WEST virginia Legislature
2019 regular session
Senate Bill 133
By Senator Ojeda
January 9, 2019; Referred
to the Committee on the Workforce; and then to the Committee on Government Organization]
A BILL to amend the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, by adding thereto a new article, designated §5B-2J-1, §5B-2J-2, §5B-2J-3, and §5B-2J-4, all relating to creating the Returning Veterans and Displaced Miners Jobs Act; providing a short title and legislative findings and declaration; establishing a Veterans Job Coordinating Team and composition of the team; setting forth the team’s powers and duties, including reporting a plan to the Legislature; and providing for termination of the Veterans Job Coordinating Team unless the Legislature determines otherwise.
Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
ARTICLE 2J. RETURNING VETERANS AND DISPLACED MINERS JOBS ACT.
§5B-2J-1. Short title.
This article may be cited as the “Returning Veterans and Displaced Miners Jobs Act.”
§5B-2J-2. Legislative findings and declaration.
The Legislature finds that our United States Military has increasingly focused on promoting skilled apprenticeships to help veterans transitioning to the civilian world, and now provides over 20 percent of the registered apprenticeships in the country. The teambuilding, problem solving and project management skills honed on the battlefield translate well to occupations in the construction industry. Nationally, veterans account for five and eight-tenths percent of the overall workforce but comprise six and nine-tenths percent of all blue-collar construction workers. Programs such as Helmets to Hardhats and the military’s new emphasis on the United States Military Apprenticeship Program (USMAP) have made construction employment more and more attractive to military veterans. They are about four times more likely to be enrolled in a registered apprenticeship program than civilian workers.
The Legislature further finds that similarly, West Virginia’s coal miners are proven to be highly skilled and productive workers. For those who are unable to find employment in the mines there may be opportunities in the construction industry that require some related training. West Virginia could improve placement rates of veterans, displaced coal miners and others in existing registered apprenticeship programs by promoting apprenticeship opportunities, providing accurate and up-to-date information about applications, times, locations, required documentation and aptitude tests.
The Legislature further finds that apprenticeship is a proven method of training that produces highly skilled workers in many technical occupations. However, there is no statewide focus on apprenticeship opportunities, and no focus on moving veterans, displaced coal miners and other workers in need of skilled training into apprenticeship programs. There is a perception that nonuniversity education paths are “second best” in part because our educational and governmental institutions lack information about the apprenticeship method and available opportunities.
The Legislature declares that in order to correct this problem, the Returning Veterans and Displaced Coal Miners Jobs Act established by this article creates the Veterans Job Coordinating Team (team) comprised of representatives from existing state government entities and citizens active in apprenticeship that shall provide assistance that will lead to the development and promotion of an apprenticeship model of training and recruitment.
§5B-2J-3. Veterans Job Coordinating Team.
(a) The Veterans Job Coordinating Team is hereby established.
(b) The team shall draw on government administrative resources to ensure a focus on services for apprenticeship training and certification within the state and local education and governmental agencies. The team shall consist, at the minimum, of the following state agencies:
(1) Secretary of the West Virginia Department of Veterans Assistance, or designee;
(2) Commissioner of the Bureau of Employment Programs, Division of Work Force Development, or designee;
(3) Secretary of the Department of Education, or designee;
(4) Commissioner of Division of Labor, or designee;
(5) Chairperson of the Higher Education Policy Commission, or designee; and
(6) Four citizen representative who are familiar with apprenticeship and represent an equal number of labor and management positions in current apprenticeship programs. In addition, representatives from the U.S. Department of Labor responsible for regulating apprenticeship in West Virginia shall be invited to participate.
§5B-2J-4. Powers, duties, information and reports of Veterans Job Coordinating Team.
(a) The Governor shall designate the lead agency to coordinate and preside over meetings, research and the development of promotion and recruitment for the apprenticeship model of training. The team shall meet regularly during the year at times designated by the lead agency.
(b) The team shall focus on informing returning veterans of existing apprenticeship opportunities. There shall also be a focus on informing unemployed coal miners and other unemployed or underemployed workers, disadvantaged youth, women and minorities so that they are aware of apprenticeship opportunities.
(c) Information regarding the number of existing registered apprenticeship programs, the skills each program focus on, the requirements for acceptance, the time and location applications are received, required documentation, required aptitude test, the cost to apprentices, the average number of apprentices currently in the program, the average number of new apprentices in the program and other pertinent information shall be gathered and made available electronically for public access.
(d) A plan for disseminating the above information to returning veterans, displaced coal miners, Work Force placement offices, secondary schools, vocational schools, community colleges and other locations where employment and training is needed shall be developed.
(e) The team shall also devise a plan to carry out the following:
(1) Conducting apprenticeship training needs assessments with industry, communities, training providers and intergovernmental agencies;
(2) Promoting apprenticeship opportunities to diverse audiences, and
(3) Creating and delivering presentations and participating in the development and promotion of the apprenticeship model of training and recruitment.
(f) A report shall be submitted to the Legislature by December 1, 2019, outlining suggested plans, methods and procedures designed to implement the purposes for which the team was established.
(g) The functions of Veterans Job Coordinating Team terminate following the submission of its report to the Legislature, unless the Legislature determines otherwise.
NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to assist returning veterans and displaced coal miners to find meaningful employment through quality skills training using the apprenticeship model. The bill creates the “Returning Veterans and Displaced Miners Jobs Act,” and provides a short title, legislative findings and declaration. The bill establishes a Veterans Job Coordinating Team and provides for the composition of the team, together with its powers and duties. The bill requires the team to report a plan to the Legislature by December 1, 2019, outlining suggested plans, methods and procedures designed to implement the purposes for which the team was established. The bill provides for termination of the Veterans Job Coordinating Team unless the Legislature determines otherwise.
Strike-throughs indicate language that would be stricken from a heading or the present law and underscoring indicates new language that would be added.