Biden Budget Proposal Increases Funding for Workforce and Education

by Laura Walling, Senior Director of Government Relations, Goodwill Industries International

In his first budget outline since taking office, President Biden is proposing a $1.52 spending proposal for fiscal year 2022 (FY22), which begins on October 1, 2021. The outline, also referred to as a “skinny” proposal is a precursor to a more detailed request in the months ahead. The budget is a spending outline that provides the top-line dollar amount for the administrative agencies (e.g. Department of Labor, Department of Education), to spend. The Appropriations Committee in the House and Senate now have to agree on how to spend the money as they appropriate funds to specific programs within each agency over the next several weeks. While Congress does not have to accept any portion of the request, the outline does provide insights into the priority areas for the Administration. Public health, the economy, employment, racial equity, and climate action are among the drivers in the proposal.

Goodwill Industries International looks forward to reviewing the additional details, however we applaud proposed increases for programs within the Department of Labor and the Department of Education.  The president’s FY22 discretionary request includes $14.2 billion for the Department of Labor a $1.7 billion or 14% increase from the 2021 enacted level. The request includes $102.8 billion for the Department of Education, a $29.8 billion or 41% increase over the 2021 enacted level.  Specifically, the request:

  • Expands Access to Registered Apprenticeships: The request provides $285 million, a $100 million increase above the 2021 enacted level, to expand opportunities and diversifying the industry sectors
  • Increases Skill-Building Opportunities: The request provides $3.7 billion, a $203 million or 6% increase over the 2021 enacted level, for Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act State Grants to make employment services and training available to more dislocated workers, low-income adults, and disadvantaged youth hurt by the economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic. The request also invests in programs that serve disadvantaged groups, including justice-involved individuals, at-risk youth, and low-income veterans.
  • Supports Worker Training for Careers in Clean Energy: The request includes a $100 million investment for DOL’s role in the new multi-agency POWER+ Initiative, aimed at reskilling and reemploying displaced workers in Appalachian The request also provides $20 million for a new program, developed in collaboration with the Department of Veterans Affairs, focused on helping veterans shift to careers in clean energy.
  • Fosters Diverse Schools: The request includes $100 million for a new grant program to help communities develop and implement strategies that would build more diverse student
  • Investments in Pell Grants: The request increases the maximum Pell Grant by $400, the largest one-time increase since The request would also ensure “DREAMers,” students who came to the United States as children and are Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals recipients, are eligible for Pell Grants if they meet the standard requirements for that aid. In total, the discretionary request invests an additional $3 billion in Pell Grants.
  • Increases Funding for Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Tribally Controlled Colleges and Universities, Minority-Serving Institutions, and Community Colleges to Enroll, Retain, and Graduate Students. The request provides an increase of more than $600 million over the 2021 enacted level for these programs. These funds would also support programs that provide additional help to disadvantaged students, including those at community colleges, to ensure they succeed in and graduate from

We’ll continue to keep our advocates informed of additional updates throughout the budget and appropriations process and share opportunities where you can lend your voice to help ensure that federal investments are going to the workforce development and job training programs that are critical to an equitable economic recovery.