By Susan Worden and Tim Theberge – OTAA Staff

 

The Trade Act requires states to conduct active outreach to groups of workers that are likely to be determined eligible under the TAA Program. This means that states must operationalize both how they will determine groups that are likely to be eligible and how they will conduct outreach to them. In addition, following a certification, states must conduct active outreach and intake of members of the worker group. You’ve heard us talk about Navigators and Petition Coordinators over the past several years. Here’s an update on where we stand.

 

Oregon and Virginia have the most mature TAA Navigator Models in the country; Oregon initiated the model in 2015, and Virginia adopted the model in 2018. These two states have been working with other states to adopt some or all of their model. While the TAA Navigators encompass components that extends from pre-participant outreach, through participant activity, and ending with employment, some of the biggest data impacts can be seen in the outsized share of petition filings and new participant yields that these states have been able to achieve.

 

Oregon and Virginia Intake Rank in US (FY 2020)

In comparison with the rest of the country, Oregon and Virginia show the following notable achievements nationally for FY 2020:

  • Oregon
    • #2 in TAA petition filings,
    • #1 in new TAA participants
  • Virginia
    • #6 in TAA petition filings
    • #5 in new TAA participants

There are no unique economic conditions in either Oregon or Virginia that would account for these national rankings and activity levels. The only significant factor in both states, is the use of TAA Navigators and Petition Coordinators.

 

Oregon and Virginia as a Percentage of US Totals and in Comparison with Share of American Civilian Labor Force

The rankings shown above are made more impressive when the Oregon and Virginia numbers are seen as a share of the national counts, and compared against the total workforce populations tracked in each of these states. The comparison below takes a look at petition filings and new participant counts for Oregon and Virginia:

  • As a percentage share of the national totals for TAA petition filings
  • As a percentage share of the national totals for new TAA participants, and
  • In comparison with the percentage share the states represent of the national totals of the American Civilian Labor Force, as tracked by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

 

Oregon and Virginia

(Collectively)

Oregon

Virginia

TAA Petition Filings (% of US Totals)

11.6%

6.9%

4.7%

New TAA Participants (% of US Totals)

14.8%

9.4%

5.4%

% US Civilian Labor Force

4%

1.3%

2.7%

 

Analysis:

  • One in ten TAA petitions filed in the US in FY 2020 came from Oregon and Virginia collectively.
  • Together, Oregon and Virginia’s TAA petition filing share in the US in almost 3x as much as their share of the American Civilian Labor Force.
  • Their new participant share in the US is more than 3x larger than their share of the American Civilian Labor Force.
  • Oregon’s share of TAA petition filings in the US is more than 5x the size of their share of the American Civilian Labor Force.
  • Oregon’s share of new TAA participants in the US is 7X their share of the American Civilian Labor Force.
  • Virginia’s share of new participants in the US is 2X their share of the US Civilian Workforce

What is even more impressive is when we look at the activity in Oregon prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. Prior to the pandemic, most economists would have said that the United States was near full employment. In such an economy, one would not be surprised to see petition activity slowing. However, in Oregon, this was not the case at all. Through their outreach efforts, Oregon’s petition filings were increasing during a strong economy. If Oregon’s success had been replicated nationally, the number of filed petitions and resulting certifications would have doubled in FY 2019.

In FY 2020, there were an estimated 96,000 impacted workers. Fewer than 15% of these workers will end up enrolling in the TAA Program. While we don’t expect all of these workers to enroll in the program, we can’t help but wonder if part of the low uptake numbers aren’t a result of our current outreach methods or the content and format of the initial notification letters to those workers. On the latter point, we recently had a webinar on this topic on March 18. You can access a recording of that webinar in the "Related Content" box to the left.

 

For further information, please contact the TAA Coordinators in Virginia or Oregon.  You may also comment below.