Legislature(2003 - 2004)

04/26/2004 08:45 AM FIN

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
HOUSE BILL NO. 559                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
     An Act repealing the termination of the state training                                                                     
     and employment program; and providing for an effective                                                                     
     date.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
TOM WRIGHT,  STAFF, REPRESENTATIVE  JOHN HARRIS,  stated that                                                                   
HB 559  would reauthorize the  State Training  and Employment                                                                   
Program (STEP),  which was established by the  Legislature in                                                                   
1989.  In 2002,  the Legislature reauthorized the program for                                                                   
an additional two  years.  STEP will sunset on June 30, 2004,                                                                   
without  further  action.   STEP  uses a  small  part  of the                                                                   
employee  Unemployment  Insurance (UI)  tax to  fund training                                                                   
for  Alaskan workers.   The Department  of Labor  & Workforce                                                                   
Development  collects the  STEP revenues and  administers the                                                                   
program  with  partner  agencies  and  vendors.   The  Alaska                                                                   
Workforce  Investment Board is responsible  for oversight and                                                                   
direction.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
The   STEP   program   assists   Alaskans   in  moving   from                                                                   
unemployment to  work by annually making $4.5 million dollars                                                                   
available  to  trainees  and  training providers  in  Alaska.                                                                   
Since inception,  16,000 Alaskan residents have trained under                                                                   
the STEP  program.  In FY2003, STEP paid  for the training of                                                                   
1,832  Alaskans.     The  rate  of  participants  that  enter                                                                   
employment  after  training  is  the  highest  of  all  State                                                                   
administered  programs at 83.5%.  He added  that in 1996, the                                                                   
Legislature made  several changes to increase accountability,                                                                   
cap administrative costs and re-emphasize Alaska hire.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
GREG O'CLARAY,  COMMISSIONER, DEPARTMENT OF LABOR, offered to                                                                   
answer questions of the Committee.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
GUY  BELL,  DIRECTOR,  DIVISION OF  ADMINISTRATIVE  SERVICES,                                                                   
DEPARTMENT  OF  LABOR  &  WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT,  offered  to                                                                   
answer questions of the Committee.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Representative   Foster  MOVED  to  report   HB  559  out  of                                                                   
Committee  with   individual  recommendations  and  with  the                                                                   
accompanying  fiscal note.  There being  NO OBJECTION, it was                                                                   
so ordered.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
HB  559  was  reported out  of  Committee  with  a "do  pass"                                                                   
recommendation  and  with  a  new  zero  fiscal  note by  the                                                                   
Department of Labor & Workforce Development.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                

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