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Witness Testimony of Bonnie Elsey, President-Elect, National Association of State Workforce Agencies, and Senior Administrative Officer, Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

The following summarizes NASWA’s testimony on the Administration’s Fiscal Year 2012 budget for the U.S. Department of Labor’s Veterans Employment and Training Service and the performance of the Disabled Veteran Outreach Program Specialists and Local Veterans Employment Representatives.

  • Approximately 640,000 veterans were served through the Disabled Veterans’ Outreach Program (DVOP) and Local Veterans’ Employment Representatives (LVER) in fiscal year 2009. The DVOP and LVER programs have been successful in assisting Veterans to become gainfully employed.
  • NASWA is concerned with the ability to increase the numbers of Veterans receiving intensive services from DVOP specialists without increases in funding. Intensive services are just that – intensive – and require more time and effort. There is the potential that increasing the number receiving intensive services could decrease the quality of that service or decrease core services.
  • NASWA is concerned that the Performance Outcomes by State, posted on the VETS website, can lead to incorrect assumptions about a State’s performance. The common measure goals should be adjusted for factors outside the control of the State -- taking into account that a State with a high unemployment rate generally will have poorer performance than a State with a low unemployment rate.
  • NASWA recommends language to prohibit States from imposing furloughs and hiring freezes on staff funded by the JVSG. Since these are Federal funds, any dollars saved have little positive impact on States’ budgets. Services to our nation’s Veterans should not be negatively impacted because of State budget problems. In fact, not accepting or spending these funds would seem to negatively impact a State’s budget.
  • NASWA recommends enhanced efforts are needed to raise awareness of the DVOP and LVER programs among Human Resource (HR) professionals.
  • NASWA recommends VETS and JVSG funds should be used to implement tools to assist in translating military skills, develop licensing, certification and credentialing systems to better assist the transition of military members to civilian employment.
  • NASWA recommends Congressional legislation should maintain the same definition of a veteran for reporting purposes for all Federal programs (Wagner-Peyser, JVSG programs, Workforce Investment Act, etc.).
  • NASWA recommends USDOL utilize VetCentral, an online network connecting employers and State workforce agencies, to provide federal contractors jobs for States to assist eligible veterans.
  • Despite recent improvements to the Federal Contractor Job Listing (FCJL) process, NASWA member States are still unable to identify all federal contractors and subcontractors subject to 41 CFR Part 60-250 and 41 CFR Part 60-300.
  • NASWA recommends customer satisfaction surveys be used and the results of those surveys should be part of the LVER Managers’ quarterly reports.

Chairman Stutzman, Ranking Member Braley and Members of the Subcommittee, on behalf of the National Association of State Workforce Agencies (NASWA), I thank you for the opportunity to submit written testimony on the Administration’s Fiscal Year 2012 budget for the U.S. Department of Labor’s Veterans Employment and Training Service and the performance of the Disabled Veteran Outreach Program Specialists and Local Veterans Employment Representatives.

The members of our Association constitute State leaders of the publicly-funded workforce investment system vital to meeting the employment needs of veterans through the Disabled Veterans Outreach Program (DVOP), the Local Veterans Employment Representatives (LVER), and the Wagner-Peyser programs. The mission of NASWA is to serve as an advocate for State workforce programs and policies, a liaison to federal workforce system partners, and a forum for the exchange of information and practices.  Our organization was founded in 1937. Since 1973, it has been a private, non-profit corporation, financed by annual dues from member State agencies and other sources of revenue.

Our members are committed to providing the highest quality of service to our nation’s Veterans, National Guard members and Reservists. We are focused on our highest priority, serving recently-separated Veterans and disabled Veterans. With the war efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan, this is a critical time to ensure high quality workforce services are available for those who served our country in time of war and now are returning to the civilian economy.

Continued support and increased funding of the DVOP and LVER programs is essential.  The U.S. Military services discharge approximately 160,000 active duty service members and 90,000 Reserve and National Guard Members annually.  We can expect a greater demand for transition services and employment services for Veterans over the next few years. 

Approximately 640,000 participants were served through these programs in fiscal year 2009, and the target for fiscal year 2010 is to serve over 650,000.  The DVOP and LVER programs have been successful in assisting Veterans to become gainfully employed.  It is critical to maintain the connection of the DVOP and LVER programs with the Wagner-Peyser systems.

  1. FY 2012 BUDGET PROPOSAL

The Administration’s Fiscal Year (FY) 2012 budget requests $165.3 million for the Jobs for Veterans State Grants (JVSG).  This funding level represents 62 percent of all funding for the U.S. Department of Labor’s (USDOL) Veterans Employment and Training Service (VETS). The JVSG fund two programs through formula grants to State Workforce Agencies: the Disabled Veterans Outreach Program (DVOP) and the Local Veterans Employment Representative (LVER) Program. 

The DVOP and LVER specialists provide services primarily through the Wagner-Peyser Act funded One-Stop Career Centers.  DVOP specialists provide intensive employment assistance to meet the employment needs of eligible Veterans, especially to disabled and economically or educationally disadvantaged Veterans.  DVOPs also provide recovery and employment assistance to wounded and injured Service Members receiving care at Department of Defense military treatment facilities and Warrior Transition Units through the Recovery & Employment Assistance Lifelines (REALifeLines).  DVOPs also work with the Homeless Veterans Reintegration Program, Veterans Workforce Investment Program, Transition Assistance Program, and Incarcerated Veterans Transition Program.

LVER staff conducts outreach to employers and engages in advocacy efforts with hiring executives to increase employment opportunities for Veterans, encourage the hiring of disabled Veterans, and generally support Veterans in gaining and retaining employment. LVER staff conducts seminars for employers and job search workshops for Veterans seeking employment, and facilitate the provision of employment, training, and placement services to Veterans by all staff of the employment service delivery system. In addition, LVER staff maintains cooperative working relationships with community organizations that provide complementary services and referrals.

The roles and responsibilities for the Disabled Veterans Outreach Program and the Local Veterans Employment Representatives changed under the Jobs for Veterans Act (JVA), which was enacted in November 2002.  JVA implemented a comprehensive performance accountability system that included performance measures for the two programs - consistent with those under the Workforce Investment Act - and enhanced accountability for Veteran services in the one-stop system.

While JVA requires USDOL to include information in its annual report to Congress on whether Veterans are receiving priority and are being fully served by employment and training programs, questions have been raised about whether available performance information accurately reflects services and outcomes for Veterans. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) concluded USDOL’s data on services and outcomes for Veteran job seekers paint an unclear picture of Veterans’ use of employment and training services in the One-Stop system. Despite the shared use of common performance measures, key employment and training programs vary in the extent to which their data on Veteran participants are integrated or shared with other programs.

GAO noted while States collect a wide range of performance data on services and outcomes for Veterans, the data reported to USDOL do not currently include information on outreach to employers, a key LVER program activity. GAO noted it is difficult to assess outcomes over time, in part because of frequent changes in States’ reporting requirements that prevent establishing reliable trend data.

Given the performance changes for DVOPs and LVERs under JVA, NASWA would like further clarification on the Administration’s proposed changes in the FY 2012 budget.  Overall, the FY 2012 budget is critical of JVSG performance data, noting the “the program clearly was not fulfilling its mandated role.”  The Administration is planning to operate the JVSG program differently from prior years as a result of a “refocusing effort.”

This effort, according to the FY 2012 budget, resulted from a FY 2009 analysis of JVSG performance data indicating while 79 percent of Veteran participants received staff assisted services, only 22 percent of that was intensive services. The budget notes this is a concern because the DVOP program was established to provide intensive services to Veterans and USDOL’s analysis indicates only 17 percent of all Veteran JVSG participants received intensive services.  

In addition, the FY 2012 budget notes it was difficult to differentiate the outcomes for Veteran participants served by DVOPs and LVERs from those Veterans receiving common services provided by Wagner-Peyser staff in the One-Stop Career Centers because the JVSG had an Entered Employment Rate (EER) of 62 percent and an Employment Retention Rate (ERR)        of 81 percent. The Wagner-Peyser program had an EER of 3 percentage points lower, and had the same ERR.

The VETS budget for FY 2012 includes a description of refocusing goals for service delivery.  VETS say the refocused service delivery model will focus JVSG funded staffs on their primary role established in legislation by:

  • Demonstrating the JVSG as a specialized program within a State’s overall umbrella of programs providing quality services to Veterans on a priority basis;
  • Ensuring that Veterans receive the following on a priority basis from Wagner-Peyser funded staff: employment self-help, mitigated self-help, staff-assisted help and, when appropriate, intensive services;
  • Increasing the numbers of Veterans receiving intensive services from a DVOP specialist with a corresponding increase in the number of Veterans entering employment after receiving intensive services; and
  • Increasing the numbers of Veterans receiving individualized job development services with a corresponding increase in the number of Veterans entering employment after receiving those services.

NASWA supports these goals and will work with its members to assist in meeting them.  However, we are concerned with the ability to increase the numbers of Veterans receiving intensive services from DVOP specialists without increases in funding. Intensive services are just that – intensive – and require more time and effort.  There is the potential that increasing the number receiving intensive services could decrease the quality of that service or decrease core services.

  1. QUESTIONS POSED BY THE SUBCOMMITTEE:

We appreciate the opportunity to testify on this issue and address the questions provided in your invitation.

  1. What are the demographics of the veterans who are seeking employment?

The U.S. Department of Labor -- Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), Employment and Training Administration (ETA), and Veterans Employment and Training Service (VETS) – provides the official reports regarding the demographics of Veterans.

The most recent BLS report, Table A-5, Employment status of the civilian population 18 years and over by veteran status, period of service, and sex, not seasonally adjusted, shows as of January 2011, there were 21,797,000 Veterans, 18 years and over, in the United States; of this figure slightly over 20 million were men, and almost 1.8 million were women.  Almost 11.5 million of these Veterans were in the civilian labor force (10.2 million men; 1.2 million women).  There were over 1.1 million Veterans, 18 years and over, unemployed as of January 2011.  The unemployment rate for Veterans, 18 years and over, for January 2011, was 9.9 percent (10% for men and 9.4% for women).  The unemployment rate for non-Veterans, 18 years and over, for January 2011, was 9.6 percent (10.8% for men and 8.3% for women). {All figures in this paragraph are non-seasonally adjusted.}

I want to emphasize a few statistics regarding services provided by the workforce system.  In the twelve month period ending September 30, 2010, the workforce system served 39.9 million workers.  The Wagner-Peyser Employment Service (ES) and Unemployment Insurance (UI) programs served 75 percent of this total.  The Employment Service served 22.5 million workers.

Of this figure, almost 1.7 million were “Veterans and Eligible Persons,” or 7.5 percent of the total served by the Employment Service.  The workforce system serves individuals who are unemployed, underemployed, and employed.  Over 14.2 million individuals received staff-assisted services; of this figure, almost 1.3 million Veterans and Eligible Persons received staff-assisted services or 75.8 percent of the total Veterans and Eligible Persons registered with the Employment Service.  Of the 1.7 million Veterans and Eligible Persons registered, there were almost 345,000 who received career guidance, almost 716,000 were assisted with job search activities, almost 575,000 referred to employment, almost 130,000 referred to the Workforce Investment Act (WIA), and over 557,000 received workforce information services.

Approximately 640,000 Veterans were served through these programs in FY 2009, and the target for FY 2010, is to serve 653,000.  The linkage of the DVOP and LVER programs to the Wagner-Peyser Employment Service is vital to the success of all three programs.

In Minnesota, 303,140 individuals were served by the Employment Service in Program Year 2009; of this number 16,845 were Veterans and Eligible Persons.  We provide staff-assisted services to almost 76 percent of the Veterans and Eligible Persons.

  1. What are the 10 States with the lowest overall performance in meeting the common measure goals and what suggestions does the association have to improve those low performing States?

Appendix Table 1 provides data on State unemployment rates at the midpoint of Program Year (PY) 2009 (December 2009) and the common measures of entered employment rate and employment retention rate for PY 2009.  These rates are calculated from the number of individuals who are not employed at the date of participation.

  • The entered employment rate is the percent of participants employed in the first quarter after exiting the program.
  • The employment retention rate is the percent of participants employed the first quarter after exiting the program still employed in the second and third quarters after exiting the program.

From these data one can identify the ten States with the highest and lowest performance in PY 2010.  I am pleased to say Minnesota is in the top ten under both measures.  For the entered employment rate, Minnesota ranked seventh with a rate of 56 percent.   For the employment retention rate, Minnesota ranked first with a rate of 82 percent.  I might add Minnesota had a comparatively low unemployment rate at the midpoint of program year 2009 at 7.9 percent in December 2009, which was well below the national average of 10.0 percent. 

I am not going to list the “ten States with the lowest overall performance in meeting the common measure goals,” because I don’t believe one can construct such a list from these measures until they are adjusted for what economists call “exogenous” factors, that is, factors outside the control of the State.   I have provided a measure of one such factor, the State economy, in the unemployment rates listed in Appendix Table 1 for each State.  

We estimated a simple linear relationship between State performance measures and State unemployment rates and found performance is inversely proportional to State unemployment rates.  In other words, a State with a high unemployment rate generally will have poorer performance than a State with a low unemployment rate.  Appendix Figure 1 shows this estimated relationship.

Using our estimated relationship, one sees some surprising results.  For example, Michigan ranked second to last in the entered employment rate and last in employment retention rate, but when we look at our estimated relationship with the unemployment rate, Michigan performed about as one would expect given it had the highest unemployment rate at 14.6 percent.  Likewise, South Dakota ranked in the top ten on both performance measures, but performed about what the estimated relationship would suggest with its unemployment rate of 4.7 percent.  I am proud to say Minnesota performed above what would be suggested based on the estimated relationship on both measures.

Based on our concern for taking into account factors outside the control of the State, NASWA strongly urges the Committee and the U.S. Department of Labor not to compare States in a given year without adjusting for these factors.  These factors should be taken into account nationally also as the economy moves through the economic cycle.  Clearly, the program is likely to show better performance in good times than in bad times both at the State and national levels.

  1. How many DVOPs and LVERs will the President’s proposed budget support?

The President’s proposed budget for Fiscal Year (FY) 2012 for the Jobs for Veterans State Grants (JVSG) is $165,394,000 to support the DVOP and LVER staff and for other purposes, such as the Performance Incentive Awards. This is the same amount of funds for FY 2010, and the same as the estimate for FY 2011.  The $165,394,000 amount does not include services provided by DVOPs and LVERs for TAP workshops.  For FY 2011, it was estimated that $163,678,000 will be allocated directly for the DVOP and LVER programs; plus $320,000 is available for Performance Incentive Awards.  At this time any funds for FY 2011 is questionable, since Congress has not yet passed a budget for the remainder of the Fiscal Year.

There are currently approximately 2,100 DVOPs and LVERs funded by the JVSG.  The current level of DVOPs is about 1,130.  The current level of LVERs is about 965.  However, for both the DVOP and LVER programs, the actual number of individuals in these positions is higher due to part-time positions.  The National Veterans Training Institute (NVTI) calculates there are about 2,325 individuals in DVOP and LVER positions – 1,250 LVERs and 1,075 DVOPs.  Typically, we would estimate level-funding would result in less staff due to inflation factors for wages, overhead, etc.; however, currently due to budget deficits, many States are imposing wage freezes, furloughs and other cost cutting measures, which might offset the effects of inflation and other factors.

The services of DVOPs and LVERs are needed more than ever with the increasing number of recently-separated military members from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.  We understand the current dire budget scenario, and if current levels of funding are maintained, we will be grateful; however, we stress services to our nation’s Veterans should always be a high priority, including the funding to provide assistance with finding employment and training.   

NASWA recommends language to prohibit States from imposing furloughs and hiring freezes on staff funded by the JVSG. Since these are Federal funds, any dollars saved have little positive impact on States’ budgets.  Services to our nation’s Veterans should not be negatively impacted because of State budget problems.  In fact, not accepting or spending these funds would seem to negatively impact a State’s budget.

  1. How many DVOPs and LVERs have not attended training at the National Veterans Training Institute (NVTI) as required by law?

This question is best answered by USDOL Veterans Employment and Training Service (VETS); however, we will provide our analysis.  Under the 3-year training requirement, of the LVERs and DVOPs hired Pre-2006, there are six (6) individuals who have not received training by the National Veterans Training Institute (NVTI).  Of those individuals hired in 2007, there are 15 individuals not trained.  Under the 3-year training requirement, there are a total of 24 individuals who have not received training.  There are currently 48 individuals hired in 2008, who have not received training, but there is still time left for them to complete training within the 3-year requirement.

As of October 2010, the period of time for DVOPs and LVERs to be trained at NVTI decreased to 18 months.  NVTI is currently behind on meeting the needed classes to provide training within the new time period.  In March 2009, NASWA recommended an increase of $2 million for NVTI training; the budget for FY 2010 was increased by close to $500,000 and the FY 2011 request also includes this increase.  NASWA still supports its 2009 recommendation to increase funding to meet the requirements of the new time period for DVOPs and LVERs to complete training.

Additional funding for NVTI would afford an increase in the iterations of the courses offered so States may promptly train new staff.  This would increase the effectiveness and efficiency of the services provided by DVOPs and LVERs, and other workforce system staff responsible to provide employment and training to Veterans.

Also, many States have contracted with NVTI or the National Learning Center to obtain onsite training within their State borders.  These classes not only provide training for DVOPs and LVERs, but also to managers, supervisors, and other workforce system staff responsible for providing employment and training services to Veterans.  NASWA advocates for the additional funding mentioned above for NVTI to provide in-state classes to improve services to Veterans.

  1. Which 10 States have the highest administrative overhead and what are those charges?

NASWA does not have a list of the 10 States with the highest administrative overhead.  Each State Workforce Agency (SWA) negotiates with the Division of Cost Determination (DCD), U.S. Department of Labor, to determine a Cost Allocation Plan (CAP).  The CAP negotiations are based on guidance from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB).  The DCD negotiates, issues and maintains a file of indirect cost rates and cost allocation plans based on OMB Circular A-87.

Each SWA must charge all indirect costs and charges within their CAP proportionately to each program within their facilities or responsibility.  Indirect charges pay for such things as proportionate share of personnel and related charges for management and supervision staff (beyond direct program supervision), administrative support (i.e. receptionist for an office), accounting staff and services, auditing, budgeting, building leases, data processing, employee retirement system administration, legal services, mail systems, office machines, equipment maintenance and repairs, office space use and related costs (heat, light, custodial services, etc.), payroll services, local telephone and Internet costs, health services, etc.

Some States do have high indirect costs.  However, each State’s CAP has been negotiated with the U.S. Department of Labor under strict guidelines for all programs, and each program is required to pay its fair share of these indirect charges.  In the past several years, many workforce services programs have received severe reductions in funding levels.  Yet, the funding reductions often have not been at a level which would result in reductions of many indirect costs.

A prime example would be office space housing 25 staff members, including 2 DVOPs and 1 LVER, funded by 8 programs, including JSVG.  Due to the elimination of a program, and reduction of staff of another program, the total staff has been reduced to 19, including the 3 JSVG staff.  It would not be cost-effective to terminate the lease and move to a smaller office, so much of the overhead costs remain the same – receptionist, custodian, heat, lights, etc., but now the CAP must be paid by the remaining 7 programs and shared proportionately for 19 staff instead of the previous 25.  The 3 JVSG staff is now responsible for 3/19 of the indirect costs, versus the previous 3/25.  This is a rough example. It should be noted not all CAP charges are based on staff percentages; some are based on usage or another formula.

  1. What change(s) to the State grant program are needed to improve the overall performance of the program?

Thank you for the opportunity to provide recommendations to improve the overall performance of the DVOP and LVER programs.  The following are the NASWA recommendations:

  1. Advocate/Promote/Educate:  Today’s Veterans are seeking employment in non-traditional ways.  Social media has allowed military members to keep up with family and friends whether stationed in war zones, in another country, or within the United States. 

As a result, recently-separated military members need to be reached in non-traditional ways.  Congress, Federal agencies, including VETS, and States should be looking into ways to help States and local areas reach today’s Veterans.

Education campaigns and training in the use of social media and networking could help Veterans become more aware of their benefits and the value of the services available to them.  Funds should be made available to States to promote and educate staff to assist these programs to better serve today’s Veterans and employers.  The promotion of these services is vital to the overall performance of the programs.  Use of public funds for “marketing” is often deemed inappropriate, so we use the terms, “advocate,” “promote,” or “educate.”

A June 2010 poll from the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) shows the greatest challenge Veterans face in the civilian job market is how they translate and describe their military experience.  On the hiring side, Human Resource (HR) professionals are largely unaware of Department of Labor (DOL) programs that help to identify Veterans seeking civilian jobs.

The SHRM survey asked employers, “How familiar are you with the following Department of Labor (DOL) Veterans’ programs and have you used them in your organization’s recruiting?”  Sixty-eight percent of the employers responding to the SHRM survey said they were not familiar with the LVER program, while 16 percent were somewhat familiar but do not use; seventy percent and 19 percent, respectively, said the same for the DVOP program.  Of course, some employers may hire Veterans or use services provided by a DVOP or LVER, but are not familiar with the terms used in the poll.  While the poll shows that 50 percent of employers hiring Veterans made a specific effort to recruit these candidates, greater awareness of military Veterans as job candidates is needed.

NASWA appreciates the USDOL’s “Hiring Veterans:  A Step-by-Step Toolkit for Employers,” and encourages the Department to provide more resources like it for the workforce system, employers and Veterans.  Resources and tools prepared at the National level should be developed in a manner to allow States and local areas to customize the resource to fit their local needs and to incorporate their own identification or brand.

  1. Translating Military Skills, Licensing, Certification, and Credentialing:  The SHRM report also showed that well over half – 60 percent – of HR professionals polled said translating military skills to civilian job experience is a challenge to writing resumes, interviewing, and other related job-hunt communications.  Another 48 percent said difficulty transitioning from the structure and hierarchy in the military culture to the civilian workplace presented a hiring challenge.

There are currently several resources available to crosswalk military occupational classifications (MOC) and skills with civilian classifications and skills.  The O*NET Online Crosswalk Search, available at http://online.onetcenter.org/ is a good example.  However, the ability to crosswalk skills is only the first step in the licensing and certification (L&C) process.  Some States have initiated L&C programs for Veterans,     but many would need to begin the process.

NASWA recommends additional fund be appropriated by Congress to cover the cost to implement State level L&C program.  If additional are not appropriated for his purpose, clarification is requested to allow JSVG funds be used to establish and implement L&C programs as an allowable cost.

NASWA recommends the Subcommittee look at the 2006 proposed legislation, “The Veterans Certification and Licensure Act of 2006,” and consider new legislation to fulfill the intent of the draft.  The legislation proposed to establish a committee to report to the Secretary of Labor on the following items:

(A)    “A description of any area of employment in which a credentialing or certification system for Veterans exists, an evaluation of the effectiveness of each such system, and information on the number of eligible individuals who took advantage of each such system.

(B)     An identification of any area of employment in which a credentialing or certification system for veterans could be established or improved during the 18-month period beginning on the date on which the report under this paragraph is submitted.

(C)     A description of the areas of employment the Committee determines are the most difficult such areas for which to establish a credentialing or certification system or Veterans and the recommendations of the Committee with respect to methods of establishing such a system for each such area.”

Instead of creating another committee, the legislation could direct the Advisory Committee on Veterans’ Employment, Training and Employer (ACVETEO) to take on this responsibility.

  1. Definition of a “Veteran”:  NASWA recommends any Congressional legislation should maintain the same definition of a veteran for reporting purposes for all Federal programs (Wagner-Peyser, JSVG programs, Workforce Investment Act, etc.).
  1. Partnerships:  Due to the DirectEmployers Association partnership with NASWA to create the National Labor Exchange (NLX), many States have been able to significantly increase the number of jobs available for veterans.  In some cases, there has been a 300 percent increase.  This is an example of a partnership at the national and State level with a strong focus to assist veterans in obtaining employment.  This platform provides States a tool they cannot otherwise create – a national level platform to which jobs are pushed down through the appropriate delivery systems to the local areas.
  1. Federal Contractor Job Listing Process:  Despite all the recent improvements to the Federal Contractor Job Listing (FCJL) process, NASWA and its member States are still unable to identify all federal contractors and subcontractors subject to 41 CFR Part 60-250 and 41 CFR Part 60-300.
  1. Customer Satisfaction:  NASWA recommends customer satisfaction surveys be used and the results of those surveys should be part of the LVER Managers’ quarterly reports.  Customer satisfaction surveys are used for other workforce programs with varying degrees of usefulness.  Because the LVER and DVOP programs are on a smaller scale than the broader workforce system, and the programs are focused on one well-defined population, the results of such a survey should be effective in determining if a Veteran’s needs were met, and what the Veteran thinks of the services received.
  1. How many months of unemployment benefits may a veteran receive and what is the average number of months paid to veterans?

This is another question best answered by the U.S. Department of Labor.  The Employment and Training Administration Office of Unemployment Insurance (OUI) is the Federal entity responsible for unemployment insurance benefits.

For Program Year 2009, ending June 30, 2010, there were 1,674,034 Veterans and Eligible Persons who were registered with the workforce system.  Of that number, 730,596 Veterans and Eligible Persons were eligible for Unemployment Insurance (UI).  Any Veteran who has earned wages from private or public employment is eligible for UI if they earned sufficient wages in a qualifying period and are eligible otherwise.

There are Federal laws regulating the UI system, but most UI criteria are determined by each State in either State law or policy.  Most States pay individuals who had steady employment history a maximum of 26 weeks.  Currently there are several extensions of UI benefits providing up to a total of 99 weeks in States with very high unemployment rates.  The maximum benefit amount of UI payments varies by State.

The Unemployment Compensation for Ex-service members (UCX) program provides benefits for eligible ex-military personnel.  The program is administered by the States as agents for the Federal Government.  The UCX benefits are available for recently-separated military members, who were separated under honorable conditions, and have wages paid by the military during a base period determined by the State, typically the first 4 of the last 5 completed calendar quarters.  The benefit costs are covered by the respective branch of the military.  The law of the State under which the UCX claim is filed determines the benefit amounts, number of weeks that can be paid, and other eligibility conditions.

For the year ending December 31, 2010, the estimated average number of weeks claimed for a UCX claim was 21 weeks, compared to the total Unemployment Insurance (UI) average of almost 19 weeks.  These figures are a few weeks higher than in past years, a reflection of the Great Recession.

It is estimated that six out of ten Veterans exhaust their regular UCX claims, compared to slightly over one-half of all claimants who exhaust their regular State claims.  Both the UI and UCX exhaustee rates are significantly higher than in past years, again a reflection of the poor economy during the Great Recession.  All numbers and percentages apply only to regular UI programs and do not include any extended benefits.

NASWA and its members remain dedicated to improving the efficiency of the labor market and its labor exchange function, and improving the employment opportunities of our nation’s Veterans.  We are willing to assist the Subcommittee and the U.S. Department of Labor in any way possible to improve services to Veterans.

Thank you for the opportunity to address these important issues.


Appendix Table 1:

State

Unemployment Rate (Dec. 09)

Veterans Entered Employment Rate

Employment Retention Rate

Alabama

11

51

78

Alaska

8.8

46

77

Arizona

9.1

41

72

Arkansas

7.7

52

77

California

12

35

72

Colorado

7.5

44

73

Connecticut

8.9

39

71

Delaware

9

38

73

DC

12.1

42

73

Florida

11.8

45

76

Georgia

10.3

43

71

Hawaii

6.9

34

71

Idaho

9.1

53

79

Illinois

11.1

46

75

Indiana

9.9

46

76

Iowa

6.6

57

72

Kansas

6.6

57

80

Kentucky

10.7

49

75

Louisiana

7.5

53

76

Maine

8.3

47

77

Maryland

7.5

50

78

Massachusetts

9.4

43

70

Michigan

14.6

35

67

Minnesota

7.4

56

82

Mississippi

10.6

45

68

Missouri

9.6

54

77

Montana

6.7

59

78

Nebraska

4.7

51

80

Nevada

13

47

71

New Hampshire

7

48

78

New Jersey

10.1

43

74

New Mexico

8.3

45

73

New York

9

51

75

North Carolina

11.2

40

71

North Dakota

4.4

62

82

Ohio

10.9

39

69

Oklahoma

6.6

51

77

Oregon

11

45

77

Pennsylvania

8.9

44

75

Rhode Island

12.9

39

72

South Carolina

12.6

49

77

South Dakota

4.7

57

79

Tennessee

10.9

48

75

Texas

8.3

53

81

Utah

6.7

58

81

Vermont

6.9

48

76

Virginia

6.9

52

80

Washington

9.5

48

77

West Virginia

9.1

51

78

Wisconsin

8.7

49

79

Wyoming

7.5

53

77

Appendix Figure 1:

Lilne graph showing State veterans Program performance related to State unemployment rates