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Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez

2013 DOL Budget - Q&A Session with DOL Leadership

Secretary Solis and other DOL leaders held a 2013 budget Q&A session on February 13, 2012. View the replay of the chat below.

1:31 Secretary Hilda L. Solis: Good afternoon! Buenas Tardes!

Thank you all for joining us to discuss the Department of Labor’s fiscal year 2013 budget request.

This is the third live budget web chat we’ve done. I always look forward to these because they give me an opportunity to hear from you directly and to answer questions you may have about our budget request.

You should know that our fiscal year 2013 budget request reflects our commitment to revitalizing our nation’s economy and to building an America that is built to last—where everyone gets a fair shot, does their fair share, and plays by the same set of rules.

However, in light of current economic realities, and like many families across the country, we had to make some tough choices to make sure our top priorities were supported.

I’m joined today by an incredible team here, and they’re ready to explain our budget request in more detail.

We’ve assembled most of our Assistant Secretaries and policy experts and we’re looking forward to your questions and suggestions.

Thank you again for taking the time to participate in this web chat.

We want to answer as many of your questions as possible. So let’s get right to it!

1:31 Comment From cossebl:

1:31 Comment From Bob Sheehan: Hello: When is the final rule regarding GHS in the US expected to be adopted?

1:33 Joe: [Note: This response was incorrectly labeled; it came from David Michaels of OSHA] Thank you for your interest in OSHA’s Hazard Communication Standard (HCS). We expect this rule to be published soon. This is a very important rule, which OSHA looks forward to publishing shortly. This rulemaking will align OSHA’s HCS with the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS), which was developed by the United Nations. As discussed in the proposal, this rule will establish a uniform system of labeling and layout for safety data sheets. The training required in the current HCS will be retained.

1:33 DOL Moderator: Secretary Solis will be joined by the following DOL Leaders for today's chat.


· Seth Harris, Deputy Secretary

· Phyllis Borzi, Assistant Secretary, Employee Benefits Security Administration

· Ismael Ortiz, Jr., Acting Assistant Secretary, Veterans' Employment and Training Services

· Michael Kerr, Assistant Secretary, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Administration and Management

· Nancy Leppink, Deputy Administrator, Wage and Hour Division

· John Lund, Director, Office of Labor-Management Standards

· Joe Main, Assistant Secretary, Mine Safety and Health Administration

· Sara Manzano-Diaz, Director, Women's Bureau

· Kathy Martinez, Assistant Secretary, Office of Disability Employment Policy

· David Michaels, Assistant Secretary, Occupational Safety and Health Administration

· Jane Oates, Assistant Secretary, Employment and Training Administration

· Sandra Polaski, Deputy Undersecretary, Bureau of International Labor Affairs

· Pat Shiu, Director, Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs

· M.Patricia Smith, Solicitor of Labor

· Bill Spriggs, Assistant Secretary, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Policy

· Gary Steinberg, Acting Director, Office of Workers' Compensation Programs

· James Taylor, Chief Financial Officer

1:34 Comment From Ken Ward Jr.: For MSHA: Will these budget result in fewer on-the-ground inspectors working in the coal-mining sector?

1:34 Joe Main: Ken, thanks for your question. This budget will not result in fewer inspectors in the coal-mining sector.

1:35 Comment From Dan McDermott Upper Shore: Is there a role for Local Workforce Investment Boards in the Community College to Career Fund?

1:35 Jane Oates, ETA: The Department strongly encourages partnerships with LWIBs in all of our initiatives.

1:39 Comment From Denny: Why is the field organization for the Women's Bureau beign eliminated?

1:39 Sara Manzano-Diaz, WB: Hi, Thanks for your question. The President’s budget is not eliminating the field organization of the Women’s Bureau. Like four other agencies in the Department, we’re being asked to reduce to six regional offices.

1:41 Comment From Joel: It seems as though USDOL is intent on transferring the Senior Community Service employment Program to DHHS. Knowing that SCSEP is not meant for all older workers, if this were to become reality, what guidance/directives/training will USDOL provide to WIA One-Stop Centers in serving an older jobseekers who need to find employment but face seemingly insurmountable odds regarding employer discrimination and a workforce/training system not prepared to address these issues?

1:41 Jane Oates: Thank you for your question. The proposed move of SCSEP from ETA to the Dept of Health & Human Services is determined by Congress. The Labor Department is committed to serving older workers through our strong workforce system.

1:42 Comment From Stephen Lee: The President's budget proposes consolidating six OSHA regional offices into three (Boston and New York, Kansas City and Denver, and San Francisco and Seattle). What is the rationale for that action? How would it affect worker safety in those regions?

1:42 David Michaels, OSHA: In an attempt to save money, we are proposing to streamline agency operations in the regions similar to other government agencies. This is not expected to affect worker safety and health.

1:43 Comment From susan hardin: My question is regarding Job Corps - which low performance centers are scheduled for closure?

1:43 Jane Oates: Thank you for asking. The Department has made no decision on which centers might be closed. The Department will consider these decisions in a transparent and accountable manner, which will provide opportunity for public comment. The Department would publish criteria for closing any centers in the Federal Register. There would be a public comment period for interested parties to provide feedback on a proposed methodology for selecting centers for closure. After review of the comments, the Department would revise the methodology, if necessary, and publish a list of any centers selected for closure.

1:44 Comment From Ryan Hess: Has the Office of Job Corps identified the centers it plans to close? If so, what are they? If not, do we have a count of how many will be targeted for closure? -- Ryan Hess, Employment and Training Reporter

1:44 Jane Oates: Thank you for asking. The Department has made no decision on which centers might be closed. The Department will consider these decisions in a transparent and accountable manner, which will provide opportunity for public comment. The Department would publish criteria for closing any centers in the Federal Register. There would be a public comment period for interested parties to provide feedback on a proposed methodology for selecting centers for closure. After review of the comments, the Department would revise the methodology, if necessary, and publish a list of any centers selected for closure.

1:44 Comment From Linda: In the 2013 Budget, is there going to be funding for President Obama's Summer Jobs + 2012 Initiative.

1:44 Comment From Guest: Could you discuss a bit proposals to raise the federal taxable wage base for FUTA to $15,000 as well as the moratorium on state federal interest repayment on advances from FUA? Thank you.

1:44 Comment From Dr Sue Mc: With priority on youth activities and partnerships with private employers emphasized – do you envision federal financial support for summer youth work experience programs?

1:44 Jane Oates, ETA: No Linda, there is no specific funding in this budget. The President proposed $1.5 billion in the American Jobs Act for this proposal. We hope the Congress takes this up soon. But we can't wait for Congress. Through the White House Summer Jobs+ inititative, we are establishing a goal of 250,000 jobs for youth this summer. These jobs are being created through a private initaitive and we are encouraging employers to sign up and provide opportunities for youth to develop lifelong careers skills. Please visit: www.dol.gov/summerjobs

1:44 Jane Oates, ETA: Thank you for your question, Guest. There are proposals for relief to employers and States, and proposals to improve solvency.

A. Relief for Employers and States would:

• Suspend interest accrual and payments on Title XII advances (loans) in Fiscal Years (FY) 2012 and 2013.
• Suspend FUTA credit reductions (employer tax increases) for calendar years 2012 and 2013.
• Remove provisions that increase the amount of credit reduction due to states’ failure to meet established tax effort and benefit cost criteria.

B. Improved Solvency would:

• Reinstate the 6.2 percent (currently 6.0 percent) FUTA tax rate in Calendar Years (CY) 2013 and 2014.
• Increase the FUTA taxable wage base from $7,000 to $15,000 in 2015, and index the wage base in future years based on average wage growth.
• Reduce the FUTA tax rate to 5.77 percent in 2015 (net effective FUTA tax rate
reduced from 08 percent to 0.37 percent).

1:45 Comment From Beth Ward: The budget includes $16.9 million to help the Federal Mine Safety and Health Review Commission reduce the backlog of cases. What will this money go toward specifically? And how many cases are still pending before the commission?

1:45 Joe Main: Beth, thanks for your question. This is a continuation of the backlog project. The backlog reduction effort is a joint project involving the Solicitor of Labor’s office, MSHA and FMSRHC, created as a result of the supplemental funds appropriated by Congress. The additional resources provided by Congress have resulted in the reduction of the total backlog of contested citations and orders before the Federal Mine Safety and Health Review Commission. Preliminary data shows that during calendar year 2011 we reduced the number of citations and orders pending before the Commission from almost 89,000 to fewer than 67,000, a 25 percent reduction.

1:47 Comment From Gary Brunick: Director Lund: Does the OLMS budget include a provision for enhancements to the EFS system?

1:47 Comment From Maynard Friesz: It appears the budget recommends $0 for the Veterans Workforce Investment Program yet the total DOL VETS number is the same. Why the cut to VWIP and where are those funds moved to and why?

1:47 Ismael Ortiz, Jr., VETS: Thanks for your question. The elimination addresses concerns about overlapping training and employment programs. The Department has determined that funding for this program is better directed to other veteran employment programs, including new veteran training activities mandated in the “Vow to Hire Heroes Act.” This includes increases in state grants and the TAP program.

1:47 Pat Shiu, OFCCP: OLMS continues to enhance the functionality and accessibility of EFS. In May 2011, it became available to LM3 and LM4 filers. However, no such provisions are included.

1:47 Comment From Christopher Cole: Could you please explain how the proposal for OSHA whistleblower funding plays into the current ongoing program changes and is this amount in line with completing the planned changes?

1:47 David Michaels, OSHA: The significant increase in OSHA whistleblower funding will help the agency address persistent backlogs and heavy and increasing caseloads for its whistleblower investigators.

These increased resources are critical, since many whistleblower provisions, including those related to food safety, health care reform, finance reform, airlines, and railroad safety -- all of which have the potential for a large volume of complaints - have shorter deadlines for respons than the 90-day deadline governing section 11 (c) complaints.

1:48 Comment From David Strauss: Is the SCSEP program funding in the DOL budget this year or is it in the HHS budget in anticipation of having it transferred to that agency?

1:48 Wage and Hour Division: Thank you for your question, The FY 2013 budget proposes the transfer of SCSEP to HHS. In FY 2012, the program is funded by DOL.

1:48 Comment From Guest: How will this budget affect the One Stop system and its services?

1:48 Jane Oates, ETA: The President's proposal continues to support the One Stop system. The proposed amount of funding would increase funding to the One Stop system.

1:48 Comment From Guest: Is the Workforce Innovation Fund going to be issued again

1:48 Jane Oates: The Department will base the decision to issue another SGA based on appropriations.

1:48 Comment From Michael Rose: Will there be a suspension of federal interest repayments for states who currently have advances from the Federal Unemployment Account?

1:48 Jane Oates, ETA: Michael, we answered the question above. To clarify, I will restate it. There are proposals for relief to employers and States, and proposals to improve solvency

A. Relief for Employers and States would:

• Suspend interest accrual and payments on Title XII advances (loans) in Fiscal Years (FY) 2012 and 2013.
• Suspend FUTA credit reductions (employer tax increases) for calendar years 2012 and 2013.
• Remove provisions that increase the amount of credit reduction due to states’ failure to meet established tax effort and benefit cost criteria.

A. Improved Solvency would:

• Reinstate the 6.2 percent (currently 6.0 percent) FUTA tax rate in Calendar Years (CY) 2013 and 2014.

1:49 Comment From Michael S.: I work in manufacturing and we've seen our volume and employment numbers dropping every year for the past 5 years due to the loss of work to China. Our Government talks about creating jobs while we continiue to lose manufacturing jobs. What is being done to stop and reverse our manufacturing job losses to China?

1:50 Deputy Secretary Harris: As the President proclaimed in his State of the Union address, America needs an economy that is built to last, and American manufacturing is central to our success. His budget proposes a series of aggressive measures to strengthen advanced manufacturing in the United States. He has proposed eliminating the tax subsidy for offshoring American manufacturing jobs and investing in tax benefits for manufacturers that site their facilities in the U.S. and employ American workers.

The President has also challenged us to train and place in middle class jobs 2 million U.S. workers through partnerships between community colleges and employers. Advanced manufacturing is one of the industries we expect will play a large role in this effort. I have visited three community colleges during the last three weeks with sophisticated advanced manufacturing training programs. If Congress will enact the President's proposed budget, we can expand these programs across America and invest in middle class manufacturing jobs for American workers.

1:51 Comment From Jason: While the DOL's Budget brief pints out a drive to boost small businesses, will OSHA change its attitude from "gotcha" to perhaps take a softer approach, such as giving companies a grace period, or levying fines based on employee count as opposed to fixed numbers--so as not to close down small businesses?

1:51 David Michaels, OSHA: We always try to work with small businesses to protect employees and our enforcement policies include a reduction of fines, and OSHA also offers free on-site consultation specifically targeted to small businesses.

1:52 Comment From Nat: For Summer Youth Program, are there incentives for employers to participate? What are the costs and benefits for the employers to participate since it may be viewed as costly for them?

1:52 Jane Oates, ETA: Yes, Nat, we want them to sign up. They are going to be able to post these jobs on our dol.gov website. This is a great way for businesses to grow their own talent. We already have 170,000 slots committed to this initiative. And by the way, the President is strongly involved in this initiative.

1:52 Comment From Ken Ward Jr.: Please explain how the fees for rock-dust testing in the coal industry would work -- how much would these fees cost, will there be a new testing requirement? Will MSHA adopt rules to require explosibility meters?

1:52 Joe Main: Ken, MSHA would solicit public comment through rulemaking with regard to the issues you raised on fees. We are currently evaluating the use of CDEMs.

1:53 DOL Moderator: You can view all budget documentation at http://www.dol.gov/dol/budget/2013/bib.htm

1:54 Comment From Richard Sullins: The TAA CCCT funds were originally set to be awarded for a series of years. Given the current budget realities, has that changed?

1:54 Jane Oates: We anticipate that the SGA for the second round of TAA CCCT will be announced by the end of February – inviting applicants to compete for the second $500 million. We look forward to completely awarding this total of $2 billion in grants.

1:54 Comment From Ron: Is VPP being impacted by this budget?

1:55 David Michaels, OSHA: In FY 2013, OSHA will continue to recognize worksites that demonstrate safety and health excellence through its Voluntary Protection Programs (VPP) and will continue to implement initiatives targeting federal agencies, Fortune 500 companies, and the construction industry for VPP participation. The agency anticipates approving 60 new VPPs in FY 2013 and recertifying 280. The agency also plans 18 new partnerships in FY 2013 in high-hazard industries with a focus on safety and health topics that are common causes of injuries, illnesses, and fatalities.

The Department places great importance on providing compliance assistance for small businesses even in times of austerity. The agency will therefore continue to maintain critical funding support for state compliance assistance which provides direct assistance and consultation services to small businesses. In order to preserve funding for these services targeted to small business, the agency will decrease funding for other outreach and assistance funded through the Federal Compliance Assistance activity.

1:55 Comment From Katie: Hello and thanks for hosting this chat. My question is related to the ILAB budget. Can you provide details on what portion of this budget is expected to fund existing programs vs. new programs and how much will fund ILO-IPEC vs. other work?

1:55 Carol Pier, ILAB: Katie, thanks for your question. In FY2013, the ILAB budget request includes $60 million for international child labor programming, the majority of which will be dedicated to new programming with a small percentage supplementing existing programmatic work. That amount will be awarded through a competitive procurement process. The additional funding requested for other workers’ rights programming will be similarly dedicated and awarded.

1:55 Comment From Ben James: It looks like the DOL is seeking slightly less in overall funding than it sought last year ($12 billion down from about $12.6 billion.) Am I reading this right? If so, I'm curious what if any areas would see an increase in resources under the 2013 budget.

1:55 Michael Kerr, OASAM: Yes, you are reading this correctly. In addition to maintaining the secretary’s emphasis on our worker protection agencies, areas that are receiving an increase in funding include: $30 million for Employment Service state grants for reemployment eligibility services; $15 million for unemployment insurance reemployment eligibility assessments; $10 million in the Wage and Hour Division and unemployment insurance program to address misclassification of employees; $6 million increase for the Wage and Hour Division for increased enforcement of the Fair Labor Standards Act and Family Medical Leave Act; and $2.5 million for the Bureau of International Labor Affairs for enhanced trade agreement monitoring and enforcement.

1:55 Comment From Dr Frank Toda: Dr Solis - thank you for your focus on getting America back to work. I want to help - is there any hope on getting more funding to community colleges that have invested heavily in expensive career technical education ...like healthcare and renewable energy job training? Sincerely, Dr Frank K Toda - President, Columbia Gorge Community College - OREGON

1:56 Jane Oates, ETA: Frank, today the President announced a proposal for $8 billion split evenly between DOL and the Department of Education to continue growth of community colleges as a catalyst for economic development in their areas. These added funds will help people get placed in jobs and help businesses, It’s up to Congress to pass this initiative.

1:56 Comment From Beth: Will the Community College to Career Fund be disbursed as one solicitation with multiple priorities, or will it be disbursed as CCCF as the parent fund with individual priorities such as the Training the next generation of entrepreneurs?

1:56 Jane Oates: We are in the process of determining the distribution of funds with the Dept of Education and the Small Business Administration.

1:57 Comment From Patty: Is the Administration going to fight for extension of UI benefits?

1:57 Jane Oates, ETA: Yes, Patty.

1:57 Comment From Kyle Morrison, S+H: The budget says combustible dust and beryllium NPRMs will come out in FY 2013. If that's the plan, why were those items placed on long-term actions in the most recent Regulatory Agenda?

1:57 David Michaels, OSHA: For combustible dust and beryllium the next major action planned will occur after the period covered by the current regulatory agenda.

1:57 Comment From Angel: What is the diffrence between the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College & Career Training (TAACCCT) and this recently announced "Community College Career Fund"? Are they one in the same or two entirely seperate programs?

1:58 Jane Oates: • The Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) program is primarily focused on building the capacity of community colleges to provide two-year programs and improve education and employment outcomes for individuals eligible under the Trade Adjustment Assistance program.

The Community College Initiative builds on the TAACCCT, but supports a broader and more varied range of services, with several key differences including:
• Provides more time for participants to complete their training/education programs;
• Targets additional populations in need, such as the long-term unemployed or veterans;
• Includes flexibility to offer training funds and resources such as supportive services to increase completion rates;
• Institutes “pay for performance” in job training; and
• Supports pathways to entrepreneurship.

1:59 Comment From Stephen Lee: The budget request calls for a $4.9 million increase for OSHA's whistleblower program, and a $3.2 million decrease for its federal compliance assistance program. Can you comment on these proposals?

1:59 David Michaels, OSHA: Although our compliance assistance activities are divided into three budget categories, we view it as a whole, and overall, FY 2013 compliance assistance is 2% above FY 2011. Because of the severe budget constraints we’re facing throughout the federal government, we are tightening our belts in a number of areas and we had to choose among many priorities. In this case, our priority is maintaining the 2012 increases for small business assistance through our state consultation program.

2:00 Comment From Carolee Marano: Many people with disabilities can and want to work, and barriers to their employment have been intensified with the economic crisis. Particularly since an increase of only half of one percent is being requested for the 2013 ODEP budget, we need to make sure that other DOL initiatives supporting the vulnerable consider the needs of youth and adults with disabilities to maximize their opportunities for gainful employment along with those of other disadvantaged populations. Under the Getting America Back to Work inititiave, DOL is requesting $6 billion for training and employment programs for vulnerable populations. Are there plans to dedicate some of these funds to getting people with disabilities back to work? Also, will the any of the $12.5 billion requested for the Pathways Back to Work Fund be earmarked to help people with disabilities to gain new skills to expand their opportunities for gainful, long-term employment?

2:00 Jane Oates, ETA: ETA will partner with our ODEP office to make sure that our formula and competitive grantees are better able to meet the needs of job seekers with disabilities. Secretary Solis’ vision of good jobs for everyone means everyone so our system is committed to making that vision a reality through our Pathways proposals.

2:01 Comment From Guest: Thank you for allowing budget questions. I noticed very clearly the DOL objective of 'Good Jobs for everyone' and alignment with Strategic Goals focusing on employees. I did not see a clear tie in to employer's input. Can anyone comment on DOL alignment of employer's needs or strategies. I've seen so much from DOL on bringing in business to the US.

2:01 Deputy Secretary Harris: Thank you for your question. The President's budget recognizes the need for extensive employer involvement in helping community colleges and other elements of our workforce investment system to prepare workers for jobs that are open now and will be created in the future. The community college initiative the President and Secretaries Solis and Duncan are announcing today puts employer partnership with community colleges at the core of our strategy.

You are right that the Labor Department's mission is Good Jobs for Everyone. Ensuring that U.S. workers have the skills employers need to compete and win in global markets is central to carrying out that mission.

2:01 Comment From Brian Fox, ETR: For Asst Sec Oates...Is there a preliminary or targeted/estimated number of Job Corps residential student slots that is being considered for conversion to non-residential slots? What would be the criteria applied in making these res to non-res converstions?

2:02 Jane Oates, ETA: Brian, the Department has made no decision on the conversion of residential to non-residential slots. The Department will consider locations for potential conversion based on the extent to which the expansion of non-residential slots would be appropriate and effective.

2:02 Comment From Mark: What is the role of the One-Stop system in helping the President's new Veterans Job Corp initiative?

2:02 Wage and Hour Division: Mark. Today, this is a proposal. Our One-Stop system will be there to help recruit, job match, and place our veterans. We will work closely with the Department of Interior and the Veterans’ Administration to create a system that works for vets, so that they can take advantage of opportunities through this new employment program.

Additionally, our One-Stop system is working hard to implement our Gold Card Initiative to provide a full range of employment opportunities for veterans.

2:03 Comment From Dan: I see MSHA has reduce the amount to fund the State's grant program and reducing the size of the small mines program. How does MSHA see these voids being filled?

2:03 Joe Main: To meet other funding requirements, particularly mandatory functions of the Agency, MSHA is proposing a reduction of $5,000,000 in grant funds. Training is an obligation of the mine operator under the Mine Act. MSHA anticipates that operators will become more engaged in providing quality training to their employees. Some states will continue providing services, and where services are reduced or eliminated, operators will find other sources to provide the training. To continue to assist the mining industry meet its training obligations, MSHA is increasing the production and distribution of high quality training materials that are available through the MSHA website. With regard to the small mine program, the Small Mines Office is being renamed the Small Mines Consultation Program (SMCP) to better reflect and identify the work of the program. The name “consultation” is indicative of the assistance it provides to the small mine operators. SMCP assists small mines that have limited resources to develop effective safety, health and training programs. This is accomplished through on-site safety and health assistance to small mine operators that request assistance with hazard identification and correction. Generally, these operators do not have the resources to employ full-time health and safety personnel or hire consultants. The role of the program will also be expanding by leveraging their expertise and resources through working directly with the mining industry, including state aggregate associations and other partners.

2:04 Comment From Gayle Cinquegrani: Why has there been such a steep drop ($498 million) in the mandatory DOL outlays from FY 2012 to FY 2013?

2:04 Deputy Secretary Harris: Currently the department estimates $84.2 billion mandatory outlays in FY 2012. This amount decreases to $55.3 billion in FY 2013. This reduction is primarily attributed to projected continued reductions in unemployment insurance benefits as the economy improves. This is shown on page 83 of the Budget in Brief.

2:04 Comment From megan c: Can you please explain the local role in the Pathways Back to Work fund?

2:04 Jane Oates, ETA: The Pathways proposal in the President’s American Jobs Act initiative would give local workforce investment boards the resources to use training funds to recruit, train and place unemployed citizens. Efforts would include on the job training as well – to get job seekers paid real work experience.

2:04 Comment From Amy: Could you discuss the support for the prevention and detection of of the inappropriate misclassification of employees as independent contractors?

2:04 Nancy Leppink, WHD: Amy, thanks for your question. WHD has requested $3.8 million and 35 full time employees to build on recent successes in enforcement related to misclassification of employees. In FY 2010, the division collected nearly $4 million in back wages for minimum wage and overtime violations that were a result of employers misclassifying their employees as independent contractors, or otherwise not treating them as employees. .This is a significatn increase over FY 2008, when WHD collected just over $1.3 million in unpaid back wages for the same reason.

2:05 Comment From Billy: Does ILAB have an international presence, specifically staff (eg. staff at an embassy) or is it all domestic?

2:05 Carol Pier, ILAB: Thank you for your question, Billy. Although we conduct careful oversight of our international labor activities, we do not have ILAB staff assigned to U.S. embassies overseas. However, in certain circumstances an ILAB staff person may work out of an overseas embassy for a predetermined amount of time. We also work very closely with our colleagues at the State Department who serve as our eyes and ears on the ground.

2:06 Comment From Manuel: With MSHA seeing a slight funding cut, does that mean a back-off in mine safety focus?

2:06 Joe Main: Manuel, the answer to your question is absolutely not. MSHA is strategically targeting its resources to ensure that it can carry out the required functions of the Mine Act to assure the safety and health of our nation's miners. Miners who go to work in this nation deserve to go to work, put in their shift, and go home to their families safe and healthy at the end of each day.

2:07 Comment From Sandy: What is the latest on WIA reauthorization and how does the funding look for 2013?

2:07 Jane Oates: The President has repeatedly called for job training reform and reauthorization of the Workforce Investment Act (WIA), and reiterated this again in his State of the Union address. Last year the Senate HELP Committee made significant progress in developing a bipartisan proposal that would include a number of essential reforms to streamline administration, improve accountability, and make the nation’s public workforce development system more efficient and effective – priorities that directly align with the goals of these proposals. We are hopeful that the HELP Committee’s bipartisan efforts will continue, and we are aware that several WIA reauthorization and job training reform proposals have been introduced in the House. We look forward to working with Congress to accomplish job training reform and WIA reauthorization. This budget is a clear indication of the President’s commitment to job training programs.

2:07 Comment From Joe Isaacs: What will the budget mean for the efforts to promote employment of those with disabilities both within and outisde of government?

2:07 Comment From Guest: How would the Department's budget request support the Administration's efforts to create and promote employment opportunities for people with disabilities?

2:07 Kathy Martinez, ODEP: Thanks for your question. In FY 2013, ODEP will continue its Employment First initiative begun in FY 2012, to develop models of excellence for aligning Federal and state policy and funding to support employment of individuals with the most significant disabilities in integrated settings within the community. The initiative places ODEP in a leadership role as a catalyst for change as its works across other federal agencies, including partnering with the Administration on Developmental Disabilities.

ODEP will also continue to add relevant content to its Integrated Employment Toolkit, an internet based resource, unveiled in November, 2011, to provide information to jobseekers and their families, community employment agencies, employers, policy makers, and researchers.

Based on policy recommendations related to an aging workforce derived from FY 2012 research, in fiscal year 2013 ODEP will develop and disseminate technical assistance to assist employers and providers in supporting and retaining mature workers working beyond traditional retirement age.

In addition, building upon prior efforts, ODEP will also partner with the Office of Workers Compensation Programs (OWCP) to promote the return to work of injured federal workers by developing and providing technical assistance and training to relevant staff such as Rehabilitation Nurses, Federal Hiring Managers, and Selective Placement Coordinators.

In addition, ODEP will partner with OFCCP with regard to increasing employment opportunities among federal contractors. On December 9, 2011, OFCCP published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) to revise the regulations implementing Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. This rulemaking seeks to update and strengthen nondiscrimination and affirmative action for individuals with disabilities in the contracting workforce. The rule is open for public comment through February 21, 2012, and detailed information is available on our website at www.dol.gov/ofccp/503.

OFCCP has also published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on Section 4212 of the Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act to assist veterans with disabilities. . We anticipate publishing a Final Rule in the summer of 2012. The benchmarks proposed in the NPRM are intended to provide contractors with a tool to assist them in measuring their success in recruiting and employing veterans.

ODEP, in collaboration with the Women’s Bureau, will also continue to promote the use, adoption, and implementation of Workplace Flexibility as an effective policy strategy for employers through the identification and dissemination of promising practices, targeted technical assistance, and demonstration projects.

Through the Add Us In grant initiative, ODEP will continue its efforts to engage small and minority-owned businesses and increase their capacity to successfully employ people with disabilities.

Another important policy focus area is youth transition. We will continue to reach out to parents, youth, workforce development professionals, educators and policy makers to guide them to resources, practices and policies that make a positive impact on future earnings. ODEP will also fund a technical assistance center focused on improving employment outcomes for youth, and ensuring that the professionals that work with them have the knowledge and skills they need to help them succeed.

The Office of Disability Employment Policy will continue to collaborate with OPM and EEOC to identify best practices and to provide technical assistance and training needed to make the Federal government a model employer of people with disabilities.

2:07 Comment From Leah Tennille: For the VETS budget, any idea how many new grants will be available under HVRP for FY2013? Even a rough estimate would be great.

2:08 Ismael Ortiz: We estimate that 10-12 new grants will be available under HVRP for FY 2013.

2:08 Comment From David: How will this move effect SCSEP Training Providers?

2:08 Jane Oates, ETA: The SCSEP move is proposed so there are no immediate changes for grantees. When Congress agrees to the proposed move, DOL will work closely with HHS to ensure a seamless transition.

2:09 Comment From E.Perez: What is OFCCP's strategy to identify and remedy wage-based compensation discrimination?

2:09 Wage and Hour Division: Thank you for your question. We are in the process of reviewing and improving all of our pay discrimination investigation protocols, which includes the pending Notice of Rescission of the 2006 Standards and Voluntary Guidelines. Our Notice of Proposed Rescission raised concerns that the framework of the Standards and Voluntary Guidelines was too restrictive and not consistent with Title VII. Our goal is to apply Title VII principles and fulfill our worker protection mandate. We have reviewed and carefully considered all the comments and will soon be issuing a final determination. We have already committed, in response to requests from the contractor community, to provide transparency regarding our interpretations and approach to compensation investigations going forward, but we can’t specify any further details about what that will consist of until the formal rulemaking is complete.

2:10 Secretary Hilda L. Solis: I would like to thank the more than 2,800 people who have logged in to today's chat. We are trying to answer as many questions as possible. Please keep them coming!

2:11 Comment From Elizabeth: Could you comment further on the WHD efforts that will be funded by the increases mentioned earlier? ($10 million to address misclassificaton of employees and $6 million for increased FLSA and FMLA enforcement)

2:11 Nancy Leppink, WHD: Elizabeth, thanks for the question. About $6.4 million will used be to hire investigators to enforce FLSA (overtime and Section 14(c)) and FMLA, and about $3.8 million will be used to hire investigators for increasing enforcement related to misclassificaiton of employees and to educate employers and employees about their rights and responsibilities.

2:11 Comment From Sue: Can you provide examples of the Advanced Manufacturing Training and communiity colleges visited in reference to building the manufacturing industry in the country?

2:12 Jane Oates: Last year, the Administration helped launch Skills For America’s Future – an industry-led initiative to improve industry partnerships with community colleges and build a nationwide network to maximize workforce development strategies, job training programs, job placements. Through this initiative, the President announced a new partnership with private sector employers, community colleges, and the Nat Association of Manufacturers to provide 500,000 community college students with industry recognized credentials that will help them secure jobs in the manufacturing sector, such as bio-tech, and medical devices.

2:12 Comment From Barb: Will there be any emphasis on Summer Youth programs for science and math? It seems those are the areas we are sorely behind in.

2:12 Jane Oates, ETA: Barb, summer youth programs are focused on providing career exposure and opportunities to youth in a variety of in-demand and high growth fields. STEM is a critical component to many in-demand jobs so I am confident that local areas are emphasizing these critical skills.

2:13 Comment From Mala: Is the Pathways Back to work fund part of the DOL budget?

2:13 Jane Oates, ETA: The Pathways Back to Work Fund was proposed by the Administration in the American Jobs Act. The Department is hopeful that Congress will address the Pathways Initiative this year.

2:13 Comment From Guest: Last month, the President had described the consolidation of a number of agencies, including the Bureau of Labor Statistics, into a new Department of Competitiveness. Is this reflected in the Department's budget request?

2:13 Deputy Secretary Harris: Thank you for the question. You are correct that the President has asked Congress to provide him with fast track authority to streamline and strengthen the Executive Branch. One illustration of how he would reorganize was bringing together into one department many of the economic development, trade and commerce functions that already exist in the government.

Part of the proposal includes the consolidation of some federal statistical agencies. However, nothing will happen to BLS until Congress provides the President with the requisite authority and the involved Cabinet agencies develop a detailed plan. There will be thoughtful and extensive consultation with Congress, outside stakeholders and federal employees before any action is taken.

2:13 Comment From Larry Eisenstadt: Does the proposed budget presuppose any specific form of WIA?

2:13 Jason Kuruvilla: We are working under current law which has not been reauthorized since 2003. We cannot wait for Congress to reauthorize WIA and therefore have proposed in the budget several job training reform proposals. We continue to support WIA reauthorization and look forward to working with Congress to do that.

2:13 Comment From Erin: AAUW is concerned with DOL’s slashing the ONLY federal office exclusively concerned with Pay Equity and women in the workforce, the Women's Bureau, by 32%. In 2012, 11,559,000 / 56 FTE. 2013 budget is 9,081,000 / 35 FTE. Why do that when women hurt in economic recovery? http://bit.ly/vWmYrF

2:13 Sara Manzano-Diaz: The President and the Secretary of Labor have concluded that the most effective way to protect women in the workplace is through a strong enforcement program. The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) and Wage and Hour Division (WHD) continue to implement programs and enforcement strategies resulting in the recoupment of record amounts of back wages on behalf of women workers.

2:14 Comment From Abigail: What changes are expected in the upcoming TAACCCT initiative?

2:14 Jane Oates, ETA: Thanks, Abigail, the SGA will be available by the end of February. ETA will do a series of information webinars after publication.

2:14 Comment From Linda: How do we as local social services organizations encourage local employers to sign up for the Summer Jobs+ initiative and commit to hosting youth through internships, mentorships, soft skills training. Exactly what incentives-- such as tax-breaks-- wil they receive?

2:14 Jane Oates: Summer Jobs+ provides employers with a low-risk, low-cost approach to staffing their businesses and building their talent pipeline while answering the President’s call to and praise for good corporate citizenry. For more info: www.dol.gov/summerjobs

2:15 Comment From Amy Goldstein: And what is happening with TAA training funds -- not just for the TAA Community College and Career Training Grants, but for TAA training funds overall? Thank you.

2:15 Jane Oates, ETA: On October 21, 2011 the TAA Extension Act of 2011 (TAAEA) was signed into law. The TAAEA restored nearly all of the eligibility expansions contained in the 2009 TAA reforms, including eligibility for service workers and workers who lose their jobs due to competition from countries that do not have a free trade agreement with the U.S. TAAEA also amended the Trade Act to establish a $575 million annual cap on TAA fuding for Training, Job Search Allowances and Relocation Allowances, Employment and Case Management services and State Administration of these benefits for both FY 2012 and FY 2013. The FY 2013 budget requests the full $575 million allowed under the cap for these services.

2:15 Comment From Steven R. Levine: For Tricia Smith: What trends are becoming apparent with the issue of worker misclassification regarding DBRA noncompliance, and is there anything good to report?

2:15 Nancy Leppink, WHD: Steven, thanks for your question! In 2011, the Wage and Hour Division collected nearly $18 million in back wages related to DBRA violations for more than 8,000 workers.

2:16 Comment From Brian Keating: Is there a synopsis or a website where I can learn about the budget?

2:16 Jane Oates: http://www.dol.gov/budget/

2:17 Comment From Guest: It's very disappointing to see WANTO zeroed out. What are you doing to ensure that OA matches the accomplishments of the WANTO program to prepare, place and retain women in non-traditional occupations.

2:17 Jane Oates: Thank you for your question. We are taking a number of steps to ensure that ETA continues to support the goals of the WANTO program. Specific actions we’ll take include updating the EEO regulations governing registered apprenticeship later this year, providing guidance to the workforce system on quality pre-apprenticeship programs as well as encouraging state and local WIA dollars to be used to fund allowable activities under WANTO.

2:19 Comment From JMH: Will this proposed budget have any impact on DOL enforcement efforts with respect to "Hot Goods"? If so, what do you see as the impact? And, what industries will be affected the most?

2:19 Nancy Leppink, WHD: JMH, thanks for your question. The Wage and Hour Division has indicated that it will use all tools available, including the FLSA hot goods provision, to ensure compliance among violators and to deter violations among other employers. The division will continue to focus on low-wage industries that employ vulnerable workers, including agriculture and garment.

2:19 Comment From Anne: How many of the new 2012 EBSA investigators have been hired?

2:19 Phyllis Borzi, EBSA: Due to the delay in receiving the FY 2012 appropriation, EBSA is in the early stages of the recruitment process. We do anticipate making considerable progress by the end of the fiscal year.

2:19 Comment From michelle: To the Director of the Women's Bureau: How will we know which Women's Bureau regional offices will be closed down or "consolidated?" How will you determine this?

2:19 Sara Manzano-Diaz: At this time the Bureau has not determined which offices would be consolidated.

2:20 Comment From Ben James: Can you comment on the rationale for the proposal to allow the PBGC board to adjust premiums starting in 2014, and what practical impact this will have? Also, the budget in brief refers to the 2012 budget and a similar proposal to allow the PBGC broad to adjust premiums. What happened to the 2012 proposal, and what's the difference between the 2012 and 2013 budget requests in this regard?

2:20 Phyllis C. Borzi, EBSA: PBGC is a crucial part of America’s retirement safety net. More than 44 million Americans are protected by PBGC insurance coverage; 1.5 million people rely directly on PBGC to pay their retirement benefits.
The Administration wants to strengthen PBGC and the defined benefit system. Premium reform that allows PBGC to price insurance realistically would put PBGC's finances on a sounder footing. It would also encourage the preservation of responsible pension plans.
Under the proposal the PBGC Board would take into account the risks that different sponsors pose to their retirees and to the PBGC. This will encourage companies to fully fund their pension benefits and ensure the continued financial success of the PBGC.
The 2012 proposal was carried forward in the 2013 budget. A similar proposal is also included in the president’s economic and deficit reduction plan.

2:21 Comment From Elizabeth: How many more inspectors would the WHD budget increases support?

2:21 Nancy Leppink, WHD: Hello, Elizabeth. The WHD budget increases would support the hiring of about 92 additional investigators.

2:22 Deputy Secretary Harris: Hello everyone. Thank you for participating in today's budget rollout web chat. We have plenty of time left to take your questions and post our answers. This is a reminder to Labor Department employees who are participating in today's chat. I will host another web chat specially dedicated to questions from our employees on Wednesday. So, if your question does not get answered today, or if you prefer to wait, please join me on Wednesday and post your question then. I will do my best to provide as many answers as possible. Thanks again.

2:22 Comment From Guest: It is very disappointing to see WANTO zeroed out. What are you going to do to ensure that the Office of Apprenticeship matches the accomplishments of the WANTO program to prepare, place and retain women in apprenticeship and nontraditional occupations?

2:22 Jane Oates: Thank you for your question. We are taking a number of steps to ensure that ETA continues to support the goals of the WANTO program. Specific actions we’ll take include updating the EEO regulations governing registered apprenticeship later this year, providing guidance to the workforce system on quality pre-apprenticeship programs as well as encouraging state and local WIA dollars to be used to fund allowable activities under WANTO.
The small amount that was appropriated to WANTO was insufficient to meet the demand of placing women in nontraditional careers. ETA and the Women's Bureau hope by integrating the goals of WANTO into all our funding programs will better meet that need.

2:23 Comment From Keith: What will the relationship be between the new Veterans Job Corps and the existing Job Corps program? How will funding for one impact the other?

2:23 Jane Oates, ETA: The Veterans’ Job Corps program is an employment program through the Department of Interior. The DOL Job Corps program is a training program. Despite the similar names, these programs are unrelated and the funding for one will not impact the funding for the other. However, DOL will be working with the Department of Interior and the Department of Veterans’ Affairs to ensure that unemployed veterans coming to our One-Stops are aware of the employment opportunities that the Department of Interior is making available.

2:23 :

2:25 Comment From guest: How does the budget directly effect the LWIB's and the workforce programs that currently receive funding from the WIA?

2:25 Jane Oates: The roles of LWIBs and SWIBs remain the same. The President’s budget continues to support the public workforce system – including LWIBs – with increased funding for the Workforce Innovation Fund over FY 2012.

2:25 Comment From Mary Beth: Could you elaborate on this line in OSHA's budget? "savings of $2,482,000 and 33 FTE due to reduced federal compliance assistance activity from the consolidation of personnel in geographically dense regions."

2:25 David Michaels, OSHA: OSHA has a compliance assistance specialist in every one of its more than 70 area offices. Many of these are situated very close to each other. In order to save money and streamline resources we will be asking some compliance assistance staff to cover a slightly larger area.

2:25 Comment From Michell McIntyre: For Wage & Hour: What does the 2013 budget mean for Wage & Hour investigations? Will there be any additional investigators hired to combat FLSA violations?

2:25 Nancy Leppink, WHD: Hi, Michell. Elizabeth had a similar question at 2:11. Please scroll up and see our response to her.

2:26 Comment From Ryan Hess: The Budget Appendix, on page 815, contains the following sentence: "The 2013 Budget proposes legislation that would establish a new dislocated worker program beginning in 2014." Could you explain what this means? Do you have a WIA Reauthorization proposal to lay out to Congress, if the House and Senate measures fail to advance and this moves to the next Congress?

2:26 Jane Oates, ETA: Thanks for your question, Ryan. Over the next few weeks we’ll be talking about the Dislocate Worker program and what changes might be needed to better meet the needs of this important group.

2:27 Comment From Jennifer Osborn-Mumau: Getting back to retraining and college, is there going to any funds for the middle age adults that they can afford to go back to coolege

2:27 Jane Oates: In FY 2013 the department plans to continue its relationship with the Dept of Education to ensure our country has one of the most skilled workforces in the world. While the Dept of Education has many programs to assist middle-aged adults get back to college, DOL is helping to ensure community colleges have the capacity and resources to serve these individuals through initiatives such as TAA CCCT grants.

2:27 Comment From Joe: I joined late, can you comment on the UI Safety Net issue and the two year tax relief provision for employers in indebted states.

2:27 Jane Oates: Glad you could join. As part of the UI Safety net, there are proposals for relief to employers and States, and proposals to improve solvency

A. Relief for Employers and States would:

• Suspend interest accrual and payments on Title XII advances (loans) in Fiscal Years (FY) 2012 and 2013.
• Suspend FUTA credit reductions (employer tax increases) for calendar years 2012 and 2013.
• Remove provisions that increase the amount of credit reduction due to states’ failure to meet established tax effort and benefit cost criteria.

B. Improved Solvency would:

• Reinstate the 6.2 percent (currently 6.0 percent) FUTA tax rate in Calendar Years (CY) 2013 and 2014.
• Increase the FUTA taxable wage base from $7,000 to $15,000 in 2015, and index the wage base in future years based on average wage growth.
• Reduce the FUTA tax rate to 5.77 percent in 2015 (net effective FUTA tax rate reduced from 0.8 percent to 0.37 percent).

2:27 Secretary Hilda L. Solis: I have to run to a call with Sec. Duncan about today's community college training announcement, but I leave you in good hands with my team. Thanks for your questions and keep them coming.

2:28 Comment From Dan: Question for Joe Main: Given the "backlog" begins with contested citations, either on the basis of fact or due the the penalty assessed, preventing the "backlog" would seem to need to start here. I believe that the civil penalties are being looked at on some level, but what other efforts are being done to manage the number of contested citations before they get to litigation?

2:28 Joe Main: Thanks for your question, Dan. I just recently launched the pre-contest conferencing program at MSHA to allow for disputes to be resolved prior to litigation. Second, I implemented a program requiring all field office supervisors to be trained to improve both consistency and oversight of the agency's enforcement program. Third, as noted, we are also looking at revisions of Part 100, the civil penalty rules, to improve clarity and consistency. We are also encouraging better communication between MSHA personnel and mine personnel during inspections. All of these programs should help resolve issues prior to litigation.

2:28 Comment From Ryan Hess: If the Community College to Career Fund would be approved by Congress, would the administration support continued funding for the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training Grant Program, after that program's existing appropriation expires after 2014? -- Ryan Hess, Employment & Training Reporter

2:28 Jane Oates: TAACCCT is a distinct four-year program, primarily focused on building the capacity of community colleges to provide two-year programs and improve education and employment outcomes for individuals eligible under the Trade Adjustment Assistance program.
The Community College Initiative builds on the TAACCCT, but supports a broader and more varied range of services, with several key differences including:
• Provides more time for participants to complete their training/education programs;
• Targets additional populations in need, such as the long-term unemployed or veterans;
• Includes flexibility to offer training funds and resources such as supportive services to increase completion rates;
• Institutes “pay for performance” in job training; and
• Supports pathways to entrepreneurship.

2:28 Comment From Joseph: Job Corps is considering closing a few chronically low-performing centers. Will consideration be given to closure of chronically low-performing centers operated by the USDA Forest Service?

2:28 Jane Oates, ETA: Joseph, the Department has made no decision on which centers might be closed. These decisions could apply to centers operated by the USDA or private contractors. The Department would publish criteria for closing any centers in the Federal Register. There would be a public comment period for interested parties to provide feedback on a proposed methodology for selecting centers for closure. After review of the comments, the Department would revise the methodology, if necessary, and publish a list of any centers selected for closure.

2:32 Comment From Guest: With the DOL's new investigators, is there a percentage that would focus on misclassification vs FMLA violations or is this a dual effort?

2:32 Nancy Leppink, WHD: We've requested $3.8 million and 35 full time employers for increased enforcement related specifically to misclassified workers.

2:32 Comment From Kisha: Can you talk more about your efforts with OMB around improving comprehensive services for disconnected youth?

2:33 Jane Oates: DOL is engaged in OMB’s efforts to reduce administrative barriers to serving disconnected youth. These efforts are intended to better support program implementation across federal funding streams that support these youth.

Job Corps has been working with OMB that ensure that Job Corps centers are offering high quality services to disconnected youth.

The Department also has several initiatives to support disconnected youth. For example, the Workforce Innovation Fund has $10 million reserved for disconnected youth. Grants awarded with this set-aside would be used to support a number of strategies to improve services to disconnected youth that may include:

1) effective leveraging and use of WIA Titles I and II in order to increase coordination among WIA youth and adult education programs serving basic skills deficient youth;
2) effective leveraging and use of WIA Title I and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) resources in order to increase coordination in serving TANF eligible youth enrolled in the WIA Youth program;
3) utilizing WIA Title I/ Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration resources to support approaches for better serving youth with substance use disorders; and
4) developing partnerships between WIA and Department of Justice’s juvenile justice programs to improve services to youth involved in the juvenile justice system.
5) engaging employers to assist disconnected youth in accessing the skills and experiences necessary to be successful in the workforce through learn and earn opportunities, life Skills acquisition and exposure to the world of work.

2:33 Comment From Sue: How do you select community colleges to profile/visit as part of your tour? Is it possible for one to request a visit from your group to showcase its efforts?

2:33 Jane Oates: We know there are great community colleges all over the country. We can only visit so many on this tour, but want to make sure that we get all community colleges involved virtually in the Community College-to-Career tour. Keep looking out for more info on how to join the conversation about how community colleges are helping to train workers.

2:35 Comment From Rachel Lyons: We are delighted to see that the budget includes $5 million for a State Paid Leave Fund. Can you tell us more about it? What kind of activity could be funded under this program?

2:35 Jane Oates, ETA: We’re glad, too, Rachel. Thanks for your question. The State Paid Leave Fund provides funds to support planning and startup activities related to State Paid Leave programs. More information is available under the ETA SUIESO account that can be found here: http://www.dol.gov/dol/budget/2013/PDF/CBJ-2013-V1-09.pdf.

2:35 Comment From Pat: Will DOL be working with IRS on misclassification cases?

2:35 Nancy Leppink, WHD: Pat, thanks for the question. In 2011, DOL and IRS signed a memorandum of understanding to improve coordination on misclassification. Information is available on our website, discussing the MOU with the IRS and similar MOUs with individual states: http://www.dol.gov/whd/

2:36 Comment From Via Twitter: What is being done in this budget to assist the long term or perpetual unemployed?

2:36 Jane Oates, ETA: The budget contains many strategies to help the long term unemployed get back to work.

First, the President’s proposal ties the unemployment benefit extensions to enhanced reemployment services for EUC claimants and several innovative tools to help people get back to work. For example, the Bridge to Work program provides financial incentives and an opportunity for employers to bring on potential new employees; the Self Employment Assistance option enables claimants to create and grow their own businesses, potentially creating jobs; and wage insurance would enable firms to hire unemployed workers who need to build new skills in new occupations or industries by topping up wages that are lower than what they previously earned.

Second, the best way to help all long term unemployed is to create jobs quickly. That is why the President’s proposal includes an employer tax credit designed to encourage employers to hire the long term unemployed. The President’s proposal also includes new initiatives to connect the long-term unemployed with jobs by getting them back to work quickly. States may use funds made available in this proposal for the Reemployment NOW initiative to provide enhanced reemployment services and other innovative reemployment activities to individuals who have exhausted EUC. Reemployment services combined with incentives to employers have proved effective in getting unemployed workers back to work sooner.

Third, the Pathways Back to Work Fund will provide unemployed, low-income job seekers with paid work experience and skills training, and give employers incentives to hire. It will provide $10 billion for subsidized employment and work-based training for low-income and long-term unemployed adults.

2:37 Comment From Guest: How can around 1,000 OSHA complianceofficers effectively inspect and regulate over 7,000,000 workplaces (conservative estimate)? What is the long term plan to level the playing field, the math just does not compute?

2:37 David Michaels, OSHA: First of all 27 state plans have an additional 1,000 inspectors to cover about half the states. OSHA uses an inspection targeting formula, national and local emphasis programs, partnerships and cooperative programs like VPP to focus attention to where the highest hazards exist.

2:39 Comment From Frank: Do you foresee any major changes budget or program wise to the Reemployment and Eligibility Assessment (REA) program?

2:39 Jane Oates: DOL has requested additional funds for FY2013 for a total of $75million. Roughly an increase of $15million over the total received in FY2012. The Department continues to work with states to refine and improve the REA model.

2:39 Comment From Gloria Towolawi: The majority of violations in wage and hour division falls between misclassification of employees, lack of payroll records keeping and overtime pay. what plan does this division has to minimize these problem areas- are planning outreach programs or training. would you be need private sector help in providing assitance in form of training, if so what provisions in budget would be use for such purpose

2:40 Nancy Leppink, WHD: In response to the growing national problem of misclassification, WHD is employing a number of strategies including targeted enforcement and outreach to workers and employers. Additional information about our misclassification efforts is available online at http://www.dol.gov/whd/workers/misclassification/

2:42 Comment From Jim Sharpe: Please explain what you are doing to the Small Mines Consultation Program (SMCP) and to the state grants program. MSHA's budget (p. 7) says SMCP had 83 FTE in FY 2012 and $20.5 million in funding. But my understanding is that the old Small Mines Office had about 13 FTE in 2012 and a budget under $2 million. Also, do I read funding this year for the state grants program to drop by $5 million?

2:43 Joe Main: Jim, your questions about SMCP and state grants were addressed earlier. Please scroll up to 2:03. We will get back to you with more information on the specific figures you have identified.

2:43 Comment From Chuck: Will the current budget changes have any effect on the state consultation programs

2:43 David Michaels, OSHA: OSHA's free on-site consultation program is OSHA's premiere small business compliance assistance program. OSHA's FY 2013 request is equal to the funding for programs in FY 2012 which is a $3.2 million increase over FY 2011.

2:45 Comment From Jim Sharpe: Please go into detail on the proposed user fees for rock dust analyses in coal mines; specifically, what you are going to charge a mine operator for an individual sample and how you intend to collect this money? Thanks.

2:45 Joe Main: Jim, as noted earlier, MSHA would solicit public comment through rulemaking with regard to the issues you raised on fees.

2:45 Comment From Bonnie: As a WSA provider who would be responsible for delivering the Summers+ Program to youth, what are the timelines that we might anticipate in receiving program rules and eligibility criteria so that we may begin to plan, publicize, recruit youth and employers, and implement the program in a timely manner?

2:45 Jane Oates, ETA: Bonnie, for the summer youth employment element under WIA youth, rules and eligibility can be found in the Workforce Investment Act and accompanying regulations. Related to Summer Jobs+, this is a voluntary program for employers to pledge summer youth opportunities. For more information, visit www.dol.gov/summerjobs/.

2:45 Comment From Leone.J: How does this budget effect OSHA? Will you be hiring more Compliance Officers?

2:45 David Michaels, OSHA: Under this budget, OSHA will not be hiring more compliance officers however the budget requests funding to hire 37 new whistleblower investigators.

2:46 Comment From Tyra Thornton: What commitment does the DOL have for the enforcement of Davis Bacon in 2013?

2:46 Nancy Leppink, WHD: Hi, Tyra. Thanks for your question. The Wage and Hour Division will continue its emphasis on enforcing the prevailing wage requirements of the Davis-Bacon program in 2013.

2:46 Comment From Dick Schneider, NCOA: Appreciate the efforts of VETS in its efforts supporting homeless veterans, transition assistance programs, and DVOP/LVER Programs. The existing high unemployment rate for veterans separating the military and those who will depart the military with the projected draw down in end-strength will present a significant additional manpower burden on the one stop system. Does DOL believe the state grants are adequate for the coming challenge as it appears that the existing young veteran unemployment rate is out of control lacking employment opportunities across the Nation.

2:47 Ismael Ortiz Jr., VETS: Thank you for your question. Indeed, the high unemployment rate for post-9/11 veterans is a challenge. There are a number of initiatives to address this situation, including the Jobs for Veterans State Grant Program, Priority of Service for Veterans, the Gold Card Initiative, My Next Move for Veterans, improved and expanded TAP employment workshops, and new programs authorized by the Vow to Hire Heroes Act. Taken together, we believe that these will make a significant contribution toward increasing employment opportunities for veterans.

2:48 Comment From Terry: Any antcipated changes in the H-1B training grant program? Do you see in continuing in its current form?

2:48 Jane Oates: H-1B grants will address workforce skills gaps by using training strategies that provide workers with skills upgrades for in-demand industries and occupations. These funds will allow grantees to focus their efforts on training and related activities for occupations and industries that are growing in their region and for which H-1B visas have been awarded. The grants will build off the lessons learned through the technical skills training and Jobs and Innovation Challenge grants awarded in FY2011 which had a particular emphasis on OJT training strategies and regional innovation clusters. The Department will continue to require that employers are directly involved in implementation of grant activities to ensure that all training leads directly to industry-recognized credentials and opportunities for participants to enter high skill and high wage jobs.

2:50 Comment From Christopher Cole: Could you please explain the increase for regulatory support and also, does OSHA expect to receive clearance to publish any new final rules other than GHS this year?

2:50 David Michaels, OSHA: OSHA is scheduled to publish three final standards in FY 2012 that include electric power, consultation agreements and confined spaces in construction.

OSHA will also continue its work on silica, injury and illness prevention programs, combustible dust, infectious diseases and other worker protection priorities.

2:50 Comment From Lisa Lin: Hi There--What can you share about DOL's vision for research and how the 2013 budget will fund these initiatives? What evaluations, surveys, etc do you anticipate funding?

2:50 Jane Oates, ETA: The Secretary has newly established the position of Chief Evaluation Officer (CEO) to ensure a robust program of evaluation for all DOL programs. The FY 2013 budget includes an increase in direct funding for evaluations, along with the authority to use up to 0.5 percent of program funding for this purpose. The Department plans to conduct rigorous evaluations to determine which programs and interventions work, and which do not, providing information to help guide policy, management and resource allocation decisions. Specific investments are determined as part of a planning process, led by the CEO in consultation with DOL agencies.

2:51 Comment From William Lawson: How Many if any grant opportunities will be available for registered apprentieships programs.

2:51 Jane Oates: ETA will administer numerous grant programs in the coming years. Some of those could be available for registered apprenticeship include Workforce Innovation Fund, H-1B grants and TAACCCT.

2:55 Comment From Ryman LeBeau CRST: Does the Secretary have the authority to change the Funding formulas used specifically to fund the tribal programs and programs alike, namely: Supplemental Youth Services Program (SYSP) and Workforce Investment Act (WIA-Adult) Program? Seemingly our funding for these two programs are cut yearly. Also, our levels of poverty are extreme. Also, is there anything we can do to insure adequate funding for programs like these? Best regards, thank you.

2:55 Jane Oates, ETA: The Secretary’s funding authority is contained in WIA. Changing that authority would require a statutory change to WIA. The FY13 Budget proposes a 10% increase for Indian and Native American entities. DOL understands the needs of this population and we are focused on improving the employment outcomes and earnings potential for this population.

2:55 Comment From Diane S: The demand for postsecondary “green” trades training has increased dramatically, yet DOL funding for postsecondary providers of this type of training, including public vocational schools, has dwindled. Will the DOL be issuing any grants that target postsecondary providers other than community colleges?

2:55 Comment From Diane S: The demand for postsecondary “green” trades training has increased dramatically, yet DOL funding for postsecondary providers of this type of training, including public vocational schools, has dwindled. Will the DOL be issuing any grants that target postsecondary providers other than community colleges?

2:55 Jane Oates: Thanks, Diane.... Through its competitive grant initiatives, the Department will continue to encourage diverse partnerships between the public workforce system and public and private post-secondary training providers, community organizations, and employers. For example, the Workforce Innovation Fund will support broad partnerships for implementing structural reforms and other approaches that deliver better employment and education results.

2:57 Comment From Dan: What efforts do you see MSHA taking to support " Promote adoption of prevention-focused, health and safety programs by mine operators"

2:57 Joe Main: Dan, MSHA is doing a number of things to focus on prevention. Our Rules to Live By program, which targets the most common causes of mining deaths, recently launched its third iteration. The 5002 project, related to improved operator exposure monitoring in metal/nonmetal mining, should better protect miners from health hazards. We recently launched quarterly updates to the industry along with best practices for preventing mining deaths. We have a tremendous amount of information on prevention-focused health and safety programs on our website, http://www.msha.gov/

2:59 DOL Moderator: We're seeing some great action around this chat on Twitter as well. Add your voice to the conversation using #DOLBudget

2:59 Comment From Fred: Why did OFCCP choose to not include FY 2011-specific settlement amounts (dollars and workers recompensed) in the agency's budget justification? Previous years' budgets included amounts from the most recently completed FY.

2:59 Kathy Martinez, ODEP: Thanks for your question. Since the Obama administration, we’ve recovered more than $30 million in financial relief on behalf of nearly 50,000 victims of discrimination. We’ve also negotiated more than 4,800 potential job offers for those workers who have been unfairly subjected to discrimination.

3:00 Comment From guest: How is currently legislation regarding WIA reauthorization affected by this proposal?

3:00 Jane Oates: The President has repeatedly called for job training reform and reauthorization of the Workforce Investment Act (WIA), and reiterated this again in his State of the Union address. Last year the Senate HELP Committee made significant progress in developing a bipartisan proposal that would include a number of essential reforms to streamline administration, improve accountability, and make the nation’s public workforce development system more efficient and effective – priorities that directly align with the goals of these proposals. We are hopeful that the HELP Committee’s bipartisan efforts will continue, and we are aware that several WIA reauthorization and job training reform proposals have been introduced in the House. We look forward to working with Congress to accomplish job training reform and WIA reauthorization. This budget shows the President’s commitment to training programs.

3:00 Comment From Gloria Towolawi: Concerning OFCCP 7 percent Hiring Goal which is yet to be finalize; our publication requested stakeholders to share their thought on the proposed rule and many were very positive as they see it as the only way to increase the hiring of people with disability but yet there were some concern such as the provision of reasonable accommodation- where to get such equipments, fear and sterotypes. How does this year budget hope to deal with these concerns

3:00 Pat Shiu, OFCCP: Gloria, thanks for your question. The proposed rule you're referencing is still in an open comment period until Feb. 21. We encourage interested members of the public to submit comments on or before that date.

3:00 Comment From Billy: The REA grant though seems restrictive in a case where we want to target UCX claimants and Vet Gold Card for example; is that being modified?

3:00 Jane Oates: Thanks for your question, Billy. States have flexibility in which claimants they target for re-employment eligibility assessments, therefore it is feasible for states to target UCX claimants in order to better connect them with the Veterans Gold Card program and the full range of services at the One Stop Career Centers.

3:00 Comment From Brenda Lee Cosse: Beyond @NDEAM, what resources are set aside for #Employers who are considering #hiring #JobSeekers who are experiencing a #disability ?

3:01 Kathy Martinez, ODEP: ODEP funds two technical assistance centers that assist employers in advancing leading disability employment practices. The National Employer Technical Assistance Center (EARN), http://askearn.org/, specifically assists employers with disability inclusion and the Job Accommodation Network (JAN) http://askjan.org/, provides both employers and individuals with expert advice on accommodations. Both maintain call centers and websites with cutting-edge information including sound business rationales for hiring people with disabilities and also provide technical assistance in recruiting, hiring and retaining people with disabilities.

ODEP also provides employees and employers with strategies to assist in positive return to work employment outcomes and partners with employer associations through industry sector summits to advance the hiring and retention of people with disabilities in key employment fields.

ODEP, in collaboration with the Women’s Bureau, will also continue to promote the use, adoption, and implementation of Workplace Flexibility as an effective policy strategy for employers through the identification and dissemination of promising practices, targeted technical assistance, and demonstration projects.

Finally, through the Add Us In grant initiative, ODEP will continue its efforts to engage small and minority-owned businesses and increase their capacity to successfully employ people with disabilities.

Through ODEP’s award winning public education effort known as the Campaign for Disability Employment or CDE, http://www.dol.gov/odep/topics/CampaignForDisabilityEmployment.htm, the Department will continue its efforts to change negative attitudes and perceptions that often lead to employment practices that exclude people with disabilities from the workforce. In FY 2012 ODEP will be developing a new public service announcement designed to raise awareness of how critical family, peer, and community supports are in preparing youth, especially those with disabilities, for workplace success. We will be promoting and disseminating this new PSA in FY 2013.

3:01 Comment From Guest: Does the OFCCP's 2013 budget allow for additional compliance officers?

3:01 Pat Shiu, OFCCP: Thanks for your question. The OFCCP FY2013 budget allows for the same number of compliance offices as in FY2012.

3:01 Comment From Ross Peterson: Jane, will the new Community College initiative be focused to "speed up" the completion time to obtain certifications? One challenge I see from providing services to 16 to 24 year olds is that they often don't have the resources or time to spend two years in community college. They would rather obtain shorter term certifications in order to enter the workforce. It would be great if some of these funds could be used to expedite the period of time for these programs.

3:01 Jane Oates, ETA: Ross, the Administration announced the new Community College initiative today. The Department will soon be rolling out new details about this program and recognizes the importance of shorter-term credentials in today’s economy. The FY13 Budget request also sets the goal of increasing the percentage of program exiters receiving credentials by 10%.

3:01 Comment From Guest: How will the budget for OFCCP impact travel for things like outreach and onsite investigations?

3:01 Pat Shiu, OFCCP: Thanks for your question. OFCCP is focusing its outreach efforts on reaching workers most at risk of discrimination through more targeted outreach and strategic relationship building efforts with local community-based organizations that engage vulnerable worker populations. In addition, OFCCP will continue its effective enforcement strategy by continuing to conduct on-site investigations.

3:01 Comment From Rich Sanchez: I understand former VWIP funding will be used to support increased workload involved in implementing the VOW Act. Could you shed some light on the role of DVOPs, LVERs, and community service providers, especially non-profits, in determining eligibility for Section 211 of the VOW to Hire Heroes Act?

3:01 Deputy Secretary Harris: We are working with our partners at the Department of Veterans Affairs on how applicants will apply to the program and how their eligibility will be determined.

Regarding my response to an earlier question at 2:47 p.m., a useful link might be http://www.dol.gov/vets/goldcard.html.

3:02 Comment From Cheryl Renfro: I noticed a commentor state they were delighted to have $5 million in the budge to address state funded paid leave programs. As I first presented in my question at 1:30est, why are tax payors funding that program? If states want to and can afford to provide that as a benefit for their employees, go for it. If they can't, then just like private businesses, they must make a determination of their benefit costs and perhaps not be able to provide that benefit. Please address.

3:02 Jane Oates, ETA: Thank you, Cheryl. Our proposal for a State Paid Leave Fund does not include using taxpayer money to fund the leave program itself. What we are proposing is a small amount of seed money to assist states in planning and implementation of such programs. Different states use different approaches, including contributions from employers for the benefits their programs will make available to workers.

3:02 Comment From Guest: who does the individual contact to see what is available for them as far rehab /training, continued education to make them employable ?

3:02 Kathy Martinez, ODEP: State vocational rehabilitation programs receive funding through the U.S. Department of Education, not the Labor Department.

3:03 Comment From Melissa: @ Jane Oates. Any word on when the H-1B will be announced?

3:03 Jane Oates: The Department anticipates announcing awards for the H-1B grant solicitation that closed in November 2011 by the end of this month.

3:03 Comment From Anonymous: Out of curiosity, does OFCCP really anticipate issuing new regulations for Veterans, Individuals with Disabilities, Audit Letters, Compensation Guidelines, Compensation collection tools, new FCCM, new Sex Discrimination Guidelines and more in 2012? Will there be a rush of releases prior to the presidential election?

3:03 Pat Shiu, OFCCP: Thanks for your question. Our regulatory agenda lays out our schedule for issuing new regulations. Visit http://www.dol.gov/ofccp/ for more information.

3:03 Comment From Dan McDermott: Will the questions and answers from today's chat be archived for future reference?

3:03 DOL Moderator: Hi Dan, yes this chat will automatically be archived once this session is over.

3:04 Comment From Mark: There is an enormous cut in mandatory spending. A quick read-thru of the budget document shows BA for loans to states to fund extended unemployment insurance benefits going from $171M in fy2012 to ZERO in FY2013. You're kidding, aren't you? What do you project as actual outlays for extended jobless benefits for FY 2012 and FY2013?

3:04 Pat Shiu, OFCCP: Mark, the $171 million figure you refer to is the FY 2012 estimate for non-repayable advances to federal trust funds managed by the Department of Labor. This consists of $100 million to FECA and $71 million to FUBA. We do expect a larger amount of activity in mandatory repayable advances, but these figures are not shown on our budget tables because they will be repaid with interest.

3:06 Comment From Janet Fricke: What impact on State Vocational Rehabilitation programs do you foresee with the 2013 budget?

3:06 Kathy Martinez, ODEP: State vocational rehabilitation programs receive funding through the U.S. Department of Education, not the Labor Department.

3:07 DOL Moderator: The question answered at 3:04 by Pat Shiu, OFCCP was actually answered by Michael Kerr of OASAM.

3:07 Comment From Steve: How will the 2013 Budget Proposal effect the State Plan States?

3:07 David Michaels, OSHA: The FY 2013 budget request for State Plan States maintains the level of funding provided in FY 2012.

3:09 Comment From Zane: I work with veterans, but I'm confused as to when I should refer them to a One-Stop or when I should refer them to Veterans State Director?

3:09 Secretary Solis: Zane, thank you for your question. I'm glad to hear that you are currently working with veterans. You should refer veterans to their local One-Stop Career Center. There is often a veterans' employment specialist at the One-Stop dedicated to providing employment services to veterans and ensuring that they receive priority of service in all the DOL employment and training programs for which they are eligible. If no veterans' employment specialist is available, any One-Stop employee can provide these services.

3:09 Comment From Guest: Question from Gina: I am involved in a program that is currently funded with a State/Local Juvenile Offender Implementation grant. Has the DOL included funding for this grant program in its FY13 budget? If so, could you tell me the percentage of increase or decrease in funds requested from the amount received in the prior fiscal year?

3:09 Jane Oates, ETA: Thank you for the question, Gina. This program is very important to the Department of Labor. The President’s budget request seeks $20 million for these grants in the FY13 budget, consistent with the FY12 budget. Overall, a 6% funding increase is requested for Reintegration of Ex-Offenders activities.

3:09 Comment From Jim Sharpe: MSHA's budget includes a statement that the Agency will take less time for citations to become final orders. Please supply detail how you the Agency plans to accomplish that?

3:09 Joe Main: Jim, thanks for your question. As noted, MSHA is working closely with the solicitor's office on this issue. In addition, MSHA's recently launched pre-contest conferencing program which will allow for disputes to be resolved prior to litigation. I also implemented a program requiring all field office supervisors to be trained to improve both consistency and oversight of the agency's enforcement program. Also, we are looking at revisions of Part 100, the civil penalty rules, to improve clarity and consistency. We are also encouraging better communication between MSHA personnel and mine personnel during inspections. All of these programs should help resolve issues prior to litigation and reduce the amount of time between a violation and a final order.

3:11 Comment From Guest: The budget appears to propose higher funding for the Pathways Back to Work Fund than had been included in the American Jobs Act. Is any more detail available on this?

3:11 Jane Oates, ETA: DOL looks forward to providing additional details on Pathways Back to Work in the near future. As proposed, it will provide subsidized employment for adults and youth to make it easier for workers to remain connected to the workforce and gain new skills for long-term employment.

3:11 :

3:14 Comment From Michael: Does the budget proposal directly affect State LMI activities funded via BLS?

3:14 Michael Kerr, OASAM: Michael, the budget includes the same level of funding in FY 2013 as was appropriated in FY 2012, so we do not expect any changes to State LMI activities.

3:17 Comment From Meg: To zero out WANTO now that construction is coming back in some of the devastated areas feels as if the DOL is abandoning the women who have stuck it out through the recession and the many many years of no support. Yes WANTO in recent years has been too small to make a significant difference. Women in construction remain a precarious beachhead. Without specific support for women under a federal program, the numbers will continue to plunge. Currently in California there are only 650 women in registered construction apprenticeships in the entire state! While compliance is critical, it has proven a more problematic exercise, even in this administration, than grants. Construction is being resegregated into an all male sector.

3:17 Hilda Solis: We share your concerns and remain fully comitted to improving opportunities for women in construction and non traditional jobs. Unfortunately the small amount of funding given to wanto was not sufficient to cover all the needs of women interested in construction. The apprenticeship programs administered by the dol will continue to provide an important pathway to the middle class. As we have said earlier in order to meet the goals of the wanto program dol plans to revise regulations governing apprenticeship programs and encourage local state and workforce systems to integrate these activities.

3:17 Comment From Guest: How will the number of credentials for WIA programs be impacted by the newly proposed budget?

3:17 Jane Oates: The budget was developed to support the Department’s priority goal of increasing the percent of training program completers who earn industry recognized credentials by 10 percent by Sept 20, 2013. Specifically the Department will promote tailored training strategies to meet the unique needs of low income adults.

3:18 Comment From Guest: The summer jobs program appears to be entirely privately funded by the employers. For example, CVS listed hiring in positions such as cashiers and pharmacy techs. Pharmacy techs are not really part-time temporary work like the typical summer job. You need a certificate to work in the position and many people make working as a pharmacy tech their career. My question is this: How can these private employers commit to hiring people under the age of 26 when doing so would seem to violate age discrimination law if a qualified 40+ year old were to apply for the same positions? This isn't a government funded subsidized summer employment program like we had under ARRA which would get around those age discrimination laws.

3:18 Jane Oates, ETA: Summer jobs provide three separate pathways for employers: job skills, life skills, and paid positions. We fully anticipate that young people will be exposed through job-shadowing and other activities to job titles that will require them to have industry-recognized credentials and degrees. Our hope would be that by seeing these jobs firsthand they’ll make the right decisions to stay in school and take rigorous courses.

3:19 Comment From Abba M.: I would like to work for OSHA as an Inspector. What are the requirements needed for training?

3:19 David Michaels, OSHA: There are different requirements for industrial hygiene or safety specialist. You can go to http://www.dol.gov/dol/jobs.htm to see the job postings. Good luck!

3:19 Comment From Guest: who does the individual contact to see what is available for them as far rehab /training, continued education to make them employable ?

3:19 Kathy Martinez, ODEP: Guest, I accidentally responded to a different question before. Here is the answer to your question. Individuals should contact their local One-Stop Career Center at http://www.servicelocator.org/ , the Employer Assistance Referral Network at http://askearn.org/, or one of the ODEP/ETA Disability Employment Initiative (DEI) grantees, http://dei-ideas.org/ .

3:19 Comment From Amy Goldstein: Here's another job-training question. For the Workforce Investment Act, the budget proposes relatively stable funding overall. But it looks as if funding for the dislocated worker part of WIA would decrease by about $2 million to $1.23 billion. Is that accurate and, if so, what is the reasoning behind the slight decrease? Thanks.

3:19 Jane Oates: Hi Amy, thanks for another good question. The FY 2013 budget request represents a relatively small 0.16% reduction from the FY 2012 funding level. While any reduction is difficult, the current fiscal climate requires tough choices to be made. It is the department’s hope that struggling American workers can be served through the new Pathways Out Of Poverty initiative, TAA CCCT, and the Workforce Innovation Fund, as well as WIA.

3:20 DOL Moderator: The answer to the question at 3:01 by Deputy Secretary Harris was actually answered by Ismael Ortiz Jr., VETS

3:21 Comment From Mike Kennedy: Why do you propose to continue to limit WIA statewide activities funding to 5%, making several of the required activities unfunded mandates?

3:21 Jane Oates: Statewide reserve funds allocated to the Governors under the Workforce Investment Act will remain at the five percent level in FY 2013, as established in FY 2011 and continued in FY 2012. This will ensure that local workforce areas do not have reduced allotments. Statewide reserve funds often are used by Governors to operate demonstration projects within local areas; however, the Workforce Innovation Fund will, in part, offset the loss of such funds by providing targeted demonstration projects across the country. The Workforce Innovation Fund will to test specific innovative models that can be applied to future programming, arguably a more effective use of funds to pilot what works than disparate state projects. We’ve also provided waivers to states knowing that they no longer have funds for activities such as incentive grants to local areas, dissemination of performance and cost information for training providers, and evaluations. Waivers for other activities will also be considered.

3:21 Comment From MO: OFCCP has stated that it "will improve the effectiveness of the way in which the agency conducts compliance evaluations by implementing a strategic case selection process to address programmatic priorities. Under this process, OFCCP will focus its enforcement efforts on a strategic mix of compensation, hiring, VEVRAA, Section 503, and other investigations." How will this Strategic Case Selection process compare with the Agency's use of the Federal Contractor Selection System and what assurances will be made to the contractor community to ensure that the selection process remains administratively neutral?

3:21 Pat Shiu, OFCCP: Thank you for your question. OFCCP continues to strive for the best neutral scheduling list that meets our obligations under the Fourth Amendment. To this end, we have improved our internal processes to create efficiency and use multiple sources of information instead of relying completely on a company self-reporting whether it is a federal contractor on the EEO-1 Form. OFCCP has access to several databases such as Central Contractor Registration (CCR), Federal Procurement Data System-New Generation (FPDS-NG), System for Award Management (SAM), Dun & Bradstreet, usafunding.gov, and EEO-1 reports to develop scheduling lists.

3:22 Comment From Gayle Cinquegrani: What is the total DOL FY 2013 budget, and what is the mandatory DOL budget? The Funding Highlights document says on page 149 that the total mandatory budget is $88.6 million and the total DOL budget is $101.7 billion, but the DOL Budget in Brief says on page 4 that the total DOL budget is $88.6 billion and the total mandatory budget is $76 billion. The discrepancies are confusing.

3:22 Michael Kerr, OASAM: Gayle, thanks for your question. The funding highlights document includes 88.6 billion dollars for mandatory outlays. The discretionary estimate for outlays in FY 2013 is 13.2 billion, which adds up to the $101.7 billion you refer to in your question. However, outlays and budget authority are not synonymous. The DOL budget in brief refers to budget authority, which is $88.6 billion for mandatory authority and $12 billion for discretionary. Both tables are correct, but they refer to different concepts.

3:22 Comment From Pamela MM: With the reduction of 33 OSHA Compliance Assistant how will OSHA service our vulnerable workforce

3:22 David Michaels, OSHA: Good question. OSHA is maintaining its emphasis on reaching out to vulnerable and hard to reach workers in high risk jobs, as well as small businesses. OSHA will continue its award-winning outreach efforts around such hazards as heat exposure, hearing protection and fall prevention. The cuts outlined in our FY 2013 budget request focus primarily on employer compliance assistance.

3:22 Comment From Guest: Is the funding for the Job Corps proegram expected to the be the same in FY 2013 as for FY 2012?

3:22 Jane Oates: The FY2013 budget request for Job Corps is $1.65 billion. This represents a 3.11 percent reduction from the FY2012 level.

3:24 Comment From Guest: At 2:50 David Michaels indicated that OSHA would continue work on, among other things, injury and illness prevention plans. Does the 2013 Budget contain specific funding for I2P2 or is this referenced work to be done without specific funding?

3:24 David Michaels, OSHA: No, there is no standard-specific funding in the FY 2013 budget. OSHA's standards budget request contained $1 million increase for overall standards work.

3:24 Comment From Kay: Has there been progress in obtaining DOL access to state UI wage records to more efficiently detect overpayments?

3:24 Jane Oates: Hello Kay, and thanks for your question. Addressing overpayments is a high priority for the department and we are actively working with our state partners to address high overpayment rates in the UI program. States routinely cross-match with a variety of databases, including state wage records, the National Directory of New Hires, and others. As a result of our efforts, every state is making strides to improve prevention, detection and recovery of UI overpayments.

3:25 Comment From Katie: Last year, DOL was able to extend ILAB solicitations to make funding commitments as late as December, which provided an extended timeline for proposal submission and review. Is there any such provision this year? Is there already an anticipated timeline for procurement? With they be done in stages as with last year's funding cycle or all at once as in previous years?

3:25 Carol Pier: The FY 2012 appropriation included this extra quarter of availability, as does our FY 2013 request. While this provides additional time to arrange for all the commitments necessary for complex projects, we will be awarding the funding in stages throughout the year.

3:25 Comment From Guest: Has there been anymore information regarding State Block Granting of Job Corps?

3:25 Jane Oates, ETA: Currently centers are competed and awarded to private sector businesses, non-profits and tribal organizations. We have no idea how you would do state block grant funding given the program structure.

3:26 Comment From Stephen Lee: Do we know which OSHA regional offices will be eliminated (e.g., will it be Boston or New York)? Also, will OSHA institute sub-regional offices to serve the areas where the offices are being consolidated?

3:26 David Michaels, OSHA: No, there are no specific plans on how the regional consolidations will be implemented. OSHA will maintain offices as needed to ensure that safety and health coverage is maintained.

3:28 Secretary Hilda L. Solis: WOW! We had over 2,800 participants in today’s chat and we were able to answer a lot of your questions. Thank you for being here.

3:29 DOL Moderator: The archive of this chat will be available immediately on this page.

3:29 :

 

 

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