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Responding to the crisis before us

  ·   By Rachel Unruh & Katie Spiker
Responding to the crisis before us

Update March 26: On March 19, National Skills Coalition sent a letter  to Congressional leadership detailing these comprehensive recommendations that would address needs of workers, businesses, and communities. On March 21, NSC along with more than 30 other national organizations, sent a letter to Congressional leadership calling for vital investments in workforce programming as part of any response to CoVid-19 and its economic impacts. For more on our analysis of the federal response to CoVid-19 and its economic impacts, see our blog here.

March 18 – The financial, emotional, and physical toll that the COVID-19 health pandemic has put on our country can’t be overstated. This is a time for federal policymakers to come together – using every policy lever possible, every public resource available – to do everything we can to immediately protect and support workers and small businesses. Based on principles informed by our networks, National Skills Coalition has developed the following policy goals for an immediate stimulus package to assist workers who need income, healthcare, and housing today and to shore up small and mid-sized businesses trying to keep their doors open. You can read the full reccomendations sent to Capitol Hill here. We know there are people who will suffer the impacts of this crisis more acutely and in inequitable ways and we are working with our network to develop policy solutions that could be in subsequent stimulus efforts over the next couple months.  

Working with our networks, National Skills Coalition will release more detailed recommendations under these goals in the coming weeks. To stay informed about these recommendations, how we’re working with Congress to advance them, and how any passed legislation will impact your local community, please sign up for our email list. 

Immediate Responses for a National Stimulus 

Remove all barriers to our nation’s safety net: Immediately remove barriers to the existing federal safety net including health, food, housing, and cash assistance. 

Congress is currently considering suspension of a rule that will make it harder for able-bodied adults without dependents (ABAWDs) to get Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits. Congress should suspend all work-related restrictions for all safety net programs and give recipients significantly more time to get back into family supporting jobs. 

Provide comprehensive income, healthcare, and re-training support to all displaced workers: Guarantee access to income replacement, healthcare, and re-training for any displaced worker, including contingent workers. 

America’s existing Trade Adjustment Assistance program provides these robust, comprehensive benefits, but it is only available to workers displaced by trade. This level of benefits must be expanded to all forms of economic displacement, including pandemics, and all types of workers including contingent workers. Universal, expanded access to supports necessary to help effectively and efficiently connect dislocated workers to good jobs would be a more targeted and more comprehensive solution than current Universal Basic Income proposals which only provide income replacement. 

Help small and mid-sized business avert layoffs: Help businesses keep their employees while they are paid and re-trained during and in the aftermath of COVID-19, including for jobs that are themselves rapidly changing with new technology. 

Current tax policydoes not empower businesses to invest reskilling workers, particularly those with the greatest skill needs. Congressional changes to the Work Opportunity Tax Credit could provide targeted tax credits that support investments in retraining and will be a more effective way to support retraining and retention of workers than payroll tax incentives to all businesses. 

Additional Short-Term Responses for Subsequent Stimulus Efforts 

Address immediate shortages in industries needed to respond to crisis: Industries like healthcare, logistics, and manufacturing are essential to responding to COVID-19 and are already facing severe shortages of trained workers. Congress can tee up Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) as quickly as possible to get as much money on the ground as possible to train displaced workers for these jobs and to ensure capacity is in place when community colleges and training providers re-open physical classrooms.  

Update education and training policies to respond to marketplace disruption: Update our higher education policies to support the infrastructure and flexibility required for short-term digital learning to get displaced workers retrained quickly. This effort will help shore up the country for future disruptions whether they are health, environmental, trade, or technology related. This will also require a national effort to address the disproportionately low digital literacy skills among workers in industries like food service and retail that will be most impacted by job loss due to COVID-19. 

Create jobsThere is strong bi-partisan support for a major effort to re-build our nation’s infrastructure, which could create millions of jobs that will be needed even more coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic. NSC is leading efforts to develop a workforce training and re-employment title within anticipated federal infrastructure proposals. We want to ensure that any infrastructure package includes comprehensive training and support services with a focus on those who have been disproportionately impacted by racial inequities in education and labor policy.  

Posted In: Trade Adjustment Assistance, Federal Funding, Higher Education Access

Congress renews program for trade-impacted workers

  ·   By Angela Hanks,
Congress renews program for trade-impacted workers

Today, the House passed the Trade Adjustment Assistance Reauthorization Act (TAARA) of 2015, legislation to reauthorize the Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) program, which provides training and employment services to workers who have been displaced by foreign trade. The measure – passed as part of a broader trade package – was approved by the Senate last week, and will now go to the President’s desk for his signature.

First established as part of the 2002 Trade Act, TAA supports a range of benefits and services for trade-impacted workers, including employment and case management services, training, job search allowances, relocation allowances, and income support.

The program has been reauthorized twice, first by the Trade and Globalization Adjustment Assistance Act (TGAAA) of 2009, and then by the Trade Adjustment Assistance Extension Act (TAAEA) in 2011. Authorization for TAAEA expired in December 2013, triggering a one-year reversion to the 2002 provisions of the law, which offer less generous benefits than TAAEA. The reversion also activated a set of sunset provisions, which extend certain elements of the 2011 law. Congress then used fiscal year (FY) 2015 appropriations legislation to extend TAAEA through the end of the fiscal year. Without further action, the program would have lapsed in its entirety on October 1, 2015.

TAARA essentially extends TAAEA through June 30, 2021.While TAAEA authorized up to $575 million per year for state formula grants, TAARA allows up to $450 million in annual funding. Congress also made changes to the law to make it consistent with the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, including by replacing the core indicators of performance established by TAAEA with primary indicators of performance that are consistent with WIOA. The bill also adds new data collection and reporting requirements, requiring reporting on the average cost of workers receiving training and the percentage of workers who receive training, including unsubsidized training-related employment.

TAARA notably does not include a renewal of the TAA Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) grant program, which authorized grants to community colleges to develop, offer, or improve training programs for trade-impacted workers. First authorized in 2009 as part of TGAAA, Congress provided a total of $2 billion in funding for the TAACCT program between 2011 and 2014. The final round of TAACCCT grants was awarded in September 2014.  

Posted In: Trade Adjustment Assistance

Washington Update: Budget Edition

  ·   By Angela Hanks,
Washington Update: Budget Edition

This month’s Washington Update contains an in-depth analysis of key workforce and education funding requests in President Obama’s fiscal year (FY) 2016 budget request and details on new guidance from the Department of Labor (DOL) on WIOA implementation. 

The FY 2016 budget proposes significant, new investments in training and skills, including a new $21 billion Job Driven Training Proposal consisting of High Growth Sector Training Grants, an Apprenticeship Training Fund, and Connecting Opportunity Grants to serve disconnected youth. The budget also calls for funding increases for Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) and other workforce education and training programs, and includes new details on America’s College Promise and the American Technical Training Fund.

The DOL Employment and Training Administration (ETA) Training and Employment Guidance Letter No. 19-14 identifies goals for WIOA implementation, as well as specific actions states and local areas can take now to implement the law. ETA specifically calls on state and local workforce boards to support sector strategies and career pathways that advance opportunities for all workers and jobseekers, and instructs states and local areas to develop partnerships across programs and agencies and with business facilitate the development of sector strategies and career pathways approaches within WIOA.

Check out the full Washington Update for more details.

Posted In: Federal Funding, Adult Basic Education, Higher Education Access, Career and Technical Education, Sector Partnerships, Trade Adjustment Assistance, Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, Workforce Innovation Opportunity Act Implementation

President Obama’s 2016 Budget Invests in Skills

  ·   By Kermit Kaleba and Angela Hanks
President Obama’s 2016 Budget Invests in Skills

On February 2, President Obama unveiled his fiscal year (FY) 2016 budget request, outlining the Administration’s spending priorities for federal programs and activities, beginning October 1, 2015.

The FY 2016 budget proposes significant new investments in education and training, as well as enhanced support for existing programs. The budget builds on the recent passage of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), the administration’s job-driven training action plan, and proposals the President announced leading up to and during the State of the Union address on January 20. During the State of the Union address, President Obama outlined an agenda focused on “middle-class economics. As part of that agenda, the president is focused on expanding opportunities to all Americans to improve their skills, through a series of initiatives designed to deliver access to middle-skill credentials for millions of students and working people.

While the President’s budget is unlikely to be taken up by the Republican Congress, it does serve as an important benchmark for the Administration’s priorities and future federal investments. This analysis includes key education and training requests, but is not exhaustive.

Click here for the in-depth analysis or read the prelimary analysis below. 

Department of Labor

New Investments in Education and Training

High Growth Sector Training and Credentialing Grants this mandatory-funded $16 billion, ten-year program would fund regional partnerships creating training programs aligned to in-demand jobs. The grants would increase the number of workers receiving training, provide intensive services to the long-term unemployed, and would help drive industry adoption of credentials and assessments. The fund would include $500 million in grants to develop credentialing and assessment frameworks, including $300 million targeted at information technology jobs across industries.

Connecting for Opportunity Initiative – this new mandatory proposal would make available $3 billion over four years to create education and employment opportunities for disconnected youth ages 16-24. The initiative would provide $1.5 billion for subsidized youth summer and year-round jobs, and $1.5 billion for grants to municipalities to reengage disconnected youth in education and career pathways. This initiative would be jointly administered by the Departments of Labor and Education.

Apprenticeship Training Fund – this $2.2 billion mandatory fund would provide $1.5 billion in funding to states to increase employer participation in registered apprenticeship, and $500 million in competitive grants to help states link apprenticeships to other educational pathways.

Licensing Reforms – the administration proposes $15 million for grants to states to reduce barriers to labor market entry or mobility that may be imposed by occupational licensing requirements.

WIOA Technical Assistance – the administration proposes $3.2 million to support technical assistance to states and localities as they implement WIOA.
Apprenticeship Grants – the administration requests $100 million to expand apprenticeships, building off of the recent American Apprenticeship Initiative, which was supported by H-1B visa fees.

Support for Existing Programs

WIOA Adult Formula Grants – the administration requests $815.6 million for the WIOA adult program, $38.9 million above FY 2015 levels. The administration would maintain the governor’s reserve for statewide activities at 10 percent across all three formula grants.

WIOA Dislocated Worker Formula Grants the administration requests $1.02 billion, $5 million above FY 2014 levels.
WIOA Youth Formula Grants – the administration requests $873.4 million, $41.6 million above FY 2015 enacted levels, to help respond to high needs among youth for job placement, career counseling, and skills training services.

Wagner-Peyser Employment Services the administration requests $1.064 billion in Employment Service state grants, a $400 million increase over the FY 2015 enacted level. The additional $400 million would support supplemental grants to states for intensive reemployment services to dislocated workers.

Workforce Data Quality Initiative and State Data Longitudinal Systems Grants – the administration requests $37 million, an increase of $33 million over FY 2015 levels for WDQI grants, and $70 million for SLDS grants. For more information on the President’s workforce data requests, see the Workforce Data Quality Campaign blog.

Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) – the budget includes a legislative proposal to reauthorize TAA. The program was recently extended, but will absent further congressional action, will expire at the end of the fiscal year. The administration proposes reauthorizing TAA under legislation similar to the 2011 program, with some elements of the 2009 program. The legislation would authorize $575 million for training.

Reintegration of Ex-Offenders – the budget requests $96 million, an increase of $13 million over FY 2015 enacted levels. The additional resources would support expanded programs serving adult and juvenile offenders, transitioning offenders, and would support community partnerships piloting a Law Enforcement Services Career Pathways Program for at-risk youth ages 16-18.

Indian and Native American Program – the budget requests $50 million, an increase of $4 million over the FY 2015 enacted levels.

Migrant and Seasonal Farmworkers Program – the budget requests $81.9 million, consistent with FY 2015 levels.

Department of Education

New Investments in Education and Training

America’s College Promise – the budget includes new details on the America’s College Promise program, which designates $60 billion in mandatory funding over ten years to make up to two years of community college free for all interested individuals who meet certain eligibility requirements. The administration estimates that this investment could impact up to 9 million students nationwide. The administration would cover approximately 75 percent of the program cost (as determined by formula), while states that decide to opt-in to the program would provide the remaining 25 percent. The program would be open to “responsible” individuals who are enrolled in qualifying programs on at least a half-time basis, maintain at least a 2.5 GPA, and make steady progress toward program completion. Funds could be used to support enrollment in either academic programs that fully transfer to public four-year colleges and universities, or for occupational training programs with high graduation rates that lead to certificates or degrees in demand by employers. Participating states would also commit to maintaining support for current investments in higher education, improve coordination between secondary and postsecondary systems to reduce the need for remediation, and allocate at least some funding on the basis of performance, rather than enrollment.

American Technical Training Fund – this new $200 million fund would support up to 100 innovative training programs at community colleges and other institutions designed to help low-wage workers gain the skills necessary for advancement in middle-skill occupations and industries. Building on lessons learned through the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) grants, the proposed fund would support the implementation and expansion of programs that have strong employer partnerships, are structured to accommodate part-time work, and provide work-based learning and accelerated training opportunities. The initiative would be funded through the career and technical education (CTE) Innovation Fund, under the Carl D. Perkins Act.

Support for Existing Programs

Career and Technical Education – the administration requests $1.3 billion for CTE state grants, an increase of $200 million over FY 2015, which the administration would use to finance the new American Technical Training Fund. The budget also proposes reauthorizing the Carl D. Perkins Act and reiterates and expands upon the blueprint for reform released by the Department of Education in 2012.

Adult Education State Grants – the budget proposes $569 million for adult basic and literacy education state grants, consistent with FY 2015 funding levels. The budget also requests a $6 million increase to adult education national leadership activities to support WIOA implementation and help states meet the WIOA requirement to align content standards with Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, and provide technical assistance to states in the collection of new data elements, integrating data systems, and meeting new reporting requirements.

Pell Grants – the administration requests $22.5 billion for federal Pell grants, consistent with FY 2015 discretionary funding levels. The program will also be supported by $6.46 billion in mandatory funding in FY 2016. The total maximum award for the 2015-2016 academic year will be $5,775.

Posted In: Higher Education Access, Federal Funding, Career and Technical Education, Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, Trade Adjustment Assistance, Workforce Innovation Opportunity Act Implementation, Workforce Data Quality Campaign

Washington Update: the latest news in workforce development

  ·   By Angela Hanks & Yuri Chang
Washington Update: the latest news in workforce development

National Skills Coalition’s Washington Updates offer the latest news on a range of federal policies – including higher education, workforce, trade, tax and budget policy – that impact our nation’s efforts to develop a skilled workforce.

Our latest Update covers the following developments, and more. Click to read the full issue.

  • DOL announces final round of TAACCCT grantees: On September 29, Vice President Biden announced $450 million in grants to community colleges as part of the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training grant program. DOL was particularly concerned with making this round of TAACCCT grants “job-driven” and consistent with the principles identified in the Administration’s job-driven training action plan.
  • DOL awards innovation grants: On September 24, DOL announced over $50 million in Workforce Innovation Fund grants to 11 state and local entities in nine states. These grants will be used to support innovative employment and training activities, and improve performance and service delivery within the public workforce system.
  • FNS announces new SNAP E&T pilot grants: On August 25, the Food and Nutrition Service released a Request for Applications for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Employment & Training pilot program. Several critical changes to the 2014 Farm Bill present an opportunity for states to take full advantage of SNAP E&T and pursue new strategies for helping SNAP recipients move into stable employment.
  • Congress Moves Forward with FY 2015 Appropriations: Earlier this year, the Senate Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies appropriations subcommittee released its FY 2015 spending bill. The bill provides for increases in Workforce Investment Act formula funds as well as increases to other workforce programs.
  • White House Releases Job-Driven Training Action Plan; President Signs WIOA: On July 22, the White House released its job-driven training action plan, coinciding with the President’s signing of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act. The action plan emphasizes strategies NSC has long advocated for, including industry engagement through sector partnerships and the development of career pathways.
     
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Photo Credit: U.S. Navy (PD)
 
Posted In: Trade Adjustment Assistance, Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, SNAP Employment and Training

DOL announces final round of TAACCCT grantees

  ·   By Angela Hanks,
DOL announces final round of TAACCCT grantees

On September 29, Vice President Biden, along with Department of Labor (DOL) Secretary Perez and Department of Education (DoEd) Secretary Duncan, announced $450 million in grants to community colleges and community college consortia as part of the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) grant program.

The grants, which are awarded to community colleges and other eligible institutions of higher education—including consortia of two or more institutions—support education and training programs of less than two years that improve the skills of workers who have lost their jobs as a result of foreign trade. Awards were made to 71 grantees across 270 community colleges, working in partnership with more than 400 employers.

DOL was particularly concerned with making this round of the TAACCCT grants “job-driven” and consistent with the principles identified in the Administration’s job-driven training action plan. To that end, DOL announced in the solicitation for grant applications that for the first time, eligible entities whose proposals addressed the following broad goals would receive larger grants: (1) scaling in-demand job training across the country through national industry partnerships; (2) advancing education and training to ensure seamless progression along a career pathway; and (3) improving statewide employment and education data integration and use.

Eligible entities were also strongly encouraged to demonstrate their ability to establish or leverage existing relationships with employers. Eligible entities are required to work with at least two employers, as well as a regional industry representative for each sector served by the program. At a minimum, applicants were required to demonstrate that the employers and industry representatives will serve on the project’s leadership team, help implement program strategies and goals, identify and map the necessary skills and competencies for the programs, assist with curriculum development and program design, and where appropriate, assist with the design of an assessment or credential that will address industry skill needs.

Alongside today’s TAACCCT announcement, the Administration announced three other job-driven initiatives:


The TAACCCT program was initially established as part of the Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) reauthorization under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). As part of the 2010 budget reconciliation bill, Congress appropriated $2 billion for the four years (fiscal year 2011-2014) the program was authorized. Today’s announcement marks the final round of TAACCCT awards. The Administration has proposed replacing the TAACCCT grants with a new, four-year, $6 billion Community College Job-Driven Training Fund grant program—that would include $2 billion to expand registered apprenticeships—but enactment requires congressional action.

Posted In: Trade Adjustment Assistance

DOL announces new job-driven grants.

  ·   By Angela Hanks,

The Department of Labor (DOL) has announced the availability of $150 million for Job-Driven National Emergency Grants (JD NEG). These grants will be available to states to implement or expand local and regional job-driven partnerships that provide dislocated workers opportunities to participate in work-based training, occupational training that results in an industry-recognized credential, or other reemployment services. Applications are due May 27, 2014. 

The Training and Employment Notice (TEN) released April 28 limits eligibility to states, though states must apply in partnership with local workforce investment boards (WIBs) whose areas include employers in the industry sectors targeted in the state’s application. Grants will range from $500,000 to $6 million. 

Applicants must address the industries targeted and how the states will utilize existing employer partnerships or build new partnerships; how participants will be reached; what types of work-based training models will be used; and how services provided will be aligned with other federal, state or local programs. DOL is particularly interested in promoting work-based training models and, as such, requires that no less than 30 percent of funds awarded may be used to support work-based training. 

The parameters of the JD NEG solicitation are quite broad and could potentially support a range of sector-based activities in the states, including activities that have been curtailed as the governor’s set-aside has been reduced in recent appropriations bills. Programs must be targeted to dislocated workers, with particular focus on the long-term unemployed and individuals who are in danger of exhausting their unemployment insurance (UI) benefits, but there are otherwise few limitations on who can be served. 

This announcement is part of a larger effort by the Administration to increase opportunities for workers to access training that is “job-driven” and leads to employment. Earlier this year, the President issued a memorandum directing the Vice President to conduct a government-wide review of federal job training programs. Though the review is due to be released this summer, the Administration has already begun building out innovative strategies using best practices from the field. 

The Administration has embraced sector partnerships as one of those best practices and in recent months has embedded sector strategies into a number of new grant programs. Since the Presidential Memorandum was released in late January, the Administration has announced: 

  • $150 million for new Ready to Work (RtW) grants, which will support industry-led partnerships to prepare and place the long-term unemployed into employment in good-paying jobs;
  • $450 million for Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) grants, which provide education and training to workers who have lost their jobs as a result of foreign trade, and will for the first time focus on employer engagement through industry partnerships;
  • $107 million in Youth CareerConnect grants awarded, which will support partnerships between high schools, industry, institutions of higher education and the public workforce system to help build the talent pipeline; 
  • $100 million for new American Apprenticeship grants (available this fall), which will facilitate partnerships to launch apprenticeship models in new high-growth fields, align apprenticeships to pathways, and scale up successful apprenticeship models; and 
  • A new Registered Apprenticeship College Consortium, which will help graduates of registered apprenticeship programs receive college credit for their apprenticeship training. 

Taken together, the Administration has dedicated nearly $1 billion to job-driven education and training efforts that incorporate a partnership model. National Skills Coalition applauds the Administration for recognizing sector strategies as one of the most effective tactics for aligning the skills of workers with the needs of business and industry.

Posted In: Federal Funding, Sector Partnerships, Trade Adjustment Assistance

President, VP announce job-driven grants.

  ·   By Angela Hanks,
President, VP announce job-driven grants.

Today, President Obama and Vice President Biden visited the Community College of Allegheny County West Hills Center near Pittsburgh, to highlight New Century Careers, a collaboration with local manufacturers to identify skill shortages for entry-level machinists and other manufacturing workers, that partners with local workforce boards, community colleges, state agencies and community organizations to train and re-train area workers with the skills needed to fill good-paying manufacturing jobs.

During the visit, the President and Vice President announced $550 million in grants to fund training partnerships between employers, community colleges and apprenticeship programs. Of the $550 million, $450 million is dedicated to the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) grants. The remaining $100 million will fund an American Apprenticeship Grants program, aimed at boosting the number of apprenticeship programs. National Skills Coalition applauds the administration’s efforts to make occupational training programs more job-driven and responsive to worker and employer needs.

This announcement represents another piece of the skills agenda President Obama outlined in his State of the Union address. That agenda, which focuses on making occupational training job-driven, includes an across-the-board review of federal job training programs, led by the Vice President, and announcements around grants to put the long-term unemployed back to work, and to develop career pathways for high school students. 

TAACCCT Grants 

The TAACCCT grants are awarded to community colleges and other eligible institutions of higher education—including consortia of two or more institutions—to provide education and training programs of less than two years to improve the skills of workers who have lost their jobs as a result of foreign trade. The grants are administered by the Department of Labor (DOL) in partnership with the Department of Education.

In furtherance of the administration’s goal of promoting job-driven training, the fourth and final round of the TAACCCT grants will, for the first time, award larger grants to applicants who propose to address three broad goals: (1) scaling in-demand job training across the country through national industry partnerships; (2) advancing education and training to ensure seamless progression along a career pathway; and (3) improving statewide employment and education data integration and use. 

DOL, in its Solicitation for Grant Applications (SGA), places particular emphasis on establishing meaningful employer and industry engagement. The SGA requires applicants to work with at least two employers, as well as a regional industry representative for each sector served by the program. At a minimum, applicants must demonstrate that the employers and industry representative will serve on the project’s leadership team, help implement program strategies and goals, identify and map the necessary skills and competencies for the programs, assist with curriculum development and program design, and where appropriate, assist with the design of an assessment or credential that will assess industry skill needs. Employer and industry partners may also develop industry-recognized credentials needed for targeted jobs, provide leveraged resources to support education and training, or commit to hire, promote, or retain qualified program participants. 

The SGA also uses multiple strategies to encourage colleges to collect and use data on student outcomes, echoing several of Workforce Data Quality Campaign’s (WDQC) – a project of National Skills Coalition – recommendations for state data systems. Applicants may request extra funding for a few specified purposes, including enhancing statewide data capacity. All applicants are required to explain how they will track and use student outcome data, and consortia applicants must submit plans for publicizing outcomes on scorecards for prospective students. 

The TAACCCT program was originally established as part of Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) reauthorization under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. As part of the 2010 budget reconciliation bill, Congress appropriated $2 billion for the four-year period including fiscal years (FY) 2011-2014 to support the program. 

This is the final round of the TAACCCT grants. The administration has proposed replacing the TAACCCT grants with a new, four-year, $6 billion Community College Job-Driven Training Fund grant program—that would include $2 billion to expand registered apprenticeships—but enactment requires congressional action.

TAACCCT grant applications must be submitted to DOL by July 7, 2014.

Expanding Apprenticeship Programs 

The President and Vice President also announced $100 million for American Apprenticeship grants that will become available this fall. The grants will facilitate partnerships between employers, labor organizations, community colleges, community-based organizations, training providers, state and local governments, and other stakeholders to launch apprenticeship models in new high-growth fields, align apprenticeships to pathways, and scale up successful apprenticeship models. The apprenticeship grants will be funded using H-1B visa fees, and will be targeted to industries or occupations where H-1B visas are in-demand. Additionally, the administration has received commitments from various businesses, unions, and philanthropic organizations to help expand apprenticeship programs. 

The administration in recent months has been increasingly focused on expanding and scaling the apprenticeship model. Last week, the Vice President announced another apprenticeship initiative, the Registered Apprenticeship College Consortium, which will help graduates of registered apprenticeships receive college credit for their apprenticeship training. 

National Skills Coalition will provide updates as information becomes available about these grant opportunities.

Posted In: Sector Partnerships, Trade Adjustment Assistance

Webinar: Federal workforce policy update.

  ·   By Jennifer Gable,

Join the National Skills Coalition Federal Policy Team this Friday, January 17, at 1:00 pm ET for a federal workforce policy webinar update!

A new year brings new challenges and opportunities. While Congress finally reached a bipartisan budget deal that brings more certainty to the budget process and partially rolls back the harmful sequestration cuts set to take effect in fiscal years (FY) 2014 and 2015, they still have other unfinished business to work on in 2014. Friday’s webinar will cover several of these issues, including:

  • Funding for FY 2014,
  • Extension of the Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) program which expired on   December 28, 2013,
  • WIA reauthorization,
  • The Farm Bill, which also authorizes the SNAP Employment & Training program (SNAP E&T),
  • Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA), which expired at the end of 2013, and
  • The debt ceiling which will turn back on in early February.

Federal Policy Director Rachel Gragg and Policy Analyst Angela Hanks will provide important updates on these and other legislative items remaining on the agenda. 

Register today to join this important discussion!

Posted In: Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, Trade Adjustment Assistance, SNAP Employment and Training, Federal Funding

Secretaries discuss TAACCCT in Michigan.

  ·   By Josh Spaulding,

Today, U.S. Secretary of Labor Tom Perez joined U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan at Macomb Community College for a roundtable discussion on the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) grant program that is jointly administered by the two Departments. Jim Jacobs, president of Macomb Community College and former NSC Leadership Council member, also joined the roundtable.

The visit follows the September announcement that Macomb Community College was awarded a $24.9 million grant to lead a coalition of eight Michigan colleges—the Michigan Coalition for Advanced Manufacturing (M-CAM)—in providing advanced manufacturing training to close the skills gap. The grant requires a partnership between the community colleges and local and regional manufacturers to ensure curricula are aligned with industry's needs. 

This visit also has historical significance. President Obama made the announcement of his plans for the grant program at Macomb Community College in 2010. TAACCCT, signed into law later that year, provides $2 billion over four years to community colleges and other eligible institutions of higher education to expand and improve their ability to deliver education and career training programs that can be completed in two years or less and are suited for workers who are eligible for training under the Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) for Workers program. 

These multi-year grants are meant to provide workers the skills and credentials they need to compete for good-paying, middle-skill jobs that employers are struggling to fill. They do this by providing the funding to expand programs in growing industries like advanced manufacturing, transportation and health care. 

These training partnerships between community colleges and local and regional employers work because they give people marketable skills that lead to family-supporting, middle-skill jobs. They also strengthen the overall economy by providing businesses the talented workers they need to compete, prosper and grow. 

However, there is only one more round of TAACCCT grants available before the program expires in 2014. Federal workforce policies must provide resources to grow demand-driven training partnerships to scale and align our workforce development system with the strategies that work. 

Following his 2012 State of the Union address, President Obama proposed an $8 billion Community College to Career fund as a successor to the TAACCCT grants. Senator Franken (D-MN) has introduced legislation to authorize the fund in the Senate, and Education and the Workforce Committee Ranking Member George Miller (D-CA) has introduced companion legislation in the House. NSC will provide updates on this legislation as information becomes available.

Posted In: Sector Partnerships, Trade Adjustment Assistance
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