MAY 2013, LEHIGH VALLEY Edition of The Union News
Department of Labor releases fiscal year 2014 budget request
BY PAUL TUCKER
REGION, April 11th- Acting United States Secretary of Labor Seth Harris recently released the United States Department of Labor’s (DOL’s) fiscal year 2014 budget request, which supports President Obama’s plan to strengthen the economy and grow the middle class through continued investments in training and resources for job seekers. “The DOL’s fiscal year 2014 budget request is a critical ingredient in the Obama’s administration’s plan to grow the economy from middle class out, not from the top down,” said Secretary Harris.
The budget for the DOL requests $12.1 billion in discretionary funding. It invest in programs in services for workers and job seekers by modernizing the federal job training system and creating employment opportunities for the long-term unemployed and low-income adults and youths. The request devotes significant resources to putting veterans, particularly those with disabilities or other significant barriers to employment, back to work. It also provides improved re-employment services that enable individuals newly separated from the military to successfully transition into civilian careers.
The budget also proposes a new Universal Displaced Worker program that will reach more than a million workers a year with a set of services, replacing two more narrowly-targeted programs and ensuring that all dislocated workers receive high-quality job search assistance.
In addition, the budget provides $150 million for a competitive Workforce Innovation Fund to test new evidence-based workforce development strategies and bold systemic reforms from states and localities. Of that amount, $50 million will be used to identify strategies to help veterans, military family members, and members of the National Guard and Reserve, and $10 million will be focused on identifying effective strategies to improve outcomes for disconnected youths. The budget proposals $8 billion for a Community College to Career Fund, to be administered jointy with the United States Department of Education, that will invest in partnerships between community colleges and business to train workers in high-growth and high-demand industries. It would begin in 2015 as a successor to the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training program.
The budget also includes a $4 billion Re-employment NOW program, which incorporates a number of reforms to help Unemployment Insurance claimants and other-term unemployed individuals get back to work more quickly.
The budget request will surely face obstacles by Republicans that oppose any budget request that provides funds for unemployed workers.