Meeting the Challenge: Improving Dislocated Worker Services in Ohio
February 11, 2008
With jobless rolls growing and the economy softening, Ohio’s workforce system needs immediate reforms to serve more unemployed workers and improve their access to training. Our ability to meet these challenges is vital to the future of these workers and for bipartisan public policy goals to make Ohio a more educated and prosperous state. The state’s most important employment and training program for unemployed workers, the federally-funded Workforce Investment Act (WIA) “dislocated worker” program, does not serve as many workers as it could and does not use all of the funding it receives. The report discusses major problems with the system and suggests key administrative and legislative reforms.
Key administrative reforms include, among others, requiring local areas to serve a minimum number dislocated workers, making use of best practices in rapid response services for workers about to be laid off, and removing procedures that limit access to training. Legislative reforms include policies that have been used successfully in other states to improve dislocated worker services: (1) extended unemployment compensation benefits for workers in training; and (2) state plant-closing legislation to fix loopholes in the federal WARN Act.