The U.S. Department of Labor has released its fiscal year 2013 budget request which focuses on job training and worker protection while remaining fiscally responsible. The request encompasses $12 billion in discretionary funding which is planned to be most heavily invested in programs that address the issues of training and job search assistance for unemployed adults and at-risk youth. The department also seeks to strengthen its support for veterans seeking to transition into the civilian workforce.
The budget provides for a $125 million investment in the Workforce Innovation fund which researches new approaches to ensuring that job training programs remain as effective as possible by implementing strategies that help unemployed individuals to develop in-demand skills. The program is a joint effort by the Departments of Labor and Education, who are also working together on a multi-billion dollar Community College to Career Fund to develop opportunities for community college students to find employment in high-skilled jobs and industries.
The new budget reflects several strategic choices and cuts funding to the Women in Apprenticeship in Non-Traditional Occupations program and the Veterans Workforce Investment program while boosting other vet-centric aid and Registered Apprenticeships. The budget also includes a comprehensive assessment of the Job Corps program deemed necessary to improve program outcomes and make the program’s activities more transparent. Several DOL regional offices are also being considered for consolidation in order to increase efficiency.
The new budget seeks to strengthen the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. by giving it authority to adjust premiums in the hopes of encouraging companies to fund their pension benefits fully. The DOL is also requesting $10 million for use by the Wage and Hour Division to address violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act and FMLA.