This week, the Campaign to Invest in America’s Workforce, convened by National Skills Coalition, along with the Committee for Education Funding, and the Coalition for Health Funding, delivered a letter signed by 1,062 national, state and local organizations representing all fifty states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands to the House and Senate Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations Committees urging them to restore funding in fiscal year (FY) 2015 for programs under their jurisdiction to the FY 2010 level of $163.6 billion and to end sequestration.
With the passage of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013 (BBA), the top line FY 2015 discretionary funding level—called the 302(a) allocation—has been set at $1.014 trillion. This clears the way for appropriators to move forward setting the funding levels for each of the appropriations subcommittees—the 302(b) allocations—including the Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education (Labor-H) subcommittee. Once the Labor-H subcommittee receives its 302(b) allocation, it will then try to decide how to divvy up the funding between the agencies and programs under its jurisdiction, including federal employment, education, and occupational training programs.
Since FY 2010, Congress has cut workforce development funding by about $1 billion. While the BBA provided partial sequestration relief in FY 2014, there will be substantially less relief in FY 2015 and without action sequestration will be back in full effect FY 2016. As NSC documented last year, these cuts have a significant impact on the ability of employment and job training programs to provide training and services to workers seeking new skills to find a good-paying job and employers seeking the skilled workforce necessary to compete in the global economy.
NSC will continue to provide updates as Congress moves forward with the budget and appropriations process.