House subcommittee holds hearing on examining federal support for job training programs

By Katie Spiker, April 05, 2017

On April 4, the House Appropriation Committee’s Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies held a hearing, Examining Federal Support for Job Training Programs.

The witnesses were Zoe Baird (CEO and President, Markle Foundation), Douglas Besharov (Professor, University of Maryland School of Public Policy; Senior Fellow, Atlantic Council), and Dr. Demetra Smith Nightingale (Institute Fellow, Urban Institute). You can read each witness’ prepared testimony here.

Subcommittee Chairman Tom Cole (R-OK) framed the hearing as an attempt to evaluate how federal job training investments can target skills needed to fill the more than 5.5 million job openings across the country. Ranking Member Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) similarly described the goal as garnishing information on job training programs that work and what appropriators can do to ensure programs are effective.

Witnesses and members of Congress highlighted the importance of maximizing the ability of industry and sector partnerships to bring stakeholders together and impact systemic change, the success of work-based learning and apprenticeship as models to equip workers with in-demand skills connected to employer demand, and the role of the workforce system in engaging workers and business to meet the needs of both.

This hearing comes after the Trump Administration’s “skinny budget” for Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 proposed approximately $2.5 billion in cuts from the Department of Labor’s (DOL) budget and $9 billion in cuts from the Department of Education.

Most federal programs – including job training programs funded by DOL and Department of Education – are currently being funded through a temporary stopgap known as a “continuing resolution” (CR), which largely maintains funding at prior year levels. The current CR was enacted in December, and runs through April 28th. There have been reports that the administration is pushing for further dramatic cuts to spending levels in any FY2017 spending bill passed after the expiration of the current CR.

National Skills Coalition joined with more than 40 other national organizations as part of the Campaign to Invest in America’s Workforce in a letter to House and Senate Appropriators urging them to adequately fund workforce training and education programs in FY2018.

We will continue to monitor the FY2018 budget process and the appropriations process for both FY2017 and FY2018 and will continue to work with our national, state, and local partners to education policymakers on the vital role these investments play for industries and jobseekers across the country, and to reject cuts that would reduce our nation’s ability to compete in a global economy.