The Obama administration today announced a $26 million multi-agency Advanced Manufacturing Jobs and Innovation Accelerator Challenge to foster innovation-fueled job creation through public-private partnerships. These coordinated investments will help catalyze and leverage private capital, build an entrepreneurial ecosystem and promote cluster-based development in regions across the United States. This is the third round of the Jobs Accelerator competition, which is being funded by the U.S. Department of Commerce's Economic Development Administration as well as the National Institute of Standards and Technology, the U.S. Department of Energy, the U.S. Department of Labor's Employment and Training Administration, the Small Business Administration and the National Science Foundation.
"The Jobs Accelerator Challenge is one way the federal government is helping to support the manufacturing industry, a vital source of middle-class jobs," said Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis. "The innovative products developed as a result of this federal grant program will help our economy maintain its global competitive advantage, while also creating jobs at home."
"This $26 million Jobs Accelerator Challenge is yet another example of the Obama administration's commitment to supporting American manufacturers in building things here and selling them everywhere," said Commerce Secretary John Bryson. "We are so pleased to join with our federal agency partners to further strengthen the American manufacturing sector, which creates high-quality, good-paying jobs. Commerce's Economic Development Administration has a strong record of investing in regional innovation clusters that foster the job creation and business development crucial to an economy that is built to last. This challenge further bolsters our efforts and builds on the momentum we have seen in the manufacturing sector in recent months, including the 489,000 U.S. manufacturing jobs that have been added since January 2010."
Advanced manufacturing is critical to the health of the national economy and provides essential goods and equipment directly to consumers as well as to a wide range of industries, including the energy production, agriculture, medical and computing industries, and the security and intelligence sectors.
Manufacturing accounts for 70 percent of private sector research and development, and 60 percent of U.S. exports — including a record $1.2 trillion in goods exported in 2011. Over the past 25 months, manufacturers have created nearly half a million jobs — the best streak since 1995. The Jobs Accelerator Challenge is designed to assist the development and implementation of regionally driven economic development strategies that will support advanced manufacturing and cluster development. The goals are to create jobs, grow the economy and enhance the competitiveness of U.S. manufacturers in the global marketplace.
"'Made in America' is making a comeback," said SBA Administrator Karen Mills. "The Jobs Accelerator Challenge is an opportunity to build on the momentum we're seeing in U.S. manufacturing and to support small businesses and local economies through regional innovation clusters. By working with other federal agencies, we can link, leverage and align our resources to give small businesses the tools they need to work together, grow and create jobs in the manufacturing sector."
Approximately 12 projects are expected to be chosen through a competitive interagency grant process. Applicants are encouraged to submit proposals that will help grow a region's industry clusters by strengthening connections to regional economic development opportunities and advanced manufacturing assets, enhance a region's capacity to create high-quality sustainable jobs, develop a skilled and diverse advanced manufacturing workforce, increase exports, encourage the development of small businesses and accelerate technological innovation.
"Through this partnership, the National Science Foundation will connect innovations from NSF-supported advanced manufacturing research with stakeholders who can accelerate technology commercialization and economic growth," said Thomas Peterson, NSF assistant director for engineering. "NSF is making available up to $1 million for existing NSF Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer Phase II grantees that are part of winning projects."
The deadline for Advanced Manufacturing Jobs and Innovation Accelerator Challenge applications is July 9, and guidelines for submissions are accessible at http://www.manufacturing.gov. In addition to the six funding partners, the initiative is supported by eight other federal agencies: the U.S. Departments of Agriculture, Education, Housing and Urban Development; the U.S. Department of Commerce's International Trade Administration; the Environmental Protection Agency; the Denali Commission; the Minority Business Development Administration; and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
The U.S. Department of Labor today awarded a total of $12,096,172 in grants to nine nonprofit organizations across the country to provide critical employment and support services for previously incarcerated female adults and youth as they make the transition back into their communities.
"This is a great opportunity for these women and girls to turn their lives around," said Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis. "These federal grants will help them obtain the job training and support services they need to positively contribute to their communities and their families."
Seven grantees have been selected to work with adults and two to work with youth. The funds will be used to provide services including job training that leads to credentials in high-demand industries; employment preparation; mentoring; supportive services such as housing, and substance abuse and mental health treatment; family counseling; and assistance with parenting and child reunification.
Providing guidance and support in addition to job training gives previously incarcerated women the stability necessary to improve their educational and employment outcomes, including increasing high school graduation rates, improving literacy and math skills, and entering college and/or other postsecondary training and employment.
Reintegrating formerly incarcerated individuals is a government-wide effort supported by the Federal Interagency Re-entry Council. Chaired by the U.S. Department of Justice, the council brings together numerous federal agencies to advance policies and programs to make communities safer and assist individuals returning to communities from prison or jail in becoming productive, taxpaying citizens.
According to the FBI's Uniform Crime Reports, women accounted for 25.5 percent of all arrests in 2010, including 19.5 percent of arrests for violent crime and 37.6 percent of arrests for property crimes. Over the past 10 years, arrests of men declined by 6.8 percent while arrests of women increased by 10.5 percent.
For a listing of the grantees, go to www.dol.gov/grants.
Join the Conversation on Twitter: #Skills2PayBills on May 17
Join the Department of Labor (DOL) for a “Skills to Pay the Bills” Twitter Chat Thursday, May 17 at 3 pm EDT.
You’ll have the chance to ask career development professionals about the workforce readiness skills employers are looking for when making hiring decisions about first-time employees. An official from the U.S. Department of Education will take part in the discussion, as well as special guests from the University of California, Berkeley and Manpower, Inc.
During the chat, DOL will discuss what young people and recent college grads need to know while preparing to enter the workforce. Below are some additional topics that we can cover via the hashtag #Skills2PayBills:
Eager to get the conversation started? You can tweet us now using the hashtag #Skills2PayBills. Beginning at 3pm EDT on May 17, we’ll be live to answer questions submitted both before and during the event.
We look forward to tweeting you!
Join the Conversation for a Women Veterans Town Hall on Twitter May 22
Join the Department of Labor (DOL) for a Women Veterans Twitter Town Hall on Tuesday, May 22 at 12 pm EDT. Follow the Women Veterans Twitter Town Hall using the hashtag #VetsTownHall.
You’ll have the chance to ask questions about resources and services available to women veterans as they return home from active duty. Officials from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs will take part in the discussion, as well as special guests from John 14:2, Inc., Women Veterans Interactive, and Business and Professional Women’s Foundation.
During the chat, DOL will discuss the department’s efforts to assist servicewomen with the resources necessary to successfully reintegrate back into civilian life. Below are some additional topics that we can cover Tuesday via the hashtag #VetsTownHall:
Department of Labor (@USDOL):
Department of Veterans Affairs: (@DeptVetAffairs):
Starting at 12 pm EDT on May 22, we’ll be live to answer questions submitted both before and during the event.
We look forward to tweeting you!
Teaming Up to Retrain Unemployed Vets
In a collaborative effort to help unemployed veterans find education and training services that will lead to a new job, the Department of Labor has joined with the Department of Veterans Affairs to launch the Veterans Retraining Assistance Program (VRAP). The program provides participating veterans age 35 to 60 with up to 12 months of training assistance in a VA-approved community college or technical school program that leads to an associate's degree or industry recognized certificate. The VA will provide up to $1,473 per month in financial support. Upon completion, the Labor Department will work with participants to help them find jobs in high-demand fields that require their new skills. This program is expected to serve 99,000 unemployed veterans. Veterans can apply on a first-come, first-serve basis for programs that begin on or after July 1, 2012.
For more information on VRAP, go to http://www.dol.gov/opa/media/press/vets/VETS20121008.htm or http://benefits.va.gov/vow/index.htm.
New JFF Report Highlights Health Informatics as Growing Jobs Sector
Jobs for the Future (JFF) has released the new policy brief, "A Growing Jobs Sector: Health Informatics" this month. To enhance institutional decision making about program and course design, as well as the allocation of resources, Jobs for the Future has partnered with Burning Glass Technologies and a network of postsecondary institutions and systems that are “early adopters” of real-time labor market information. The report provides a framework for participating institutions to investigate an emerging sector for new program development and greater impact. Because standard occupational taxonomies and traditional sources of labor market information do not incorporate most health informatics occupations, the use of real-time LMI offers the only means to assess the needs and employment prospects for this rapidly emerging field.
The report, located at http://www.jff.org/sites/default/files/CTW_burning_glass_publication_052912.pdf, is part of the Credentials that Work initiative run by JFF. Credentials that Work utilizes innovations in the collection and use of real-time labor market information to assist community colleges and workforce development programs to evaluate and develop responsive programs of study and curriculum content, connecting them to current labor market needs and are aligned with regional economies. In a dynamic economic environment, where technology innovation and globalization are redefining the nature of work, those charged with developing the skills of the workforce must be able to assess labor market signals constantly using multiple sources of data and information.
New GAO Report Cites the Employment Challenges Faced by Older Workers
Long-term unemployment among workers age 55 and over has grown significantly since the recession began in 2007, according to an April 2012 report from The Government Accountability Office. By 2011, 55 percent of unemployed older workers had been actively seeking a job for more than half a year (27 weeks or more).
The report examined (1) how the employment status of older workers has changed since the recession, (2) older workers’ financial risks from long-term unemployment and challenges in finding new jobs, (3) how periods of long-term unemployment might affect older workers’ retirement income, and (4) what other policies might help unemployed older workers regain employment and what steps the Department of Labor has taken to help unemployed older workers.
To read the report, go to http://www.gao.gov/assets/600/590408.pdf.
What are your thoughts about the report?
New Website Shows Businesses How To Create Employment Opportunities for Youth
On June 4, the nonprofit Opportunity Nation, in partnership with the global specialty retailer Gap Inc., today launched the Connecting Youth & Business microsite, an interactive and easy-to-use online tool that both demonstrates the value today's opportunity youth can bring to the workforce, and walks businesses through the process of how to create new employment and learning opportunities for youth. The web tool was unveiled as part of the White House's Summit on Community Solutions for Disconnected Youth.
Businesses can use the online tool to identify one of three ways to create opportunities for young people: (1) helping youth develop Soft Skills - professional workplace skills and behaviors - through mentoring on topics such as communication, leadership, and presentation skills; (2) helping youth develop Work Ready Skills - qualities that enable youth to respond to workplace situations encountered in everyday adult life - through activities such as career days and job-shadowing; and (3) helping youth put these skills to use in an actual work environment through Learn and Earn Programs like internships, experiential learning, and apprenticeships.
"Our Opportunity Index revealed that one of the most dominant factors in determining an area's overall opportunity score was the engagement of its youth, " said Mark Edwards, executive director of Opportunity Nation. "Businesses can play a critical role in helping young people develop skills to boost their future job competitiveness, a sense of accountability, and a vision for their future," said Bobbi Silten, senior vice president, global responsibility at Gap, Inc. and president, Gap Foundation.
The website's toolkit supports the work of the White House Council for Community Solutions, established in 2010 to identify, encourage growth, and maximize the impact of cross-sector community initiatives that engage all citizens to help solve our nation's most serious problems.
To view the new website and toolkit, go to http://opportunitynation.org/pages/youth-employment-partnerships-toolkit.
New BLS Employment Projections and Career Guide Available Now
Every two years the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics produces a new set of national employment projections for 750 different occupations organized into 22 major groups. They also produce a broad set of supporting materials, from academic and technical analyses for researchers to career guidance materials for students and education planners. The projections data were released in February, and the final resource, a career guide for students and educators called the Occupational Outlook Handbook, was released last week.
For each occupation, the BLS reports:
Along with the employment projections, the BLS assigns an education and training classification to each occupation.
You're Invited to the
The U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) recently issued its redesigned Occupational Outlook Handbook — widely considered single the most important source of career information. DOL’s Employment and Training Administration (ETA) is sponsoring this Webinar to highlight to the workforce investment system this first Handbook specifically designed for the Internet. The Handbook will no longer be issued by the Federal government in printed form, but the new Internet version has significantly more information and visuals than prior editions.
The information in the Handbook has proven invaluable to the workforce investment system — as well as to counselors, students, parents, teachers, job seekers, career changers, education and training staff, and researchers. Each OOH occupational profile discusses what workers in that occupation do, their work environment, the typical education and training needed to enter the occupation, pay, and the job outlook for the occupation. In this Webinar, BLS staff will demonstrate the enhanced new features of the Handbook, provide tips on how to get the most from the new product, describe the sources used to compile it, explain how the occupations are selected, and answer questions.
Registration for this Webinar is limited and seating is on a first-come, first-served basis. Please register today!