DOL Steams Ahead After Shutdown

After 16 days of being shut down, it only took the Department of Labor (DOL) a week to hit the ground running, announcing grants and measures furthering workforce development in many sectors and addressing worker safety.

Secretary of Labor, Thomas Perez, was critical of the government shutdown dubbing it “a divisive struggle that inflicted unnecessary wounds on the economy.” In a news release regarding the September employment figures, one which boasted the 43rd consecutive month of growth and one in which average hourly wage increased 3 cents, Secretary Perez made his feelings known.

In the release, he spoke of a “modest pace” in America’s “road to recovery” maintaining that economic uncertainty was a reality even prior to the government shutdown (what he deemed a “standoff”) and that “this avoidable confrontation was exactly what an economy on the mend did not need”.

KRA Corporation understands and appreciates Secretary Perez’s concerns regarding the potential and as yet unseen fallout regarding the lost 16 days. However, we are encouraged to see that the DOL continues ahead at full steam in trying to determine the most effective means to develop all facets and members of the U.S. workforce, while remaining vigilant on behalf of those in the workforce.

Recently, the current administration awarded $20.5 million in grants for  Make it in America Challenge—an initiative that backs the push for accelerated and increased job creation through “regional economic development, advanced skills training, greater supply chain access and other enhancements.”

In addressing increased worker safety, the DOL’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration also recently launched two new web-based resources. The first, a toolkit, offers employers a step-by-step guide to hazardous chemical substitution, while the second—the Annotated Permissible Exposure Limits (or PEL tables)—helps employers to adopt updated exposure limits aimed at offering more protection to employees.

Additionally, it was announced that the Department of Education has awarded almost $5million in research project and program development grants to five institutions to improve the lives of disabled Americans. The ultimate aim of the grants is intended to “fulfill the goal of inclusion, integration, employment and self-sufficiency of people with disabilities.”

KRA Corporation is heartened by the fact that the DOL is back in the saddle again and despite the setbacks continues to add rungs to the “ladder of opportunity” in trying to aid job growth and development as well as protecting and safeguarding the American workforce.

KRA Corporation remains confident that this administration will see the benefit of approaching workforce development as a vital cog in economic development and look to further it accordingly. The KRA Corporation team remains focused on assisting in the advancement of current, and new, innovative and far-reaching programs that prepare job seekers for tomorrow’s global economy and supply employers with a trained and reliable workforce.