On Tuesday, President Obama put forth his final budget, for FY 2017, in which he proposed increases in several workforce programs. Overall, the budget tops the four trillion dollar mark at $4.15 trillion, higher than his last budget but most of the increase is allocated toward Social Security and Medicare.
In his message to Congress, the President noted his budget proposal focuses on a number of areas including: innovation, the environment, education, job-training, employee benefits, tax credits for low-income families and national security. Of particular interest to Goodwill® is that the budget fulfills the promise of Workforce Innovation & Opportunity Act (WIOA), by providing funding to states and localities to provide training and employment services—a $138 million increase over 2016. The President notes, “my budget builds on the progress we have made to improve the nation’s job training programs through implementation of the bipartisan Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act. It funds innovative strategies to train more workers and young people for 21st Century jobs. And it doubles down on apprenticeships—a proven pathway to the middle class—and supports a robust set of protections for the health, safety, wages, working conditions, and retirement security of working Americans.”
The budget’s WIOA funding will support more than 20 million Americans served by the more than 2,500 American Job Centers across the country.
Despite a drop in the unemployment rate each of the last few months, many Americans are still working more but earning less and many more have left the workforce altogether. This proposed boost in workforce funding will help Goodwill agencies provide job training and placement services. That is good news for all Americans seeking better jobs.
The President’s budget proposal is the first step in the year-long budget process that may not end until after the November elections. It is now up to Congress to create a budget which may or may not include the proposals recommended by the President. Rest assured that every step of the way Goodwill will be fighting for the funds to grow our economy and provide better jobs and job training. You can help, too. Sign up for Goodwill’s Legislative Action Center and join the fight for better job training services.