Their job is to find you a job.
Dennis Wimer, deputy commissioner of field operations, explained how the Indiana Department of Workforce Developments employment assistance operates.
When someone comes into a WorkOne office, the staff tries to match him with a job opening. If the applicant needs more training, staff arranges that, if its covered by a program, such as the Trade Adjustment Assistance program.
TAA training plan applicants work with a case manager and fill out forms.
The Labor Department has established six requirements that applicants must meet, including finding three training providers, pricing three training plans and interviewing three potential employers. Some interpretation is required on whether an applicant has met each of those requirements, Wimer said.
Local staff helps develop plans with documentation then sends the plan to Indianapolis for review. Six or seven members of Wimers staff approve or deny training plans. They try to include a specific reason when a plan is rejected to give the applicant guidance.
Rejected applicants can appeal the decision to an independent administrative law judge.
Contrary to what some local workers might think, the people who approve the plans dont guard the budget in an attempt not to distribute the money, Wimer said.
The decision-makers approve 97 percent of training plans that go through the complete approval process. That doesnt include plans that are withdrawn from consideration. The office doesnt track that number.
Karen Karrer, a local woman whose training plan application was withdrawn, lamented that the action limited her options.
That gives me no recourse to appeal it, she said.
Joe Frank, the Workforce Development Department spokesman, said the state office isnt trying to reach a benchmark number for approvals. He dismissed the notion that state or local WorkOne staff might be tempted to withdraw borderline training plans from consideration in an effort to keep the approval percentage high.
Help could be on the way for the local Navistar workers.
Wimer has pledged to help those who met with him in Fort Wayne.
Were going to do everything we can, he said, to address every individual case and see what needs to be done.