Minimum Equity Standard (MES) 2023-24 Year-End Report Opens for Submissions

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The Minimum Equity Standards (MES) Program Year 2023-24 Year-End Report has opened for submissions today. The online form can be accessed here: https://forms.office.com/r/FM6YbtEFWd. The MES Year-End Report is intended for your organization to document how it implemented and achieved compliance with the Minimum Equity Standard. For this Program Year 2023-24 report, the MES requirement is 10% of the project workforce for each entity participating in Illinois Shines must be made up of Equity Eligible Persons (EEPs). With the exception of Equity Eligible Contractors (EECs), all Approved Vendors (AVs) and Designees participating in Illinois Shines in the 2023-24 Program Year are required to comply with this requirement. A template displaying the Year-End Report’s questions can be viewed here. Required data and information include:

  • AV/Designee Information
  • Project workforce total
  • Project workforce demographic information
  • Equity Eligible Person (EEP) total, including proof of EEP eligibility and any supporting documentation
  • Description of outreach efforts employed to recruit EEPs
  • Job training program graduate hiring data, Illinois-based workforce diversity data
  • Other data previously collected during the AV Annual Report (AVs only)

Failure to submit an MES Year-End Report by the July 15, 2024 deadline will result in escalation to the Program Administrator’s Consumer Protection Team consistent with Sections X.C-D of the Consumer Protection Handbook. Failure to comply may risk future good standing in the Program and may result in disciplinary action.

Key Dates

  • April 10, 2024 – MES Compliance Plan for next Program Year (2024-25) opened for submissions
  • May 1, 2024 – MES Year-End Report opens for submissions
  • May 27, 2024 – Conclusion of the 2023-24 Program Year
  • June 3, 2024 – Deadline for submission of MES Compliance Plan for the 2024-25 Program Year
  • July 15, 2024 – Deadline for submission of MES Year-End Report for Program Year 2023-24

EEP Attestation

As noted in the March 6, 2024  MES Year-End Report webinar and previous communications, participating AVs and Designees will be required to certify all EEPs in their project workforce when submitting their Year-End Report. This can be done in one of two ways:

  1. The AV/Designee can encourage all EEPs in their project workforce to register in IPA’s Energy Workforce Equity Portal prior to the MES Year-End Report deadline: https://energyequity.illinois.gov
    • This option allows the AV/Designee to simply provide to the Program Administrator a list of the names of the registered EEPs in its MES Year-End Report.
    • The EEPs can provide documentation of their registration with the Energy Workforce Equity Portal to their employer in order to demonstrate that they qualify as an EEP, rather than having to provide the personal information underlying that qualification directly to the employer.
  2. The AV/Designee can collect signed EEP Attestations and provide documentation for their EEPs to the Program Administrator in their secure SharePoint folder*. The EEP Attestation form was released by the Program on April 11, 2024, and can be downloaded here: https://illinoisshines.com/wp-content/uploads/2024/04/EEP-Attestation-Form-vFeb2024.pdf
    • This option requires that the AV/Designee collect required supplemental documentation for EEPs who qualify based on graduation from a participating workforce training program, or whose primary residence is located in an Equity Investment Eligible Community. Acceptable documentation includes:
      • For EEPs who qualify based on graduation or current participation in a qualifying workforce training program, please provide either an acceptance letter from the training provider or a certificate of completion, where available, from the training provider. 
      • For EEPs who qualify based on primary residence, please provide one of the following: the individual’s driver’s license, state ID, pay stub, utility bill, lease, mortgage agreement, or other similar documentation for the Program Administrator to verify the individual’s address. 
    • The AV/Designee then lists the EEPs in its project workforce in the Year-End Report and uploads the EEPs’ attestations and required supplemental documentation to their secure SharePoint folder.
      • * MES Folders have been created for participating Program entities. If your organization already had an AV SharePoint Folder, an MES Documentation subfolder has been added to it. If your organization did not have an existing SharePoint folder, you should have received an email notification from Microsoft SharePoint with a link to your newly created folder. Please contact the Program Administrator at [email protected] if you have trouble accessing your MES Documentation folder.

This table summarizes options for certifying EEPs and submitting documentation:

Certifying EEP MethodRequired EEP DocumentationWhere to SubmitDeadline
Using Equity PortalList of all EEPsMES Year-End Report Form and/or SharePoint FolderMust be submitted to Program Administrator prior to/on MES Year-End Report deadline, July 15, 2024.  

Please note – EEPs must be approved in the Energy Workforce Equity Portal prior to deadline.
Sending documentation for Program Administrator to review and confirm EEP status– List of all EEPs
– EEP attestation for all EEPs
– Supporting documentation for all EEPs (if applicable)
SharePoint FolderMust be submitted to Program Administrator prior to/on MES Year-End Report deadline, July 15, 2024.

MES Waiver

If, despite significant efforts, your organization determines that prior to June 1, 2024 it will not achieve the 10% MES goal for the 2023-24 Program Year, your organization is encouraged to request a waiver. In order to qualify for a waiver, your organization must demonstrate the outreach activities and efforts it conducted to connect with and attempt to recruit EEPs, and to detail why those efforts were not successful, ultimately resulting in noncompliance with the MES.

Waiver requests are evaluated against a scoring system, with each waiver item scored, and a minimum score of 20 points needed to grant a waiver. The template for the waiver request can be found here: https://illinoisshines.com/wp-content/uploads/2024/02/MES-Waiver-Request-and-Scoring-22-March-2023.pdf. Completed waivers should be sent to [email protected].

Additional Resources

Thank you!    
Illinois Shines Program    
[email protected]