Public Comments for 01/26/2023 Commerce and Energy
HB1966 - Workers' compensation; failure to timely pay compensation.
HB2002 - Workers' compensation; premium discounts for employers providing high-quality work-based experience.
HB2195 - Workforce development; consolidation of policies and programs, etc.
The Lynchburg Regional Business Alliance supports HB 2195, Workforce Development Consolidation. For as long as anyone can remember, we have struggled to effectively and adequately address challenges in workforce development. We are now in the tightest labor market in recent memory. Employers across the Lynchburg region continue to express the challenges they are facing in hiring skilled labor, or finding jobseekers that are interested in careers that require skilled labor. While this might seem reactionary to some, these issues have existed for may years. It is long overdue and now is the time to make these changes in how we effectively meet the challenges the Commonwealth faces in developing our workforce. We ask that this committee support these efforts by voting in favor of this legislation. Thank you to the committee for its consideration.
The Roanoke Regional Chamber supports efforts to consolidate workforce development programs so that they are easier to track and more responsive to the growing needs of the business community.
For many of my 24 years in our manufacturing business, I've used some of the state services for job training grants, retraining, apprenticeships and any other programs that applied to capital projects that we have had. Over those years I dealt with a variety of contacts, a variety of acronyms and honestly I never had any idea who to call for which program. Even though some of the grants were useful, it was never easy and the confusion about what program applied to what project isn't something a layperson can figure out. Each department likely has their own budget and works hard to make sure workforce is something they talk about, but none of them can be experts or maximally effective like this. Ask anyone trying to hire in the past 5-7 years and they'll tell you it isn't working. We're not producing the needed workforce at any level. Whatever dollars we are spending are at best helping us break even. A consolidated focus with a dedicated team that does nothing but workforce work is the right way forward. I understand each department wants to contribute but the outcome for the businesses, future employees and the commonwealth are what matters. HB2195 heads in the right direction and I fully support this legislation.
Ashland, Virginia January 25, 2023 To: Energy and Commerce Committee Members Topic: HB 2195 Members of the Commerce and Energy Committee: Greetings and Happy Lunar New Year 2023. Thank you for your leadership and service in helping to bring solutions to so many in our communities. Workforce Development (WD) issues remain one of the toughest challenges for most U.S states, not just for our Commonwealth. Yet is the one of the core systems to help a locality, region, state, or nation to stay competitive as the economy relies on it. Virginia Asian Chamber of Commerce (VACC- Created in 2004), has a core statewide business membership which is made up mostly by micro businesses from the Asian American and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) communities . Our members provide critical services to all of us in more than 60 industry sectors. VACC represents more than Virginia-based 1,500 businesses and employees, we fully support HB 2195 legislation. When a state has a poorly run WD system, job seekers and career explorers, employers, and those seeking workforce solutions must navigate a mane of dozens of agencies to find one solution to their hiring and training needs, they lose valuable productivity times. Employers end up finding workers through the private sector, and job seekers look elsewhere for WD solutions instead of relying on their government system. Let alone how a poor system generates high UI claim backlogs , other waste issues, and customers complaints. Meanwhile, Virginia does not have enough skilled workers to help industry solve increasing modern business issues due to rapid technological changes. The state loses valuable federal training dollars if we do not meet set federal goals. Talented workforce ends up moving away to other states. Virginia deserves a world-class workforce development (WD) system. It is time for the Commonwealth to have an effective workforce development reform that will help us to stay competitive with our next-door neighbors, and the world. It is time for the Commonwealth to be bold and introduce organization to our WD system. This takes bold leadership, system knowledge, a willingness and the courage to make difficult changes, and the ability to lead a diverse network of service providers and inspiring them to collaborate to find a common solution to benefit all workers and employers across many localities. Yes, workforce development design and delivery can be (and is) a challenge for system designers, but HB 2195/SB1470 is a critical great beginning step in the right direction as it would increase our workforce participation, enhance individual customer service outcomes through needed streamlining and oversight, using end-user perspectives and evaluation to shape outcomes, and incorporating scientific data analysis to its proposed WD reform, as a first step. I ask you to please vote for HB 2195! Respectfully, My L. Tran Ms. My Lan Tran, CED, CIT, CVET Executive Director, Virginia Asian Chamber of Commerce Administrator, Virginia Asian Foundation E: firstname.lastname@example.org * T: 804 502 8081 * Visit our new website: www.aabac.org
HB2275 - Energy planning & electric utility oversight; membership for Com. on Electricity Utility Regulation.
I will be available to answer questions on HB2275
HB2386 - Virginia Power Innovation Fund and Program; created.
My name is April Wade, and I am the executive director of the Virginia Nuclear Energy Consortium. The fund supports the establishment of the -Virginia innovative nuclear hub, which will be a pathway to promote innovation and collaboration for workforce development and research. Virginia is a leader in the nuclear industry. This fund continues that tradition and will allow the Commonwealth to remain at the forefront of nuclear innovation.
The Lynchburg Regional Business Alliance supports HB 2386 at its intent to further research and development of innovative energy technologies. The Lynchburg region is home to Framatome and BWXT, global leaders in nuclear energy industry who are on the cutting edge of advanced nuclear energy technology. In a world that is challenged to meet the growing energy demands of modern society, the importance to fund research that leads to innovative and low-cost ways of delivering energy to billions of people cannot be understated. We ask that this committee support these efforts by voting in favor of this legislation. Thank you to the committee for its consideration.
The Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI) is the national trade association representing the nuclear energy industry. Our members include the owners and operators of the U.S. nuclear fleet, a global supply chain, academic institutions training the nuclear workforce, national labs researching nuclear technology and others. Several of our members have businesses in Virginia. NEI is excited for policies enabling Virginia to continue to explore advanced nuclear technology. NEI urges you to support HB 2386 and make Virginia a national leader in nuclear energy.
Good afternoon and thank you for allowing me to speak in support for House Bill 2386. My name is Braden Croy and I serve as program director at the Dominion Energy Innovation Center, a non-profit public private partnership founded in 2009 by the Virginia Bio-tech Research Park Authority, Dominion Energy, Hanover County, and the Town of Ashland to support the hich-tech entrepreneurs and small business owners driving the innovations needed to achieve a net-zero carbon economy. Virginia continues to be a leader in the energy sector and the advancement of HB 2386 will once again prove why an all-of-the-above approach to our energy mix is critically important to providing clean, reliable, and always on energy. For over a decade, the DEIC has been working with entrepreneurs at all stages of the startup journey to help them ideate and launch their innovative technology solutions. We've supported Virginia entrepreneurs with startup workshops, industry conferences, non-dilutive grants, and expert mentorship. With a recent grant from the US Department of Energy we are designing entirely new programming focused specifically on supporting Virginia's advanced energy entrepreneurs with a series of Statewide innovation challenges seeking to identify, fund, and ultimately commercialize cutting edge nuclear and hydrogen Intellectual Property. Energy projects are hard, and particularly expensive because the margin for error is so small, we want our operating room lights on and factories to run when we flip the switch, which is why public investment is vital. The DEIC fully supports the establishment of the Virginia Power Innovation Fund and Program because it builds a critical pathway for energy entrepreneurs to de-risk early technology development and pursue pilot projects that are able to take advantage of the many federal incentives contained in the Inflation Reduction Act, thus amplifying the State's investment many times over. As the energy transition marches forward, Virginia has an opportunity to lead the Mid-Atlantic, and ultimately the world, by resourcing the Governor's visionary plan to expand our nuclear fleet, advance hydrogen as a clean fuel, and prioritize the reliability of our grid. The growth of Virginia's advanced energy sector will touch every corner of the state and fully showcase the entrepreneurial spirit that makes Virginia a top place for business. The DEIC is ready to serve as a community partner on both the Virginia Innovative Nuclear Hub and Virginia Power Innovation Fund; providing space, coaching, and funding to our future energy leaders.
HB1639 - Unemployment compensation; reduces time to file appeal.
This law shouldn't pass until all of the kinks are ironed out of the system. I had to file for unemployment in May of 2022 and I thought I was going to have a heart attack just trying to get registered to use the online system. What a mess. A person can get logged on one week and then the next week, thee system can't "authorize" them. That goes on for days/weeks at a time. I even filed an appeal because it took over a month and there was no movement in my account towards receiving any money. I was told that the people in charge of hearing the appeals check in every now and then. Just within the last 2 weeks, I was told my tax document was available. I could not log back into my account. I sent the webmaster an email letting them know there was a problem and, once again, I got no response. How do people keep their jobs when they just keep ignoring their customers?
Because of obstacles beyond the control of appellants, the time to file an appeal should NOT be reduced. Justice cannot be done when the filing of appeals is impeded. Virginians are already navigating an unfriendly/confusing and broken employment system, a system where calls for assistance go unanswered, online services are frequently down and faxes don't make it through. Therefore, this voter and taxpayer is calling on you to vote no!
.. Vote NO to legislation that reduces the appeal rights of workers and fails to address the backlog of claims at the Virginia Employment Commission.
This bill should not pass for several reasons: 1. The mail has been unreliable to guarantee an unemployment compensation claimant sufficient notice if 15 days were the deadline. 2. A claimant needs sufficient time to consider seeking legal advice, doing their own research, and gathering evidence. Anyone familiar with a legal dispute knows that even 30 days can be a tight deadline. 3. Whatever the intent, the impact of the bill would be to wrongly deny qualified Virginia workers promised benefits. 4. The bill would reward unscrupulous employers who do not fully disclose the circumstances of the employment termination at the deputy examiner stage and who get lucky when a former employee misses the very short deadline, allowing the employer to lower the unemployment compensation taxes it pays. In Virginia, we should not give unscrupulous employers a competitive edge over honest employers.