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Judges split on approving high-cost retraining tuition

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A panel of judges on the Indiana Court of Appeals couldn’t agree on whether a laid-off man’s request for training at an expensive college should be approved.

R.D. worked as a machinist in Bloomington earning nearly $25 an hour. He was laid off and decided he wanted to pursue training under the Trade Act of 1974 at the Art Institute of Indianapolis. He would obtain a degree in graphic arts in print and web in 18 months at a cost of more than $56,000.

The Indiana Department of Workforce Development denied his request based on its cost and noted that he could attend Ivy Tech Indianapolis and receive similar training at a lower cost. The Administrative Law Judge hearing the appeal found the programs to be substantially similar and denied R.D.’s application to attend the Art Institute based on cost. The Review Board affirmed.

After examining the history and purpose of the Trade Act, Judges Paul Mathias and Edward Najam reversed because, based on the evidence, the training R.D. would receive at the Art Institute as compared to Ivy Tech was not similar.

Although nearly two-thirds cheaper in tuition, the program at Ivy Tech allowed for only studying print or web design. R.D. designated evidence that graduates of the Art Institute have a placement rate of more than 78 percent and he could get a full-time job at a salary of approximately $69,000. There was no evidence presented regarding Ivy Tech’s placement and graduates tend to start out at $9 an hour.

One goal of the Trade Act is to get people employed making at least 80 percent of what they were before, wrote Judge Mathias in R.D. v. Review Board, No. 93A02-1005-EX-559. Another precondition for approval of training under the act is that there must to be a reasonable expectation of employment after completing training.

The act says that training may not be approved at one provider, when all costs considered, the training is substantially similar in quality, content, and results at a lower-cost provider with a similar time frame. The majority found, unlike the ALJ, that the two programs are not substantially similar in quality, content, and results, and they don’t even result in the same degree. The majority reversed the denial of R.D.’s request to retrain at the Art Institute.

Chief Judge John Baker dissented because the purpose of the act is to train the highest amount of people at the lowest reasonable cost. Three people could get degrees at Ivy Tech for the cost of attending the Art Institute. Even if R.D. had to get two separate degrees from Ivy Tech to have training in web and print design, it would still be significantly less than his tuition for the Art Institute.

“When considering the purposes of the Trade Act, namely, to provide workers with training at the lowest reasonable cost that will lead to employment and result in training opportunities for the largest number of adversely affected workers, I cannot agree that R.D. has successfully demonstrated that the Review Board’s decision was unreasonable in denying his application for funding to attend the Art Institute,” he wrote. “In short, R.D.’s request for training at the Art Institute does not satisfy the ‘lowest cost’ requirement of 20 C.F.R. section 617.22(a)(6).”
 

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  1. So that none are misinformed by my posting wihtout a non de plume here, please allow me to state that I am NOT an Indiana licensed attorney, although I am an Indiana resident approved to practice law and represent clients in Indiana's fed court of Nth Dist and before the 7th circuit. I remain licensed in KS, since 1996, no discipline. This must be clarified since the IN court records will reveal that I did sit for and pass the Indiana bar last February. Yet be not confused by the fact that I was so allowed to be tested .... I am not, to be clear in the service of my duty to be absolutely candid about this, I AM NOT a member of the Indiana bar, and might never be so licensed given my unrepented from errors of thought documented in this opinion, at fn2, which likely supports Mr Smith's initial post in this thread: http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-7th-circuit/1592921.html

  2. When I served the State of Kansas as Deputy AG over Consumer Protection & Antitrust for four years, supervising 20 special agents and assistant attorneys general (back before the IBLE denied me the right to practice law in Indiana for not having the right stuff and pretty much crushed my legal career) we had a saying around the office: Resist the lure of the ring!!! It was a take off on Tolkiem, the idea that absolute power (I signed investigative subpoenas as a judge would in many other contexts, no need to show probable cause)could corrupt absolutely. We feared that we would overreach constitutional limits if not reminded, over and over, to be mindful to not do so. Our approach in so challenging one another was Madisonian, as the following quotes from the Father of our Constitution reveal: The essence of Government is power; and power, lodged as it must be in human hands, will ever be liable to abuse. We are right to take alarm at the first experiment upon our liberties. I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations. Liberty may be endangered by the abuse of liberty, but also by the abuse of power. All men having power ought to be mistrusted. -- James Madison, Federalist Papers and other sources: http://www.constitution.org/jm/jm_quotes.htm RESIST THE LURE OF THE RING ALL YE WITH POLITICAL OR JUDICIAL POWER!

  3. My dear Mr Smith, I respect your opinions and much enjoy your posts here. We do differ on our view of the benefits and viability of the American Experiment in Ordered Liberty. While I do agree that it could be better, and that your points in criticism are well taken, Utopia does indeed mean nowhere. I think Madison, Jefferson, Adams and company got it about as good as it gets in a fallen post-Enlightenment social order. That said, a constitution only protects the citizens if it is followed. We currently have a bevy of public officials and judicial agents who believe that their subjectivism, their personal ideology, their elitist fears and concerns and cause celebs trump the constitutions of our forefathers. This is most troubling. More to follow in the next post on that subject.

  4. Yep I am not Bryan Brown. Bryan you appear to be a bigger believer in the Constitution than I am. Were I still a big believer then I might be using my real name like you. Personally, I am no longer a fan of secularism. I favor the confessional state. In religious mattes, it seems to me that social diversity is chaos and conflict, while uniformity is order and peace.... secularism has been imposed by America on other nations now by force and that has not exactly worked out very well.... I think the American historical experiment with disestablishmentarianism is withering on the vine before our eyes..... Since I do not know if that is OK for an officially licensed lawyer to say, I keep the nom de plume.

  5. I am compelled to announce that I am not posting under any Smith monikers here. That said, the post below does have a certain ring to it that sounds familiar to me: http://www.catholicnewworld.com/cnwonline/2014/0907/cardinal.aspx

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