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ADVOCACY & POLICY UPDATE - May 22, 2023

ETA Vision 2030: Investing in America's Workforce


Washington Update


ETA Vision 2030: Investing in America’s Workforce


The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) Employment and Training Administration (ETA) held the three-day meeting “ETA Vision 2030: Investing in America’s Workforce” from May 16-18 to focus on the department’s vision for workforce investment and the importance of the workforce system. The convening centered around the Biden Administration’s Investing in America agenda, which includes legislation such as the American Rescue Plan, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the CHIPS and Science Act, and the Inflation Reduction Act.

On Tuesday, May 16, First Lady Jill Biden spoke on ‘Workforce Hubs’ and the ‘Advanced Manufacturing Sprint.’ The Workforce Hubs will be partnerships between the Administration and state and local officials, employers, unions, community colleges, high schools, and other stakeholders to ensure a diverse and skilled workforce can meet the demand for labor driven by these investments. The first five Workforce Hubs will be in Phoenix; Columbus, OH; Pittsburgh; Baltimore; and Augusta, GA. The Administration launched the new workforce sprint to expand and diversify pathways into good jobs and careers in advanced manufacturing that don’t require a four-year college degree.

On the final day of the convening, Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg gave remarks calling on participants to find ways to create new opportunities and to partner with federal, state and local stakeholders to leverage the Administration’s investments across the country. The need for partnership and equity was a theme throughout the entire event with participants sharing best practices and resources to develop local talent pipelines and create pathways to good jobs.

Click here to access the Administration’s fact sheet on strategies to train and connect workers to jobs.

Click here to read the press release on First Lady Jill Biden’s speech.

Click here to read about the 98 new Apprenticeship Ambassadors.

Click here to read the press release on Secretary Buttigieg’s speech.

Tech Hubs Program

On Friday, May 12, the U.S. Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration (EDA) announced it is now accepting applications for cities to receive a total of $500 million in grants for the new Tech Hubs Program, which is designed to invest directly in high-potential U.S. regions to enable them to become globally competitive in industries of the future. Created as part of the bipartisan CHIPS and Science Act of 2022, the Tech Hubs Program aims to drive regional technology- and innovation-centric growth by strengthening a region’s capacity to manufacture, commercialize, and deploy critical technologies. It will invest directly in high-potential U.S. regions and help them transform into globally competitive innovation centers in approximately 10 years. It also aims to foster geographic diversity in innovation, increase opportunities in regions across the country and for diverse business owners, and to ensure equitable access to job opportunities. To qualify, applicants will need a partnership that includes one or more companies, a state development agency, worker training programs, a university and state and local government leaders. Approximately 20 cities are expected to be designated as tech hubs with 10 eventually receiving funding.

Click here to learn more about the NOFO and the Tech Hubs Program.

Gainful Employment Rule

On Wednesday, May 17, Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona released the agency’s highly anticipated ‘gainful employment’ rule, an Obama-era rule that was eliminated under the Trump administration. The new proposal would cut federal funding to low-performing programs at for-profit colleges and institutions that offer vocational training. Under the proposal, programs must pass two new metrics to continue accepting federal student loans and Pell Grants. One metric targets programs where graduates leave with large amounts of student debt but low earnings — programs in which graduates’ student loan obligations exceed 8 percent of their annual income or 20 percent of discretionary income would fail the test. A program would also fail if their typical graduate earned less than approximately $25,000, though the exact amount varies by state. This metric is meant to examine whether programs offer a wage premium above that of a typical high school graduate.

Click here to access the press release from the Department of Education.

Appropriations/Debt Ceiling

On Wednesday, May 17, Senate Appropriations Chair Patty Murray (WA) and Vice Chair Susan Collins (ME) announced plans to hold markups of bipartisan FY24 funding bills in June. The Senate Appropriations Committee has held more than 30 subcommittee hearings on President Biden’s FY24 budget request. On Thursday, May 18, several House Appropriations subcommittees met to markup and pass their FY24 appropriations bills, including the Military Construction-Veterans Affairs, Legislative Branch, Agriculture-Rural Development-FDA, and Homeland Security bills. House Republican appropriators want to provide the Department of Veterans Affairs an increase of $18 billion for discretionary programs within the agency. On Tuesday, May 16, in a memo from Director of the Office of Management and Budget Shalanda Young, she argued that the increase is disingenuous given the massive cuts Republicans are seeking across other domestic programs.

The House has put many of the other subcommittee markups on hold until a resolution is reached on the debt limit. Negotiations on the debt ceiling continue with no word on details. House Republicans are seeking spending cuts in the federal budget in exchange for support to raise the debt ceiling. The four areas being targeted are revising the permitting process, clawing back unspent COVID relief funds, bolstering work requirements for some government aid programs, and capping spending. According to warnings from Secretary of Treasury Janet Yellen, the government could hit the debt ceiling as soon as June 1.

Click here to access the memo from OMB Director Shalanda Young.

House Education & the Workforce Committee Hearing: WIOA


On Thursday, May 11, the House Committee on Education and the Workforce Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Development held the hearing “Examining America’s Workforce Challenges: Looking for Ways to Improve Skills Development.” Witnesses for the hearing included: Lydia Logan, Vice President for Global Education and Workforce Development at IBM; Bruce Ferguson, CEO of CareerSource Northeast Florida; Dr. Harry J. Holzer, Professor of Public Policy, Georgetown University; and John Pallasch, Founder and CEO, One Workforce Solutions.

Click here to access a recording of the hearing.

House Education & the Workforce Committee Hearing: Education

On Tuesday, May 16, the House Education and the Workforce Committee held the hearing “Examining the Policies and Priorities of the Department of Education.” U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona was the witness at the hearing.

Click here to access a recording of the hearing.

Senate HELP Committee Hearing

On Friday, May 12, the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee held a field hearing at Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta, Georgia titled “Roundtable: How Can We Improve Health Workforce Diversity and Address Shortages? A Conversation with Historically Black College and University Leaders and Students.” Witnesses for the hearing included: President and CEO of Morehouse School of Medicine Valerie Montgomery Rice MD, FACOG; Executive Vice President and Provost of Meharry Medical College Jeannette E. South-Paul MD, DHL(Hon), FAAFP; Senior Vice President for Health Affairs at Howard University Hugh E. Mighty MD, MBA, FACOG; President and CEO of Charles R. Drew University David M. Carlisle MD, PHD, MPH; and President and CEO of the Association of American Medical Colleges David J. Skorton MD as well as several Morehouse School of Medicine students.

Click here to learn more about the field hearing.

Initial Jobless Claims

In the week ending May 13, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 242,000, a decrease of 22,000 from the previous week's unrevised level of 264,000. The 4-week moving average was 244,250, a decrease of 1,000 from the previous week's unrevised average of 245,250. The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 1.2 percent for the week ending May 6, unchanged from the previous week's unrevised rate.

Click here to access the report.

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