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In this issue..
In 2006, Governor Mitch Daniels brought the Jobs for America’s Graduates (JAG Indiana) program to Indiana through the Department of Workforce Development (DWD). The program’s goal is to keep students in school through graduation and to ensure they make it into meaningful employment or post-secondary education.
The Indiana Youth Institute (IYI) was enlisted by DWD to help build a structure and strategy to get JAG Indiana off the ground. After building a strong foundation the Indiana Youth Institute has turned the reins over to DWD. Sue Honcharuk who worked with IYI to implement JAG Indiana is now administering the program at DWD.
Bill Stanczykiewicz, of IYI said, “We were glad to have played a key role in the launch of JAG-Indiana and are thrilled with the results. The roll-out of the program was done very quickly and effectively and we anticipate that that the program will continue to grow.”
JAG is the only statewide drop-out prevention program in Indiana. Hoosier schools struggle with a state average graduation rate of 72% with some schools as low as 41%. JAG-Indiana’s goal is a 90% graduation rate for their participants.
JAG-Indiana has implemented the multi-year program targeting at-risk high school juniors and seniors. An advisory group from each site selects 35 to 45 students to participate and advisory groups are made of a program specialists, high school counselors, administrators and workforce development program managers.
“We started out with 12 schools and will be up to 40 this fall,” said Sue Honcharuk. After just two years our graduation rate is at 89% and Indiana is serving more than 900 students through the JAG program in Indiana. Indiana serves more WIA eligible at-risk students than any other state in the country.”
In meeting the goals set out by JAG-Indiana, students receive basic skill assessments and remediation where needed. Attainment of employability skills are met by teaching 37 core competencies to assure a strong attachment to the labor market. The primary problem facing at-risk students is unemployment because they do not possess the skills needed and they lack the opportunities to gain those skills. JAG teaches the skills and provides the opportunities for students to practice the skills needed to enter the job market.
JAG provides an opportunity for WorkOne Centers to work directly in the schools to build strong relationships with students, school administrators, teachers, community leaders and business partners in a collaborative effort to improve the employability skills of students who have limited employment experience. These relationships extend well beyond the school environment and include family participation in the program and family engagement in the WorkOne Centers.
Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund (HB1721): Withdrawn by the author. Increased employer taxable wage base from $7,000 to $9,000 and also created an employer surcharge of 0.3% to improve solvency of the Trust Fund. These two items together would have generated approximately $320 million. Created the Unemployment Insurance Solvency Advisory Committee. Created the Hoosier Workers First Training Program to improve manufacturing productivity in Indiana. Required DWD commissioner to make changes to UI eligibility in order to qualify for the maximum amount available under the federal stimulus money unless the cost of changes exceeded amount available under the stimulus.
Budget Bill (HB1001): Passed the House 52-44 and now goes to the Senate. Includes language to create the Unemployment Insurance Solvency Fund to repay federal loans and interest to the Trust Fund. States that any money from a surcharge shall be deposited in the Solvency Fund and creates a placeholder for $57 million to be deposited in the UI Solvency Fund.
Adult Workforce Training Grants (HB1656): Passed the House 88-11 and now goes to the Senate. Creates $3,000 per year training grants for unemployed or underemployed Indiana adult residents using federal stimulus money allocated to Indiana for dislocated worker and employment and training activities.
Regional Workforce Boards, Providers and Operators (HB1651): Passed the House by 83-7 and now goes to the Senate. Allows Regional Workforce Board Members to serve as a regional operator, fiscal agent, service provider or direct client service provider in a region other than their own. Allows a Regional Operator to serve as a service provider, regional workforce board member or direct client service provider in a region other than their own. Allows a Service Provider to serve as a regional operator, fiscal agent or regional workforce board member in a region other than their own. Allows a fiscal agent to serve as a service provider, regional workforce board member or direct client service provider in a region other than their own.
Department of Workforce Matters (SB84): Passed the Senate 49-0 and now goes to the House. Renames DWD. Requires notification to employers. Includes adjudicator, ALJ and appeals level annual training.
DWD Collections (SB477): Passed the Senate 50-0 and now goes to the House. Authorizes DWD or its agent to collect delinquent unemployment insurance assessments and benefit overpayments after filing a judgment lien for the amount due. Creates specific collection procedures for DWD to use in cases of individuals fraudulently receiving benefits.
Unemployment Insurance Benefits (HB1168): Withdrawn by the author. Would have allowed retroactive extension of exempting severance pay from UI benefits.
Commission on Career and Technical Education (SB509): Not heard in Committee. Would have abolished the Commission and transferred the duties to DWD.
In an effort to reach out and support both jobseekers and WorkOne staff, Governor Mitch Daniels visited the WorkOne Express office in Franklin on Friday, February 6.The Governor took a tour of the facility and met with a number of unemployed Hoosiers in the office. He listened to their issues and offered them encouragement in their job search.
Following the visit to the WorkOne office, the Governor, along with the Indiana Economic Development Corporation, made an announcement on StreetLinks National Appraisal Services plans to add 320 jobs to its Central Indiana operations.
WorkOne Career Counselor Mari Phillips said the Governor’s visit was highly motivational to the job seekers and WorkOne staff.
Phillips explained to the Governor the services that are offered at the Franklin office.
“I talked to the Governor about our services here, focusing on workshops, computer classes and possible training,” said Phillips. “We are proud of the difference that we make by getting people back to work.”
Marking its 25th anniversary, the Indiana Career and Technical Education Awards for Excellence ceremony was recently held in the Indiana Government Center South Auditorium. The Awards are a way to recognize students, programs, partnerships, guidance and career services, and outstanding contributors to career and technical education in Indiana.
The Awards for Excellence ceremony is a day long event designed to give appropriate recognition to the awardees. It also highlights the benefits Indiana and its citizens derive from career and technical education. The awards are supported by a grant through the Indiana Department of Workforce Development and by contributions from Vincennes University, Ivy Tech Community College, Indiana Association of Career and Technical Education Districts, and Indiana Association of Career and Technical Education.
Overall, there were 28 award recipients.
“It’s pretty hectic,” said secondary student Aimee Resoco, who was awarded for IT web design. ”There were a lot of things going on. We went to the Senate. It was exciting. But this is the peak of the day, receiving this award.”
Caleb Unger received a post secondary award for Surgical Technology. Unger is a student at Ivy Tech Community College in Terre Haute.
“It’s an honor to be here and to be recognized by the State of Indiana,” said Unger. “Hopefully, this will get me a good job somewhere. I got a 4.0 GPA in Surgical Technology and plan to attend medical school and become an orthopedic surgeon.”
A United States Army veteran, Justin Lumm, whose exemplary service in the military earned him a Combat Action Badge and Army Commendation medals for his outstanding service in Iraq, was nominated for his award in technology from his professor at Vincennes University.
“We came here, got lunch and toured the state capitol. It’s been a real good experience,” said Lumm. “It’s a nice recognition of all of things we’ve done as students. I’m sure this award will definitely help on a resume.”
Working full time and being a wife and a mother didn’t hold back Malissa Owens, who received a post secondary award for Visual Communications. With her busy schedule, Owens found getting to this ceremony and being recognized very gratifying.
“It was a lot of hard work and the application was quite long, but it was years of getting here,” she said. “Ivy Tech allowed me to actually work my schedule around the classes and be there for my children and the things I have to do outside of school. I have to make time to do homework. That was the big challenge. I’ve had to take night classes and other things just to get the credits and get things done so I could do all of this. It was a little overwhelming.
“I was flattered that my instructors and advisors nominated me for the award. It’s really nice to be here and to be recognized. I will definitely put this award up. I am very proud of it.”
Ivan Santos, a secondary student who received his award for his work in web design, agreed that receiving this award was very worthwhile.
“I’m going to put this with my resume, no doubt about it,” said Santos.
Hoosiers helping Hoosiers was the theme over the weekend as more than 50 DWD and WorkOne employees came together for the department’s first “Super Saturday.”
An All-Star team from Uplink Customer Support, Unemployment Insurance Modernization, Oversight, Customer Service, Benefit Determinations, Collections, Audit, Adjudication, and Appeals all pitched in to answer email questions from across the state.
“It was a great team effort,” said Andrea Adams, assistant director to agency customer service. “DWD pitched in and worked together to make the day a success.”
Some claimants were surprised to be reached on a day state offices are generally closed.
One person inquired why they were being called during the weekend “since there is no way on Earth a state employee would be working on Saturday.”
Another Hoosier emailed, asking the caller to confirm their identity, as she was sure it was not legitimate that DWD employees would be working on Saturday.
“We celebrated successes throughout the day,” added Adams. “Everybody pulled together to assist Hoosiers.”
Because of their “Super Saturday” efforts, the agency is now in position to get all incoming emails answered in a timely manner.
DWD staff who worked on Super Saturday:
WorkOne employees that are working extra hours:
Gina DelSanto - Senior Deputy Commissioner of Agency Policy and Performance
Gina DelSanto is the Senior Deputy Commissioner of Agency Policy and Performance for the Department of Workforce Development. Gina graduated from the University of Rhode Island, majoring in Modern Foreign Languages. She attended graduate school at Indiana University, Bloomington, receiving an MA and a Ph.D. emphasizing critical theory, literature and film, and medieval studies.
In 1993, Gina accepted a position in the office of United States Senator Richard G. Lugar, first as Special Assistant for Affairs of State, Immigration and Education, and later as Director of Outreach. In 2000, Gina joined Butler University as the director of the Learning Resource Center and subsequently as Associate Provost for Academic Affairs. Between jobs at Butler, she served as policy coordinator for the Mitch Daniels for Governor campaign.
Mary Johnson – Deputy Commissioner of Unemployment
Mary’s professional background includes numerous years of experience in Process Improvement, Human Resources, Training Development and Implementation, Management, Credit, Business Development and Banking. She has been the Deputy Commissioner, Unemployment, for the Department of Workforce Development since December 2008 and originally joined DWD in June 2007 as the Director of Human Resources.
Mary came to the Indiana Department of Workforce Development with many years of relevant experience in the private sector. Previously, Mary was a senior staff member with National City Bank, as the Indiana Employment Team Manager. She was involved in the development and implementation of National City Institute’s training group. Mary holds a Masters in Business Administration (MBA) degree from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and a Bachelor’s in Business Administration from McKendree College, where she graduated Summa Cum Laude.
Michelle Marshel - Deputy Commissioner of Communications
Michelle Marshel is the Deputy Commissioner of Communications, Marketing and Governmental Affairs. Michelle has worked as a public servant in state government for the past nine years. Before joining DWD, she was the Policy Director for the Republican Caucus of the Indiana House of Representatives.
Michelle is a graduate of Ball State University, with a double major in Political Science and Legal Studies and is a member of the Ball State Legal Studies Advisory Board.
Marty Morrow – Chief Operating Officer
Martin “Marty” Morrow is the Chief Operating Officer at the Indiana Department of Workforce Development. Marty worked a number of years for Eli Lilly and Company holding jobs in IT, Manufacturing, HR, Marketing and Sales, and several Lilly startups.
A graduate of Iowa State University, Marty was the founder and CEO of Quovix, LLC, an Indianapolis-based software engineering firm and a founding member of Maaguzi, LLC, a clinical trials software company. At Purdue University, he earned his MBA from the Krannert School of Business.
Scott Sanders - Deputy Commissioner and Chief Financial Officer
Scott Sanders brings many years of financial management experience to his role at DWD. Prior to working in State government, he held several executive and financial management positions at Guardian Life Insurance Company/First Commonwealth in Chicago, Illinois. Scott earned his MBA at Northwestern University’s J.L. Kellogg Graduate School of Management, and received his undergraduate degree in accounting at Miami University.
Dustin Stohler - General Counsel
Dustin Stohler is General Counsel for the Department of Workforce Development. Dustin oversees DWD's investigatory and oversight departments, as well as unemployment appeals. Prior to joining DWD, he practiced law at Littler Mendelson and Baker & Daniels, where he advised employers on compliance with employment laws and defended employers in lawsuits and administrative proceedings brought under the NLRA, FLSA, Title VII, and other employment related laws. Dustin received a J.D. from Indiana University and a B.A. from Wabash College.
Greg Vollmer - Deputy Commissioner of Field Operations
Greg Vollmer is the Deputy Commissioner of Field Operations. In this capacity he oversees the operations for all WorkOne centers located throughout Indiana. His department also insures effective rapid deployment services for dislocated workers.
Prior to joining DWD, Greg held multiple executive level positions with both manufacturing and service oriented companies. Most recently he was Vice President at Product Action International, a provider of quality engineering, training and inspection services. Greg is a lifelong Indiana native, a mechanical engineering graduate of Valparaiso University and he earned his Master of Science Degree in Business Administration from Indiana University at South Bend.