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ADVOCACY & POLICY UPDATE - April 22, 2024

Su Testifies on DOL Appropriations; Digital Skills Training Legislation Introduced


Washington Update


House Appropriations Committee Hearing 

On Wednesday, April 17, U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) Acting Secretary Julie Su testified in support of President Biden’s FY25 budget request to the House Appropriations Committee. During the hearing on the White House’s $13.9 billion request for FY25, Su defended the proposed $2.9 billion in Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) grants and $285 million for registered apprentices in order to accomplish President Biden’s goal of building the economy from the “middle out and bottom up.” Su also emphasized her Department’s commitment to combating child labor violations, including the Administration’s request for $7.5 million for the DOL Wage and Hour Division to successfully confront the issue. Acting Secretary Su also reiterated Biden’s calls for paid family leave and expanded child care.

Click here to access a video of the hearing.


Senate Appropriations Committee Hearing 

On Tuesday, April 16, U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Xavier Becerra testified during a Senate Appropriations Committee hearing on President Biden’s FY25 budget request for his agency. One focus of the hearing was the President’s wide-ranging goals for early childhood education and care - ranging from Head Start to elder care. The budget request includes $12.5 billion for Head Start, which provides early education and health services to children from low-income families, as well as a $544 million increase to help programs comply with the administration’s proposal to increase compensation for Head Start workers, which will help programs retain and recruit workers. The increase is $1.6 billion short of what is needed in FY25 to stave off slot reductions. Senate Appropriations Chair Patty Murray (WA) supported the proposed rule but also noted a lot more work needs to be done to ensure all kids have access to high-quality early childhood education. Senator Murray’s Child Care for Working Families Act includes a similar proposal to support pay parity between elementary school teachers and Head Start educators with similar credentials. 

Click here to access a video of the hearing.


Digital Skills for Today’s Workforce Act

On Wednesday, April 17, Senator Tim Kaine (VA), along with Congresswoman Abigail Spanberger (VA) and Congressman David Valadao (CA), introduced the bipartisan, bicameral legislation Digital Skills for Today’s Workforce Act in order to expand access to digital skills training for job seekers. The legislation would amend the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) to establish a new “Digital Skills at Work” grant program to expand digital skills training within postsecondary education, adult education, and workforce development systems. It would make specific, targeted investments in digital skills training to help individuals seeking jobs or upskilling opportunities, as well as Americans with barriers to employment, learn or build digital skills. It would also advance access to good-paying jobs and support the development of digitally resilient education and workforce systems.

Click here to read a press release on the legislation and learn more. 


Initial Jobless Claims

In the week ending April 13, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 212,000, unchanged from the previous week's revised level. The previous week's level was revised up by 1,000 from 211,000 to 212,000. The 4-week moving average was 214,500, unchanged from the previous week's revised average. The previous week's average was revised up by 250 from 214,250 to 214,500. The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 1.2 percent for the week ending April 6, unchanged from the previous week's unrevised rate.

Click here to access the report.

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