January Partner Express Newsletter

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January Partner Express Newsletter

Adult Career Pathways (ACP) Updates

Legislative Direct Appropriation Grants/Competitive Grants SFY20/21

Updated quarterly report templates were sent to Grantees in October with instructions for pulling outcome measurements from WF1. The reports are due the 30th of the month following the end of the quarter (Apr 30, July 30, Oct 30, Jan 30).

All Grantees, and those responsible for managing ACP grants, were provided and signed a Grantee Obligations Acknowledgement form upon SFY20-21 contract execution. Within the agreement Eligibility/Enrollment Elements, Workforce One (WF1) expectations, Payment Requests (RPR/FSR) requirements and due dates, Quarterly Reporting expectations, and information about the modification process of grants during the contract period were outlined. If you have questions about the agreement, please connect with your Grant Coordinator.

SNAP E&T 50/50

DEED has contracted with a total of eight SNAP E&T 50% Reimbursement Grantees for SFY21. This program offers 50% reimbursement on expenses already incurred through ACP’s Pathways to Prosperity and MN Family Resiliency Partnership programs. The goal is to reimburse these organizations up to $200,000 in additional funds in SFY21 to grow capacity and support for participants.

MN Family Resiliency Partnership (formerly known as Displaced Homemaker Program)

The impact of COVID and the State’s restrictions have required these providers to adjust marketing, programming, and come up with creative ways to ensure this population of Minnesotans continue to receive a robust array of services.

Workforce One Tips

Workforce One Rewrite Update - The ACP team has been working closely with the WF1 team to ensure data is captured accurately and the information put into WF1 is useful to both Grantees and DEED. Within the December rewrite some changes/updates impacting ACP programs were made. Including:

  • The addition of “P2P Only” was added to end of the On-Ramp and IET/Bridge activities
  • A Video option was added to the case note type of engagement
  • An update to reports was made to enable viewing them within Edge and Chrome browsers

 The ACP team will continue to work with WF1 and welcome suggestions or comments on how to make the system work better for all users.  

Selecting Private for specific case notes - In general, all case notes, including all documentation and work conducted with taxpayer dollars, must remain available to DEED and authorized parties. Information specific to an individual must comply with the Minnesota Government Data Practices Act (M.S. 13).

Case notes in Workforce One that do not contain information classified as private by M.S. 13 must be public (viewable by All Staff in Serving Agency), unless one of the following occurs, in which case the case note can be marked "private" in WF1:

  1. The program participant has disclosed a physical or mental health concern that may result in a barrier to employment, a reason for their individual employment plan to be modified, or a reason for program closure. The case note should be marked private in WF1 if the case manager finds it necessary to include details of the condition.
  2. Recording the specific case note will be in violation of HIPAA Privacy Rule, which protects the privacy of individually identifiable health information. When this occurs, mark the case note as private.
  3. The program participant feels he/she is in danger and is concerned for his/her safety. This would include temporary contact information for the participant if s/he moves to a new location until the concern has ended.

DEED requires case managers to maintain a separate paper file with required eligibility and paper documentation maintained about a participant's health, mental health, and/or safety concerns in a locked location other than with the original file. The private separate paper file must not be included in the regular file for the participant. The primary and secondary case managers will only share the separate private file with DEED program monitors.

ACP Operations Guide

ACP’s Operations Guide is now available from the ACP home page. The Guide documents current practices for ACP.  The ACP Team meets monthly to discuss suggested additions, updates, modifications, and other changes to the guide and update as necessary. The Guide is intended to be a living document and will be updated as procedures evolve.  It does NOT include measures implemented in response to COVID-19, which are listed separately.

ACP Team Message to Grantees

ETP Leadership is excited to share that Ann Meyers has been promoted and will continue in the role of the Adult Career Pathways Supervisor. As you are all aware Ann has been serving as the ACP Interim Supervisor since July. She has done an amazing job supporting the ACP team, leadership, and multiple stakeholders. Ann Meyers is a Workforce Development professional with more than 10 years of management and leadership experience. She has extensive programmatic and fiscal experience with numerous programs including but not limited to MFIP, SNAP E&T, DW and ACP. She is also a Workforce One (WF1) expert and provides training to many organizations/grantees. Congratulations on your promotion, Ann!

In light of the COVID pandemic, more providers have requested an amendment to their current contracts to include the use of grant funds to purchase computers/laptops or internet access for participants to start or continue participating in training activities. This is an allowable use of grant funds. An Amendment/Modification of the work plan narrative may be needed indicating the specific training program the computers/laptops will be required for successful completion, if it is not already addressed. A reminder that providers must submit the following prior to utilizing funds for these purchases:

  • Providers must develop a policy for purchasing and distributing laptops.
  • Eligibility requirements a participant must meet in order to receive a laptop/computer,
  • A maximum amount of how much will be reimbursed, including documentation required from the participant for proof of receipt of support service.

We encourage you to do your best to ensure that a participant will be engaged with your program before giving out technology. While support services, such as computer support, are an important component of all our grant programs, support service purchases should be used to enable a participant to successfully engage with your program, complete training, and obtain employment- not just to receive a computer. We recommend only purchasing computers for participants who are active participants in your program, such as those being enrolled in credentialed/certificate training and have demonstrated their commitment to keeping engaged.

As a reminder, all information about a computer distribution directly to a participant needs to be specifically case noted in Workforce One and entered in the support service section. Please contact your DEED Grant Coordinator with any questions.

ACP Grantee Spotlight

During this State of Emergency due to COVID-19, the ACP Team continues to be overwhelmed with the dedication our Grantees have demonstrated in maintaining opportunities for individuals to continue working towards self-sufficiency. We know there are many examples of providers across the state adjusting programming and taking their projects online. Your ability to pivot continues to have a profound effect on the people of Minnesota.

Another example comes to us from our partner at Ramsey County who have adjusted their intake process to deliver a virtual enrollment process. By offering information on how to complete the Data Privacy, Program Enrollment, Eligibility, and ID self-certification documents through a series of YouTube videos, interested low-income women of color in Ramsey County are able to complete the required forms and begin their training in Software/Coding Development.    

Dislocated Worker & Federal Adult Program Updates

New DW Staff

The DW Team welcomed 2 new members in December 2020, they are:

  • Jennifer Thissen, Grants Specialist Senior, jennifer.thissen@state.mn.us
  • John Connell, Grants Specialist Senior, john.connell@state.mn.us

Minnesota Jobs Skills Partnership (MJSP) Board Meeting

The next MJSP Board Meeting is scheduled for Monday, March 8 2021. 

Supplemental Funding Request due 30 days before the meeting date. Please contact the DW staff for updated request documents.

New Grant Awarded to Address Opioid Crisis

The US Department of Labor awarded a Dislocated Worker Grant to MN in response to the opioid crisis. The project will focus on the creation of peer-support counseling positions that will address the unique recovery needs of individuals affected by opioid use and on the brink of homelessness. The grant will also provide employment and training services to reintegrate eligible individuals back into the workforce. The State will provide these services to eligible individuals across 46 counties throughout central and southeast Minnesota.

The grant if sully funded by the United State Department of Labor opioid crisis National Health Emergency Dislocated Worker Grant, in the amount of $1,368,421. The 4 WDAs serving as partners on this grant are Anoka, City of Duluth, CMJTS, and SE MN PIC. They will provide services to up to 200 individuals.

Converting Layoffs into Minnesota Businesses (CLIMB)

The DW program staff is aware that SBA has changed its user interface, which is negatively affecting CLIMB requirements. The option of printing a certificate of completion at the end of online training is no longer available; clients need to complete a ‘checklist’ of objectives they have completed. DEED leadership is working to resolve this issue.

In the interim, please have participants provide screenshots of completed objectives as proof of having done the requirement. Please contact, Rita, the DW staff assigned to CLIMB with any questions at  Rita.Apaloo@state.mn.us 

Retaining Employment and Talent After Injury/Illness Network (RETAIN)

RETAIN demonstration project tests the impact of early intervention strategies on the stay at work/return to work outcomes of workers who have recently incurred a new injury or illness, or who recently experienced exacerbation of an existing injury/illness that affects their ability to work.

Please refer ill or injured workers to the RETAI website: https://mnretain.com/ 

Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) Updates

TAA Waiver Review Required Every 30 Days

When creating a case note in WF1, there is a new dropdown category titled, “Waiver Review.” This dropdown should be used when conducting the required 30 day waiver review. For customers on a TAA waiver, the DW counselor is required to conduct a waiver review every 30 days to determine whether the customer is making sufficient progress toward enrolling into TAA-funded training. When creating the case note to show that the waiver review has been completed, please select the “Waiver Review” option in the category dropdown. Failure to make progress toward enrolling in training jeopardizes the customer’s TRA eligibility.

Health Coverage Tax Credit (HCTC)

Health Coverage Tax Credit (HCTC) was set to expire 12/31/2020, but was extended through 12/31/2021. Please direct questions about HCTC to the HCTC Customer Contact Center at (844) 853-7210 or to the IRS website www.irs.gov/hctc

Federal Mileage Rate in 2021

The IRS announced the federal mileage rate for 2021 and it decreased slightly from last year; the 2021 rate is 56 cents per mile. TAA is updating the transportation bi-weekly forms to reflect this new rate; please help explain the difference if customers ask questions, or have them contact their assigned TAA Specialist.

Save the Date! Virtual Roundtables

Virtual Minnesota TAA Roundtables have been rescheduled from Fall 2020 to the week of April 12, 2021. Please save the date! Details to follow.

TAA Petitions

Check the status of petitions with U.S. Department of Labor 

  • Recently certified:
    • 96629 – Buhler Industries, Willmar
    • 95898 -- Toppan Merrill, St Paul
  • Pending DOL’s investigation
    • 96651 -- DeCare Dental, LLC. a subsidiary of Anthem Companies, Inc. Eagan
    • 95467 – Wisconsin Central LTD /Canadian National, Proctor
    • 95703 – HED Cycling Products, Roseville
    • 95764 – Landis Gyr, Pequot Lakes
    • 95830 – Wayzata Home Products, Edina
    • 95974 – Dura Supreme LLC, Howard Lake
    • 95964 - Medallion (ACPI Wood Product, LLC, FKA Elkay Cabinetry), Waconia
    • 96019 – Verso Corporation – Duluth Mill, Duluth