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Department of Labor looking to create new Deputy Director position

Delaware Department of Labor

The Department of Labor saw its entire department shift from employment training to unemployment insurance during the coronavirus pandemic.


Department of Labor secretary Cerron Cade says the main focus of the department used to be employment and training services.


Now it is managing the task of fulfilling an avalanche of unemployment claims. The state has seen over four times the amount of claims this year compared to 2019 and paid out thirteen times as much money.


But the department isn’t asking for much more funding next year, only an additional $67,000 to reduce its deficit and create a new deputy director position.


Cade explains why he needs a deputy director now.


“The combination of expanded programs and increased services provided to Delaware residents requires an additional leadership position that’s hopefully goning to be focused on compliance as we get through, not only this program, but as the Department of Labor's need to train our workforce continues to increase as the years go on,” said Cade.


The position will be mostly funded by the federal government, with the state covering the last quarter needed.


Budget Director Mike Jackson says any requests remain contingent on the state’s still uncertain revenue forecasts.


“As the revenue situation evolves, you know, we don’t have another revised forecast until December," said Jackson. "But we’re at least committed to the conversation for how they fit into the larger budget.”


He’s talking about the possibility of more positions being added if revenue forecasts look good in the coming months.


Jackson says there have been talks of additional staff and programs needed to improve enforcement of labor laws in the state.


The new deputy director position would take the lead on enforcement as well as training of the department’s workforce. Cade says as the department continues to grow, he needs someone to take on some of the work.


Cade adds next year will be focused on making sure Delawareans have access to the services the department provides, and improving enforcement of the laws and regulations in place surrounding labor.

Roman Battaglia grew up in Portland, Ore, and now reports for Delaware Public Media as a Report For America corps member. He focuses on politics, elections and legislation activity at the local, county and state levels.