By Sam Johnson, TRA Coordinator, State of Michigan
Sometimes, on the Unemployment Insurance (UI)/Trade Readjustment Allowance (TRA) side of the Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) Program, we don’t get the positive feedback that the American Jobs Centers (AJCs) might get. After all, we just make the payments. The AJC TAA staff members interface with the customer more frequently, and they have more face-to-face contact. UI/TRA generally has contact when there’s a problem with payments.
I’m reminded of a Good News story from back in the Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) days. I had a lot of contact with a particular person from the very beginning – the TAA orientation – to the end. He had my direct line. He was person who had chosen to take TAA training and was fortunate enough to have two relevant UI claims. However, it meant collecting regular UI, then briefly collecting TRA before going back to UI, then extensions (including the state/federal Extended Benefits (EB)), before finally coming back to what was left of his TRA.
His training was extensive and included a significant amount of remedial training. He made sure to contact me concerning receipt of his certifications – which were all faxed to one unit and paid manually at that time.
He called me one day after he finished participation in the TAA Program. He told me that within 30 days of completing training, he was offered two jobs: one full-time and one part-time. I’m not sure which is which, but one paid $20.00/hr and the other $17.00/hr. He was working seven days a week between the two.
That was a great outcome. I made sure to inform staff: “… in the middle of all the phone calls, faxes (and missing faxes), production sheets, and meetings, good things are happening.”