Reminder: Minimum Equity Standard (MES) 2023-24 Year-End Reports Due July 15

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Minimum Equity Standard (MES) Year-End Reports for the 2023-24 Program Year are due July 15, 2024. 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 Program Year 2023-24, the MES requirement is that 10% of the project workforce for all Approved Vendors (AVs) and Designees (with the exception of Equity Eligible Contractors) participating in Illinois Shines must be comprised of Equity Eligible Persons (EEPs). A template displaying the Year-End Report’s questions can be viewed here. Required information that must be provided in the report includes:

  • AV/Designee Information, including company name and contact 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 and may risk future good standing in the Program and result in disciplinary action.

EEP Verification

Participating AVs and Designees are 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 of July 15, 2024: 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.
      1. The EEPs can provide documentation of their registration with the Energy Workforce Equity Portal to their employer to demonstrate that they qualify as an EEP, rather than providing 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. 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 statusList of all EEPs   EEP attestation for all EEPs   Supporting documentation for all EEPs (if applicable based on reason for qualification)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 it has not achieved the 10% MES requirement for the 2023-24 Program Year, your organization may request a waiver. In order to qualify for a waiver, your organization must demonstrate outreach activities and efforts conducted to connect with and attempt to recruit EEPs, and an explanation as to why those efforts were not successful, ultimately resulting in noncompliance with the MES.

The Agency may grant a waiver from the MES requirement in rare cases. Waiver requests are evaluated and scored, and a minimum score of 20 points is needed to qualify for 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] prior to July 15, 2024.

Additional Resources

Thank you!    
Illinois Shines Program    
[email protected]