On June 3, 2021, the Employment and Training Administration published the Operating Instructions for TAA Program under Reversion 2021 via TEGL No. 24-20. Without Congressional action (which seems increasingly unlikely), on July 1, 2021, the TAA Program will revert to a modified version of the Trade Reform Act of 2002. Any workers covered under a Petition for Trade Adjustment Assistance filed on or after July 1, 2021, will be covered by this modified version.

 

by Tim Theberge, OTAA Staff

 

Reversion 2021 will be effective on all Petitions filed on or after July 1, 2021. Petitions filed on or before June 30, 2021, will continue to be covered by the Trade Adjustment Assistance Reauthorization Act of 2015 and all of the regulations at 20 CFR 618. Under Reversion 2021, as explained in the TEGL, 20 CFR 618 still applies unless otherwise indicated in the Operating Instructions. We’ve got training sessions lined up for the entire month of June. See the details at the end of this post.

 

Group Eligibility – Only worker groups in the manufacturing sector would be eligible. Service sector workers would not be eligible. This represents about half of the petition activity over the past few years.

 

Training – For the most part, there are no changes to the training benefits under Reversion 2021. Part-time training is still allowable. Distance learning is allowable. OJT and apprenticeship operate the same as they do under the provisions of 618. The biggest impact is that funding is significantly reduced. The national cap on training will be $220 million, down from $450 million under 2015.

 

TRA – There would still be a maximum of 130-weeks of TRA available: Basic, Additional, and Completion. There are significant changes to TRA under Reversion 2021. There would be no more earnings disregard or TRA election provisions. State good cause laws and rules would no longer apply. Also, under Reversion 2021, workers participating in part-time training are otherwise eligible for TRA. Under TAARA 2015 and 20 CFR 618, workers in part-time training are ineligible for TRA. That does not apply to workers in part-time training under Reversion 2021. The restriction in 618 is based on statutory language that is not in the Trade Act as amended by the sunset clause. Thus, it cannot be enforced.

 

Waivers – The three waivers available under the 2015 TAA Program are retained without change: Health, Training Not Available, and Enrollment Unavailable.

 

Job Search & Relocation Allowances – There is no change to these two benefits.

 

Employment and Case Management Services – Reversion 2021 contains the 2002 version of Section 235, which currently contains the employment and case management provisions. This means that TAA funds will not be able to support any worker certified under a Petition filed on or after July 1, 2021. The lack of funding however, does not remove the state’s responsibility to provide those services. The requirement to provide these services is outline in the Governor-Secretary Agreement. The requirement to co-enroll adversely-affected workers in the WIOA dislocated worker program remains in full effect. States are still required to provide an initial assessment and may use TAA funds to cover the costs of the initial assessments. All other employment and case management services must be funded by other State and partner programs. This primarily means that States will need to access Rapid Response, Wagner-Peyser, and WIOA dislocated worker funding. States may also apply for National Dislocated Worker Grants (DWG) to provide these services to adversely-affected workers.

 

RTAA – RTAA reverts to ATAA. This is a return to workers having to choose between ATAA and the other benefits available under the TAA Program. Although ATAA recipients are eligible for Relocation Allowances, they are ineligible for all other TAA Program benefits after receipt of their first wage supplement payment. Similarly, receipt of TRA or training or a Job Search Allowance removes eligibility for ATAA payments.

 

Funding – As stated above, funding under Reversion 2021 will be reduced to the 2002 level. This means that there will only be $220,000,000 available for Training and Other Activities. There are no dedicated funds under Reversion 2021 authorized for the provision of employment and case management services. OTAA will be working with our budget office and others to determine whether other funding is available to award states for employment and case management activities for workers covered under petitions filed on or before June 30, 2021. Previously awarded funds remain available for expenditure.

 

Training & Technical Assistance Events:

Tuesday, June 8, 2021 – WorkforceGPS – Walkthrough of the Operating Instructions

Wednesday, June 9, 2021 – Teams – Invite Only – Northeast Region Trade Office Hours

Wednesday, June 9, 2021 – WorkforceGPS – Group Eligibility under Reversion 2021

Thursday, June 10, 2021 – Teams – Invite Only – Region 3 Trade Office Hours

Monday, June 14, 2021 – Teams – Invite Only – Region 4 Trade Office Hours

Tuesday, June 15, 2021 – WorkforceGPS – Benefits and Services under Reversion 2021

Wednesday, June 16, 2021 – Teams – Region 5 Trade Office Hours

Thursday, June 17, 2021 – Teams – Region 6 Trade Office Hours

 

If you need any additional assistance, please contact your Regional Coordinator.