The Office of Management and Budget has launched the first of its quarterly online updates on how agencies are faring in pursuit of the 14 cross-agency priority goals first outlined in President Obama’s fiscal 2013 budget. The website performance.gov now includes a progress update on the 14 goals as well as 103 agency priority goals set in compliance with the 2010 Government Performance and Results Modernization Act.
One of the 14 goals is Job Training, defined as to “ensure our country has one of the most skilled workforces in the world by preparing 2 million workers with skills training by 2015 and improving the coordination and delivery of job training services.” Leading the efforts is Portia Wu, special assistant to the President for Labor and Workforce Policy, White House Domestic Policy Council.
According to the progress update, “the federal government can make significant progress toward meeting the goal of preparing 2 million workers with skills training by 2015 with existing programs.”
So far, an interagency working group was established and is comprised of the key agencies that operate job training programs across the federal government to guide and drive the work of the Job Training CAP Goal. The working group set as its first objective improving the collection, reporting, and sharing of performance information and data across job training programs. Working with and across agencies to improve and expand access to job training performance data, and to promote the adoption of best practices in data sharing, will ultimately contribute to better alignment of job training programs and eventually will assist job training providers to design, and job seekers to select, better programs. In addition, the working group developed a baseline to assess job training goals by surveying federal agencies to compile a list of all job training programs.
Beyond working to set a baseline for measuring progress and to increase access to performance data as members of the interagency working group, individual agencies have made significant strides to improve coordination, access, and accountability across the federal job training system, from federal agencies to local providers. Accomplishments to date identified in the report include:
- Expanding local community college-business partnerships. The Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAA-CCCT) expands the ability of community colleges to prepare older workers for high-skill, high-wage jobs. In September 2012, the Department of Labor awarded the second of four rounds of grants (totaling $500 million each) to leading community colleges in all 50 states to create and expand innovative partnerships between community colleges and businesses to train workers with the skills employers need.
- Supporting job training for high-tech, high growth jobs. The H-1B Technical Skills Training Grants focus on providing skills training and placement assistance for American workers who are looking for good jobs and reducing the reliance on foreign workers for high-skilled, U.S. jobs. In February 2012, the Department of Labor awarded $183 million in grants to support public-private partnerships that match skills training with business needs.
- Investing in innovative job training programs that help Americans get back to work. The Workforce Innovation Fund (WIF) is designed to better assess the effectiveness of various job training strategies and increase knowledge about what works in workforce development. In June 2012, the Department of Labor awarded $147 million in grants under the WIF.
- Promoting the building of career pathways to serve low-skilled workers more efficiently and effectively. Career pathways is a promising strategy that aligns education, training, and social services to help move low-skilled youth and adults along a pathway that leads to marketable skills, industry-recognized credentials, and good jobs. In April 2012, the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education launched an initiative to encourage states to adopt a career pathways approach to their job training efforts by aligning Federal and state resources, coordinating the delivery of job training services and social service supports, and building strong linkages to local and regional employers.
- Launching the American Job Center website. The creation of an American Job Center network will help to unify all federally-supported One-Stop Career Centers under one name and electronic resources in one place. Jobseekers will be able to visit one website to find out what job training resources are available to them and businesses will be more connected to the workforce system in their communities.