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ADVOCACY & POLICY UPDATE - November 15th, 2021

Build Back Better Act Provides $40 Billion for Job Training; Former New Orleans Mayor to Oversee Infrastructure

Washington Update

Infrastructure Bill/Social Spending Package

The House is back in session this week as Democratic leaders push toward an expected vote on President Biden’s $1.75 trillion Build Back Better social spending bill. Democrats have settled on $40 billion for worker training in the Build back Better social spending package, of which, $20 billion would go directly to workforce development programs - $13.6 billion through the Department of Labor and $6.4 billion through the Department of Education. The other $20 billion would be used to support a Civilian Climate Corps to create service opportunities and fund job training programs to fight climate change. Both numbers are unlikely to change as Democrats are becoming more anxious to finalize and pass the legislation. The bill contains other, more broad investments to support worker development through funding in child care and long-term care by encouraging higher wages, among other things.

Below is a breakdown of job-training funding in the Build Back Better social spending package: Department of Labor

  • $2 billion over five years for grants authorized under the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, or WIOA, to states so they can provide career services to and fund education and training programs for dislocated workers.

  • $1 billion over five years for WIOA-authorized grants to states for the same purposes, but available to all workers.

  • $1.5 billion over five years for WIOA-authorized grants to states for investing in younger workers, including funding paid-work experience and partnering to serve out-of-school youth.

  • $500 million would be funneled to the Employment Service, a nationwide system of public employment offices

  • $500 million to aid adults reentering the workforce and for young adults not in school or in the criminal justice system who are entering the workforce for the first time.

  • $1 billion for registered apprenticeship programs and pre-apprenticeship programs.

  • $5 billion in grants to partnerships between workforce boards, employers, unions and others to expand workforce development in high-skill and in-demand sectors.

  • $500 million to the Job Corps program.

  • $50 million in WIOA grants for Native American programs; $70 million to WIOA grants for migrant and seasonal farmworkers; and $15 million for the WIOA-authorized YouthBuild program.

Department of Education

  • $700 million for WIOA-authorized education and literary services.

  • $700 million for Perkins grants, which fund career and technical education programs.

  • $5 billion to community colleges partnering with employers to expand their workforce development programs for in-demand sectors.

Workers with Disabilities

  • $300 million for a new multiyear, state-administered grant program to aid employers participating in competitive integrated employment, designed to bring workers with disabilities up to the same wage and benefit levels as workers without disabilities.

Employers who accept the grants would be required to pay their workers the minimum wage, though current law allows some employers to pay workers with disabilities less than the minimum wage. An additional $24 million would pay for grants to states that have ended or are in the process of ending that practice, and another $6 million would establish a technical assistance center to help states and employers end the practice.

Civilian Climate Corps

  • More than $15 billion to create climate-focused public service opportunities via AmeriCorps.

  • More than $4 billion would go to DOL programs to train workers for jobs in climate-related fields.

Inflation continues to impact negotiations over the social spending bill. The fate of the spending bill could rest on how much Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona are worried about inflation. Both senators have voiced their concerns about the bill’s effect on rising prices. Once the House sends over its version of the legislation to the Senate, possibly as soon as this week, the two lawmakers will have considerable influence on its final status.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (NY) has told House Democrats he wants to get the Build Back Better Act through the Senate quickly. The Senate is expected to rework the House version of the bill, and Schumer identified the paid leave provisions (which the House had added back into the bill) as one potential casualty, as Senator Manchin has been vocal about his opposition to including it in the bill.

Click here to access the White House fact sheet on the Build Back Better framework.

Click here to access the House Committee on Education and Labor fact sheet on the Build Back Better Act.

Click here for a section-by-section analysis of the Build Back Better Act.

Click here to access the full legislation.

Click here to read the USCM press release on the framework.

Landrieu to Oversee Infrastructure Bill

Later today, President Biden is expected to sign the recently-passed $1.2 trillion infrastructure spending bill into law. This package also provides a little over $1 billion for occupational- specific skills training grants administered by the Departments of Energy and Transportation. It funds workers’ access to digital skills, which means local areas could support workers’ digital reskilling and upskilling necessary to succeed in jobs that are evolving as businesses reopen and expand during our economic recovery. Last night, President Biden appointed Mitch Landrieu, former Mayor of New Orleans, to oversee the infrastructure bill and clamp down on wasteful spending as America works to upgrade its roads, bridges, broadband internet and more.

Click here to access the NYTimes article on Landrieu Appointment.

National Apprenticeship Week

This week, November 15 - 21, 2021, is the 7th Annual National Apprenticeship Week! National Apprenticeship Week (NAW) is a nationwide celebration that brings together business leaders, labor, career seekers, apprentices, industry associations, educational institutions and other critical state and local partners to demonstrate their support for Registered Apprenticeship, as well as highlight the successes and value of Registered Apprenticeship for rebuilding our economy, advancing racial and gender equity and supporting underserved communities. NAW also gives apprenticeship sponsors the opportunity to showcase their programs, facilities and apprentices in their community.

NAW is an opportunity to highlight how Registered Apprenticeship, a proven and industry-driven training model, provides a critical talent pipeline that can help to address some of our nation’s pressing workforce challenges such as responding to critical supply chain demands and supporting a clean energy workforce, modernizing our cybersecurity response, addressing public health issues, and rebuilding our country’s infrastructure. Over the past six years, NAW has been extremely successful spurring over 5,000 events in all 50 States across the country, with over 470,000 attendees, and over 700 proclamations and we couldn’t have done it without the support of Governors, Mayors and other state leaders.

You can continue to help the Department of Labor promote NAW by issuing a proclamation, hosting events throughout the week, and registering them on the NAW website.

Click here to access the NAW website.

Click here to access event and proclamation resources.

Click here to access the NAW mailer to learn more about how to participate.

Click here to access a sample City Proclamation.

Good Jobs Challenge

On Thursday, November 18, at 3:00 p.m. (ET) the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) will host an information session and virtual office hours on the Good Jobs Challenge.

EDA’s American Rescue Plan $500 million Good Jobs Challenge aims to connect Americans with the training opportunities they need to develop in-demand skills that lead to good jobs and long-term careers. EDA is looking for applicants who can build and strengthen industry-led partnerships that remove barriers to training, particularly for those workers hit hardest by the pandemic, including, women and communities of color. EDA will fund one or more of the following phases, as applicable to regional needs: System development; Program design; Program implementation.

EDA invites those preparing applications for the Good Jobs Challenge to join a public Office Hours session, where EDA program staff will provide an overview of program requirements, discuss resources for technical assistance, and address questions about the program and application process. Please submit questions in advance to guide the discussion. The application deadline for the Good Jobs Challenge is Wednesday, January 26, 2022.

Click here to register for the information session.

USCM WDC/SEED Publication

The U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM) Workforce Development Council (WDC) is proud to formally release its newest publication “Providing Effective Workforce Development Services to Individuals with Disabilities in a Limited Resource Environment.” This “toolkit” was created in partnership with the Department of Labor’s State Exchange on Employment & Disability (SEED) initiative.

The publication spotlights creative and innovative ways mayors, cities and workforce development boards can assess issue and and construct city-wide programs that focus on improving workforce inclusivity for individuals with disabilities. There are 21 different cities and 8 different American Job Centers featured in the toolkit.

Click here to access Providing Effective Workforce Development Services to Individuals with Disabilities in a Limited Resource Environment.

If you need any additional information, or would like to know more about a specific program featured in the toolkit, please be sure to contact Kevin Verge(

Initial Jobless Claims

In the week ending November 6, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 267,000, a decrease of 4,000 from the previous week's revised level. This is the lowest level for initial claims since March 14, 2020 when it was 256,000. The previous week's level was revised up by 2,000 from 269,000 to 271,000. The 4-week moving average was 278,000, a decrease of 7,250 from the previous week's revised average. This is the lowest level for this average since March 14, 2020 when it was 225,500. The previous week's average was revised up by 500 from 284,750 to 285,250. The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 1.6 percent for the week ending October 30, unchanged from the previous week's unrevised rate.

Click here to access the full report.

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