30 National Organizations, Including National Skills Coalition, Send Letter to Congress on COVID-19 Stimulus Bill

By Ayobami Olugbemiga, March 23, 2020

Washington, D.C. — The Campaign to Invest in America’s Workforce (CIAW) – a diverse coalition of 30 education, workforce, and national nonprofit organizations, convened by National Skills Coalition – wrote a letter to Congressional leaders, outlining three policy recommendations to include in future federal stimulus packages in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

“As you continue to work to address the spread of COVID-19 and ease its economic impacts, CIAW strongly encourages Congress to provide vitally needed funding for the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) in any further federal stimulus packages,” the group writes. “There is no question that the demand for reemployment, skilling and reskilling services will increase substantially during the COVID-19 crisis and its aftermath. WIOA funding enables our publicly funded workforce and postsecondary education systems to prepare workers both for in-demand jobs required today, including those in the healthcare industry, and to fill jobs that will lead to economic growth once we have moved past this current crisis.”

CIAW urges Congress to invest in students and workers by:

  1. Increasing investments in WIOA Title I Adult, Youth, and Dislocated Worker and Title III formula funding at least to the levels provided under the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act of 2009, factoring in inflation, $4.5 billion. During that economic downturn, the workforce system experienced a 234 percent increase in the number of Americans seeking reemployment and training services and the system served more than 8 million people in 2009. The public workforce system is poised to address challenges faced by workers who are dislocated as a result of COVID-19. But to do so, states and localities need Congress to make adequate investments to help workers get back to work.
  2. Increasing investments in WIOA National grant funding at least to levels under the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act of 2009, $1.25 billion. In addition to allocating funding to states to support workforce activities, Congress should invest in WIOA’s national grant programs – including the National Emergency Grants and Dislocated Worker National Reserve Fund – that are targeted directly to communities and areas most impacted by COVID-19 and its economic impacts. This funding will be critical to regional, state and local response to an evolving crisis.
  3. Increasing investments in WIOA Title II Adult Basic Education funding with an additional $1 billion in education and training for workers who will need literacy, numeracy and digital skills to succeed in the workforce. The COVID-19 crisis has highlighted the speed at which many adult education programs can shift to online and blended formats. WIOA Title II funding is critical to states’ ability to serve the more than 36 million U.S. workers who have basic skills needs, as well as the 48 million who lack digital literacy skills. Preparing workers with these skills today – and ensuring support for this training over the next program year – will be critical to addressing worker shortage in in-demand industries.

The letter is signed by the following 30 organizations:

Advance CTE
American Association of Community Colleges
Association of Community College Trustees
Association of Farmworker Opportunity Programs
Augustus F. Hawkins Foundation
Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP)
Corporation for a Skilled Workforce
Heartland Alliance
Jobs for the Future
Local Initiatives Support Corporation
National Alliance for Partnerships in Equity (NAPE)
National Association of Counties
National Association of Development Organizations
National Association of Regional Councils
National Association of Workforce Development Professionals
National Coalition for Literacy
National Council for Workforce Education
National League of Cities
National Skills Coalition
National Taskforce on Tradeswomen’s Issues
National Youth Employment Coalition
Network of Jewish Human Service Agencies
The Association of People Supporting Employment First (APSE)
The Corps Network
United Way Worldwide
World Education
YouthBuild USA