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Advocacy & Policy Update - May 12, 2020




Today, House Democrats unveiled The Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions (HEROES) Act — a $3 trillion stimulus package designed to meet the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic.  The broad-based, economic rescue legislation appropriates $2.4 billion for the workforce system; increases aid for state, local, and tribal governments on the frontlines of the coronavirus crisis; extends unemployment insurance benefits; and provides more direct payments to Americans.  The House is expected to vote on the bill Friday or early next week when they reconvene in Washington, DC.

The HEROES Act relaxes WIOA eligibility requirements to include “covered individuals” as described in the CARES Act.  The bill also proposes that priority service be given to individuals directly impacted by COVID-19, including the unemployed or underemployed, those seeking employment, dislocated workers, and individuals with barriers to employment.  Specific elements of the Relaunching America’s Workforce Act (RAWA) are incorporated into the bill.  Workforce allocations and/or provisions in the 1,800+ page bill include:

  • $485 million for for Adult Employment and Training Activities (available through June 31, 2021) including: Incumbent Worker Training, Transitional Jobs, On-the-Job Training, Individualized Career Services, Supportive Services, Facilitation of remote access to training through the one-stop system using technology, and Needs-Related Payments.

  • $597 million for Dislocated Worker Employment and Training Activities (available through June 30, 2021) including: Incumbent Worker Training, Transitional Jobs, On-the- Job Training, Individualized Career Services, Supportive Services, Facilitation of remote access to training through the one-stop system using technology, and Needs-related payments.

  • $400 million for the Dislocated Workers Assistance National Reserve 

  • $518 million for Youth Activities (available through June 30, 2021) including: Supportive Services, Summer Youth Employment, and Facilitation of remote access to training through the one-stop system using technology.

  • $25 million for Migrant and Seasonal Farmworkers, including emergency supportive services. 

  • $500 million to support the recruitment, placement and training of individuals in COVID-19 contact tracing and related positions, with a focus on recruiting from impacted local communities and building a culturally competent workforce.  The bill also provides for transitional assistance and support post-employment.  

Emergency Flexibility for TANF Programs In order to allow compliance with social distancing, shelter­-in-­place, and other public health guidance, the HEROES Act suspends the federal work participation rate requirements and the federal time limit for the federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program during the COVID-19 emergency, and creates penalties for any state or Tribal TANF program that fails to “stop the clock” on federal time limits for families, and/or that sanctions families for failure to work or participate in “work participation” activities. The policy suspensions expire January 31, 2021. Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education  The HEROES Act provides legislative flexibility for programs under the Perkins Career and Technical Education Act of 2006 (Perkins CTE) in response to COVID-19 such as allowing Perkins CTE entities to retain funds at the local level instead of returning unspent academic year funds to the state.  The bill authorizes supplemental funds for Perkins CTE to be used for expanding or modernizing digital, physical, or technology infrastructure; provides incentives for students and employers to participate in work-based learning; expands or adapts program offerings in response to the economic impact of COVID-19; and provides professional development and training activities. Adult Education and Literacy Response Activities The bill provides legislative flexibility for the Adult Education and Family Literacy Act to allow for program administration and state leadership funds to be used for online service delivery, and requires the Secretary of Education to provide guidance on virtual proctoring of adult education. The HEROES Act also authorizes supplemental funds for adult education programs, and requires not less than 10 percent of funds be used for correctional education and expanding the infrastructure needed for online or digital educational resources, creating or expanding digital literacy curriculum, and partnering more closely with the workforce development system to implement strategies such as integrated education and training. Advocacy for the bill now moves to the Senate.  Please keep working to ensure that your mayors and business leaders call for continued support for the workforce system in a 4th stimulus package. Click here to access a two-page summary of the bill. Click here to access a title-by-title summary of the bill. Click here to access the entire bill.

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