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The U.S. Department of Labor today (February 19) announced the availability of approximately $150 million in grants to prepare and place those facing long-term unemployment into good jobs. The Ready to Work Partnership grant competition will support and scale innovative partnerships between employers, nonprofit organizations and America's public workforce system to build a pipeline of talented U.S. workers and help those experiencing long-term unemployment gain access to employment services that provide opportunities to return to work in middle- and high-skill jobs.

 

Approximately 20 to 30 grants ranging from $3 million to $10 million will be awarded to programs focused on employer engagement, individualized counseling, job placement assistance, and work-based training that facilitate hiring for jobs where employers currently use foreign workers on H-1B visas.

 

Programs funded through Ready to Work Partnership grants will use on-the-job training, paid work experience, paid internships and Registered Apprenticeships to provide employers the opportunity to train workers in the specific skill sets required for open jobs. Programs will have to recruit those who have been out of work for six months or longer and will incorporate a strong up-front assessment, allowing for a customization of services and training to facilitate re-employment.

 

As a pre-condition to be considered for funding, at least three employers or a regional industry association must be actively engaged in the project. The grants are financed by a user fee paid by employers to bring foreign workers into the United States under the H-1B nonimmigrant visa program.

 

Prospective applicants are encouraged to view additional online resources at http://www.doleta.gov/readytowork. Any organization that meets the requirements of the solicitation may apply. The Solicitation for Grant Applications, which includes information about how to apply, is available at http://www.grants.gov.  Applications will be accepted through June 19, 2014.

 

News Release

The National Association of Workforce Boards provides this advisory on a February 20 conversation:

How can workforce boards have more impact in meeting the needs of business and industry?  At a time when labor supply is high, workforce professionals are uniquely positioned to understand the available talent in their communities as well as where gaps in training and skills exist.  Creating conversations between policymakers, economic development, educational providers, and employers to help them understand not only the current landscape, but also to plan what will be needed in the future workforce is one way to leverage existing talent and create programs that lead to upskilled workers, competitive employers, and ultimately, economic growth in our communities. Join NAWB CEO Ron Painter for a fast-paced conversation with Rebekah Kowalski, Vice President of ManpowerGroup’s Global Strategic Workforce Consulting Practice, on Thursday, February 20th at 1:00 PM EST, as part of our Forum 2014 radio show series.

 February 20 (1:30 to 1:30 p.m., Eastern) podcast details.

 

As the U.S. economy gains strength and states are in their best financial position in years, governors are proposing unconventional tactics to create jobs, especially in health care and high-tech.

STATELINE examines some of these executive ltactics in this February 10, 2014 overview.

 

The Long-term Unemployed H-1B Ready To Work Partnerships grant program (Ready to Work) will utilize approximately $150 million in revenues from the H-1B visa program to support high performing partnerships between employers, non-profit organizations and America's public workforce system that will help provide long-term unemployed individuals with the range of services, training, and access they need to fill middle and high-skill jobs. The Department expects that a solicitation for applications for these grants will be available in February and awards will be made in mid-2014.

The Ready to Work grants will reward partnerships with the following key features:

Focus on Reemploying Long-Term Unemployed Workers: Programs will have to recruit long-term unemployed workers and employ strategies that are effective in getting them back to work in middle to high-skill occupations. These strategies could include assessments, job placement assistance, training, mentoring and supportive services such as financial counseling and behavioral health counseling.

Work-based Training That Enables Earning While Learning Through Models Such as On-the-Job Training (OJT), Paid Work Experience, Paid Internships and Registered Apprenticeships: Incorporating work-based training into these projects will afford employers the opportunity to train workers in the specific skill sets required for open jobs.

Employer Engagement and Support in Program Design - Including Programs That Commit to Consider Hiring Qualified Participants: Training programs funded by these grants must address the skills and competencies demanded by employers and high-growth industries, and ultimately lead to the employment of qualified participants. Preference will be given to applicants with employer partners that make a commitment to consider candidates who participate in these programs.

ETA has established a webpage to provide continuing updates to the workforce community on applicant information, resources and contacts in the weeks and months ahead.

In 2007 the Chicago Jobs Council launched the Illinois Works for the Future (IWF) campaign to integrate workforce and economic development. The campaign is endorsed by more than 120 public and private partners across the state that are looking for innovative ways to deliver job skills training and workforce education in a way that benefits workers, business, and communities.

 

Please visit FEDCAP for a full January 2014 profile and progress report of the many programs and initiatives now underway under the wing of the Council.

 

Addressing the Negative Cycle of Long-Term Unemployment

The National Economic Council has prepared a 31-page report on addressing the long-term unemployment. The "Job-Driven Sector Strategies" section begins on page 19. The "New Job-Driven Models" section begins on page 29. The "Integrating Promising Practices into the Workforce System" begins on page 22.

The appendix to the report provides profiles of intermediary organizations helping to connect the long-term unemployed to work. These include:

  • District 1199C Training & Upgrading Fund
  • Jackson Area Manufacturers Association
  • Jane Addams Resource Corporation
  • Jewish Vocational Service of Greater Boston
  • Jewish Vocational Service San Francisco (JVS SF)
  • Per Scholas
  • Platform to Employment
  • Skills For Chicagoland’s Future
  • Wisconsin Regional Training Partnership
  • Hiring Our Miners Everyday
  • New Hampshire On-the-Job Training National Emergency Grant Program
  • New Jersey PHARMA National Emergency Grant
  • Managed Career Solutions Los Angeles HealthWorks Initiative

Best Practices for Recruiting and Hiring the Long-Term Unemployed

This paper includes an alphabetical listing of the firms that have expressed a commitment to "inclusive hiring practices and pledge to remove barriers that may prevent qualified long-term unemployed job seekers from applying or being fully considered for jobs at our companies by adopting or building on (these) practices."

Both the NEC paper and the "Best Practices" paper were released at the January 31 White House conference on unemployment.

The Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development recently became the latest state workforce agency to begin downloading the daily National Labor Exchange (NLX) file from DirectEmployers Association, bringing the total participation from NASWA members to almost 100 percent.  Currently, NLX staff members are working with the states of Idaho, Maine, Pennsylvania and West Virginia to ensure all state workforce agencies are taking the daily NLX file of job vacancy listings.

 

In addition to being the latest state to accept the download of the daily NLX job vacancy file, Alaska is also the first state to implement HR-XML standards for its job vacancy listings being sent (uploaded) to the national NLX job vacancy file. HR-XML provides value to State Workforce Agencies in the following ways:

 

Reduces design and implementation costs using freely-available HR-XML formats;

  • Provides pre-defined fields for nearly every use case that workforce agencies and employers are likely to encounter;
  • Solves Office of Federal Contract Compliance Program (OFCCP) Compliance delivery and verification by utilizing HR-XML acknowledgement for receipt file;
  • Provides proof of job vacancy listing “syndication” (spreading) among state job banks via the National Labor Exchange; and
  • Replaces decades old, non-standard fixed field length files used by many government entities.

 For more information on HR-XML please visit www.HR-XML.org.    

 

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