Workforce Update – 3 Oct 2022

Updates from NGA’s Workforce Development and Economic Policy Team – October 3, 2022. Questions, comments, or feedback? Want your work featured? Contact Jack Porter, Senior Policy Analyst, at

News from NGA

NGA Action Lab on Youth Apprenticeship: Request for Statements of Interest by 10/05

In its role as a national partner in the Partnership to Advance Youth Apprenticeship, the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices (NGA Center) is hosting a two-day, virtual action lab on the issue of youth apprenticeship. In collaboration with New America, the NGA Center will deliver programming that builds on its recently published State Policy Playbook to Advance Youth Apprenticeship. Participants will gain a clearer understanding of the national policy landscape and state policy options for advancing youth apprenticeship, new connections to peers working on similar issues at the state and national level, and leave with actionable steps to pursue policy change on the issue of youth apprenticeship that best suits their state. Contact Jack Porter ( for more information.

New England Governors Urge More Funds for LIHEAP

This past week, Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont, Maine Governor Janet Mills, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker, New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu, Rhode Island Governor Dan McKee and Vermont Governor Phil Scott sent a letter to the Senate and House Committees on Appropriations, urging them to include emergency supplemental funding for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) on top of the annual appropriation to address increasing home energy bills that likely will be exacerbated this winter as a result of volatile global energy markets. In New England and across the nation, LIHEAP assistance is targeted to households with the lowest income and highest energy burden. These low-income households, particularly low-income senior households, spend a disproportionate amount of their income on home energy, often three times more than the median energy burden. 

NGA Technical Assistance (TA) Memos: September 

The following are TA memos and research that NGA has provided states and territories over the past month in response to inquiries and special requests. Should you wish to receive any of the resources listed below, please contact Jordan Morang. If you have a new TA request you’d like to make, please contact Jack Porter.  

Recruitment and Retention Strategies for State Employees

NGA provided information on the issue of recruiting and retaining employees in the state workforce. The memo provides summaries and links to relevant state policy initiatives and programs, including skills-based hiring practices; professional development opportunities; work-based learning and apprenticeship programs; and incentives for state employment.

State Benefit Cliff Tools

NGA provided information on broad programmatic solutions for addressing benefits cliffs through various state lenses, as well as an early-stage regional approach. In addition, the memo summarizes automated tools and calculators for understanding and mitigating benefits cliffs created by state and local stakeholders and partners. The memo also includes resources from the Federal Reserve system, concluding with a summary of components of investigative and exploratory work and thoughts on important data and metrics.

State Workforce Development System Structure Models & Leveraging American Rescue Plan Act Dollars for Workforce Development

NGA provided information regarding various models for the structure of state workforce development systems, specifically within the context of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) and highlighted ways that states are investing in workforce development using American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds.  

National Current Developments

Congress Passes CR

The Senate on September 29th passed a continuing resolution (CR) to avert a government shutdown, funding the federal government at current levels until December 16th and approving new resources for Ukraine’s defense against Russia’s invasion as well as domestic disaster recovery efforts, including Western wildfires, floods in Kentucky and hurricanes in the Southeast. The vote was 72-25. The CR was passed by the U.S. House of Representatives on Friday, September 30th and promptly signed by President Biden.

USDOL Rescinds Industry-Recognized Apprenticeship Program

The U.S. Department of Labor last week announcedfinal rule to rescind the Industry-Recognized Apprenticeship Program (IRAP). The Department issued the final rule after reviewing the IRAP, as required by President Biden’s February 2021 Executive Order, in which he directed federal agencies to “promptly consider taking steps to rescind any orders, rules, regulations, guidelines, or policies” under IRAP. As part of its final rule, the department will work with previously recognized Standards Recognition Entities (SREs) and IRAPs to explore opportunities to become program sponsors or intermediaries in the Registered Apprenticeship (RA) system and will provide IRAP apprentices with resources to connect them with Registered Apprenticeship training opportunities. 

News from the States

Illinois Announces Payment Toward UI Loan

Illinois Governor JB Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) announced that a payment of $450 million will be made toward the remaining $1.8 billion borrowed under Title XII of the Social Security Act. Due to continued historic low unemployment insurance claims, the unemployment insurance trust fund has capacity to make this payment without impairing the department’s ability to pay benefits. This is the second significant contribution to the outstanding loan balance. In March of 2022, Governor Pritzker signed legislation which provided a $2.7 billion contribution from American Rescue Plan Act dollars to assist the state’s unemployment trust fund.

Massachusetts Awards $24 Million in Skills Capital Grants to High Schools

Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker and Lt. Governor Karyn Polito recently awarded$24 million in Skills Capital Grants to 14 high schools. Each school received awards between $1 million and $2.5 million, which will enable the schools to modernize labs and significantly expand student enrollment in programs that provide career education. The high schools receiving grants will make strategic investments over the next two years to grow their career education programs to provide more learning opportunities for both traditional high school students and adult learners, with several schools expanding their Career Technical Initiative (CTI) programs to offer more learning opportunities in the late-afternoon and evening. 

New York Crackdowns on Unemployment Insurance Fraud

New York Governor Kathy Hochul announced actions to crack down on unemployment insurance fraud after a New York State Department of Labor investigation found that insurance fraud accounted for more than $11 million in benefits payments in August. The benefits were paid almost exclusively to those working while also collecting unemployment insurance payments during the pandemic.

North Dakota Announces Statewide Energy-Focused Apprenticeship Program at Tribal Colleges

North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum recently joined leaders from the North Dakota Tribal College System to announce a new apprenticeship program developed in partnership with Hess Corporation to improve educational and employment opportunities for Native Americans across the state. Hess announced that it will invest $12 million to provide tuition assistance, stipends and other support for establishing apprenticeships in a variety of industries. The apprenticeships will be designed by each of the five tribal colleges in North Dakota based on the local job market and needs of their tribal communities.

Rhode Island Awards Fellowships to STEM and Design Jobs Graduates

Rhode Island Governor Dan McKee recently announced the next cohort for the Wavemaker Fellowship program, a competitive student loan reimbursement program for recent graduates working in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) and certain design fields. The Wavemaker Fellowship awards graduates working in STEM and design jobs in Rhode Island with a refundable tax credit that can cover student loan payments up to $6,000 per year for up to four years. 

Recent Publications

CRS Publishes Workforce and Labor Policy Brief

The Congressional Research Service (CRS) has published Workforce and Labor Policy: Resources for Congressional Staff, which is intended to serve as a starting point for congressional staff assigned to cover issues related to federal workforce and labor programs and policies. The report outlines federal workforce and labor programs and benefits, congressional committees of jurisdiction, statistical sources, laws, regulations, and other sources of data. It also provides links to relevant CRS products and other resources that describe federal workforce and labor programs and benefits.

News to Know

Employment and Training Administration Launches the “Recovery-Ready Workforce Resource Hub”

The Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration (ETA) launched theRecovery-Ready Workplace Resource Hub with information and resources for businesses, unions, and others exploring the benefits of becoming recovery-ready workplaces. The hub was developed with support from numerous federal partners and will be updated and expanded over time.

NDEAM Employer Chat on Workplace Mental Health and Well-Being

In honor of National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM), Labor Secretary Marty Walsh and Assistant Secretary of Labor for Disability Employment Policy Taryn Williams are hosting an online discussion with corporate, disability advocacy, and labor employers recognized for their innovative approaches to fostering supportive, mental health-friendly workplaces. The streaming event will take place on Thursday, October 13, 2022, from 10:00 – 11:15 a.m. ET. To register, click here

The US Has Reversed Pandemic Job Losses. Most Individual States Haven’t. (Stateline)

In July, the U.S. economy regained the 25 million jobs it had lost in the pandemic. But in 31 states and the District of Columbia, employment still lags pre-pandemic levels.