President unveils FY 2015 budget.

March 04, 2014

Today, President Obama released the Administration’s proposed fiscal year (FY) 2015 budget. Although the proposal stays within the 2015 spending caps set by the Bipartisan Budget Agreement (BBA) passed last December, it also reflects the reality that we simply cannot meet the needs of the nation without additional investments in key priorities, including a skilled workforce. Therefore, the budget proposal also includes an additional $56 billion for an “Opportunity, Growth, and Security Initiative,” which would be equally split between defense and nondefense discretionary funding, focused on education, research, manufacturing, and job training.

Importantly, this initiative is entirely paid for—half through new revenue and half through savings in mandatory spending—and would not violate existing spending caps. Additionally, the budget request seeks to replace sequestration starting in FY 2016 with a balanced deficit reduction strategy of $1.2 trillion.

Under current law, the federal deficit will be reduced by $3.3 trillion over the next ten years. Unfortunately, though, this austerity frame is creating new deficits in education, research, infrastructure, and job training. The President’s FY 2015 budget proposal takes a step in the right direction by making investments in proven strategies that train workers with the skills for the good-paying, middle-skill jobs that employers are struggling to fill. National Skills Coalition applauds the President’s focus on job-driven training in his FY 2015 budget, and for providing new investment to support proven training strategies, including industry partnerships.

The President’s budget proposes several new investments in employment and job training programs, including:

  • $15 million in new funding for sector partnership grants. 
  • $20 million for new Skills Challenge Grants supporting partnerships between adult education providers, institutions of higher education, private organizations, and industry that combine skills education with training to help students find jobs in in-demand fields or continue to postsecondary education and training.  
  • $4 billion in mandatory funding for a New Career Pathways Program (consolidates Trade Adjustment Assistance [TAA] for Workers and WIA Dislocated Worker, and replaces the previously proposed Universal Displaced Worker Program). 
  • $80 million for WIA incentive grants to reward states that exceed performance expectations with populations experiencing multiple barriers to employment.
  • Partially restoring the Ability-to-Benefit (ATB) provision of Pell. 

Under the Opportunity, Growth and Security Initiative (the extra $56 billion above the BBA caps): 

  • $750 million in funding to restore prior cuts to training and employment services. 
  • $1.5 billion in funding to support a 4-year, $6 billion Community College Job-Driven Training Fund, including $500 million per year for grants to expand apprenticeship programs (replacing the Community College to Career Fund proposal, which was $8 billion over 3 years, and would replace the current Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training [TAACCCT] grants). 

National Skills Coalition will provide further analysis this week on the impact the President’s budget proposal will have on employment and job training programs.