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    MAY 1, 2017

    Acosta confirmed as Labor Secretary
    On April 27th, the Senate voted 60-38 to confirm Alexander Acosta as U.S. Secretary of Labor, finalizing President Trump’s cabinet appointments and providing new leadership at the agency at a time of uncertainty around the future of DOL programs. Read more on our blog.

    Appropriations committees release final fiscal year (FY) 2017 omnibus; workforce and education programs largely maintained
    Congressional appropriators released the final version of an omnibus spending package that would set final funding levels for Fiscal Year (FY) 2017. Congress is expected to vote on the bill later this week, bringing an end to an unusually long appropriations process and setting the stage for what is expected to be a contentious FY 2018 process. Overall, the Labor-HHS-Education section of the bill largely sustains or increases investments in federal workforce and education programs. Read more on ourSkills Blog.

    Maryland enacts major workforce legislation
    On April 11, Governor Larry Hogan signed into law Senate Bill (SB) 317, More Jobs for Marylanders Act of 2017. The many features of the bill include a business tax credit linked to job training, a tax credit for apprenticeships, a student financial aid program for non-credit training, and a goal for the percentage of high school students completing secondary career and technical education or other skills training. Read more here


    House subcommittee holds hearing on examining federal support for job training programs
    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. 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.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. Click here to read more. 

    On the road with NSC

    • CEO Andy Van Kleunen assisted Irvine Foundation grantees in planning for statewide California strategy to assist low-wage workers with Upskilling Policy Director, Amanda Bergson-Shilcock on April 13-14 in, Sausalito, CA.

    • Andy also participated in a national conference call with the Funders Network for Smart Growth and Livable Communities on the current federal workforce development policy landscape on April 21 and presented on social mobility and career pathway policy options at the Institute for Educational Leadership’s annual Washington Policy Seminar on April 24, in Washington DC.

    • Finally Andy spoke on the opening plenary with a number of business and labor leaders on how pending changes in federal healthcare and workforce policies will impact the ability to upskill the country’s healthcare workforce at the SEIU/1199 Health Care Advancement Project (HCAP) national conference on March 7.

    • Chief of Staff Rachel Unruh participated in two panels titled Federal Policy Issues for Adult Education in 2017 and Beyond and Adult Learners on the Job: What a New Analysis of PIAAC Data Tells Us about Service-Sector Workers with Limited Basic Skills at the Coalition for Adult Basic Education (COABE) conference on April 4-5 in Orlando, FL.

    • Federal Policy Director Kermit Kaleba participated on a panel at the International Economic Development Council (IEDC) FED Forum on April 10 in Washington, DC, joining Byron Zuidema from the U.S Department of Labor and Martha Ross of the Brookings Institution to talk about the current state of federal workforce policy and practice. Kermit also participated in the Advancing Career Pathways Summit hosted by Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) in St. Paul, MN on April 17th, presenting on the importance of investing in partnerships between industry and education providers.

    • Director of Upskilling Policy Amanda Bergson-Shilcock delivered three sessions at theMountain Plains Adult Education Association Conference in Salt Lake City on April 12. Amanda presented workshops on WIOA implementation and immigrant integration, and a solo plenary on strategies for advocating for adult education.

    • Amanda also participated in the Welcoming Interactive, a gathering of immigrant integration advocates in Atlanta on April 20 and 21. She presented an in-depth session on state and local skills policy ideas and opportunities for immigrant advocates.

    • WDQC Director Rachel Zinn discussed implementing workforce development Pay for Success initiatives at a Washington, D.C. meeting of community leaders organized by Third Sector Capital Partners. Rachel also presented on accountability in workforce development programs at a retreat for members of the Virginia Board of Workforce Development in Charlottesville, Virginia.

    • At a Lumina Foundation meeting with state leaders and national experts on non-degree credentials in Indianapolis this week, Rachel spoke about federal, foundation, and private sector initiatives that are influencing credential measurement efforts in states.

    • Rachel addressed Congressional staff on April 20th at a Postsecondary National Policy Institute (PNPI) session in Warrenton, Virginia, about federal data linkages that provide information on postsecondary education.

    • On the same day, WDQC Policy Analyst Jenna Leventoff discussed quality assurance for short-term occupational programs at a meeting of the Postsecondary Data CollaborativeWorking Group in Washington, DC. 

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