Legislative Update: On the Job Training, HELP Hearing, FY12 Budget

On the Job Training Act

On Monday Senators Jeanne Shaheen (NH) and Thad Cochran (MS) introduced S. 3459, On the Job Training Act of 2010, which aims to amend the Workforce Investment Act to authorize additional funding for on the job training (OJT). The Act would authorize the Department of Labor to award grants to fund local OJT programs and would provide state and local workforce boards with resources to recruit employers and develop OJT programs.

“The majority of the jobs that have been lost as a result of the economic crisis are not going to come back, and we need to do everything we can to get these unemployed Americans the new skills they need to rejoin the workforce,” said Shaheen. “On-the-job training is the most effective way to pair unemployed workers with employers, and I urge my colleagues to support these programs so that we can help Americans who need jobs get back to work.”

State of the American Child

Earlier this week, the Senate Subcommittee on Children and Families held the first in the series of hearings on the condition and status of the American child with goal of developing steps that can be taken to improve these conditions. In his opening remarks, Subcommittee chair Chris Dodd (CT) stressed that the current recession will have tragic impact on American families long after the recession is over, saying “One in seven American children has an unemployed parent. One in five live in poverty, and an additional 5 million could be driven into poverty before this recession is over. One in four currently uses food stamps.” Dodd went on to propose a national commission on the status of children in America so that policymakers can take what they learn and turn it into action. Among the various issues the panel discussed were childhood obesity, low teacher wages, poor economic conditions and the lack of job opportunities for parents.

FY12 Budget Looks Bleak

On Tuesday the Office of Management and Budget and the White House sent a memo to the heads of each federal agency instructing them to develop their FY12 discretionary budget request based on a 5% reduction from the level proposed by the President in FY11.  For the Department of Education that would mean a reduction of about $2.5 billion from the President’s FY 11 request. A second memo directs each agency to develop a list of proposed program eliminations or major reductions that equal 5% of their FY10 discretionary budget. For the Department of Education this would be about $3.3 billion.

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