ADVOCACY & POLICY UPDATE - April 18th, 2022

Federal Agencies Unveil Equity Action Plans

Washington Update

Federal Agencies Equity Action Plans

On Thursday, April 14, the U.S. Department of Education and U.S. Department of Labor, along with dozens of other federal agencies, unveiled equity action plans for their respective agencies as part of President Joe Biden’s January 2021 executive order Advancing Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government. The Department of Labor’s equity action plan summarizes the agency’s accomplishments over the past year as well as next steps in several key programs, including enforcement of wage and hour laws; access to unemployment insurance benefits; design of apprenticeship training programs; and serving workers in more languages. Some key efforts in the plan are making grants more equitable; supporting states in advancing equity in joint programs (including training programs and unemployment insurance); building stronger partnerships with community-based organizations; and understanding and improving data collection.

The Department of Education’s plan listed key actions such as prioritizing access to and completion of an education beyond high school; ensuring equitable impact of the American Rescue Plan’s $130 billion funding for K-12 students; investing in resources to help advance civil rights; advancing equity in contracting and procurement; and advancing equity in grant process strategies. In the plan, the Department of Education says it will advocate for state-level investments in these programs as well as advocating for several equity boosts like additional money for the Pell Grant and minority-serving institutions in the White House's budget request to Congress for fiscal year 2023. On Tuesday, May 17, the Department of Education will host a listening session to hear feedback on the equity action plan.

Click here to access the January 2021 Executive Order.

Click here to access the Department of Labor’s equity action plan.

Click here to access the Department of Education’s equity action plan.

EDA Grant Program

On Thursday, April 14, the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) announced it is now accepting applications for its FY22 Build to Scale (B2S) program, which is designed to invest in regional economies through scalable business startups. The Build to Scale program’s national competitions will deploy $45 million to further technology-based economic development initiatives that accelerate high-quality job growth, create more economic opportunities, and support the next generation of industry leading companies. The deadline to apply is Monday, June 13.

Click here to access the Notice of Funding Opportunity.

Click here to read the press release.

Initial Jobless Claims

In the week ending April 9, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 185,000, an increase of 18,000 from the previous week's revised level. The previous week's level was revised up by 1,000 from 166,000 to 167,000. The 4-week moving average was 172,250, an increase of 2,000 from the previous week's revised average. The previous week's average was revised up by 250 from 170,000 to 170,250. The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 1.1 percent for the week ending April 2, unchanged from the previous week's unrevised rate.

Click here to access the report.

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