Resources

Training essentials, important updates, new ideas, and other resources for program counselors and service providers.

WIA Certification Process

The Workforce Investment Act (WIA) certification process ensures that Minnesotans and customers in WIA programs (i.e., Adult, Dislocated Worker or Youth) can find quality training programs that provide credentials upon completion. 

Training providers should follow the steps below to apply and have their programs and courses WIA Certified and recognized as granting credentials for WIA programs.

  1. The training provider must be licensed, registered or otherwise exempt by the MN Office of Higher Education or other governing state agency.
  2. The training provider must list their programs and/or courses on ISEEK.org.
  3. Once all programs and/or courses are listed on ISEEK, the training provider should fill out and submit the WIA Certification Application to DEED.
  4. DEED will review the application and notify the training provider with its decision.

If you are a private training institution (not a MnSCU or U of M institution) use the handbook and WIA Certification Application below.

If you are a MnSCU or U of M institution and would like to have a course or program WIA Certified, use the handbook found below.

Counselors
If you have customers who are receiving services through a WIA program and would like to access WIA Certified courses or programs, visit ISEEK.org. ISEEK maintains a list of all WIA Certified courses or programs in Minnesota. WIA Certified programs and courses will have a red "WIA" flag next to them.

For more information on WIA certification, contact Ryan Merz at 651-259-7589 or email ryan.merz@state.mn.us.

Presentations

2014 Reversion Law

Covers the highlights of the TAA 2014 Reversion Program, including petitions and eligibility waivers, training and ATAA, and Trade Readjustment Allowance.

Health Coverage Tax Credit Webinar 
Covers eligibility requirements, qualifying health plans, and the Minnesota Comprehension Health Association.

TRA Webinar 
Covers these four topics: Types of TRA, TRA Eligibility, Available Weeks of TRA, and TRA Earnings Disregard. Recorded February 5, 2013.

TAA Fall Training Webinar 
Covers these three topics: Case Management Models; Policies; and Credentials. Presentation recorded Dec. 3, 2012.

TAA Waiver Guidelines 
Trade and Globalization Adjustment Assistance Act of 2009 & Trade Adjustment Assistance Extension Act of 2011. Presentation recorded Oct. 4, 2012.

Overview of the Trade Adjustment Assistance Extension Act 2011 
Recorded July 18, 2012. Select the links below.

TAA Glossary

Here are some key Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) terminology and acronyms.

TAA TERMS

Adversely Affected Employment
The term refers to a situation that exists in a firm, or an appropriate subdivision of a firm, if individuals of such firm or appropriate subdivision are certified under the Act as eligible for Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) as being adversely affected.

Adversely Affected, Incumbent Worker
An adversely affected, incumbent worker is one who: 1) is a member of a group of workers that has been certified as eligible to apply for TAA benefits, 2) has not been totally or partially separated from employment and thus does not have a qualifying separation, and 3) is determined to be individually threatened with total or partial separation (this can be evidenced by a notice of layoff or termination letter).

From: TEGL 22-08 A-31

Adversely Affected Worker
An adversely affected worker is one who has been totally or partially separated from employment in a firm or subdivision of a firm that has been certified by the U.S. Department of Labor.

Agent State
The Agent State is any state other than the Liable State, or the state where the participant seeks services. It should be noted that residency is not relevant to the Agent or Liable State definition. The Agent State is responsible for cooperating fully with the Liable State and assists the Liable State in carrying out its activities and functions including, but not limited to: providing information needed for determinations, redeterminations, or appeals, procuring and paying the training costs approved by the Liable State (including related training expenses and transportation and subsistence). Documents relating to training enrollment and waivers must be provided by the agent state to the liable state.

Bona Fide Application for Training
A training application that has been sent in by a counselor and reviewed by the TAA Merit Staff is considered bona fide. Technically, a Bona Fide Application for Training is: an individual's signed and dated application for training filed with the State agency administering the TAA training program, on a form necessarily containing the individual's name, petition number, local office number, and specific occupational training. This form shall be signed and dated by a State agency representative upon receipt. (CFR 617.3)

Certification Period
The certification period is the time during which total and partial separations from Trade-Impacted Employment within a firm or appropriate subdivision of a firm are covered by said certification. It is the time covered from the Impact Date to the expiration date.

Completion TRA
Completion TRA is 13 weeks of extra TRA available for participants with petition numbers over 81,000 who have completed their training program and met its performance benchmarks. To be eligible for Completion TRA, participants must have been evaluated by their counselor by no more than 60 day intervals and been found to meet the following criteria:

  1. Maintaining satisfactory academic standing (not on probation or determined to be at risk by the instructor or training institute
  2. Be on schedule to complete training within the timeframe in TAA Training Plan

Credential
The following types of credentials are recognized by TAA merit staff:

  • Degrees: AA, BA, BS, MA, MS, PhD, etc
  • Licenses usually awarded by governmental agencies
  • Certifications recognized by organized labor, appropriate business/industry groups, governmental agencies
  • Diplomas
  • Certificates awarded by licensed educational agencies.

In addition, DEED will approve TAA funding for courses that, although the completion of which do not directly result in the awarding of a credential, will facilitate the achievement of one. Examples of such courses would include test preparation classes leading directing to licensures (e.g. Bar examination preparation) and classes leading to successful completion of certifications (e.g. Certified Nursing Assistant testing). Merit staff will examine these requests on a case by case basis.

Date of Separation
The date of separation for an employed individual is the last day worked. For an individual on employer-authorized leave, the last day the individual would have worked had the individual been working is the date of separation. With respect to a partial separation, the date of separation is the last day of the week in which the partial separation occurred.

Enrolled in Training Definition
A participant is considered enrolled in training when:

  • The participant's application for training is approved by the State agency
  • The training institution has furnished a written notice to the State agency that the worker has been accepted in the approved training
  • Training program is to begin within 30 calendar days of the date of such approval

Equitable Tolling
Equitable Tolling is a legal doctrine that permits the suspension of statutory and administrative deadlines where equity demands. This means that deadlines may be extended in circumstances when a participant acted with due diligence, but there were egregious circumstances. It must be a situation where the participant could not reasonably have been expected to meet a deadline or fulfill a requirement regardless of their effort. An example where equitable tolling may be applied is if a participant was not informed of a deadline and, because of that, missed the deadline.

Equitable Tolling is rarely found to be appropriate and is NOT a statutory provision requiring a waiver of deadlines for good cause. For equitable tolling to apply, you must show that a participant acted with due diligence, whether or not the State was at fault. Equitable tolling is different than extenuating circumstances" and they are separate determinations.

When equitable tolling happens, many deadlines are modified. Generally, the deadlines shift to starting from the date that the participant becomes aware of the deadline. Under 2009 law, for example, the deadline for applying for Additional TRA (which is originally 210 days from petition certification) changes to 210 days from when the participant learns of the deadlines. Contact a TAA Specialist for more information on Equitable Tolling as many determinations are situation dependent.

Family
A family consists of specific members of an adversely affected worker's household whose principal place of residence is with the individual in a home the individual maintains or would maintain, but for unemployment. These members are (1) a spouse; and/or (2) an unmarried child, including a stepchild, adopted child, or foster child, under the age of 21, or of any age if incapable of self-support because of mental or physical incapacity.

Head of Family
A head of a family is an individual who maintains a home if over half the cost of maintenance is furnished by the individual, or would be, but for unemployment.

Incumbent Worker
An incumbent worker is one who has been totally or partially separated from employment in a firm or subdivision of a firm that has been certified by the U.S. Department of Labor.

Individual Employment Plan
The Individual Employment Plan (IEP) is a living document created by the Dislocated Worker Counselor and the participant. The IEP outlines a participant's path to employment, including the resources they plan to use and the skills they hope to gain. As a living document, the IEP should be changed to reflect changes in a participant's employment path or strategy. IEP is synonymous with Individual Service Strategy (ISS).

Impact Date
The impact date, which is stated in the certified petition, is the date on which the company first begins being affected by foreign trade. It is determined by the US DOL.

Increased Imports
Imports that increased either absolutely or relatively to domestic production, compared to a representative base period, are referred to as increased imports. The representative base period is one year, consisting of the four quarters immediately preceding the date that is 12 months before the date of the petition.

Individual Service Strategy
Individual Service Strategy (ISS) is another term for an Individual Employment Plan (IEP). See IEP definition for more information.

Layoff
A layoff is a suspension of, or separation from, adversely affected employment by a firm for lack of work initiated by the employer and expected to be for a definite or indefinite period of not less than seven consecutive days.

Liable State
The Liable State is the State in which the worker's Unemployment Insurance claim is established. The Liable State is responsible for payment of Trade Readjustment Allowances (TRA), issues determinations for the following: eligibility, waivers, training, job search allowances, relocation allowances, Trade Readjustment Allowances (TRA), and Reemployment Trade Adjustment Assistance (RTAA). It is the responsibility of the Liable State to pay UI, TRA, RTAA, and job search and relocation allowances.

Marketable Skills
A worker with a marketable skill has the talents and background for suitable employment with a reasonable expectation of employment at an equivalent wage in the near future. Proof of marketable skills may include a postgraduate degree, industry-recognized certification in a technical occupation, or other credential.

Merit Staff
The Merit Staff are administrative staff for the Trade Adjustment Assistance program. The term comes from Codes of Federal Regulations and the original laws that established the TAA Program. In Minnesota, the Merit Staff are housed at the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED). Included in the Merit Staff are:

TAA Specialist: TAA Specialists have many duties. They must: review training applications, ensure all participants meet the six eligibility criteria, review/modify/approve/revoke Waivers of Training, contact human resources from trade-impacted firms, perform information sessions for Trade-Impacted Workers at those firms, review/improve job search and relocation allowance applications, and generally provide information on TAA to counselors and participants.

TRA Specialist: TRA Specialists duties, including: All matters related to Reemployment Trade Adjustment Assistance (RTAA), Trade Readjustment Allowance (TRA), Health Coverage Tax Credit (HCTC). TRA Specialists will also review and approve Waivers of Training and work search applications.

Partial Separation
Partial separation occurs during a week ending on or after the impact date specified in the certification under which an adversely affected worker is covered. A partial separation occurs if hours of work are reduced to 80 percent or less of the individual's average weekly hours in adversely affected employment, and wages are reduced to 80 percent or less of the individual's average weekly wage in such adversely affected employment.

Performance Benchmarks
To be eligible for Completion TRA, Dislocated Worker Counselors must evaluate and document the participant's progress towards two performance benchmarks at no greater than 60 day intervals. The two benchmarks that participants are evaluated on are:

  1. Maintaining satisfactory academic standing (not on probation or determined to be at risk by the instructor or training institution)
  2. On schedule to complete training within the timeframe identified in the approved TAA Training Plan.

Petition Number
When the Office of Trade Adjustment Assistance (OTAA) approves a petition for a group of workers to receive TAA benefits, they assign the petition a five digit number in the format of TA-W-XX,XXX . This petition number determines what trade act law (2002, 2009, or 2011) the petition is covered under and therefore what the requirements and benefits are for a participant's TAA enrollment. For a description of the different trade act laws, see TAA Law Section. The general benefits and requirements for each petition number are shown in a side-by-side comparison document created by the OTAA. The following petition numbers correspond to each law:

Petition Number (TA-W-XX,XXX) Trade Act Program
69,000 and below 2002 Law (TAA)
70,000 79,999 2009 Law (TGAAA)
80,000 80,999 2002 OR 2011 Law (TAA or TAAEA) choice is given to participants from 12/20/2011 through 3/19/2012
81,000 2011 Law (TAAEA)

If a participant is unsure of their petition number, they may identify it by conducting a search on the OTAA website using their company's name.

Remedial and Prerequisite Education
Remedial Education develops the foundational competencies necessary for participants to succeed in a TAA approved training program. In remedial coursework participants may: complete their General Education Development (GED) credential, take basic refresher courses (such as math, reading, or writing), or take a course to improve their English language abilities.

Prerequisite education is coursework that the training institution requires for entry into the approved training program. For instance, some nursing programs may require additional math coursework that the participant may not have had in high school to begin training in the new field. It is only considered as a qualification for Remedial TRA for participant numbers between 70,000 and 70,999. (TEGL 22-08, Attachment A, C.5.1, page A-24)

Remedial TRA is 26 additional weeks of TRA that are available to participants covered under the 2002 and 2009 laws who have Remedial Education in their TAA-Approved Training coursework. For participants with petition numbers between 70,000 and 79,000 Prerequisite Education also qualifies them for Remedial TRA. This is not the case for any other participants. It should be noted that Remedial TRA is the last TRA benefit paid out to participants, occurring as 26 additional weeks after all other weeks have been expended.

Secondarily-Affected Workers
Secondarily-affected workers are those individuals who supply components to a firm whose workers are certified or workers who perform additional, value-added production and finishing operations for a firm whose workers are certified.

Separate Maintenance
Separate maintenance means maintaining a second residence, in addition to the adversely affected worker's primary place of residence, while attending a training facility outside the individual's commuting area.

Separation Date
With respect to a total separation, the date of separation, for an employed individual, is the last day worked. For an individual on employer-authorized leave, the last day the individual would have worked had the individual been working is the date of separation. With respect to a partial separation, the date of separation is the last day of the week in which the partial separation occurred.

Suitable Employment
In Minnesota, suitable employment has the following five parameters:

  1. Full-time and permanent: At least 32 hours per week and permanent
  2. Salary parameters: Pays at least 80% of one's previous wages
  3. Work Hours: Approximately the same work hours as the previous employment
  4. Working Conditions: Approximately the same working conditions as the previous employment
  5. Use of Skills: Requires the full use of skills that the individual possesses from a previous employment or from training

TAA-Certified Employer
TAA-Certified Employers are those who have been recognized by the Office of Trade Adjustment Assistance (OTAA) as having Trade Impacted Workers and are covered under an approved petition.

TAA-Approved Training Program
TAA approves training programs at accredited institutions. These include vocational programs, higher education, and training certifications. The following types of training are TAA-Approved:

Programs within the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities System and the University of Minnesota.

Programs with providers whom are registered, licensed, or exempt from registering with the Minnesota Office of Higher Education (or with another state agency as required by state law. These programs can be found on the Minnesota Office of Higher Education's website.

WIA Certified Training: These programs and more information on them can be found at www.iseek.org. WIA Certified programs have a WIA symbol and can be filtered using the search tool. Please note, it is not a requirement that training is WIA Certified.

Total Separation
A layoff of an individual from a firm, or a subdivision of a firm, in which trade-impacted employment exists.

Trade Impacted Workers
Trade Impacted Workers are workers who have lost their jobs as a result of foreign trade. To be eligible for TAA benefits, Trade Impacted Workers must be members of a group that has been recognized under a petition through the Office of Trade Adjustment Assistance (OTAA). Groups of workers covered under a petition may be found on the OTAA's website through conducting a search using their former employer's company name.

Work Force One
WF1 is the State of Minnesota's database (or Management of Information System MIS) which includes all TAA and TRA recipients. It is the place where counselors can access participant's files and enter their case notes.


TAA Acronyms

ATAA
Alternative Trade Adjustment Assistance

CFR
Code of Federal Regulations

DEED
Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development

DOLI
Department of Labor and Industry

DWP
Dislocated Worker Program

EO
Equal Opportunity

FY
Fiscal Year

HCTC
Health Coverage Tax Credit

IRS
Internal Revenue Service

MIS
Management Information System

OTAA
Office of Trade Adjustment Assistance

OJT
On the Job Training

RTAA
Reemployment and Trade Adjustment Assistance

TAA
Trade Adjustment Assistance

TAAEA
Trade Adjustment Extension Act (2011)

TEGL
Training and Employment Guidance Letter

TGAAA
Trade and Global Assistance Act (2009)

TRA
Trade Readjustment Allowance

UI
Unemployment Insurance

US DOL
United States Department of Labor

WF1
Workforce One

WFC
WorkForce Center

WIA
Workforce Investment Act

WSA
WorkForce Service Area

FAQs

Here are some of the most frequently-asked questions posed by counselors and service providers about our programs.

Health Care Tax Credit FAQs

What is the Health Coverage Tax Credit (HCTC)?
Created by the Trade Act of 2002 and administered by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), the HCTC is a federal tax credit benefit that pays 72.5 percent of a qualified health plan premium for eligible customers.

Is HCTC refundable?
Yes. The HCTC is refundable so it can be received even if a customer does not owe any federal income tax.

Who is eligible for HCTC?
C
ustomers are candidates for the tax credit fit they meet both these criteria:

  1. Customers receiving benefits through Trade Readjustment Assistance (TRA), enrolled in TAA-approved training, or receiving benefits through Reemployment Trade Adjustment Assistance/Alternative Trade Adjustment Assistance (RTAA/ATAA); and,
  2. Customers have a qualifying health care plan, are nor claimed as dependent on another individual's tax return, and do not have other specific coverage (excluding Medicare)

In addition to being trade-certified, do TAA recipients need to be receiving TRA payments to qualify for the HCTC?
Yes. TAA recipients must be receiving money from their state (either TRA or unemployment insurance while otherwise eligible for TRA), and attend TAA-approved training (or be in a break in training) or have a waiver saying they do not need training. The HCTC is also available to Alternative and Reemployment TAA recipients.

Which health care plans in Minnesota are qualified for eligibility of enrollment in HCTC?
COBRA and Minnesota Comprehensive Health Assistance (MCHA) Plan count as qualifying health care plans for HCTC.

Can HCTC pay for health coverage for my family members?
Yes. If you are enrolling in the monthly HCTC program or if you are claiming the yearly HCTC, you may include your family members if they meet all HCTC general requirements and are enrolled in a qualified health plan. Any of your family members who would like to receive the HCTC must be your spouse or claimed as a dependent on your federal income tax return.

How does an individual enroll in the HCTC?
The first step to enroll in HCTC is requesting an HCTC Eligibility Kit. Interested customers can submit a request by accessing the IRS website.

Once the kit is received, the customer must fill out an HCTC Monthly Registration Form and return it to the HCTC Program along with any required documentation. Once the customer's registration form is processed, he or she will receive an invoice from the HCTC Program. This signals that the individual is enrolled.

How long will HCTC be available?
HCTC will expire on January 1, 2014. Until then, customers can receive the HCTC for as long as eligibility requirements continue to be met.

How is HCTC distributed to enrolled customers?
HCTC can be received on a monthly or yearly basis. In the monthly option, customers pay 27.5 percent of their monthly premium and the IRS pays the other 72.5 percent. In the yearly option, customers pay 100 percent of their premiums during the year and then claim the 72.5 percent HCTC covers on their federal income tax return.

Where can I get more information?
Contact the IRS at 1-866-628-4282 or TDD/TTY 1-866-626-4282, or go to the IRS HCTC web page.

What HCTC-related changes were made to the 2011 TAAEA Amendment?
Subtitle B of the TAAEA retroactively reinstated a number of HCTC enhancements that were available to workers under the 2009 Program, and increased the credit rate from 65 percent under the 2002 Program to 72.5 percent reimbursement of health insurance costs for eligible customers.

To whom do these HCTC-related changes apply to?
These changes apply to all eligible workers, regardless of whether they are being served under the 2002 Program, the 2009 Program, or the 2011 Program, including workers who choose to switch from the 2002 Program to the 2011 Program and those who remain in the 2002 Program.

How does HCTC work under the 2011 TAAEA Amendment?
This HCTC is retroactive to February 13, 2011 for workers who were eligible during that time period, and payment for monthly premiums going forward will apply to coverage months beginning with the month 30 days after enactment of the 2011 Amendments.

For more information, TAA counselors can reference TEGL (10-11).


RTAA FAQs

What is Reemployment Trade Adjustment Assistance (RTAA)?
RTAA is a benefit provided for older, Trade-impacted workers in the form of a subsidy. RTAA is a supplemental wage to the worker that is 50% of the difference between the lower wage of the new employment and the worker's previous wage from a TAA-certified firm.

Do RTAA benefits affect Health Coverage Tax Credit (HCTC) benefits?
Although TAA eligibility may be affected by receiving RTAA, depending on a participant's petition number, HCTC benefits are available to all qualifying RTAA recipients.

What are the eligibility requirements of RTAA?
To be eligible for RTAA an individual must:

  • Be at least age 50 at the time of reemployment
  • Return to a job that pays less than their trade-impact job
  • Not be expected to earn more than $50,000 annually in gross wages (excluding overtime pay) from the re-employment
  • Be employed full-time (32+ hours) unless worker is also enrolled in TAA-approved training and employed at least 20 hours per week
  • Not return to work for the employment from which the worker was separated

What is the application process for RTAA?

  1. An application must be filed within two years of the first day of qualifying reemployment.
  2. The worker must indicate that a choice has been made between TAA and RTAA
  3. Workers cannot switch to the TAA program once they begin receiving the RTAA supplement.
  4. The receipt of the initial RTAA payment represent the individual's decision and voids their right to retraining, allowances, and TRA.

How is RTAA different than Alternative Trade Adjustment Assistance (ATAA)?

The Trade Adjustment Assistance Extension Act (TAAEA) of 2011 renamed ATAA, under 2002 law, to Reemployment Trade Adjustment Assistance (RTAA).

What is the duration of time available for RTAA if a worker has not received Trade Readjustment Allowance (TRA)?
In the case of a worker who has not received a trade readjustment allowance, the worker may receive RTAA benefits for a period not to exceed two years beginning on the earlier of:

  • The date on which the worker exhausts all rights to unemployment insurance based on the most recent qualifying separation of the worker from the adversely affected employment that is the basis of the certification; or
  • The date on which the worker obtains reemployment.

What RTAA benefits are available for a worker who has already received TRA?
In the case of a worker who has received a trade readjustment allowance, the worker may receive RTAA benefits for a period of 104 weeks beginning on the date on which the worker obtains reemployment reduced by the total number of weeks for which the worker received such trade readjustment allowance.