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ADVOCACY & POLICY UPDATE - June 21st, 2022

Walsh Testifies Before Committee/ Administration Announces Talent Pipeline Challenge

Washington Update

Innovation and Competition Act

Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy are meeting today in the speaker’s office on The United States Innovation and Competition Act (USICA). USICA has gained bipartisan support and has been labeled as “must-pass” legislation. Leadership in both chambers is trying to pare down the package in order to secure a deal by July 4 and pass it through Congress before the August recess. Controversial provisions covering climate, labor and trade may be removed from the bill as Congressional leaders know that if it doesn’t pass by the August recess, it may not pass this Congress.

House Hearing on Department of Labor Policies and Priorities

On Tuesday, June 14, U.S. Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh testified before the House Education and Labor Committee on the policies and priorities of the Department of Labor. During the hearing, Secretary Walsh addressed inflation, independent contractors and the state of the workforce. Secretary Walsh said that the workforce upheaval brought on by the pandemic and subsequent challenges is an opportunity to upskill workers for a new career path. He also referenced the Biden administration’s focus on registered apprenticeships and pre-apprenticeships as a key component of its workforce development strategy. The Secretary stressed that it isn’t the Department’s job to create those training programs rather to support the programs developed by partnerships that include business and industry, community colleges, workforce development board and others to determine what jobs are locally available and what skills they need. DOL should be a “pass-through” to get partners together, he said.

Click here to watch the full hearing.

Talent Pipeline Challenge

On Friday, June 17, the White House announced the Talent Pipeline Challenge, which aims to fill high quality jobs that will help rebuild the nation’s infrastructure. The initiative will focus on three key infrastructure sectors that include broadband, construction, and electric vehicle charging infrastructure/battery manufacturing. The Administration released a fact sheet about the challenge that lists specific actions requested of employers, training providers and state and local governments to support the initiative. The Challenge encourages employers to partner with and hire skilled workers from at least one training provider in each region in which the employer has operations.

As part of this pledge, employers can partner with national or regional intermediaries or training providers to build, scale, or support local training models to recruit, train, or hire workers in their sector. Training partnerships will build on pathways to quality jobs for women, people of color, and underserved workers–including those from rural and Tribal communities and communities with persistent poverty. Employers are encouraged to invest in the resources and supports like tuition assistance, childcare, transportation costs, and emergency aid that are often barriers for workers to participate in training. The Challenge encourages partnerships with employers to create or bring to scale skills training programs, coupled with wraparound services like transportation assistance and childcare, that will prepare workers for in-demand jobs.

Click here to access the fact sheet.

Good Jobs Summit

On Tuesday, June 21, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), in collaboration with the Families and Workers Fund, hosted the Good Jobs Summit to convene leading changemakers to explore strategies, celebrate wins, and announce groundbreaking commitments to advance good jobs and equitable workforce development, especially through the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. The Summit was hosted by Deputy Secretary of Labor Julie Su, with keynote remarks from Secretary of Labor Martin J. Walsh, Deputy Secretary of Commerce Don Graves, Deputy Secretary of Transportation Polly Trottenberg, and Deputy Secretary of Energy David M. Turk. A panel, Mayors of America, was moderated by Teresa Acuña, Deputy Director of the Good Jobs Initiative, U.S. Department of Labor and consisted of Beaverton Mayor Lacey Beaty, Scranton Mayor Paige Cognetti, Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott and Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh.

Click here to see a picture of the panel.

EDA New Funding Opportunity

On Thursday, June 16, the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) released a Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) that includes two programs designed to strengthen equitable economic development strategies across the country. The Economic Recovery Corps program will add staff resources to local organizations focused on improving economic resilience and competitiveness in distressed regions across the country. The Economic Recovery Corps program seeks a Network Operator (an organization or coalition) to build, launch, and operate an economic development fellowship program in cooperation with EDA. The program would recruit and place at least 50-75 fellows in economic development organizations in underserved communities throughout the nation to help communities that face limited resources and staff build more equitable, resilient, and future-focused economies and industry clusters. The Economic Recovery Corps program will also provide information and analysis from across the country to accelerate the adoption of equitable economic development principles. EDA seeks to award one grant to a Network Operator between $20 million and $25 million, with a five-year period of performance. The deadline for this opportunity is August 5, 2022. A webinar on this will be held on Thursday, June 23 at 1:30 p.m. ET.

The Equity Impact Investments program seeks applicants to build capacity and knowledge within organizations serving underserved populations and communities to help them effectively participate in local economic development efforts and strengthen their engagement in economic development initiatives. Representation of all underserved communities is critical for economic development, and this program intends to create the understanding, resources, and intersections for long-lasting relationships.

This program also aims to enhance the ability of current EDA grantees to support underserved populations and communities. EDA is seeking applicants with a proven track record of effectively working with, conducting outreach to, and delivering outcomes for these communities. Funding for the program is between $3 million and $10 million and will be dependent on reach, impact and number of grants awarded. The ideal budget request per grant is between $3 million to $6 million. The deadline to apply is August 5, 2022. A webinar on this funding opportunity will be held on Wednesday, June 22 at 2:00 pm ET. Click here for more information on the Economic Recovery Corps.

Click here to register for the webinar about the Economic Recovery Corps funding opportunity.

Click here for more information on the Equity Impact Investments program.

Click here to register for the webinar about the Equity Impact Investments program.

Initial Jobless Claims

In the week ending June 11, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 229,000, a decrease of 3,000 from the previous week's revised level. The previous week's level was revised up by 3,000 from 229,000 to 232,000. The 4-week moving average was 218,500, an increase of 2,750 from the previous week's revised average. The previous week's average was revised up by 750 from 215,000 to 215,750. The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 0.9 percent for the week ending June 4, unchanged from the previous week's unrevised rate.

Click here to access the report.

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