Clinton Twp., MI - Michigan is facing a workforce crisis, and not the one currently affecting job seekers and employers. The United States Department of Labor Employment and Training Administration has proposed a Wagner-Peyser Staffing Act rule that would have catastrophic consequences for Michigan’s businesses and talent.
The Wagner-Peyser Staffing Act proposed rule as written by the U.S. Employment and Training Administration would remove the State of Michigan’s authority over its workforce system service delivery model, leaving employers and job seekers with a disjointed, less efficient structure.
Michigan Works! Agencies, including Macomb/St. Clair Michigan Works!, use Employment Service (Wagner-Peyser) funding to meet the needs of employers and job seekers.
“These services and funds are integrated into everything Michigan Works! does. Employment Service is the foundation of the system,” said Ryan Hundt, Chief Executive Officer of the Michigan Works! Association. “Without these core services and funds, at least 20 of the 99 Michigan Works! American Job Centers will be forced to close, primarily those serving rural communities.”
Michigan residents who are most vulnerable including refugees, immigrants, veterans and youth would encounter forced discontinuation of critical workforce services.
A dramatic reduction of business services to the 32,000 Michigan employers served annually, including decreased assistance filling job openings, reduction and elimination of job fairs, cutting of industry-led collaboratives and decreased access to job training programs would occur.
A survey of the 16 Michigan Works! Agencies, compiled with state and federal performance data, found if the proposed rule is implemented:
- 80 percent of Michigan Works! Agencies would be forced to reduce services to veterans.
- 62 percent would have to eliminate and 18 percent would have to reduce immigrant and refugee navigator services.
- 63 percent would have to eliminate and 31 percent would have to reduce services for formerly incarcerated people.
- 86 percent would have to reduce the more than 9,000 career awareness events – mostly for youth and college students – including the award-winning MiCareerQuest events.
If implemented, the new staffing rule would also result in job loss in the system, estimated at the loss of 220 full-time equivalent jobs.
This total loss of Wagner-Peyser funding would result in staffing funds that are currently distributed among more than 400 staff with different skills and specialties being cut down to 100 full-time state merit staff who will each have to assume a caseload of nearly 1,000 people a year without the direct connections to other programs or funds to serve them.
“The proposed change is something that should concern everyone. The potential negative impact to the employers and jobseekers we serve is immeasurable,” said Justin Al-Igoe, executive director, Macomb/St. Clair Michigan Works!.
The deadline for public comment is June 21, 2022. Macomb/St. Clair Michigan Works! is encouraging the public to submit comments in opposition to the proposed rules.
To comment, people can visit the Federal Register website, www.regulations.gov, and search for Wagner-Peyser.
About The Macomb/St. Clair Workforce Development Board
The Macomb/St. Clair Workforce Development Board administers the Michigan Works! Service System in Macomb and St. Clair counties. Macomb/St. Clair Michigan Works! is an equal opportunity employer/program. Supported in part by state and/or federal funds. A proud partner of the American Job Center network. Auxiliary aids and services are available upon request to individuals with disabilities. Michigan Works! agencies oversee comprehensive services designed to help employers access a skilled workforce and help job seekers access satisfying careers. Programs also include workshops to prepare youth and unskilled adults for entry into the labor force and help individuals who are disadvantaged or who face serious barriers to employment develop skills through training that leads to employment and ultimately economic self-sufficiency.