The sponsor of a failed proposal to give Indiana employers an alternative to laying off employees when work is slow says it would better prepare the state for the next economic downturn. Representative Tom Dermody of LaPorte says he sees the work share program as a way to help the middle class. The proposal failed in this year's legislative session, but supporters plan to propose it again during the next session. The program allows workers to receive partial unemployment benefits if their employer reduces work hours to avoid layoffs. The proposal was supported by business, labor and anti-poverty groups but opposed by the state's Department of Workforce Development.