Washington Update: October 28th, 2019

Washington Update: October 28th, 2019

Unemoployment Insurance

The Employment and Training Administration delivered a long awaited regulation that would allow states to drug test unemployment insurance recipients.

The new regulation will take effect as soon as next month.

It is not the first time this regulation has been developed. This time, unlike others, states will be allowed to justify the circumstances for drug testing.

States will not be able to begin testing until they have submitted paperwork and have their plans approved by ETA officials.

John Pallasch, Assistant Secretary for Employment and Training, stated ‘’This rule lays out…that states can…meet under the facts of their specific economies and practices.’’

Read more about the new regulation here.


Workforce Development

A new resource for understanding workforce development systems was released by the National Association of State Workforce Agencies.

On September 12th, NASWA released its inaugural State of the Workforce Report. The state-by-state factbook presents how workforce development programs are managed, labor market information about states and innovations put forth by state officials.

States will have access to key labor market information and how their workforce is structured.

Read the State of the Workforce Report here.


Final Overtime Rule

1.3 million Americans are now eligible for overtime pay.

The news comes after the U.S. Department of Labor announced a final rule on the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

The new thresholds will account for growth in employee salaries since the thresholds were last set in 2004. The final rule will be effective January 1, 2020.

Special salaries were revised for workers in U.S. territories and the motion picture industries.

More information about the final rule is available here.

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Washington Updates – September 2019


An evaluation of diverse projects to support the employment of people with disabilities found a focus on changing attitudes, person-centered approaches, replication strategies, community partnerships and wraparound services led to stronger projects.

The Kessler Foundation is the philanthropic namesake of Dr. Henry Kessler, an orthopedist who founded the Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation, a rehabilitation company headquartered in West Orange, N.J.

Since 2004, the foundation put forth more than $41.5 million in funding to a diverse array of grantees to expand opportunities for people with disabilities.

Read more about the Kessler Foundation here.


The Self-Employment Training initiative, funded by the federal government, led to gains in entrepreneurial activities and self-employment for dislocated workers recruited by the workforce development system.

Commissioned by the Employment and Training Administration in the aftermath of the Great Recession, the Self-employment Training Program ran from 2013 to 2017.

Mathematica Policy Research conducted an evaluation on ETA’s behalf. The results showed how the program ‘’maintained family income while developing a small business’’ or ‘’ given the potential risks of self-employment, keeping the door open to the traditional job market.’’

Request a copy of the report here.

WIOA Waivers

The number of states with waivers of Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act requirements and the number of individual waivers granted to states each more than doubled over the past year, as more states sought flexibility on planning, spending and performance obligations.

Illinois received a waiver in the second week of January allowing the state to designate a single local workforce area across more than one planning region.

Unlike the other states, Texas is the only one to hold a waiver to allow it to use modified performance measure in performance goal negotiations with local workforce boards.

Find the WIOA waivers here

Native Americans

The Employment and Training Administration unveiled additional performance indicators for grantees of the Indian and Native Americans workforce program.

The statutory purpose of the program, at Section 166(a) is: “to develop more fully the academic, occupational and literacy skills of [Indian, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian individuals]; to make such individuals more competitive in the workforce and to equip them with the entrepreneurial skills necessary for successful self-employment; and to promote the economic and social development of Indian, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian communities.

Find out more about it here.

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Washington Updates 2019


The Trump Administration’s Industry-Recognized Apprenticeship Program Regulations drew an outpouring of praises and criticisms.

The proposal laid out the most specific details about how the program will operate. Third party groups responsible for approving programs will be called Standards Recognition Entities. Recognition by these agencies will not equal registration, rather it will be an additional step.

While Republicans welcomed the policy, Congressional Democrats called the Industry-Recognized Apprenticeship Program regulations ‘’a violation’’ of the National Apprenticeship Act. 

Read more about the proposed Industry Recognized Apprenticeship Program here.

Adult Education

A new guidance clarifies when Federal Adult Education and Family Literacy Act funding may be used for credentialing costs in integrated education and training.

Certifications such as occupational safety and health will be allowed, while others such as work readiness will be disallowed.

The new guidance states that adult education funding cannot pay for costs related to general skills certificates that are work readiness credentials.

Contact here, to obtain a copy of OCTAE 19-2, the Allowable Use of Adult Education and Family Literacy Act Funds for Integrated Education and Training Programs.

Future of Work

Cities with educational attainment deficits and large shares of jobs held by African Americans and Latino workers are at risk of Automation, finds a report issued by groups representing minority elected officials.

The report investigated the communities of Columbia, S.C.; Gary, Indiana.; and Long Beach, California.

The researchers identified a range of forecasts., in the three cities, predicting that 32 percent to 46 percent of the jobs held by African Americans are risk of Automation, as are 41 percent to 50 percent of the jobs held by Hispanics.

Find the report here.

Workforce Development Month

September is Workforce Development Month and the Senate will soon consider a funding bill that would invest in workforce and education programs that help workers prepare for jobs at the backbone of our economy – those that require some postsecondary education but not a four-year degree. These programs have helped prepare millions of nurses, carpenters, computer support specialists and machinists across the country for their careers.

Nonetheless, Congress has, since 2001, passed spending bills that have cut funding for our public workforce system by 40 percent, for career and technical education by nearly 30 percent and for adult basic education by nearly 15 percent.

Read more here.

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Washington Updates August 2019

Youth Labor Force Participation Surged this Summer

In August 16, The Bureau of Labor Statistics released its annual report on seasonal employment among 16-to-24-year-olds. BLS reported 9.1 percent youth unemployment rate, its lowest level since 1966. From April through July, 21.2 million young people were employed and 2.1 million unemployed.

Looking at demographics, the July 2019 labor force participation among young men, at 63.2 percent, was up by 2.1 percentage points over the year. The rate for women, at 60.4 percent, was little changed over the same period. By race, unemployment rates were little changed over the year for whites, at 8 percent; Asians, 8.2 percent; and Hispanics, 11.3 percent. Black and African American youth unemployment was 14.6 percent.

Looking at the distribution of employed young workers by industry or sector, 24.9 percent worked in the leisure and hospitality sector; 17.2 percent worked in retail; 13.4 percent worked in education and health services; 8 percent in professional and business service…

Read the report here.

Families Provided Care for Education, Training Vary

The Urban Institute has been researching state Child Care and Development Fund policies, examining the intersections of childcare with workforce development and postsecondary education, for more than half a decade. The recent research briefs provide a first look on the actual use of CCDF-subsidized care by parents enrolled in education and training and an update on state policies in this area.

Coverage levels and eligibility policies vary significantly across states. Generally, care that is subsidized by the federal block grant must be provided to low-income families. Most states prioritize recipients of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families benefits and working families. States, however, have discretion in providing care to parents who are enrolled in education or training, or are searching for jobs.

Find the research briefs here.

Public Charge Rule to Expel Legal Immigrants Based on SNAP

The Department of Homeland Security published final rules of an immigration regulation advanced by the Trump Administration that will deny admission to the United States for immigrants who have used certain public benefits, such as nutrition and housing assistance, when it takes effect on October 15. The regulation is formally titled Inadmissibility on Public Charge Grounds, but it is commonly referred to as the Public Charge rule.

The Immigration and Nationality builds off the Immigration and Nationality Act. The regulation allows the Department of Homeland Security to deny admission to anyone who is “likely at any time to become a public charge.” This prevents people without wealth or advanced education from achieving legal immigration status.  Its policies make holding down a job important for people seeking permanent admission. The law states that age, health, family status, assets, resources, and financial status as well as education and skills shall be considered but does not specify how.

To learn more, click here.

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Washington Updates July 2019

Career and Technical Education

The National Center for Education Statistics defined Career and Technical programs (CTE) as “a sequence of courses at the high school level that provides students with the academic and technical knowledge and skills needed to prepare for further education and careers in current or emerging professions.”

In the Spring of 2017, the center conducted a survey on the execution of CTE programs. 1,800 school districts across the country were asked how the CTE programs were structured, as well as the challenges they face, level of employer involvement, and the criteria for which programming decisions are made.

To request a copy of the report, contact service@miipublications.com


Plano, Durham Lead Metro-Level Analysis of Senior Workforce

On July 8, Provision Living released an analysis of the senior workforce and growth within metropolitan areas across the country. Plano, Texas, occupies the top of the list with 25.4 percent of its senior population ages 65 or older remaining in the workforce. The metros with the next highest rates of labor force participation among seniors were Washington, D.C. and Anchorage, Alaska.

Analysts also documented senior workforce population growth from 2009 through 2017. Durham, N.C., leads the nation with a senior workforce growth of 109 percent. The next highest senior workforce growth rates were found in Plano and Austin, TX.

For more information, visit



2020 Election: Skills Training Support

According to the National Skills Coalition it is likely that there will be overwhelming support for skills training and government training in the 2020 elections. ALG Research conducted a research poll under the NSC in January.

These polling results found that ninety three percent of respondents said that they would support investments in skills training.

Read more about the poll here.


White House – Hill Leaders Agree on Two-Year Budget Deal

President Trump announced a two-year budget agreement is in place – the compromise would increase fiscal 2020 spending limits on non-defense programs by about 4% over current levels to $621.5 billion. In addition, it would provide an extra $2.5 billion to account for a census funding adjustment. Another $8 billion in non-defense spending would continue for the Overseas Contingency Operations account in both fiscal 2020 and fiscal 2021.

For fiscal 2021, which begins Oct. 1, 2020, non-defense spending limits would be raised to $626.5 billion. The agreement also contains a two-year extension of the debt limit.

Assuming the agreement stays in place, a vote will take place before Members depart for the August recess.

For more information, click here.


Trump to Nominate Eugene Scalia as Secretary of Labor

President Trump took to Twitter to announce is intention to nominate Eugene Scalia as secretary of labor, following the resignation Alexander Acosta. Here is what you should know about Scalia.

Scalia is now a partner in the law firm Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher with specialization in employment law and administrative and regulatory law. His past federal government service includes working as a former solicitor for the Department of Labor and as a speechwriter for Education Secretary Benentt.



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Washington Updates February 2019

Washington Updates February 2019

Workforce Congressional Committees

The 116th Congress has new members on committees and subcommittees which brought significant changes. These committees and subcommittees govern employment and training along with social services, education, and economic security policies and lastly program funding.

The House Committee on Education and Labor is chaired by Representative Bobby Scott (D) of Virginia and Representative Virginia Foxx (R) of North Carolina. 

The House Committee on Education and Labor has jurisdiction over workforce development programs. This committee also oversees the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act

Read more about the committees and new members here.


Skillspan: Job Training and Skills

The National Skills Coalition has plans to implement a network of state-level nonpartisans coalitions that will focus on skills and job training. This project is called the “Skills State Policy Advocacy Network” or in short, “Skillspan”. The objective is for these non-partisans coalitions to be in 25 states for the next five years.

Those who will be included in the Skillspan state-level coalitions are policy organizations along with other stakeholders including workforce development organizations.

Read more about Skillspan here.


2020 Election: Skills Training Support

According to the National Skills Coalition it is likely that there will be overwhelming support for skills training and government training in the 2020 elections. ALG Research conducted a research poll under the NSC in January.

These polling results found that ninety three percent of respondents said that they would support investments in skills training.

Read more about the poll here.


Veterans: Expansion of Eligibility

According to new federal guidelines Vietnam-era veterans can now be served by Disabled Veterans’ Outreach Program specialists. These new federal guidelines have broadened the eligibility categories of those who can be served by outreach programs.

The eligibility extension includes transitioning members who need individualized career services. This also includes members and spouses of members who are ill, injured, wounded and are receiving care at military hospitals.

Read more about the eligibility here.

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