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Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez
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FY 2003 Annual Performance Plan - The FY 2003 Budget—A 21st Century Department of Labor

3. The FY 2003 Budget—A 21st Century Department of Labor

3.1   Introduction

The Department of Labor’s FY 2003 budget and annual performance plan were developed with the goal of serving the needs of the 21st Century Workforce.  This chapter highlights new budget initiatives that are instrumental to achieving this goal.

The FY 2003 budget is serving the needs of the 21st Century Workforce on many fronts.  The Department’s FY 2003 budget reflects the amounts necessary to address the challenges that workers face in a changing economy and workforce and also supports the achievement of three overarching national goals:  winning the war against terrorism, strengthening protections of our homeland, and revitalizing our economy and creating jobs.  This budget will also advance the President’s government-wide management reform agenda, ensuring that the Department serves taxpayers in the most cost-effective manner.

Finally, the Department will play a key role in furthering President George W. Bush’s economic agenda, which can be summarized in one word:  jobs.  From ensuring a workforce that is prepared for 21st Century challenges to providing a secure retirement to the Nation’s laborers, the Department of Labor will be there.

The total request for the Department in FY 2003 is $56.5 billion in budget authority and 17,179 full-time equivalents.  The request for the Department’s discretionary programs is $11.4 billion.

The programs and initiatives funded by this budget are managed through the framework of strategic and outcome goals presented in Chapter 4 of this plan.  These presentations also include the allocation of the Department’s budget authority and outlays to each of the strategic and outcome goals, illustrating the resources required to accomplish DOL’s core program objectives.  The introduction to Chapter 4 includes a description of our methodology for computing these allocations, and Appendix B lists the budget activities that support each outcome goal. 

3.2  Budget Highlights

Focus on the 21st Century Workforce
The Department’s focus on the workforce of the 21st Century is exemplified in its Office of the 21st Century Workforce, created last year by Secretary Chao.  Its mission is to ensure that all American workers have as fulfilling and financially rewarding a career as they aspire to have and to ensure that no worker is left behind in the limitless potential of the dynamic, global economy of this new millennium. 

In support of this mission, Secretary Chao hosted the Summit on the 21st Century Workforce on June 20, 2001.  The Summit was a rousing success as President Bush and leaders from business, labor, academia, and government joined the Secretary to address the structural changes affecting our workforce and our economy.

The mission of this Office became even more critical in the wake of the events of September 11.  Just last month, DOL took additional steps to assist workers in a still-sluggish economy.  The Office of the 21st Century Workforce held a day-long jobs and skills fair to help put the Washington, D.C., region back to work.  Everything was in one place -- information on job opportunities, access to employers in nearly all fields, and information on training, certification, skills, and education.  In addition, attendees had “one-stop” access to the full range of government services for workers in transition.

Economic Security Package
The President’s economic security package includes a robust and practical plan to get Americans back to work.  This plan highlights two Departmental programs to assist workers in weathering the economic downturn:  the extension of unemployment benefits by 13 weeks in all States and the proposal of $4 billion to the National Emergency Grant program to target assistance where and when it is needed most.  These grants will help displaced workers maintain health coverage, supplement their income, and receive employment and job training assistance.       

Unemployment Insurance Reform
The Department’s Unemployment Insurance (UI) and Employment Service (ES) systems provide critical services to unemployed workers.  UI helps workers bridge the gap between jobs while stabilizing the economy during downturns.  The ES helps unemployed workers find jobs and employers find new workers.  The Department’s 2003 budget proposes short- and long-term strategies to promote flexibility and strengthen unemployment insurance and employment services to America’s workers and businesses.  Short-term proposals include the 13-week extension of unemployment benefits mentioned above, and a distribution of $9 billion in Federal funds to State unemployment trust funds.  Long-term proposals would make extended benefits more readily available in future economic downturns, reduce Federal unemployment taxes, and give States control of their own administrative funding.

Retirement Security
President Bush and Secretary Chao share the priority of ensuring retirement security for our Nation’s workers and retirees.  To achieve that goal, the Department’s Pension and Welfare Benefits Administration (PWBA) protects the integrity of pensions, health plans, and other employee benefits for more than 150 million people.  For FY 2003, the President’s request for PWBA is $121 million – a $6 million increase over FY 2002.  PWBA is also proposing legislative changes that would reinforce the American workers' confidence in the security of the private retirement system.  Additional Departmental funds are proposed in the President’s FY2003 budget to protect pension funds from labor racketeering.

Job Corps
The President is requesting $1.5 billion for Job Corps in FY 2003 -- an increase of $78.3 million above FY 2002.  Job Corps is a nationwide network of more than 120 residential facilities that provides comprehensive and intensive training, career development, job placement and support services to at-risk young adults.  The Job Corps mission is to attract and enroll eligible young people; teach them the academic, vocational, and social skills that they need to become employable and independent; and help them enter satisfying and long-lasting careers.

According to a thorough and objective economic impact study published last year, the dollar value of benefits that Job Corps generates for society is more than twice what the taxpayers invest.  At the President’s FY 2003 request, Job Corps will enroll more than 73,000 new students.  In addition, the President’s 2003 budget request also contains measures to further improve the quality of Job Corps services to disadvantaged young people and the employers who hire Job Corps graduates.

Implementing the President’s Management Agenda
The Department has instituted a systematic approach to addressing and implementing the President’s management reform agenda.  The Department’s goals and strategies associated with the five government-wide agenda reforms –  Budget and Performance Integration, Strategic Management of Human Capital, Competitive Sourcing, Improve Financial Performance, and Expanding Electronic Government – are discussed in Chapter 6 of this plan.  The Department has also been charged with a sixth reform – Faith-Based Initiatives – which is addressed through goals and strategies in Chapter 4 of this plan.

In August 2001, Secretary Chao created a new Departmental entity, the Management Review Board (MRB), to better manage the Department’s progress against these reforms and to coordinate action on  management initiatives that cross-cut Departmental agencies and should have common solutions.  Through the MRB, the Department has in place a management process that complements the President’s Management Council, thus facilitating consistency in Departmental decision-making. 

3.3  Conclusion

As described above and in the goals, measures, and strategies in Chapter 4, the Department is well prepared to serve the needs of the 21st Century workforce.  That is both our goal and mission.  This plan describes the results that the Department is committed to achieve on behalf of the Nation’s workers with the resources the Department is requesting for FY 2003.

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