Legislature(2019 - 2020)BARNES 124

03/13/2019 03:15 PM LABOR & COMMERCE

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Audio Topic
03:18:50 PM Start
03:19:19 PM Confirmation Hearing(s):|| Commissioner, Department of Labor & Workforce Development
04:12:27 PM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
+ Consideration of Governor's Appointees: TELECONFERENCED
Commissioner Dr. Tamika Ledbetter, Dept. of
Labor & Workforce Development
-- Public Testimony <Time Limit May Be Set> --
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
          HOUSE LABOR AND COMMERCE STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                         
                         March 13, 2019                                                                                         
                           3:18 p.m.                                                                                            
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
Representative Gabrielle LeDoux, Co-Chair                                                                                       
Representative Adam Wool, Co-Chair                                                                                              
Representative Zack Fields                                                                                                      
Representative Sara Hannan                                                                                                      
Representative Louise Stutes                                                                                                    
Representative Dave Talerico                                                                                                    
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
Representative Josh Revak                                                                                                       
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
CONFIRMATION HEARING(S):                                                                                                      
Commissioner, Department of Labor & Workforce Development                                                                     
     Tamika Ledbetter, Ph.D.  Anchorage                                                                                         
     - CONFIRMATION(S) ADVANCED                                                                                                 
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
No previous action to record                                                                                                    
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
TAMIKA LEDBETTER, Ph.D., Commissioner-Designee                                                                                  
Department of Labor & Workforce Development (DOLWD)                                                                             
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified as commissioner-designee of the                                                                
Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development.                                                                           
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
3:18:50 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR ADAM WOOL called the House Labor and Commerce Standing                                                               
Committee meeting to order at 3:18 p.m. Representatives LeDoux,                                                                 
Wool, Fields,  Hannan, Stutes, and  Talerico were present  at the                                                               
call to order.                                                                                                                  
^CONFIRMATION HEARING(S):                                                                                                       
^Commissioner, Department of Labor & Workforce Development                                                                      
                    CONFIRMATION HEARING(S):                                                                                
               Commissioner, Department of Labor                                                                            
                    & Workforce Development                                                                                 
3:19:19 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR  WOOL announced  the  only order  of  business would  be                                                               
confirmation hearing(s).                                                                                                        
3:20:05 PM                                                                                                                    
TAMIKA  LEDBETTER,  Ph.D., Commissioner-Designee,  Department  of                                                               
Labor & Workforce  Development (DOLWD), stated she  had been with                                                               
the department since 2007, working  in the Division of Employment                                                               
and   Training  Services   (DETS).     The  core   workforce  and                                                               
development philosophy  at DETS was  to [help people] get  a job,                                                               
keep a  job, and earn  more income.  Commissioner  Ledbetter said                                                               
she  believes she  represents the  embodiment of  that philosophy                                                               
and has  contributed in  some way to  every population  served by                                                               
the department.  The commissioner  stated, "The answer to many of                                                               
the  ills of  society is  a  good paying  job     She shared  her                                                               
fundamental  belief that  work  brings dignity  and  that a  good                                                               
paying job  can fundamentally change the  trajectory of someone's                                                               
life for the better.  She  believes in hiring and training highly                                                               
qualified   staff  to   elevate   their  careers,   as  well   as                                                               
facilitating the  career advancement of those  people looking for                                                               
advancement in  their own careers.   Commissioner  Ledbetter said                                                               
she holds several degrees but  recognizes there are many paths to                                                               
finding good  careers and  believes in  promoting all  avenues of                                                               
career growth.   She mentioned her vision for  the department was                                                               
to   lead  with   integrity,   demonstrate   commitment  to   the                                                               
departments   core functions,  increase  training and  employment                                                               
opportunities, promote  workers safety,  and ensure  Alaskans are                                                               
paid  a  commensurate wage  for  the  work  they're doing.    She                                                               
welcomed the  collective sharing  of ideas from  all stakeholders                                                               
who  are  invested  in  building   partnerships  for  a  stronger                                                               
workforce  and economy.    Commissioner  Ledbetter expressed  her                                                               
appreciation for the opportunity  to build Alaska's workforce and                                                               
increase job opportunities across the state.                                                                                    
3:29:26 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR WOOL thanked the commissioner.                                                                                         
3:29:40 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  FIELDS disclosed  he had  previously worked  with                                                               
Commissioner  Ledbetter and  had  a positive  bias  based on  his                                                               
history with  the designee.   He then  asked the  commissioner to                                                               
address  recent  efforts  to  assist  the  Alaska  Department  of                                                               
Corrections (DOC) and other departments with workplace reentry.                                                                 
COMMISSIONER LEDBETTER  shared she  had a meeting  scheduled with                                                               
Commissioner  Dahlstrom of  DOC  to  share information  regarding                                                               
what DOLWD had  already done and what she would  like to have the                                                               
department  continue  to do  regarding  workforce  reentry.   She                                                               
mentioned  the departments    rapid  attachment" environment  for                                                               
citizens returning to  the workforce.  The  commissioner said the                                                               
way to  reduce recidivism  is to  help individuals  get immediate                                                               
employment  upon  release.    In the  past,  the  department  had                                                               
imbedded employees  into some  correctional facilities  to assist                                                               
inmates in job skills training,  but those services are no longer                                                               
available.   She said she would  like to see the  department work                                                               
with  local employers  to have  jobs available  for those  people                                                               
reentering the workforce immediately following incarceration.                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE FIELDS asked whether  if the reduction in services                                                               
to the prisons  was related to the end of  the Linking Employment                                                               
Activities  for  Pre-release (LEAP)  grant  and,  if so,  whether                                                               
there  were opportunities  to  replace that  capacity.   He  then                                                               
asked if  the DOLWD could help  the DOC start to  look at reentry                                                               
from the beginning of a persons incarceration.                                                                                  
COMMISSIONER  LEDBETTER   answered  yes.     She   explained  the                                                               
department(s)  need to  develop  a plan  that starts  immediately                                                               
upon incarceration.                                                                                                             
REPRESENTATIVE  FIELDS  mentioned  that many  seafood  processors                                                               
have  expressed  openness  to  excepting  people  reentering  the                                                               
workforce.    He  asked  the  commissioner  to  share  where  the                                                               
department was  in regard to offering  opportunities for Alaskans                                                               
to work in the seafood processing industry.                                                                                     
COMMISSIONER  LEDBETTER replied  the department  had talked  with                                                               
seafood processors, and  they have many vacancies  for people who                                                               
will  show up  and do  a  good job.   She  discussed the  seafood                                                               
processing industries  needs for workers;  and the DOC desire for                                                               
individuals to have jobs upon release.                                                                                          
3:35:58 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR LEDOUX asked  if it was the commissioner's  plan to keep                                                               
the Muldoon Job Service Center open.                                                                                            
COMMISSIONER  LEDBETTER shared  that her  goal was  to make  sure                                                               
that  the Muldoon  community had  the  same level  of service  or                                                               
better than  they have always had.   She shared her  belief there                                                               
is an  opportunity to do  more in  the Muldoon community  to make                                                               
sure people can connect with jobs.                                                                                              
CO-CHAIR LEDOUX  asked the commissioner  to elaborate on  how the                                                               
department could do more for the Muldoon community.                                                                             
COMMISSIONER LEDBETTER  explained she  started her career  at the                                                               
Muldoon Job  Service Center.   The commissioner  described having                                                               
more  job  fairs,  specific  employer  hiring  events,  and  more                                                               
services that had been provided in the  past.  She went on to say                                                               
that across  the nation there  were 7 million vacancies  and many                                                               
vacant jobs  in Alaska.   She  indicated there  is no  reason for                                                               
someone not  to have a job,  unless there is a  skills deficiency                                                               
issue,  and the  department needs  to  work with  job seekers  to                                                               
increase their job skills to facilitate finding a job.                                                                          
CO-CHAIR LEDOUX  asked if the  commissioner happened to  know the                                                               
lease information for the Muldoon Job Service Center building.                                                                  
COMMISSIONER LEDBETTER indicated she  would find that information                                                               
for the committee.                                                                                                              
3:38:56 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  HANNAN  queried  the commissioner  regarding  the                                                               
2020 U.S.  Census and what the  state needs to do  to ensure that                                                               
there is an accurate account of Alaskans.                                                                                       
COMMISSIONER  LEDBETTER   said  the   department  will   help  in                                                               
recruiting-services  and  encourage   citizens  to  complete  the                                                               
3:40:09 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE FIELDS  mentioned that  DOLWD had  brought federal                                                               
money   to  the   state  for   Primary  Care   Association  (PCA)                                                               
apprenticeships  and asked  whether the  commissioner anticipated                                                               
expansion  of  the  program   or  possibly  other  apprenticeship                                                               
COMMISSIONER  LEDBETTER responded  that  she  didn't foresee  any                                                               
reduction  in  federal  support  for  apprenticeships  and  would                                                               
continue to support apprenticeship programs.                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE FIELDS asked the commissioner  to talk about HB 79                                                               
[passed  during  the  30    Legislature]  and  how  she  saw  the                                                               
department's support for implementing the bill.                                                                                 
COMMISSIONER LEDBETTER  stated that  over the last  several weeks                                                               
the department had worked very  hard to streamline the definition                                                               
of independent contractor to be  consistent with what was passed.                                                               
She shared  that the  department wants  to ensure  when employers                                                               
looks at the definition, they understand it.                                                                                    
3:43:07 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR  WOOL  asked  the  commissioner  if  a  criminal  record                                                               
prohibited people from finding work.                                                                                            
COMMISSIONER  LEDBETTER  answered  she found  that  employers  in                                                               
Alaska  are  very  friendly  to  people  who  have  had  troubled                                                               
backgrounds.   She indicated job opportunities  are available for                                                               
everyone, but there  is a need to reduce the  myth that employers                                                               
might not want to hire someone because of their background.                                                                     
CO-CHAIR  WOOL asked  the commissioner  for her  thoughts on  why                                                               
many jobs in Alaska are being done by out-of-state workers.                                                                     
3:46:19 PM                                                                                                                    
COMMISSIONER LEDBETTER  shared her  opinion that the  state needs                                                               
to tap  into a new workforce,  such as younger Alaskans,  to help                                                               
them  become  aware  of  Alaska  industries.    The  commissioner                                                               
explained  the  need to  develop  programs  for teenagers  to  be                                                               
introduced to industries well before they're 18.                                                                                
3:47:47 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR LEDOUX  asked the commissioner  if she intended  to work                                                               
with the  schools to  introduce younger  students to  Alaska jobs                                                               
and industries.                                                                                                                 
COMMISSIONER  LEDBETTER  replied,    absolutely.     She  further                                                               
explained   that  Governor   Mike   Dunleavy   has  put   forward                                                               
legislation to put all monitoring  and coordination of career and                                                               
technical  education  under  the department.    The  commissioner                                                               
indicated  her  desire  to expose  children  to  information  and                                                               
opportunities regarding jobs and industry at an early age.                                                                      
3:49:45 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  STUTES described  an encounter  with a  fisherman                                                               
whose son  was not  legally allowed  to work  hydraulic equipment                                                               
because  he  was  under  18. She  asked  for  the  commissioner's                                                               
COMMISSIONER  LEDBETTER  indicated  she had  recently  talked  to                                                               
[United States  Department of Labor] Secretary  Acosta, regarding                                                               
regulations   in    Alaska   which   could    impede   employment                                                               
opportunities.  Commissioner Ledbetter  said she was assured that                                                               
Secretary Acosta would be willing to entertain certain waivers.                                                                 
3:53:31 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR WOOL  asked about  the best ways  to encourage  youth to                                                               
become interested in taking a job.                                                                                              
COMMISSIONER  LEDBETTER referred  Co-Chair Wool  to her  February                                                               
letter in Trends Magazine.  She  explained that in the letter she                                                               
wrote about first  jobs.  The commissioner  shared her philosophy                                                               
that work brings dignity and pride.                                                                                             
3:57:29 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR WOOL  requested that the commissioner  talk about Alaska                                                               
being one of the states with low unemployment reimbursement.                                                                    
COMMISSIONER LEDBETTER  shared that unemployment was  not to help                                                               
people live for  extended periods of time; it is  to provide them                                                               
the ability  to purchase staples while  they look for work.   The                                                               
commissioner  said  all  the   department's  programs  are  about                                                               
helping people find a job.                                                                                                      
CO-CHAIR WOOL discussed  the possibility of a worker  with a good                                                               
salary being  laid-off and not  being able to  adequately support                                                               
his/her family.                                                                                                                 
COMMISSIONER LEDBETTER  described DOLWD's support  for dislocated                                                               
CO-CHAIR  WOOL asked  if there  was a  website that  would assist                                                               
someone who was collecting unemployment find a job.                                                                             
COMMISSIONER LEDBETTER replied  there is a website  and a variety                                                               
of  online   ways  for  the  department   to  track  unemployment                                                               
4:00:58 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR  LEDOUX inquired  whether  someone seeking  unemployment                                                               
had to physically go to a job center.                                                                                           
COMMISSIONER  LEDBETTER  indicated   that  someone  seeking  work                                                               
didn't have to go to the job center, he/she could search online.                                                                
CO-CHAIR LEDOUX advocated  for meeting a person at a  job site to                                                               
 introduce yourself.                                                                                                            
COMMISSIONER LEDBETTER  responded that  employers have  a variety                                                               
of ways  they search for  employees and  a job seeker  should use                                                               
the method an employer chooses when seeking a job.                                                                              
4:02:36 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  TALERICO  asked  the commissioner  to  share  her                                                               
thoughts on safety within the workforce.                                                                                        
COMMISSIONER  LEDBETTER   shared  she   had  already   asked  the                                                               
departments  enforcement units to  add a consultative approach in                                                               
how they  interact with  the business community  and to  help the                                                               
business community establish a culture of a safety.                                                                             
4:04:55 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  HANNAN  asked  the  commissioner  to  talk  about                                                               
whether the department is doing  anything special regarding state                                                               
jobs that are being lost in the governor's proposed budget.                                                                     
COMMISSIONER   LEDBETTER   replied   that  the   department   had                                                               
proactively sent  out an email  to the governors  chief  of staff                                                               
to share with  commissioners reminding them what  the DOLWD does.                                                               
She  explained  that the  department's  rapid  response team  was                                                               
ready  to extend  services to  the  laid off  employees prior  to                                                               
their  last day  of work.    The commissioner  explained how  the                                                               
department helps with a wide variety of job search skills.                                                                      
4:08:54 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  FIELDS  asked  when  the  governor's  safety  and                                                               
health conference is scheduled.                                                                                                 
COMMISSIONER LEDBETTER answered April 2, 2019.                                                                                  
REPRESENTATIVE FIELDS asked that  the commissioner report back to                                                               
the committee following the conference.                                                                                         
4:09:43 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR  WOOL asked  whether  the job  centers  were keeping  up                                                               
regarding changing times and technologies.                                                                                      
COMMISSIONER LEDBETTER replied that the  job centers have kept up                                                               
with  changing times  and were  successfully marketing  what they                                                               
4:11:04 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR WOOL  opened public testimony.   After  determining that                                                               
no one wished to testify, he closed public testimony.                                                                           
4:11:24 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR WOOL  asked for  final comments  from the  committee and                                                               
received none.                                                                                                                  
4:11:34 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR LEDOUX stated:                                                                                                         
     The  Labor  and  Commerce Committee  has  reviewed  the                                                                    
     qualifications   of   the  Governor's   appointee   and                                                                    
     recommends that  the following name  be forwarded  to a                                                                    
     joint session  for consideration: Dr.  Tanika Ledbetter                                                                    
     for the Department of  Labor and Workforce Development.                                                                    
     This does not reflect the  intent by any of the members                                                                    
     to  vote  for or  against  this  individual during  any                                                                    
     further sessions for the purposes of confirmation.                                                                         
4:12:27 PM                                                                                                                    
There being no further business before the committee, the House                                                                 
Labor and Commerce Standing Committee meeting was adjourned at                                                                  
4:12 P.M.                                                                                                                       

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
Tamika Ledbetter Resume.pdf HL&C 3/13/2019 3:15:00 PM