BEFORE THE DEPARTMENT OF LABOR AND INDUSTRY
STATE OF MONTANA
TO: All Concerned Persons
1. On October 13, 2017, the Department of Labor and Industry published MAR Notice No. 24-22-324 regarding a public hearing on the proposed adoption and repeal of the above-stated rules on page 1734 of the 2017 Montana Administrative Register, Issue No. 19.
2. On November 3, 2017, a public hearing was held at which time oral and written comments were to be received from the public. Written comments were received during the public comment period.
3. The department has thoroughly considered the comments of the public. The following is a summary of the public comments and the department's responses to those comments:
Comment 1: One commenter supported the amendments as proposed.
Response 1: The department acknowledges the comment.
Comment 2: One commenter requested a summary of the primary changes presented in the rulemaking notice, to assist the commenter in reviewing the rules.
Response 2: As a customer service, the department prepared a summary as requested by the commenter. The department notes that it is not required by the Montana Administrative Procedure Act to respond to comments prior to the close of the formal comment period. The department noted the summary is not intended to be comprehensive or definitive, and applicants are urged to read the text of the rules in order to understand the procedures and requirements for obtaining an incumbent worker training grant. The contents of the summary do not supersede the requirements of the rules, and will not be accepted as a basis for not complying with the rules. The summary provided to the commenter is as follows:
"Per the 2017 legislature’s changes to the MCA, the following changes to the administrative rule are being proposed:
- Outlines what the department needs and responsibilities as review and appeal process is shifted from gateway organizations.
- Clarifies and defines
- What qualifies as training;
- What will be required for training providers that are not qualified training institutions as identified in MCA;
- When wages can/cannot be used for match;
- Who can submit applications on behalf of a business;
- What must be included with applications;
- How far in advance applications should be submitted;
- How applications are reviewed;
- When the department may defer applications;
- Conferences and periodic updates are prohibited;
- Timeline for the business to return their financial agreement;
- Provided a formal process to request changes to applications and approved grants."
Comment 3: A commenter expressed concern about NEW RULE IV, regarding the subsection (8) requirement to gather the trainer’s professional biography and trainer’s professional resume. The commenter stated that it may place an undue burden on the applicant.
Response 3: The department notes that the requirement only applies to trainers who are not a part of a Montana accredited university, or community college system listed in 53-2-1216, MCA. The department has concluded that Montana’s higher education institutions have hired staff whose qualifications have been confirmed. The department believes that it is appropriate to have some mechanism to determine qualifications for other workforce training providers. Most providers have websites that include a professional biography, which can be printed as a .pdf document and used as documentation for the IWT application.
Comment 4: A commenter expressed concern about NEW RULE V, objecting to the limitations prohibiting the use of IWT funding to purchase continuing education and conferences. The commenter stated that continuing education and conferences are important for networking, creating and continuing working relationships, and learning or teaching new ideas.
Response 4: The department acknowledges the concern, but notes that the limitation prohibiting continuing education has existed since 2007 because IWT is intended to up-skill workers, not to maintain industry expectations for credentials. The limitation prohibiting conferences from qualifying is due to the fact that neither conferences nor networking meet the current definition of skills-based training. In addition, the department finds that with conference attendance it is notoriously difficult to prove completion, and training provided at conferences is either lecture based or too brief to justify the cost of related transportation and lodging.
4. The department has adopted the new rules as proposed:
NEW RULE I (24.22.322) DEFINITIONS
NEW RULE II (24.22.327) GENERAL REQUIREMENTS REGARDING TRAINING
NEW RULE III (24.22.328) GENERAL PROVISIONS RELATING TO GRANT FUNDS
NEW RULE IV (24.22.331) GRANT APPLICATION PROCESS
NEW RULE V (24.22.335) EVALUATION OF GRANT APPLICATIONS AND LIMITATIONS
NEW RULE VI (24.22.338) AWARD OF GRANT
NEW RULE VII (24.22.341) CHANGES TO THE APPLICATION OR APPROVED GRANT
NEW RULE VIII (24.22.344) PAYMENT OF GRANT FUNDS
NEW RULE IX (24.22.347) APPEALS
5. The department has repealed the rules as proposed.
6. The rule changes are effective January 1, 2018.
/s/ MARK CADWALLADER
Alternate Rule Reviewer
/s/ GALEN HOLLENBAUGH
Galen Hollenbaugh, Commissioner
DEPARTMENT OF LABOR AND INDUSTRY
Certified to the Secretary of State December 11, 2017.