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Advocacy & Policy Update - May 18, 2020

DOL Launches Apprenticeship Portal; Scalia Joins Coronavirus Task Force


Coronavirus Relief Package

On Friday, May 15, the House passed the $3 trillion Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions (HEROES) Act to help alleviate health and economic fallout over the coronavirus pandemic. The legislation is the Democrats’ starting point for talks with GOP Senators and the Administration. Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has expressed his desire to move slow on a fourth relief package and feels there is no urgency.

Despite opposition to the bill as drafted, President Trump has said he is willing to include billions more in federal aid for state and local governments that have been hard hit by the virus, as included in the legislation. A third of the bill - almost $1 trillion - would go to state and local governments to provide necessary support to preserve jobs and contain the public health threat. Many conservative lawmakers oppose state and local funding, but the Administration sees it as a path to inclusion of GOP priorities in the final bill.

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.

Apprenticeship Portal

On Monday, May 11,t he Department of Labor (DOL) launched an online portal where organizations can apply to become Standards Recognition Entities for Industry-Recognized Apprenticeship Programs. The portal allows private business groups to apply to oversee apprenticeship programs separate from the agency’s own registered apprenticeship program. Under the DOL’s privatized apprenticeship rule, trade groups, unions, businesses and other organizations can apply to become certified as ‘standards recognition entities’ - groups that certify and monitor the quality of new apprenticeship programs run by private entities, rather than by the federal government.

Click here to access the portal.

Coronavirus Task Force

On Friday, May 15, Vice President Mike Pence announced that U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) Secretary Eugene Scalia will join the White House coronavirus task force. Pence said the task force is entering a phase ‘focused on getting Americans back to work and allowing businesses to reopen.’ In addition to Secretary Scalia, the White House also announced the additions of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, Director of the National Institutes of Health Francis Collins, Director of the Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research Peter Marks, and head of the Health Resources and Services Administration Thomas Engels.

Initial Jobless Claims

On Thursday, May 14, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released the unemployment insurance weekly claims. In the week ending May 9, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 2,981,000, a decrease of 195,000 from the previous week's revised level. The previous week's level was revised up by 7,000 from 3,169,000 to 3,176,000. The 4-week moving average was 3,616,500, a decrease of 564,000 from the previous week's revised average. The previous week's average was revised up by 7,000 from 4,173,500 to 4,180,500. The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 15.7 percent for the week ending May 2, an increase of 0.3 percentage point from the previous week's revised rate.

Click here to read the full report.

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