Short Term Spending Deal

A short-term spending bill was passed by the Senate and has been sent to the White House for the presidential signature. The bill would avoid a partial government shutdown and temporarily fund agencies that are still awaiting a final approved budget. In addition to Homeland Security, Department of Interior and Agriculture, the Justice Department, NASA, the Commerce Department, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, and the Transportation Department, as well as other smaller agencies would be affected. With over 600,000 employees these agencies now await a final budget resolution before the end of December. Major debates include $5 billion in funding for a border wall between Mexico and the United States.

Read more about the bill here.


White House STEM Strategic Plan

A five-year strategic plan was released by the White House for the future of STEM education. Titled Charting a Course for Success: America’s Strategy for Stem Education, the plan is a report by the Committee on STEM Education of the National Science and Technology Council. The plan envisions access to high quality STEM education. In the report there is an emphasis on partnerships between industry and community organizations to train workers for an increasingly high-tech world. The plan emphasizes the importance of developing holistic STEM learning experiences. That would entail blending the arts, social sciences and other fields beyond computational literacy. The federal commitment to equity and diversity is also mentioned in the five-year plan.

Click here to read the full report.


Technical Education to Meet Workforce Needs

A new study comparing vocational programs in the United States to those in Germany, suggest a need in vocational education to meet the needs of the United States. Joshua Aizenman, Yothin Jinjarak, Nam Ngo and Ilan Noy conclude that vocational training or CTE, that is resourced and targeted can be a better long-term investment in skill acquisition for those whose jobs are disappearing with an emerging high-tech world. With employment in U.S. manufacturing declining it is important to think of solutions for those who are already suffering the ramifications.

Key aspects that allow Germany’s system to do so well, is the process in which students are identified and directed to succeed in CTE programs. They start identifying students who are struggling in academics as early as seventh grade. The study also points to the large U.S. student debt of $1.2 trillion in the aggregate, which they calculate as being much larger than any returns.

Click here to read the full working paper.


Labor Department Launches Apprenticeship Website

Berkshire Eagle (October 9, 2018)

A no-cost tool to employers or career seekers, the Apprenticeship Finder tool is addressing a need shared by employers who are looking to promote their apprenticeship opportunities and career seekers searching to access them. The tool will not only make it easier for career seekers to find apprenticeship opportunities, it will also help employers promote apprenticeships across new or nontraditional industries where apprenticeships may be less common.

Read the full article here


U.S. Weekly Jobless Claims Drop To A Near 49-Year Low

CNBC (October 4, 2018)

The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits fell to a near 49-year low last week, pointing to sustained labor market strength, which should continue to underpin economic growth.

The labor market, which is viewed as being near or at full employment, is steadily boosting wage growth, which could help to support consumer spending as the stimulus from the Trump administration’s $1.5 trillion tax cut package fades. Initial claims for state unemployment benefits dropped 8,000 to a seasonally adjusted 207,000 for the week ended Sept. 29, the Labor Department said on Thursday.

Read the full article here


Alexander Acosta On Future Of Work

Bloomberg (October 1, 2018)

“One big idea that we need to rethink is how do we recognize businesses investment in people?” Acosta said, “When you invest in a person, you’re building up an asset and you’re helping to educate that person. Is there a way to reflect that on the balance sheet? Is there a way to recognize that a better workforce makes a better company on the balance sheet, so that businesses that reflect in their workforce are not penalized for doing so?”

The labor secretary has been pushing these questions in public speaking engagements around the country, but the answers are probably outside the DOL’s purview. The balance sheet approach also seems to shift the training responsibility from companies who choose machines over workers to businesses who are actually hiring real, live humans. That’s not to mention what Acosta calls the “free rider” problem.

Read the full article here


Legislation Lowering Labor Department Funding Advances

Bloomberg (September 18, 2018)

In a 93-7 vote, the Senate passed the House-merged version of the package legislation (H.R. 6157) to fund the DOL, the National Labor Relations Board, the Defense Department, the Health and Human Services Department, and related agencies for the next fiscal year, which starts Oct. 1.

The bill includes $12.1 billion for the DOL, down $128 million from FY 2018 funding. The measure keeps NLRB funding at $274 million, unchanged for the current fiscal year for the agency tasked with enforcing the National Labor Relations Act.

Read the full article here


Rosen Introduces Bill To Create Federal Cybersecurity Apprenticeship Program

The Hill (September 13, 2018)

The bipartisan bill, known as the “Cyber Ready Workforce Act,” would establish grants to help create, implement and expand registered apprenticeship programs for cybersecurity.

Under the bill, the programs would be required to offer certain cybersecurity certifications and help connect participants with local businesses or other entities for apprenticeships in hopes to boost the number of qualified workers for federal cyber jobs.

The proposed grant program is based on Nevada’s own cybersecurity apprenticeship program, the first in the country, according to a release from Rosen’s office.

Read the full article here


New Federal Website Links Jobseekers With Apprenticeships

Newsday (September 5, 2018)

On, people can search for apprenticeship opportunities by city, state and occupation. The listings are from the National Labor Exchange database from the National Association of State Workforce Agencies.

U.S. Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta said the website “offers the first step in better online resources for apprenticeships across all industries.”

Read the full article here