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ADVOCACY & POLICY UPDATE - October 31st, 2022

DOL Launches Yes, WIOA Can! Campaign


Washington Update


Yes, WIOA Can! Campaign

Earlier this month Deputy Secretary of Labor Julie Su announced the Department of Labor’s (DOL) new campaign in support of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) called Yes, WIOA Can! The intent of the campaign is to encourage more WIOA-funded programs to include job quality metrics when tracking outcomes rather than just focusing on the number of individuals trained, and to dispel myths about what is possible within the legislation. The campaign also aims to clarify how flexible WIOA funds can be under existing policies as well as how the legislation can be leveraged by state and local governments, workforce boards, unions, employers, and community-based organizations to promote “innovation, equity, and job quality” across the nation’s workforce development system. Four goals the Department has listed that focus on job quality and equity are:

  1. Build and invest in sector-based labor-management partnerships that result in effective training programs tied to quality jobs.

  2. Integrate job quality and equity requirements in programs and grants, so resources target communities where workers face the most significant barriers to good jobs.

  3. Provide access to supportive services like childcare, transportation and more, to enhance workers’ opportunities for growth and success.

  4. Measure success not just by if a worker gets a job, but by whether the most vulnerable workers get good jobs.

The campaign aims to highlight best practices that demonstrate what effective deployment of WIOA looks like and support the scaling of effective practices through language in funding opportunities. It will also expand resources offered through Workforce GPS, the DOL Employment and Training Administration’s technical assistance website. Through the campaign, the Department plans to organize webinars and improve one-the-ground support of WIOA grantees, including support with compliance assistance.

Click here to read Deputy Secretary Su’s article announcing the campaign.

Final Rule - Pell Grants for Prison Education Programs

On Thursday, October 27, the U.S. Department of Education finalized a series of final regulations — one of which tightens restrictions on for-profit colleges and expands Pell grants to incarcerated students and corrects a policy loophole that entices these institutions to aggressively, and deceptively, recruit members of the military.

The new rules alter the federal 90/10 rule. It requires for-profit colleges to derive at least 10% of their revenue from areas other than Title IV financial assistance, which includes federal student loans and Pell grants, aid that targets low- and moderate-income students. Benefits from the U.S. Department of Defense’s Tuition Assistance program and GI Bill are not Title IV funding, which enables for-profit colleges to apply them towards the 10% requirement. This incentivized for-profit colleges to attract veterans and active service members to enroll, sometimes using deceptive means. The new regulation classifies military benefits as federal education funding in the 90% part of calculation.

Soon, incarcerated students who participate in eligible prison education programs will be able to receive Pell grants worth up to the cost of attendance while enrolled in a public or private nonprofit college. According to a May 2022 report by the Vera Institute of Justice, more than 9,000 incarcerated students have earned a certificate or diploma through Second Chance Pell. It also found that from 2016 through 2021, more than 28,000 incarcerated students used Pell grants to enroll in college programs. Under the new rule, accreditors and the Education Department must approve institutions’ first prison education programs at the first two correctional facilities where the colleges operate them. The rules governing ownership changes and Pell Grants for incarcerated students take effect on July 1 of next year.

Click here to read the Department of Education press release.

Click here to access the final rules.

National Apprenticeship Week

The Department of Labor’s (DOL) 8th Annual National Apprenticeship Week (NAW) will be held on November 14-20, 2022. The national celebration will bring industry, labor, workforce, education, and government leaders together to host events that showcase the successes and value of Registered Apprenticeships for re-building the nation’s economy, advancing racial and gender equity, and supporting underserved communities. During NAW 2022, the Department will highlight the following key themes: growing our economy, advancing racial and gender equity, and supporting underserved communities. The week will also feature daily themes:

Monday, Nov. 14: Registered Apprenticeship in New and Emerging Industries;

Tuesday, Nov. 15: Pre-Apprenticeship and Youth Apprenticeship;

Wednesday, Nov. 16: Expanding Registered Apprenticeship to Underserved Populations;

Thursday, Nov. 17: Women in Apprenticeship; and

Friday, Nov. 18: Public Service Apprenticeships and Veterans in Apprenticeship .

2022 marks the 85th Anniversary of the National Apprenticeship Act, so DOL’s goal is to have 1,000 NAW events and 250 proclamations across the country in all states and territories, including the District of Columbia. To reach that goal, the Department asks that you continue to promote NAW by issuing a proclamation, hosting and participating in events throughout the week, and encouraging event hosts to register events and proclamations on the NAW website. 

To make sure your event is highlighted on the Department’s website, please email your NAW pictures, videos, proclamations, and articles to NationalApprenticeshipWeek@dol.gov and use the hashtag #NAW2022 on social media posts. You can also send any information to USCM WDC staff, Kevin Verge, kverge@usmayors.org to compile and send to the Department.

Click here to access the NAW website to submit event information.

Click here to access proclamation templates.

Click here to access the NAW mailer.

Debt Limit

Many Democrats are putting pressure on their party to raise the federal debt limit during the lame duck session - before they possibly lose control of Congress next year - to prevent a potential showdown with Republicans. The country has almost a year until experts say the federal government will hit its borrowing limit, which gives Congress plenty of time to avert a default; however, if Republicans take control of a chamber of Congress they could use the debt ceiling as leverage in negotiations. The lengthy and complicated budget reconciliation process is the only thing that would allow Democrats to raise the ceiling without Republican support.

Initial Jobless Rate

In the week ending October 22, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 217,000, an increase of 3,000 from the previous week's unrevised level of 214,000. The 4-week moving average was 219,000, an increase of 6,750 from the previous week's unrevised average of 212,250. The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 1.0 percent for the week ending October 15, unchanged from the previous week's unrevised rate.

Click here to access the report.

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