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a. 2. B. Describe how the State intends to use Governor’s set aside funding. Describe how the State will utilize Rapid Response funds to respond to layoffs and plant closings and coordinate services to quickly aid companies and their affected workers. States also should describe any layoff aversion strategies they have implemented to address at risk companies and workers

Current Narrative:

The GWC and DWD will work with the Governor’s Office to enable funds from the discretionary fund to provide incentive grants to the regions. The incentive grants will be provided for uses consistent with WIOA and may require local Boards to agree to activities designed to better facilitate the partnership between the state and locals. For example, regions may be asked to agree to provide routine information, such as the names, role, and contact information for all Workforce Development Board members and ensure all board members complete an annual approved DWD Board Training. Each region is provided with funding from WIOA Dislocated Worker to address needs of dislocated workers specifically, and are encouraged to set aside a portion of those funds to assist them with Rapid response activities within their regions.

As posited in Strategy 2.11, Indiana use a portion of the discretionary fund to create a pilot for a few regions to test consumer-driven operations (e.g., shifting hours of operation to evenings or Saturdays potentially to align with the volume of traffic or creating a virtual chat feature for those unable to go into the office). Through this pilot, the regions will determine the costs and benefits of staggering times, how to communicate the change in hours, and the coordination with administrative timelines and requirements. DWD will administer this pilot during FY 2022-2023 and FY 2023-24. By analyzing the costs, benefits, and return on investments from various consumer-driven strategies and operational practices, DWD will publish the best practices and lessons learned through this pilot for other regions to adapt.

If a region exhausts its Dislocated Worker funding, they can apply for a grant from DWD to assist them with Rapid Response activities.  If DWD Rapid Response depletes the designated WIOA Dislocated Worker funding set aside for Rapid Activities, Indiana will pull only from the remaining Dislocated Worker funds of the Governor’s discretionary fund.  We are, therefore, able to issue Rapid Response Grants to any local region based on needs to implement activities for dislocated workers.  

As a part of its layoff aversion strategy, Indiana DWD purchased (4th quarter of 2019) a predictor, scores, and ratings perspective program from Dun & Bradstreet. This program allows Indiana to use business intelligence from companies in a proactive manner to provide a solutions based approach to plan for and manage economic transition. This program uses a blend of financial fitness and material change data. Through this medium, DWD provides frontend consultation before a business catastrophe occurs and before a business and its workers become at risk.  While this is product is fairly new to DWD and we are learning the nuances of its use, it will be used to:  

  • Actively engage local business,
  • Use labor market data to drive decisions,
  • Treat education like a job,
  • Connect people to careers,
  • Provide wrap-around student services,
  • Tap innovative funding sources, and
  • Embrace evaluation.

Use of this tool is new, and DWD is implementing a pilot to develop best practices in several regions. Both state and local business services team are determining how this information is going to be utilized and implemented statewide. Currently, DWD anticipates working closely with 2-3 pilot regions to develop a method and processes to use this information, offer technical assistance, and coordinate with employers to avoid layoffs at the community level. Indiana recently used this tool to analyze with the recent layoffs at a local trucking company to evaluate other employer impacts.

DWD and local regions determine prospects for layoff aversion by consulting with the Regional Managers (RM), Program Directors, state and local economic development organizations, and other entities. Business Service Representatives (BSR) solicit information from the employer about supplier firms in order to accurately assess the likelihood of secondary and tertiary layoffs.

In addition, layoff aversion must be discussed with the employer to further determine possible layoff aversion strategies. Discussions and strategies include determining:

  • The proposed layoff schedule and the employer’s plans to assist the dislocated workers, including the status of any collective bargaining negotiations affecting layoff benefits,
  • The need for a voluntary labor management committee or workforce transition committee comprised of representatives of the employer, affected workers, their representatives, and/or other community entities as necessary to assist in planning and overseeing event-specific strategy that supports the reemployment of affected workers,[1]
  • Appropriate labor representatives to consult and coordinate with when planning Rapid Response activities for impacted workers covered by a collective bargaining agreement,
  • The need for peer-to-peer worker outreach to connect dislocated workers with services in conjunction with the labor management committee or its equivalent, and
  • That procedures are in place for the timely access and referral to WorkOne programs, services, and information offered by the WIOA (including Wagner-Peyser), UI, TAA, and other workforce development programs.

[1] This work typically starts at the state-level but will involve close coordination with the local region. Whether the region steps in to lead or is more of a collaborator with the state depends on regional capacity, skill, and confidence level to manage.