Levin, Moolenaar Lead Bipartisan Michigan Delegation Letter Requesting Quick Approval of Worker Disaster Recovery Grant Application

May 22, 2020
Press Release

Congressmen Andy Levin and John Moolenaar today sent a letter to Labor Secretary Eugene Scalia signed by a bipartisan coalition of Michigan U.S. House and Senate members detailing the need for swift approval of the State of Michigan’s application for a Disaster Recovery National Dislocated Worker Grant (NDWG).

The letter is signed by Senators Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters, and Representatives Jack Bergman, Debbie Dingell, Bill Huizenga, Dan Kildee, Brenda Lawrence, Elissa Slotkin, Haley Stevens, Rashida Tlaib and Fred Upton.

A section of the letter reads:

As is detailed in the application, approximately 70 percent of the requested funding will be used to employ temporary workers to assist with contact tracing, sanitizing, test-site facilitating, and other jobs directly tied to the COVID-19 relief and recovery effort. All temporary workers will receive additional employment services and, potentially, training to enable them to transition into full-time employment when the crisis ends. These jobs are not only critical to employing Michiganders, but also in helping mitigate the pandemic and getting the economy fully functioning again.

Read the text of the letter below or see the signed copy here.

The Honorable Eugene Scalia

Secretary

U.S. Department of Labor

200 Constitution Avenue, NW

Washington, DC 20210

Dear Secretary Scalia,

We write to urge the Department of Labor (the Department) to quickly approve the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity’s (LEO) Disaster Recovery National Dislocated Worker Grant (NDWG) application, which was submitted on May 5, 2020. The requested $10,000,000 will be used to support the reopening of Michigan’s economy and to mitigate the anticipated workforce disruptions related to the ongoing pandemic, serving a total of 500 participants through Michigan’s workforce system.

As is detailed in the application, approximately 70 percent of the requested funding will be used to employ temporary workers to assist with contact tracing, sanitizing, test-site facilitating, and other jobs directly tied to the COVID-19 relief and recovery effort. All temporary workers will receive additional employment services and, potentially, training to enable them to transition into full-time employment when the crisis ends. These jobs are not only critical to employing Michiganders, but also in helping mitigate the pandemic and getting the economy fully functioning again.

Recognizing the fact that not all temporarily laid off workers will return to their previous employment once the COVID-19 pandemic concludes, and given the expected contraction and evolution in the state’s economy, a portion of the requested funding will be used to support those with no job to go back to once the economy begins reopening.  Funding will provide essential reemployment services such as assessment, career counseling, training, and supportive services to enable Michiganders to return to full-time employment in growth industries.

The final component of the funding request will directly impact the delivery of services through the Michigan workforce system. This crisis has uncovered several areas wherein upgraded technology could greatly enhance the system’s ability to better serve participants going forward, particularly when there are large numbers of individuals seeking services. Technology upgrades to meet new demands include supporting virtual service delivery models, electronic registrations, website upgrades, virtual talent tours, and equipment necessary to accommodate virtual learning.  

As of May 6, 2020, the Department has awarded NDWGs totaling more than $171 million to 36 states and territories. Michiganders, too, would benefit tremendously from this funding. To that end, we request that the Department expeditiously process and approve Michigan’s application and help put Michiganders back to work as quickly as possible. 

Thank you for your attention to this matter. We look forward to your response and stand ready to assist the Department in providing this support to Michiganders without delay.