Looking at Federal Workforce Development Positives

The recent Federal government hiatus gave us at KRA Corporation pause to reflect on and highlight some of the recent positive and innovative actions of the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) related to workforce development.

After being sworn in as the newest Secretary of Labor, Thomas Perez described the DOL as the “quarterback in a workforce-development system” in an interview with the Washington Post. Even though his tenure has been short, the new Secretary has had a busy period at the helm for the DOL.

A staunch advocate of workers’ rights, he has dubbed the DOL as the “department of opportunity,” speaking frequently of the “ladder of opportunity” and his dedication to the President’s move for a “better bargain for the middle class.”

Skills acquisition—enabling workers to be competitive in the 21st Century—has been a recurrent theme, and as one of the main focuses of the current administration it has received considerable resources and attention.

It was announced that another $474.5 million grant was being added to the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) program to aid in developing the skills infrastructure.

Secretary of Labor Perez, an active proponent of skill development, said this of its impact: “Helping people acquire new skills and access new training programs allows them to climb ladders of opportunity to secure a foothold in the middle class. Building human capital in this way is one key way to accelerate the recovery and unleash the economy’s full potential.”

Secretary Perez also saw the implementation of the $24 million Workforce Investment Fund (WIF) Pay For Success grant pilot. This innovative new initiative relies on Social investment Bonds, shifting the initial financial burden to private sector financial investment with government agencies then only paying for trackable and defined outcomes.

Disabled workers have received a much-needed boost ahead of National Disability Employment Awareness Month. The finalized rule changes to Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (promoting better affirmative action hires within government contractors) and an announcement that almost $10 million in additional funding will be made available for improved employment opportunities for disabled workers are a welcome aid to those disabled workers seeking employment and workforce equality.

New Hampshire’s at-risk 16-24 year old disconnected youth received a lift with the announcement that a Jobs Corps Center will soon be established in that state as a means to provide valuable job training to this unemployed segment of the population.

Having served all sectors of the unemployed spectrum, KRA Corporation applauds policy and program creation that provide services targeted at enhancing the skills and opportunities of all jobseekers—regardless of circumstance—to meet the demands of employers thereby providing a qualified, competitive labor pool.

As always, KRA Corporation remains resolute in our promise to prepare job seekers for tomorrow’s global economy and to supply employers with a trained and reliable workforce.  We appreciate the current efforts of all Federal agencies that aid us in this mission, and look forward to future initiatives, policies, and programs that will continue to do so.