KRA Corporation looks at the implications for workforce development in President Obama’s fiscal year 2015 budget requests for the Department of Labor.
President Obama submitted his budget request to Congress recently. Along with considerations for worker security, the budget allocation for the Department of Labor (DOL) aims to “invest in a competitive workforce” by:
- promoting job-driven approaches to both training and employment services
- reconnecting unemployed workers to jobs
The $1.8B of discretionary and new, dedicated funds set aside for the DOL represents a similar allocation to the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013; however, the budget includes what he has dubbed an Opportunity, Growth and Security Initiative (OGSI)—a fully paid initiative that outlines additional investments for Congress to consider for domestic priorities.
Job creation through apprenticeships is a big piece of the OGSI. It points to a 4-year, $6B ($1.5B per year) infusion into the Community College Job-Driven Training Fund. $500M of each year’s budget is dedicated to grants that create new apprenticeships, as well as increase participation in existing programs with an overall goal of doubling the number of apprenticeships in the next 5 years.
By utilizing Community College/employer partnerships, the funds focus on increased employer engagement directed at helping to launch new training programs and apprenticeships that provide participants with the skills-readiness tailored to land in-demand jobs.
The OGSI also adds an additional $750M of previously cut funding to the existing $3B invested in grants that provided services to some 20 million jobseekers in American Job Centers (some are still called One-Stop Career Centers) in states and localities around the country.
The budget invests significantly in programs targeting disadvantaged youth by mandating that $2.5B be used to fund Summer Jobs Plus for summer and year-round opportunities for some 600,000 at-risk youth.
There is a push toward enhanced performance and innovative advances in workforce development strategies, too. The budget allots $80M in incentive grants to state Workforce Investment Act (WIA) programs that have proven they can succeed in training and placing participants who face the biggest employment challenges. A further $60M is earmarked for the Workforce Innovation Fund to support testing of service delivery innovation and strategies at state and regional levels.
Part of the budget targets reform, looking to modernize, streamline, and unify training delivery services to displaced workers. Taking the best features of the Trade Adjustment Assistance for Workers and the WIA Dislocated Workers programs, the budget proposes a New Career Pathways program to improve the efficiency and employment outcomes of various programs.
The budget is aligned with the President’s efforts to address long-term unemployment as well re-employment by allocating:
- $158M for Unemployment Insurance (UI) beneficiaries and recent veterans, providing eligibility assessments and re-employment services to speed them back into employment.
- $6B in combined mandatory funds for bridge-to-work programs (and other strategies) that help UI recipients with short-term placements, as well as business/education/trainer partnerships to provide training services to the long-term unemployed in finding new job placements.
In his budget message, President Obama states the budget, “invests in new efforts to drive greater performance and innovation in workforce training, including on-the-job training, apprenticeships, and other steps to equip workers with skills that match the needs of employers.”
KRA Corporation supports the President’s budget initiatives, and remains committed to designing, developing and operating performance-based workforce development programs that benefit both its job seeker- and businesses-customers.
We have dedicated more than 30 years in workforce development through services such as WIA Adult/Dislocated Workers and WIA Youth to develop and foster those skills needed by jobseekers to be competitive and marketable in the workforce.
KRA Corporation will continue to support the mission of Federal, regional, state, and local agencies that are dedicated to improving the lives of individuals and strengthening the communities in which we live.