GII Sr. Director of Public Policy
Posted: May 30, 2013
Earlier this week, members of Congress observed Memorial Day in their home states and districts. Meanwhile, advocates for programs funded through non-defense discretionary (NDD) spending remain concerned about the country’s political and economic outlook. “Non-defense discretionary spending” is such a wonky term that it can lose its meaning during the process. In an effort to
Posted: May 23, 2013
Last week, approximately 160 people representing Goodwill agencies all across the country came to Washington to inform members of Congress about how Goodwill helps people who have employment challenges to find jobs and advance in careers. They noted that many of our achievements depend on a public-private partnership that exists between Goodwill and government programs that leverage our resources and expertise. Unfortunately, this public-private partnership is becoming lopsided. Over the course of the past decade, we have aggressively worked to increase our capacity to do more, while government resources have steadily declined.
Posted: May 9, 2013
In the spirit of Goodwill Industries Week, a time when Goodwill® celebrates the power of work, I’d like to take a break from my usual focus on the week’s pressing issues in order to consider important lessons we can learn from Goodwill’s origins. Just as it did for Progressive Era pioneers like Helms, today’s success depends on vision, faith, luck and leadership.
Posted: April 26, 2013
When Congress failed to avert automatic spending cuts, otherwise known as “sequestration,” in early March, it felt like a non-event for many. While the airwaves were littered with the news and predictions of its impact, for people on Main Street USA, life went on pretty much as usual. This week, however, the airwaves and headlines were full of content about automatic spending cuts, causing air traffic controllers to be furloughed, resulting in flight delays.
Posted: April 4, 2013
The editorial page of this Sunday’s Washington Post featured the article, “Congress debates the future of job-training program.” Rather than presenting a refreshing and balanced perspective on an important, yet long-delayed, piece of legislation, the editorial rehashed an old partisan debate over a false choice: Should the nation’s network of job training programs be consolidated or not?
Posted: March 21, 2013
For workforce stakeholders, March has been an eventful month. Early in the month, Congress failed to avert automatic spending cuts, commonly referred to as “sequestration,” from taking place. This cut is resulting in a 5 percent cut to job training and other programs that allow Goodwill® to do more to help people to find jobs and advance in careers. Further, the cut will feel deeper since it is being applied late in the fiscal year.
Posted: March 7, 2013
Next week, the U.S. House of Representatives is expected to consider the Supporting Knowledge and Investing in Lifelong Skills (SKILLS) Act (H.R. 803). The bill proposes to reauthorize the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) while consolidating 35 job training programs in a single block grant to states. On March 6, 2013, the House Education and the Workforce Committee passed the bill 23-0. Democratic members of the committee walked out on the vote to protest the partisan process being used to advance the bill.
Posted: February 28, 2013
Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC) has noted concerns that the skills gap makes it difficult for employers to fill jobs with qualified workers and that the more than 50 federal job training programs present a complicated maze for job seekers to navigate. In response to these concerns, Rep. Foxx has introduced the Supporting Knowledge and Investing in Lifelong Skills (SKILLS) Act, which proposes to eliminate 35 job training programs into a single one-size-fits-all block grant to states. Tell Congress to set aside old disagreements to build upon the strengths of existing programs to develop a broad workforce system that serves employers and businesses, serves people, and contributes to building stronger families and communities.
Posted: February 21, 2013
As the nation slowly recovers from the worst recession since the Great Depression and unemployment remains high, job training programs face a dual threat this year. Members of Congress need to hear from their constituents that job training is important to our economic recovery. At a time when unemployment remains high, these resources are an important part of the nation’s economic recovery and job creation effort.
Posted: February 7, 2013
As the nation slowly recovers from the worst recession since the Great Depression, and concerns about the deficit remain front and center, some policymakers are tempted to consolidate the workforce system in the name of reform. While a case can be made that broad consolidation would lead to some savings and efficiencies, I believe — especially because several key laws are due for Congressional review — the current dialogue must shift from consolidation to promoting integration and collaboration among existing resources and programs.