State of Michigan funding apprenticeship programs for underrepresented: The Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity (LEO) has issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) encouraging organizations who can help provide underrepresented individuals with access to life-changing career pathways through Registered Apprenticeship to apply for funding from the Michigan Statewide Targeted Apprenticeship Inclusion and Readiness System (MiSTAIRS). Successful respondents to this RFP will become responsible for MiSTAIRS implementation and work to establish new or expand existing Registered Apprenticeship Programs and related apprenticeship readiness solutions to ensure performance targets are achieved. This RFP opportunity will lead participants to successful completion of a high school diploma or equivalency, as well as successful enrollment into a U.S. Department of Labor Registered Apprenticeship Program. The total funding available for this initiative is $960,000. Proposals will be accepted beginning Wednesday, November 1, 2023. The application deadline is Monday, December 18, 2023, at 5:00 p.m. EST. Awards will be announced Wednesday, January 17, 2024. The grant period of performance runs through June 30, 2025. More information about the Request for Proposals opportunity is available at Michigan.gov/Apprenticeship. Source: State of Michigan 11/1/23
More employers offering zero deductible healthcare benefits: More workplaces are offering at least one health plan that is free to employees or offers no-deductible coverage for certain services as many workers struggle to afford care. According to Mercer's survey, 79% of workers making between $60,000 and $100,000 each year say they can afford the healthcare their family needs without hardship, compared to 51% of workers making less than $30,000 annually. The number of large employers offering at least one free medical plan to employees increased from 11% this year to 15% in 2024 coverage, according to the Mercer survey. "That's actually a pretty significant increase," said Beth Umland, Mercer's director of research for health and benefits, in a presentation on the findings. 34% of the largest employers — defined as having 20,000 or more workers — are offering salary-based contributions, up from 29% this year. Source: Axios 10/30/23
Can’t please everyone with automation: An interesting new survey from the Harris Poll and the employment platform Indeed has revealed that companies may risk turning off older job candidates if they lean too heavily on robot overlords when hiring new talent. Although the survey found that a decisive 54% of job seekers or people who recently switched jobs say they feel “valued” by some degree of hiring automation—for instance, via regular updates about the status of their application or faster responses to inquiries—favorability toward automation looked sharply different between younger and older respondents: 71% of those 18 to 35 said the use of automation made them feel more valued, but only 43% of respondents over the age of 36 agreed. A similar variation was found when it came to automation’s impact on company perception: 55% of younger job seekers said automated hiring processes make a company appear more innovative, versus only 33% of older users. Those competing viewpoints could have significant implications for hiring managers, as 87% of employers surveyed by Indeed said they view automated hiring positively, and almost half of large employers surveyed said they view it extremely positively. Saves time and money. Source: Fast Company
Do employees review their benefit options? Maybe not: A recent consumer research and insights survey from Voya Financial, Inc. has found that nearly seven in 10 (67%) of employed Americans who are benefits-eligible spend just 30 minutes or less reviewing the information related to their workplace benefits during their employer’s open enrollment period — while nearly half (42%) of employees spend 20 minutes or less reviewing such information. Among the many findings within Voya’s research, one particular concern is found within Generation Z, whose members have recently entered the workforce and presumably have minimal historical knowledge of their workplace benefits opportunities. According to Voya’s research, Gen Z reported even lower engagement in reviewing their benefits information compared to other generations. A majority (79%) of Gen Z benefits-eligible employees spend 30 minutes or less reviewing their workplace benefit information during open enrollment, a notably higher number compared to their working peer groups of millennials (68%), Gen X (65%), and baby boomers (63%). Further, the survey also revealed that more than one-quarter (27%) of employees are waiting to select their health and wellness options within one week of their enrollment deadline. So, if wondering why no one selected yet, now you know. Source: Voya.com 10/25/23
IRS releases 2024 retirement plan limits: The IRS has announced inflation-adjusted limits for retirement plans in Notice 2023-74. See below.