The digital skills gap and a lack of broadband access in many households across the country has left millions of Americans at a significant disadvantage in pursuing learning and employment opportunities. In 2019, before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, a Pew Research Center survey demonstrated rates of internet adoption were lowest among older Americans, low-income individuals, those with a high school diploma or less, Black Americans and other racial and ethnic minorities, and people living in rural communities.
President Biden released the full version of his Administration’s fiscal year 2022 (FY22) budget, which calls for $6 trillion in spending and a deficit of $1.8 trillion. The proposal provides details for allocations for federal agencies following topline requests that were released as part of the “skinny” budget in early April.
Prior to the pandemic, the nonprofit sector employed more than 12 million people, making them the third-largest industry in the country — larger than the construction, financial services and manufacturing industries. In normal times, these organizations are on the frontlines, providing housing, food aid, transportation, childcare, and workforce development and job training services to those who need it most, while also uplifting faith, culture and quality of life in communities throughout the United States.
Led by the Administration for Community Living’s Administration on Aging, Older Americans Month (OAM) is observed every May to recognize older Americans and their contributions to our communities. This year’s OAM theme, Communities of Strength, celebrates the strength of older adults and the Aging Network, with special emphasis on the power of connection and engagement in building strong communities.
Congress has passed a number of measures that helped nonprofits during the pandemic, including measures that benefit those who donate to charities. In March 2020, Congress enacted a $300 charitable deduction for cash gifts from non-itemizers (those who take the standard charitable deduction) for 2020.
For more than 60 years, local Goodwill organizations have celebrated Goodwill Week during the first full week of May to raise awareness of our critical mission of getting people who have lost jobs back to work. Your support is essential to this work. When you donate, shop, volunteer or advocate in support of Goodwill, you are helping us provide people with the training and support they need to find jobs, advance in their careers and thrive.
President Biden used his address to a joint session of Congress to outline his vision for the American Families Plan. After signing the American Rescue Plan Act in March, the President unveiled an outline for the American Jobs Plan, a $2.3 trillion jobs and infrastructure proposal, which we outlined last month and would make major investments in the workforce system. The American Families Plan is the final piece of the three-part Build Back Better agenda.
In celebrating Earth Day and Earth Week, the Biden Administration hosted a virtual climate summit for 40 world leaders. The President announced a commitment to cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 50-52% below 2005 levels by 2030. The summit is also an opportunity for the Administration to highlight its all of government approach to the climate crisis, including not only the heads of environmental agencies but also officials like the secretary of defense and the director of national intelligence. Prior to the summit, Secretary of the Treasury, Janet Yellen announced the creation of a “Climate Hub” that will would "coordinate and enhance" work to "facilitate and unlock" financing for climate-friendly investments; make environmental justice central to Treasury's efforts; work to mitigate climate-related risks to the financial system; and more.
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.
President Joe Biden recently issued a proclamation marking April as Second Chance Month, a time to raise awareness of the challenges facing people with criminal backgrounds and to spotlight the important work being done by community-based organizations like Goodwill® to empower second chance individuals to achieve career and life success.
Following the passage of the American Rescue Plan Act, the Biden Administration has turned to other economic recovery measures with the unveiling of the American Jobs Plan. While a long way from actually becoming law, the $2.25 trillion proposal focuses on transportation, caregiving, manufacturing, housing, schools, water, broadband, and the power grid. A second package, planned for release in the coming weeks, could top $1 trillion and expand social policies.
While celebrating the contributions made by women to all fabrics of life during Women’s History Month, it is troubling to do so at a time when the historic gains that women have made in the workforce are becoming history. Prior to the pandemic, unemployment rates for women and men were fairly equal. However, as the virus raged on, and schools and businesses closed, there was a disparate impact on women in the workforce. According to the National Women’s Law Center, female workforce participation has already dropped to 57%—the lowest level since 1988.