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ADVOCACY & POLICY UPDATE - March 28th, 2022

House Begins WIOA Reauthorization/President Releases FY23 Budget Request


Washington Update


Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act Reauthorization

On Friday, March 25, the House Education and Labor Committee released a discussion draft bill to reauthorize the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), as it began work on the legislation which funds the Department of Labor’s workforce development programs. The current draft bill increases funding to $45.5 billion over six years — enough to serve 1 million Americans annually by 2028 — and includes $5.9 billion for Title I programs, a 104% increase over FY22. It increases funding for the Adult, Dislocated Worker, and Youth programs in FY 2023 by 78.7 percent (to $1.55 billion), 131.2 percent (to $2.48 billion), and 98.6 percent (to $1.8 billion) over the FY 2022 omnibus budget levels, respectively. It also increases authorized levels funding for the Reentry program in FY2023 to $250 million (a 144.9 percent increase).

House Education and Labor Committee Chair Bobby Scott (VA) and committee ranking member Virginia Foxx (NC) have long had reauthorization as a top priority. While lawmakers are hoping reauthorization of the bill can remain bipartisan, there will likely be disputes over funding levels - many Democrats want to redesign the existing system, while Republicans are wary of increasing funding for a system they consider duplicative and inefficient. President Joe Biden proposed $100 billion for workforce training as part of his Build Back Better package, which eventually was lowered to $20 billion, in order to support “proven workforce development programs targeted at underserved groups and getting our students on paths to careers before they graduate from high school.”

Click here to read a summary of the WIOA Reauthorization discussion draft.

Click here to read a section-by-section summary.

Click here to access the full discussion draft legislation.

Click here to read the USCM WDC’s WIOA Reauthorization policy priorities paper. Click here to read the USCM WDC’s comments on the discussion draft.

President’s FY23 Budget Request

On Monday, March 28, President Joe Biden released his budget request for fiscal year 2023 (FY23), which begins on October 1, 2022.

President Biden requested $14.6 billion in discretionary funds for the Department of Labor in FY23– a $2.2 billion or 18 percent increase. The request includes:

  • $4.4 billion for the Department’s Employment and Training Administration. Of that, the budget provides:​

  • $900 million for Adult Employment and Training Activities - an increase of $37 million

  • $963.8 million for Youth Activities - an increase of $42 million

  • $1.682 billion for Dislocated Workers Employment and Training Activities.

  • $3.4 billion for unemployment insurance – an increase of $500 million above FY22. The budget also includes an update to the formula that determines how much states receive to administer their jobless benefits, and lays out priorities for future UI reform efforts — including boosting benefit levels, making more workers eligible, and automatically increasing benefits when the economy dips.

  • $100 million for helping community colleges work with employers and the federal government to devise workforce development programs.

  • $100 million to support a new Sectoral Employment through Career Training for Occupational Readiness program, which would train workers for jobs in growing industries.

  • $303 million for registered apprenticeships – which is an increase of $68 million. That would include a doubling of spending on DOL's Women in Apprenticeship and Nontraditional Occupations grants, which provide pre-apprenticeship opportunities to boost women’s participation in registered apprenticeships.

  • $75 million for a new National Youth Employment program that would fund underserved youth summer and year-round work.

  • A $48 million increase from FY21 for YouthBuild

  • $15 million to test new ways of giving low-income youth with disabilities the skills they need to find employment.

  • $100 million for the POWER+ Initiative - a multi-agency initiative focused on transforming local economies in communities transitioning away from fossil fuel extraction or energy production.

  • $35 million for a partnership with the Appalachian Regional Commission and the Delta Regional Authority, both of which would help workers who have lost their jobs as a result of the transition to clean energy.

  • $20 million for the Civilian Climate Corps program that President Biden initially included in his Build Back Better package.

  • For the Department of Education, President Biden requested $88.3 billion in discretionary funding for FY23 - a $15.3 billion or 20.9 percent increase from the FY21 enacted level. The budget includes:

  • $36.5 billion for Title I, including $20.5 billion in discretionary funding and $16 billion in mandatory funding, which more than doubles the program’s funding compared to the 2021 enacted level.

  • $3.8 billion in discretionary funds for Higher Education programs aimed at improving student achievement and increasing access to a high-quality education for all students.

  • A $1 billion investment to increase the number of counselors, nurses, school psychologists, social workers, and other health professionals in schools.

  • $16.3 billion, an additional $3.3 billion over 2021 enacted levels – the largest two-year increase ever – for Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) Grants to States to support special education and related services for students in grades Pre-K through 12.

  • It more than doubles funding to $250 million for IDEA Part D Personnel Preparation grants to support a pipeline of special educators at a time when the majority of states are experiencing a shortage of special educators.

  • $468 million for Full Service Community Schools, an increase of $438 million above the 2021 enacted level. Within this increase, $25 million would help school districts design and implement integrated student supports focused on addressing a range of student and family needs including meeting student social, emotional, mental health, physical health, and academic needs; and on providing resources and services to meet family needs, including through cross-agency efforts and partnerships with community-based organizations and other family support providers external to the school site.

  • $100 million for a grant program to help communities voluntarily develop and implement strategies to promote racial and socioeconomic diversity in their schools and classrooms. The program would require applicants to demonstrate meaningful and ongoing community engagement throughout the development and implementation of their plans.

  • An additional $200 million investment focused on a new Career-Connected High Schools initiative to support competitive grants to partnerships of local educational agencies, institutions of higher education, and employers to increase the integration and alignment of the last two years of high school and the first two years of postsecondary education, in order to improve postsecondary and career outcomes for all students, including students of color and students from low-income backgrounds.

  • It would increase the maximum Pell Grant by $2,175 over the 2021-2022 award year, through a combination of discretionary and mandatory funding, helping an estimated 6.7 million students from low- and middle-income backgrounds overcome financial barriers. The Administration continues to support expanding federal student aid, including Pell Grant eligibility, to Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients, commonly known as DREAMers.

  • $1.4 billion, an increase of $20 million, for Career and Technical Education (CTE) State grants to invest in workforce development and build the capacity of the existing workforce development system through CTE programs that help introduce students to careers as early as middle school.

  • It also would significantly expand CTE National Programs, providing an additional $208 million, with most funds focused on a new Career-Connected High Schools initiative to support competitive grants to partnerships of local educational agencies, institutions of higher education (including community colleges, which are the primary partners in current pathways models), and employers to increase the integration and alignment of the last two years of high school and the first two years of postsecondary education to improve postsecondary and career outcomes for all students, including students of color and students from low-income backgrounds.

  • $700 million for Adult Education State Grants, an increase of $25 million over the 2021 enacted level. Adult Education National Leadership Activities would be funded at $38.7 million, with the $25 million increase over the 2021 enacted level focused on (1) scaling up college bridge programs for low-skilled adults without a high school degree or equivalency and (2) an initiative to help disconnected youth attain a secondary school diploma and support transitions.

Click here to access the Department of Labor’s budget request summary.

Click here to access the Department of Education’s budget request summary.

Click here to read Education Secretary Miguel Cardona’s statement on the President’s budget request.

Click here to access the full FY23 Budget Request.

Click here to read Labor Secretary Marty Walsh’s statement on the President’s budget request.

Initial Jobless Claims

In the week ending March 19, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 187,000, a decrease of 28,000 from the previous week's revised level. This is the lowest level for initial claims since September 6, 1969 when it was 182,000. The previous week's level was revised up by 1,000 from 214,000 to 215,000. The 4-week moving average was 211,750, a decrease of 11,500 from the previous week's revised average. The previous week's average was revised up by 250 from 223,000 to 223,250. The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 1.0 percent for the week ending March 12, unchanged from the previous week's unrevised rate.

Click here to access the report.

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