Department of Human Resources

Union-Public Sector Partnerships

The solid relationships our state agencies have with our union partners enhance our state by providing business opportunities for underrepresented groups, including women and minorities, pre-registered apprenticeship training and education, employment opportunities, and educational programs to build climate literacy and awareness. Whether our agencies work directly with our union partners or tangentially through vendors or subcontractors, our collaborative work positively impacts state employees and the communities we serve.

Office of Management & Budget (OMB)

The Office of Management & Budget (OMB) is launching a pilot program this year related to the department’s public works Disadvantaged Business Enterprises (DBEs) and Community Workforce Agreements (CWAs). Under epilogue language from Senate Bill 35 (the mini-bond bill), OMB was authorized to create a pilot program to focus on utilizing disadvantaged businesses (the DBE Pilot) and union labor (the Community Work Agreement or CWA pilot) in state facility construction.

  • The DBE pilot program is designed to increase the utilization of businesses owned by underrepresented groups, including women-owned and minority-owned businesses, in state projects. This program requires participating for-profit businesses to be at least 51 percent owned and managed by one or more individuals who are both socially and economically disadvantaged. OMB partnered with New Castle County Vo-Tech and selected Hodgson Vo-Tech as the pilot DBE project. The first bid pack to include a DBE percentage requirement will go out in July 2023.

  • The CWA pilot program aims to increase the percentage of local labor organizations working on state projects. The program requires that local labor organizations perform 50 percent of the work for each awarded contract in the pilot. Awarded contractors will either hold a separate contract containing a Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA), or the contractor may subcontract with a subcontractor with a CBA. In addition, the Community Workforce Agreement may include a minority workforce requirement. As a result of this initiative, work on the following projects will require contractors to hire unionized skilled laborers:

    • Building a new hospital for the Delaware Hospital for the Chronically Ill

    • Building a new water testing laboratory for the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control

    • Building a new Food Distribution Warehouse for OMB

Department of Labor (DOL)

The Department of Labor(DOL) has longstanding relationships with union partners in the Registered Apprenticeship space:

  • Delaware Laborers Local 199 worked directly with LEEP/P2A (Pathways to Apprenticeship), a Pre-registered Apprenticeship program providing employment for some participants.

  • All DOL union partners collaborate with the DOL Office of Registered Apprenticeship to ensure that every participant receives real-time training and education in their chosen areas of expertise that secure proven pathways to sustainable employment careers and lifestyles.

Department of Education (DOE)

The Department of Education (DOE) works closely with the Delaware State Education Association (DSEA) on various projects, programs, and reports.

  • DOE is collaborating with DSEA to embed the National Education Association’s micro-credentials, short competency-based recognition for mastery in a particular area, within Delaware’s Comprehensive Induction Program. This program increases retention by providing support to novice educators and opportunities for teachers to continue their professional growth throughout their careers.

  • DOE’s Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs of study provide students with the knowledge and skills to pursue specific careers. Employer associations and non-association members help to identify the competencies and training methodologies for the CTE programs. The panel represents the state business size, geography, and other factors. Both union and merit businesses are invited to participate in the career and technical student organization events as judges. Employers comprise program advisory committees at the school level to help ensure classroom practices align with industry standards.

Department Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC)

Division of Climate, Coastal and Energy

  • DNREC partnered with the Association of Climate Change Officers to offer the Delaware Climate Leadership Academy. This program is available to professionals in the public and private sectors, but there was an initial push to reach people who work in state agencies and local governments. Some participants may be members of AFSCME.

  • DNREC’s Sediment and Stormwater Program, Contractor Training Program (aka “Blue Card”), is available to train a worker to be a “responsible person” on an active site, knowledgeable of regulations and erosion/sediment control measures. Some participants may be AFL-CIO, LiUNA or IFPTE members.

Department of Human Resources (DHR)

The Department of Human Resources (DHR) informs new employees of training opportunities, state policies, and available benefits throughout the employee lifecycle.

  • All benefit-eligible employees complete the New Employee Orientation modules. Several agencies include a “Welcome to the Union” presentation in their new employee orientation training; in some cases, union representatives attend to answer questions.

  • The Statewide Benefits Office (SBO) offers 24/7 online courses through the Delaware Learning Center (DLC) for union and nonunion employees to learn about the benefits provided to State of Delaware employees. Annual Open Enrollment courses inform employees about their benefit options for the upcoming plan year.The myBenefitsMentor® consumer decision tool summarizes employees' historic healthcare costs and services and assists employees in their benefits enrollment decision-making process.

  • SBO partners with DSEA to communicate Open Enrollment information and benefit updates throughout the year. For example, when the state changed Employee Assistance Program (EAP) vendors, SBO provided information to DSEA to share with members via email e-newsletters. Earlier this year, SBO partnered with DSEA to disseminate email communications to their members about the state’s Employee Benefits Modernization Survey.

  • DHR’s Training and HR Solutions Divisionoffers comprehensive employee development opportunities to enhance the knowledge and skills of both union and nonunion employees, including:

    • iLEAD Delaware Leadership Program: Certificate programs including Leadership Essentials, Frontline Leadership, Project and Process Leadership, and Organizational Leadership.

    • Continuous Improvement Practitioner Program: Develops employees' process improvement, change management and project management skills.

    • Human Resources Certification Program: Enables individuals new to HR to gain valuable knowledge in various areas of HR specific to state government.

    • Blue-Collar Training Program: Funds training for employees in lower pay grades to assist in career advancement. Training provided through this program includes computer skills, welding, small engine repair, HVAC training, writing and communication skills, certification for dredge operators, and computer skills.

    • Delaware Learning Center Online Courses: Employees can access over 1,000 courses on communication and interpersonal skills, technology, leadership skills, leadership and interpersonal skills. Courses are available 24/7 from any device (mobile enabled).