Legislation allows use of employment info to improve workforce education programs
The Michigan House on Tuesday approved legislation by state Rep. Gary Howell to require the state government to share data with Michigan Works! agencies in addition to colleges and universities with job training programs.
“Even with our state’s unemployment numbers heading lower, we have to keep finding ways to get everyone a job. Our state’s unemployment and job information is a valuable tool we should use,” said Howell, of North Branch. “Michigan’s job market will continue to grow and diversify. We must also expand how we get the most up-to-date job training programs possible.”
The legislation will improve career training by requiring the state government to share employment information. This will allow counselors to evaluate programs and improve curriculums to better prepare Michigan residents for open positions, and growing demand in the job market. Current state law does not allow job training agencies to access the information.
“As the former president of Lapeer County Intermediate District Board of Education, I found that one of our challenges was to get accurate data to evaluate our vocational programs,” Howell said. “This bill will simplify the process for community colleges and Michigan Works! vocational programs. These bills are an opportunity for us to make Michigan stronger and make better employment opportunities available to our residents.”
The two-bill package includes a provision that requires an individual’s confidentiality not be violated during an agency’s use of the information. Any violation is punishable as a misdemeanor.
House Bill 4545, submitted by state Rep. Jim Ellison, and HB 4546, sponsored by Howell, advance to the governor for his review. Both bills were approved by unanimous vote in the Senate last week.