US Department of Labor proposed rule could force Michigan Works! to limit services

Published: Jun. 9, 2022 at 6:39 PM EDT
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WASHINGTON, D.C. (WLUC) - A proposed rule from the Biden Administration is designed to help states improve unemployment processing. But Michigan Works! says the proposal would not help Michigan.

“We’re trying to get the U.S. Department of Labor to not implement this proposed rule change and let Michigan along with the other two states keep doing it like we’re doing it,” said Bill Raymond, CEO of U.P. Michigan Works.

If passed, all states would have the same training and services for employment. It would mean staff who handle unemployment claims would need to be state employees.

Right now, Michigan Works! has cross-trained local employees who can handle unemployment claims and offer employment services.

“By closely aligning Employment Service and Unemployment Insurance staff, we can help states and territories respond to the needs of those seeking unemployment benefits and other Employment Service customers effectively and equitably when demands for service spike unexpectedly as they did at the height of the pandemic,” said Angela Hanks, former acting assistant secretary for employment and training in the Department of Labor.

Michigan Works! currently has 14 U.P. offices staffed by local people. If the rule goes through, Michigan would lose its Wagner-Peyser funding and 20 percent of Michigan Works! employees would lose their jobs, primarily in rural areas.

With a smaller staff, services would be limited.

“When you walk into a Michigan Works! office, there’s a local staff there to help you. You don’t have to be sent somewhere else because in many states you do, they’re not located together. Our staff a cross-trained, they can help you with anything,” said Raymond.

Michigan Works! provides services to 32,000 businesses and 88 percent of those businesses would have to reduce their recruitment and retention services if this proposed rule is implemented.

If you would like to submit a public comment on the proposed rule, click here. Public comments will be accepted through June 21.

If you have more questions about Michigan Works! call 800-285-9675.

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