Employment Services: Office of Paid Family Leave

Contact Information of Individual Submitting Nomination

Nominator: Michael Henderson

Email Address: Michael.Henderson2@dc.gov

Agency Name: District of Columbia, Department of Employment Services

 

Office of Paid Family Leave

The District of Columbia's Paid Leave Act, which became District law in 2017, provides paid leave for employees who are bonding with a new child, providing care or companionship for a family member with a serious health condition, and/or caring for the employee’s own serious health condition. The Paid Leave Act allows for eight weeks of parental leave, six weeks of family leave, and two weeks of medical leave for every 52 weeks worked. The maximum weekly benefit amount is $1,000 and is funded solely by an employer tax.

The Department of Employment Services (DOES) has established the Office of Paid Family Leave (OPFL) to implement the District's PFL program. The OPFL is comprised of the Division of Tax (collection of taxes, fees, and revenue functions); Division of Benefits (claim filing, claim processing, and payment of PFL benefits); Benefit Payment Control (prevention and detection of fraud and overpayments, as well as recovery of improper payments of benefits); Appeals (representing the OPFL at hearings on protested claims before the Office of Administrative Hearings); Medical (physician certifications); Contact Center (customer service); and Support (procedures, budget, research, etc.).

DOES has worked to ensure that District businesses have a clear understanding of their requirements to pay employer taxes and inform their employees about PFL benefits. OPFL is on track to meet each of its primary milestone deadlines: the July 1, 2019 deadline for collecting taxes and the July 1, 2020 deadline for administering PFL benefits to eligible employees. DOES is finalizing the expansion of the online portal and tax collections system, proceeding with the training of internal and external stakeholders, and laying the framework for a seamless integration to benefits administration. The two interoperable systems will work together and highlight the agency's core technology values of customer service, ease of use, and performance accuracy.

 

Statement of results, accomplishments, impacts and any other appropriate information that demonstrates why the nominee's efforts were an exceptional contribution.

On July 1, 2019, employers began to utilize the District's Employer Self-Service Portal to submit wages and remit their PFL taxes. To meet the July 1 statutory deadline during the first phase of implementation, DOES prioritized key functionality within the PFL tax system, which included employer registration, account maintenance, wage reports, tax payments, and a general ledger. The second phase of the PFL Tax System will deploy in December 2019 following systems testing in November 2019. During this phase, DOES will deploy the remaining program functionality, which will include refunds, compliance, field audits, and management reports.

In addition to IT development, DOES is executing a marketing strategy to educate employers, employees, and medical communities about the PFL program. The Paid Leave Act requires public education and awareness campaigns, and DOES is embracing comprehensive campaigns in both areas. Even with the launch of the PFL tax system, engaging District employers remains a high priority, and the agency has engaged employers through information sessions, town hall forums, and business walks. DOES worked to expand outreach by launching the District's PFL website at dcpaidfamilyleave.dc.gov, conducting an employer webinar series for more than 2,000 employers, and distributing a digital newsletter to over 42,000 businesses.

 

Other significant contributions 

While facing one of the most aggressive timelines for PFL implementation in the country, DOES established a roadmap to successfully overcome the challenges of developing regulations, procuring technology, and administrating the District's new PFL program. During the two years following the enactment of the PFL law, DOES created a bifurcated rulemaking process, which included the publication of the final tax regulations on June 21, 2019. The agency engaged thousands of businesses through a multi-faceted public outreach campaign, utilized strategic recruitment initiatives to hire talented staff, and engaged numerous IT professionals to determine the best method to deploy tax and benefits systems within the timelines established by legislation.

While other states with similar PFL programs delayed their implementation rollouts and requested additional resources, DOES implemented the District’s tax program on time, and the agency stands prepared to deliver a benefits administration system on July 1, 2020. OPFL staff will continue working on rulemaking, procurement, community engagement, IT development, and research to bring the District a world-class benefits program.

 

Examples of work 

UPFL Q3 FY19 Report - Final.pdf (9.7MB)
DOES_PFL_EmployerToolkit_compressed (7 10 19).pdf (1.4MB)

Section
Public
Off
Oregon Workforce Innovation Award Nomination: Economic Cycle Plan

Contact Information of Individual Submitting Nomination

Nominator: David Gerstenfeld

Email Address: david.k.gerstenfeld@oregon.gov

Agency Name: Oregon Employment Department

 

Economic Cycle Plan

The Great Recession was a huge stress on Oregon's economy and workforce system. The Employment Department faced difficulties providing unemployment insurance benefits and employment services as quickly and effectively as we would have liked. The economic recovery created its own challenges. They included identifying and resuming work set aside out of necessity during the recession and repairing parts of the system that had been overly stressed, all while dealing with declining federal funds.

The Oregon Employment Department committed to documenting the lessons learned during the Great Recession and its recovery so the workforce system could better deal with future economic fluctuations. The goal was to take advantage of hard-learned lessons by documenting them as a reference for the future, creating more structured ways of identifying when early action is needed, and determining what types of action to take.

Oregon Employment Department leadership, and executive leadership of the Office of Workforce Investment (Oregon's Title I provider which is in a separate state agency, the Higher Education Coordinating Commission) sponsored a workgroup to take on that work. The workgroup conducted "lessons learned" sessions, gathering detailed feedback from people throughout the organizations about the recession and its recovery, and documenting that feedback in a Lessons Learned report. People across all functional areas (including LMI, ES, UI, and administrative functions) and organizational levels were involved.

The workgroup created a standing Economic Cycle Task Force to identify and regularly review indicators that could signal future recessions. The Economic Cycle Plan highlights a series of issues that will likely need to be addressed as economic conditions change. It has checklists, indicators of timelines, and other considerations to help guide rapid changes in staffing levels and redeploying current resources to meet needs. For example, potentially having employees from outside of the unemployment insurance program, or from unemployment insurance tax, redeploy to help process an initial sudden increase in claims while new employees are hired and trained. It also included a structured way to evaluate how the agency adjusts to economic fluctuations to continually improve responsiveness to changing conditions.

Oregon has shared its approach with other states and is interested in improvements others are making to this approach. The Department conducts a periodic review of our plan to ensure current agency employees are familiar with it, and that it continues to represent our best current thoughts for approaching economic fluctuations.

 

Statement of results, accomplishments, impacts and any other appropriate information that demonstrates why the nominee's efforts were an exceptional contribution.

  • Documenting “Lessons learned” from the Great Recession and its recovery provided important opportunities to better plan for and respond to economic fluctuations. This took advantage of difficult experiences staff went through, many of whom retired or will retire before the next recession.
  • The standing Economic Task Force, with members from multiple program areas, is responsible for monitoring early harbingers of recessions and helping initiate early action. It includes an agency Recession Single Point of Contact to help coordinate these activities when additional action becomes advisable.
  • Monthly reports of economic indicators, reviewed by the Economic Task Force, better identify when early action or additional monitoring is advisable.
  • The Economic Cycle Plan documented key considerations, including specifics related to funding, communications, processes, technology, and staffing. Checklists, plans, and documented approaches and considerations help flag early decisions that might be needed and key factors to help guide informed, quick decision making.
  • By documenting changes made during the recession, they can be unwound when no longer needed or more thoroughly incorporated into long-term processes when recessionary pressures lessen.
  • A method for formally reviewing how we deal with future recessions, including a scorecard, means we can continue to evolve our adaptability to the economic conditions.

 

Other significant contributions 

  • Decreasing federal funding, an ongoing loss of staff who worked in the workforce system through the Great Recession, and ongoing demands for people's time made gathering the information and planning difficult. A commitment from executive leadership at the Employment Department and the Office of Workforce Investment allowed scarce resources to spend time documenting past lessons and planning for the future. Multiple program areas, including LMI, ES, UI, Title I, and all supportive functions, saw the value in, and contributed to, this work. Strong project management kept the work moving even as other priorities arose.
  • Getting adequately broad perspectives from staff, including frank feedback on what challenges were during the recession, was also difficult. Having good facilitation and an open environment where experiences could be safely shared was important.
  • Developing an approach that was structured enough to help us in the future, while not being so structured it would not accommodate the unforeseen ways a future recession is bound to happen is inherently challenging. Open communication, a commitment to operational agility, and creative thinking helped balance those competing forces.

 

Examples of work 

Oregon's Economic Cycle Plan Summary Information.pdf (726KB)
Great Recession Lessons Learned Summary Information.pdf (809.8KB)
ECP Project Charter Signed.pdf (1.5MB)
Economic Cycle Plan - Signed 10-6-17

Section
Public
Off
Missouri, Department of Economic Development: Talent For Tomorrow

Contact Information of Individual Submitting Nomination

Nominator: Allyssa Miget

Email Address: allyssa.miget@ded.mo.gov

Agency Name: Department of Economic Development

 

Talent For Tomorrow

The purpose of the Talent For Tomorrow (T4T) initiative is to create a systematic and coordinated approach that allows the workforce to be career ready and to provide businesses and companies the workforce it needs to be successful. Our vision statement for this project is "Every Missourian deserves an opportunity to earn a life with dignity." Missouri ranks nearly last in all key performance indicators in the Midwest, such as GDP, quality, availability, and productivity of our workforce. Missouri has identified a growing gap in education and the workforce. Missouri was not creating meaningful outcomes with credentials, wages, and employment.

The T4T labor market analysis identified that employer needs were not being met through the workforce’s poor availability and productivity. This prohibited employers’ ability to grow and expand. Additionally, Missouri was unable to compete in economic development business attraction and expansion deals due to the limited tools and red tape. Missourians also faced challenges in completing a post-secondary degree because there are limited options for adults to complete their education through scholarships, Pell, and other financial aid.

In addition to the growing gap in education and workforce development, it was clear these two agencies needed to work closely to create meaningful outcomes. On January 17th Governor Parson signed Executive Order 19-03 to establish the Department of Higher Education and Workforce Development.

Missouri's skill gap increases annually in middle skilled occupations with more than 56% of the job openings in middle skilled positions. The development of apprenticeship programs was identified as a solution to this growing problem. Historically, Missouri only had strong roots in apprenticeship programs with the labor unions. Because of the T4T efforts, Missouri opted to create a private apprenticeship market driven by employers. In November of 2018, Missouri hosted 14 United Kingdom delegates. Since then, these delegates have proposed solutions in the form of digital software, intermediary coordination, and end point assessments specific to meet Missouri's needs.

In Missouri, apprenticeship programs are administered by more than five agencies creating inconsistencies in apprenticeship. To address this issue, the Governor's Office sanctioned an Interagency Apprenticeship Council to tackle challenges and identify a consistent strategy for the newly created Apprenticeship Missouri office. This council will establish branding, marketing, and streamlining federal resources to targeted industries. This office works closely with intermediaries to create meaningful outcomes in credentials, wages, and employment. The average salary of a completed apprenticeship is $50,000.

 

Statement of results, accomplishments, impacts and any other appropriate information that demonstrates why the nominee's efforts were an exceptional contribution.

The Missouri General Assembly passed comprehensive legislation to allow for flexibility in utilizing key economic development tools such as deal closing funds and customized training. Additionally, this legislation created opportunities for adults dislocated from the postsecondary educational system to complete their education in high demand fields, entitled Fast Track. This August, adult students will be able to enroll into high demand degree fields by taking advantage of the Fast Track scholarship program. This will advance opportunities for Missourians who may have never returned to school otherwise.

Governor Parson created the Interagency Apprenticeship Council to coordinate apprenticeship programs. The state is investing in high demand occupations to ensure a career in growing industries for Missourians. Missouri has contracted with a privatized intermediary to develop two employer driven apprenticeship programs. Missouri has registered three new USDOL apprenticeship standards to meet the needs of our employers. 400 dislocated workers will be served with these new standards utilizing this new model.

Missouri's Workforce Development system also implemented a policy requiring the local workforce boards to spend 40% of their WIOA allocation on training participants. This 60/40 split will limit the amount spent on administration and should directly impact the number of participants served.

 

 

Other significant contributions 

In many ways, alignment of state agencies, partners, and educational training providers have proven to be challenging. Aligning workforce development and higher education required the Governor’s Office to sign Executive Order 19-03. This caused a chain reaction for State staff and partners to identify meaningful ways to integrate the Department of Higher Education with Workforce Development to provide better outcomes for Missourians. The changes within the department also required a different relationship with the Local Workforce Development Boards (LWDBS). The LWDBS value performance outcomes, this creates an opportunity for higher education and workforce development to identify meaningful outcomes. Again, the challenge was coordination among the two entities.

Additionally, the Interagency Apprenticeship Council mandated alignment in our approaches to apprenticeship to establish alignment. This council necessitates input from each agency to create a successful apprenticeship model.

One barrier the State faced this year, was the Missouri General Assembly. Six members within the Missouri Senate that blocked Senate Bill 68, which gave Missouri flexibility in the various tools to attract businesses and establish an adult scholarship program. The Missouri Chamber and state agencies worked together to inform the legislature with data and numerous meetings. SB68 was passed the last week of session.

T4T-overview-MDHE.pdf (949.3KB)
SB68.pdf (1.2MB)
EO 19-03.pdf (1.8MB)
MO - NASWA Foundations Guide Handouts.pdf (1.6MB)
MO - NASWA Tweets.pdf (2.3MB)
MO - NASWA Videos.pdf (11.6KB)

Section
Public
Off
National Business of the Year Award

NOMINATION FORM

Award Name:
National Business of the Year Award

Description:
The National Business of the Year award recognizes a small, medium, or large business that demonstrates outstanding accomplishments resulting in a positive impact on its workforce, industry and community. Additionally, a significant part of the recognition for this award is based on the business' support and use of the state public workforce system.

Criteria:
1. The program, project, or initiative should be innovative, a new way to address an issue or challenge, or results in significant improvement of service or performance. Changes in existing programs, projects or initiatives, which result in significant improvement of services or performance, is acceptable.

2. The State:

  • Must name one business as the nominee of the award;
  • Must have confirmation from the business that they will provide an individual employed by them to be present at the Workforce Summit to accept the award;
  • Must demonstrate the accomplishment, project or initiative was outstanding, a new way to address an issue or challenge, or resulted in a positive impact on the workforce, industry and community;
  • Should demonstrate the program, project or initiative involved the business' support and use of the state public workforce system (Contributions to the system are recognized whether they are in workforce development, unemployment insurance, employment, or labor market information services and are evaluated taking into account the size and maturity of the business.)

 

3. The nomination must:

  • be submitted by 5 pm EST, July 24, 2019;
  • contain a completed Award nomination form;
  • contain the answer to the questions listed on the National Business of the Year Award nomination form within the prescribed word limit;
  • include a statement of approval from the agency administrator; and,
  • be the single nomination for that state for the National Business of the Year award.

 

Section
Public
Off
State Excellence Award

NOMINATION FORM

Award Name:
State Excellence Award

Description:
The State Excellence Award honors a state for a workforce related program, project, or initiative, which addresses an issue or challenge, and results in significant improvement of service or performance.

Criteria:
1. The program, project, or initiative should be innovative, a new way to address an issue or challenge, or results in significant improvement of service or performance. Changes in existing programs, projects or initiatives, which result in significant improvement of services or performance, is acceptable.

2. The State:

  • must be named as the nominee of the award;
  • may recognize specific individuals within the nomination, such as, but not limited to: the governor, state board member, senator, representative, chief elected official, mayor, state administrator, state staff member(s), business owner or representative, bargaining-unit representative, or target group advocacy representative;
  • must demonstrate the program, project or initiative was innovative, a new way to address an issue or challenge, or results in significant improvement in services or performance;
  • may demonstrate a change in existing programs, projects, or initiatives, which result in significant improvement of services or performance;
  • should demonstrate the program, project or initiative involves collaboration with other groups, other agencies, businesses, workforce system partners, etc., and
  • should show it "raised the bar" or "pushed the envelope" - expectations were beyond the normal level of achievement or performance.

 

3. The nomination must:

  • be submitted by 5 pm EST, July 24, 2019;
  • contain a completed Award nomination form;
  • contain the answer to the questions listed on the State Excellence Award award nomination form within the prescribed word limit;
  • include a statement of approval from the agency administrator; and,
  • be the single nomination for that state for the State Excellence award.

 

 

 

Section
Public
Off
NASWA Services Learning

NASWA has been in the “Learning Business” for more than a decade. Today, NASWA’s learning capability and content cover both workforce and unemployment insurance (UI) programs with topics including program integrity, IT modernization, successful practices, program integration, and more. NASWA continues to add learning content and seeks input on new topics to deliver learning opportunities for our members. 

Below on the left are the NASWA Services program areas and on the right are their learning opportunities.

For additional information, please contact learning@naswa.org and provide your feedback as we continue improving NASWA Learning.

Feedback

Section
Public
On