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ADVOCACY & POLICY UPDATE - June 14, 2021.

Short Term Pell Amendment Excluded from Senate Bill


Washington Update


Short Term Pell Grants


On Tuesday, June 8, on a 68-32 vote, the Senate passed the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act (S 1260 (117)) - a $250 billion bill aimed at countering China’s economic ambitions. The bill aims to boost funding for technology research and the semiconductor industry but did not include a bipartisan amendment to expand eligibility for federal Pell Grants to workforce education and training programs of eight to 15 weeks in length. The Workforce Pell amendment — which was backed by mayors, governors, community colleges and workforce and business groups — was successfully blocked by Senator Rand Paul (KY), who objected to making a series of last-minute changes to the bill. It’s unclear if short-term Pell will reemerge in other legislative packages before reauthorization of the Higher Education Act.

Building Back Strong: Government Voices on Skills Investment


Join The U.S. Conference of Mayors, the National Association of Counties and the National League of Cities on Monday, June 14th at 1:00 pm (ET) for a joint congressional briefing — an exciting dialogue with local officials leading the way on strategic investments of American Rescue Plan Act funding in workforce innovations to prepare their residents for the changing workforce landscape.


This session will also highlight the pressing need for bipartisan passage of an infrastructure package that includes critical workforce investments to ensure that the nation’s greatest resource — its human capital — is prepared to build a stronger, more equitable America.


Click here to register for this event.

House Committee on Education and Labor Hearing


On Wednesday, June 9, the House Education and Labor Committee held the hearing “Examining the Policies and Priorities of the U.S. Department of Labor.” U.S. Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh spoke at the hearing on the Administration’s vision for strengthening the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) and for supporting the critical work of the Department of Labor in the President’s Fiscal Year FY 2022 budget. Secretary Walsh shared his vision for connecting America’s workers and job seekers, particularly those from disadvantaged communities, to high-quality, good-paying jobs. Click here to access the video of the hearing.

House Subcommittee Hearing


On Tuesday, June 15, the House Education and Labor Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce investment will hold the hearing “Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act Reauthorization: Examining Successful Models of Employment for Justice-Involved Individuals." Witnesses for the hearing include Traci Scott, Vice President of Workforce Development Division for the National Urban League; Gregg Keesling, President of DBA RecycleForce Workforce, Inc.; Dr. Pamela Lattimore, Senior Director of Research Development, Division for Applied Justice Research at RTI International; and Wendi Safstrom, Executive Director of SHRM Foundation.


Click here to learn more about the hearing.

Department of Labor


On Wednesday, June 16, the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee will vote on several of President Biden’s Department of Labor nominees - including Doug Parker as Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health. If approved, the nominations will then go before the full Senate for a vote. Julie Su, Biden’s nominee for deputy labor secretary, advanced out of the HELP committee back in April but has still not been brought to the full Senate for consideration. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (NY) is expected to file a procedural motion this week that would advance Su’s nomination to the floor for a final confirmation vote by week’s end.


Click here for more information.

Senate Small Business Committee


On Wednesday, June 16, the Senate Small Business Committee will meet to consider the nomination of Dilawar Syed to be deputy administrator, the number two post, of the Small Business Administration. If confirmed, Syed would bring experience in artificial intelligence to the role, having recently served as president and CEO of Lumiata, a company that specialized in bringing healthcare AI and machine learning at scale to health service providers. While operating as president and CEO of Lumiata since April 2018, Syed also operates as the founder and chairman of the California Entrepreneurship Task Force since May 2019, which is supported by the California Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development. Syed also served as a commissioner on former President Barack Obama’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans from 2010 to 2014. This commission worked on policies and initiatives that impacted Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) and engaged AAPI communities on behalf of Federal agencies and the president.

Initial Jobless Rate


In the week ending June 5, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 376,000, a decrease of 9,000 from the previous week's unrevised level of 385,000. This is the lowest level for initial claims since March 14, 2020 when it was 256,000. The 4-week moving average was 402,500, a decrease of 25,500 from the previous week's unrevised average of 428,000. This is the lowest level for this average since March 14, 2020 when it was 225,500. The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 2.5 percent for the week ending May 29, a decrease of 0.2 percentage point from the previous week's unrevised rate.


Click here to read the full press release.

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