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Advocacy & Policy Update - March 30, 2020

UPDATE ON THIRD COVID-19 SUPPLEMENTAL PACKAGE


On Wednesday, March 25, the Senate voted unanimously to pass a bipartisan $2 trillion coronavirus stimulus bill (H.R. 748), to shore up the U.S. economy as it weathers the storm of devastation wrought by the pandemic, including the largest surge in unemployment claims ever recorded for a single week.

On Friday, March 27, the House passed the legislation on a voice vote and President Trump signed the historic package into law that afternoon.


  • Click here to read the March 31 weekly legislative update.

  • Click here to read the USCM COVID-19 CARES Act Report.


What We Know



DEPARTMENT OF LABOR

Dislocated Worker National Reserve:

The bill provides $360 million in funding to help states and cities respond to workforce impacts and layoffs resulting from the coronavirus. This includes $15 million in funding for Program Management to implement the paid leave and emergency Unemployment Insurance (UI) stabilization activities.

It’s not clear how this new funding will be apportioned among WIOA programs. The bill does not include a percentage reduction for spending on out-of-school youth, a change some in the workforce system were pushing.

Local Workforce System:

H.R. 748 increases the administrative set-aside for local workforce development boards to 20 percent, to assist in emergency response. The same section also gives governors authority to immediately spend unobligated “governor’s reserve” funds for rapid response.

Unemployment Insurance:

The legislation significantly expands eligibility and benefit levels for Unemployment Insurance. Specifically the bill:

  • Allows part-time, self-employed, and gig economy workers to access UI benefits through self-attestation (“self-certification” in the bill).

  • Increases weekly benefits by $600 on top of state UI benefits.

  • Waives waiting weeks, so benefits flow faster.

  • Provides an additional 13 weeks of federally-funded unemployment insurance benefits.

DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH & HUMAN SERVICES

Reauthorization of the TANF Block Grant and Targeted Funds for Training TANF-Eligible Workers for Healthcare Careers:

The bill includes a clean extension of the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) block grant (through November 30, 2020) and includes an extension of the Health Profession Opportunity Grants (HPOG) (until November 30, 2020), allowing grantees more time to spend existing dollars. HPOG grants support partnerships between healthcare providers and workforce and education providers to help TANF-eligible workers access training for healthcare careers and fund support services (e.g. childcare and transportation) to ensure workers with the highest skills needs succeed in training. Current HPOG grantees are set to finish their grant cycle this year and the House has introduced a reauthorization bill to expand HPOG grants, and significantly increase funding for these grants, in what would be the third round of the program.

DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION

Education Stabilization Fund:

The bill provides $30.9 billion in flexible funding directly to states, local school districts, and higher education to help schools, students, teachers, and families with immediate needs related to coronavirus, including:

Elementary and Secondary Education:

$13.5 billion in formula funding to help schools respond to coronavirus and related school closures, meet the immediate needs of students and teachers, improve the use of education technology, support distance education, and make up for lost learning time.

Higher Education:

$14.25 billion in funding to directly support students facing urgent needs related to coronavirus, and to support institutions as they cope with the immediate effects of coronavirus and school closures. This provides targeted formula funding to institutions of higher education, as well as funding for minority serving institutions and HBCUs.

State Flexibility Funding:

$3 billion in flexible formula funding to be allocated by states based on the needs of their elementary and secondary schools and their institutions of higher education.

Project SERV:

$100 million in targeted funding for elementary and secondary schools and institutions of higher education to respond to the immediate needs of coronavirus and the effect on students.

COVID 19 BEST PRACTICES AND RESOURCES​


USCM/WDC STAFF ANALYSIS

  • Click here to read the March 31 weekly legislative update.

  • Click here to read the USCM COVID-19 CARES Act Report.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

  • Click here to read the DOL's announcement of disaster grants for dislocated workers.

  • Click here to read the DOL's Q&A on posting requirements regarding the Families First Coronavirus Response Act Notice.

  • Click here to read the DOL Wage & Hour Division's Field Assistance Bulletin regarding the Temporary Non-Enforcement Period Applicable to the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA).

  • Click here to access additional coronavirus resources from the Department of Labor.

  • Click here to read a Q&A from the U.S. Department of Education's Rehabilitation Services Administration about implementing performance accountability provisions under Title I of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act.

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©2020 by The U.S. Conference of Mayors Workforce Development Council.

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