Senators offer support for workforce funding.

March 30, 2012

On March 29, 30 Senators joined in a bipartisan “Dear Colleague” letter  to the Senate Appropriations Committee, urging the committee to support critical investments in federal job training and education programs as part of the Fiscal Year (FY) 2013 Labor-Health and Human Services-Education appropriations bill. Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Olympia Snowe (R-ME) took the lead in circulating the letter, which encourages appropriators to:

  • Maintain funding for WIA Title I Adult, Dislocated Worker, and Youth state formula grants programs at FY 2012 pre-rescission enacted levels, and fund national programs under Title I at the levels recommended in the Administration’s FY 2013 budget request. The letter urges appropriators not to consolidate or otherwise modify WIA funding in ways that would reduce overall funding levels or otherwise limit access to services for jobseekers and employers.
  • Consistent with the Administration’s FY 2013 budget request, increase funding for state Wagner-Peyser Employment Service to $730.8 million (an increase of about $30 million over FY 2012 enacted levels).
  • Maintain FY 2012 pre-rescission funding levels for Women in Apprenticeships and Non-Traditional Occupations (WANTO) grants and for the Department of Labor’s Women’s Bureau.
  • Consistent with the Administration’s FY 2013 budget request, maintain FY 2012 pre-rescission funding levels for adult basic education state grants under Title II of WIA.

The following lawmakers joined Senators Blumenthal and Snowe in support of workforce investments:

Wyden (D-OR)
Boxer (D-CA)
Schumer (D-NY)
Reed (D-RI)
Akaka (D-HI)
Tom Udall (D-NM)
Kerry (D-MA)
Gillibrand (D-NY)
Leahy (D-VT)
Sanders (I-VT)
Franken (D-MN)
Cantwell (D-WA)
Levin (D-MI)
Rockefeller (D-WV)
Merkley (D-OR)
Stabenow (D-MI)
Tim Johnson (D-SD)
Whitehouse (D-RI)
Tester (D-MT)
Kohl (D-WI)
Durbin (D-IL)
Klobuchar (D-MN)
Menendez (D-NJ)
Bingaman (D-NM)
Lautenberg (D-NJ)
Begich (D-AK)
Shaheen (D-NH)
Cardin (D-MD)

In addition to those Senators signing the Dear Colleague, Senators Brown (D-OH), Pryor (D-AR), and Bennet (D-CO) indicated that they would include workforce programs in the funding priorities they submit to committee individually.

Blumenthal and Snowe also took the lead on a letter calling for investments in career and technical education under the Carl D. Perkins Act. Other Senators on the CTE letter were Leahy, Jim Webb (D-VA), Wyden, Sanders, Reed, Tester, Whitehouse, Bingaman, Menendez, Cardin, Kohl, Schumer, Merkley, Franken, Akaka, T. Johnson, Stabenow, Coxer, and T. Udall.

Senator Schumer submitted a separate letter urging the committee to restore Pell Grant eligibility for "ability to benefit" students – individuals without a high school diploma or equivalent who until recently could qualify for Pell by passing a test or successfully completing six credits of postsecondary coursework. This eligibility was eliminated in the FY 2012 omnibus.

Senator Webb  submitted a separate letter in support of Title adult education funding. Joining Webb on the letter were Senators Leahy, Reed, Bingaman, Begich, Whitehouse, Shaheen, Gillibrand, and Schumer.

National Skills Coalition thanks these Senators for their leadership and vision on these important issues, and we look forward to working with Congress to prioritize investments in the skills of the U.S. workforce in FY 2013.