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Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez
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2014 DOL Budget - Q&A Session with DOL Leadership

Acting Secretary and Deputy Secretary of Labor Seth Harris and agency leaders will host a Q&A session to answer your questions about the 2014 budget proposal.

The chat will be a text-only question and answer session; no audio or video will be included.

2:24 DOL Moderator: Good afternoon. Our chat will begin at 2:45 p.m. EDT but you can start sending questions at any time. This chat will not have audio or video. A complete transcript will be available on this same page as soon as the chat ends.

2:45 Acting Secretary Harris: Good afternoon and thank you for joining us for this discussion about the Labor Department’s Fiscal Year 2014 budget request.

The DOL budget proposal moves us closer to President Obama’s North Star: a thriving middle class with ladders of opportunity for those working to get there. Our Department has a critical role to play in answering the three questions that the President says we must ask every day: How do we make America a magnet for jobs? How do we equip U.S. workers with the skills to do those jobs? And how do we make sure that an honest day’s work leads to a decent living?

Our budget proposal is consistent with the Administration’s overall strategy to invest in job creation and a strong middle class, while still pursuing long-term deficit reduction. We don’t have to sacrifice investments in a growing economy on the altar of deficit reduction. The President’s plan offers a balanced plan that accomplishes both goals.

Specifically our DOL budget is focused on four key areas:
• Building the Skills of American Workers
• Turning our Unemployment System into a Re-employment System
• Putting Veterans Back to Work
• Protecting American Workers and Their Benefits

Here are a few highlights:

Skills

• A new Universal Displaced Worker (UDW) Program that will reach more than a million unemployed workers with high-quality and personalized job-search assistance and the opportunity to acquire the skills they need to compete successfully. UDW would reform and consolidate two existing Labor Department programs (Trade Adjustment Assistance and WIA-Dislocated Worker) to provide better services and better results for those working hard to get back to work.

• A larger competitive Workforce Innovation Fund (WIF) to test new job training and job placement ideas hatched at the state and local level.

• A Community College to Career Fund (jointly administered with the Department of Education) to invest in community colleges and their partnerships with employers to assure that workers get the skills they need for jobs that are available today and will be around long into the future. This new and substantial investment of $8 billion will build on the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training Program.

Re-employment

• A Pathways Back to Work Fund, which will support promising strategies for helping low-income youth and adults find work.

• “Reemployment NOW”: an initiative that will allow states to connect those on Emergency Unemployment Compensation with job opportunities.

Veterans

Our budget includes substantial increases across a number of programs to help veterans and transitioning service members find good, middle-class jobs:

• An additional $38 million for more local veterans’ employment representatives to improve employment services to veterans in almost 3,000 American Job Centers across the country.

• $50 million in the Workforce Innovation Fund dedicated to finding more effective models for helping veterans, family members of active duty personnel, and members of the National Guard and Reserves to find civilian employment.

• Another $5 million to ensure that our Transition Assistance Program adequately serves our transitioning service members.

• A Transition “Goals Plans Success” Program (GPS) with our partners at the Defense and Veterans Affairs Departments to help veterans transfer the skills they’ve developed in the military to jobs in the civilian economy.

Worker Protection

• An additional $5.9 million for whistleblower protection, giving OSHA the tools it needs to enforce the laws protecting those who report safe and unscrupulous workplace practices.

• A $5.8 million increase for MSHA’s enforcement programs.

• A $3.4 million increase for WHD to increase enforcement of the Family and Medical Leave Act and the Fair Labor Standards Act.

• A $1.1 million increase to strengthen OFCCP’s efforts to combat pay discrimination.

There is, of course, plenty more. For the next two hours, as we address your questions, we’ll go into further detail about these and any programs or budget items you want to discuss.

We have the entire leadership of the Department here to answer your questions, so let’s get to it. Joining me in the room are:

-Phyllis Borzi, Assistant Secretary, Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA)
-Keith Kelly, Assistant Secretary, Veterans' Employment and Training Services (VETS)
-Michael Kerr, Assistant Secretary, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Administration and Management (OASAM)
-Mary Beth Maxwell, Acting Deputy Administrator, Wage and Hour Division (WHD)
-John Lund, Director, Office of Labor-Management Standards (OLMS)
-Joe Main, Assistant Secretary, Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA)
-Latifa Lyles, Acting Director, Women's Bureau (WB)
-Kathy Martinez, Assistant Secretary, Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP)
-David Michaels, Assistant Secretary, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)
-Jane Oates, Assistant Secretary, Employment and Training Administration (ETA)
-Carol Pier, Acting Deputy Undersecretary, Bureau of International Labor Affairs (ILAB)
-Pat Shiu, Director, Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP)
-M.Patricia Smith, Solicitor of Labor, Office of the Solicitor (SOL)
-Irasema Garza, Acting Assistant Secretary, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Policy (OASP)
-Gary Steinberg, Acting Director, Office of Workers' Compensation Programs (OWCP)
-James Taylor, Chief Financial Officer, Office of the Chief Financial Officer (OCFO)

2:48 Comment From Lori Strauss: How does the President's Budget address the needs of workers and unemployed jobseekers who are 50 and older? They remain unemployed longer than any other age group and re-enter the workforce at lower salaries.- AARP Foundation

2:48 Jane Oates, ETA: The President’s budget provides funds to help older job seekers find sustainable employment through better information and services accessed through American Job Centers under the WIA-Adult and Dislocated Worker programs. In addition, the proposed new Universal Displaced Worker program will provide displaced workers over age 50 the option of wage insurance, which is not currently available in the WIA Dislocated program. There are other provisions in the President’s budget that address the needs of workers and job seekers 50 and older.

2:48 Comment From Guest: Did the CR or FY14 budget provide any relief to agencies in regards to the furloughing of employess? Specifically, it is my understanding that VETS personnel are still subject to 10 days furlough, while all other agencies are considerably less.

2:48 Michael Kerr: If adopted as proposed, the FY 2014 budget would not continue sequestration or employee furloughs. Sequestration applies to FY 2013. Provisions in the recent continuing resolution will permit VETS to re-evaluate the need for furloughs and plans will be finalized by the end of the month.

2:50 Comment From Doyle Phllips: H2A Foreign Labor applications: is it true that this category has now been closed to new applications? I hear that the cap has already been reached. Are any other categories now closed for 2013?

2:50 Jane Oates, ETA: No, there is no cap on H-2A. USCIS has reached the H-1B “cap” and has posted that information on their website.

2:51 Comment From Maynard Friesz, Easter Seals: Does DOL propose to fund the collaborative veterans’ training, mentoring and placement program authorized (Sec. 234) in the VOW to Hire Heroes Act (P.L. 112-56)?

2:51 Keith Kelly, VETS: Thank you, Maynard. This funding is not included in the President’s FY 2014 budget.

2:51 Comment From Christopher Cole, Inside OSHA: Do you mind providing more detail about the regional office consolidations? Where will the consolidated offices be located?

2:51 David Michaels, OSHA: To streamline agency operations, the FY 2014 budget request proposes a reorganization of OSHA’s regional structure and jurisdictional authority from its current operation of 10 Regional Offices (ROs) to seven. The reorganization will involve the consolidation of OSHA’s Regions 1 (Boston) and 2 (New York); Regions 7 (Kansas City) and 8 (Denver); and, Regions 9 (San Francisco) and 10 (Seattle). These consolidations are expected to result in a savings of $1,300,000 and three FTE.

2:52 Comment From Pete Calvo: OJC-18 Shows a reduction of 7,364 slots and three (3) Job Corps Centers. This adjustment results in a significant increase in the cost of new Enrollees. Please clarify the logic in reducing the program slots, while attempting to make the program more efficient.

2:52 Jane Oates, ETA: The Centers Closure refer to the proposal to close chronically low performing centers. The reduction in slots is done to realize actual savings to meet the FY2013 sequestration level and resolve prior funding issues.

2:53 Comment From Ken: Could you explain where in the actual MSHA budget document you include the $5.8 milion for mine safety enforcement and where the $2.5 million for UBB follow up is?

2:53 Joe Main, MSHA: The $5.8 million increase is found in the program increases being requested under the Coal ($3.164 million) and Metal/Nonmetal ($2.640 million) enforcement. The $2.5 million represents an increase of $600,000 within the Office of Assessments, Accountability, Special Enforcement and Investigations; an $800,000 increase in EPD; and $1,072,000 in the PEIR budget activity.

2:56 Comment From Stephen Lee, Bloomberg BNA: Dr. Michaels, how will the $2 million in cuts to OSHA's compliance assistance activities affect the agency's individual compliance assistance programs, such as VPP?

2:56 David Michaels, OSHA: The request includes a program decrease of $2,840,000 and 33 FTE due to reduced federal compliance activity from the consolidation of compliance assistance personnel in geographically dense regions, and a decreased need for the development of outreach and training materials due to completion of several recent initiatives. Funding for VPP is included in this budget activity.
To focus on the integrity and modernization of OSHA’s cooperative programs and reduce the backlog of VPP recertifications, the agency will slow the growth in the number of new cooperative program participants.

2:57 Comment From Guest: How will additional funding for MSHA affect enforcement actions? Will there be protocol changes or increased staff and more frequent inspections?

2:57 Joe Main, MSHA: Increased funding will help improve enforcement activities related to mandatory inspection and other enforcement requirements. Protocols for enforcement activities are established in the Mine Act and Inspection Policies and Procedures handbook for Coal and Metal/Nonmetal inspection staff.

2:58 Comment From Kristoffer Evans: 2013 and 2014 funding levels for HVRP are listed as remaining at current levels, but the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans announced a decrease in funding that DOL notified them of. Can you please elaborate on the difference in what is being reported?

2:58 Keith Kelly, VETS: Kristoffer, the President’s FY 2014 budget would keep HVRP funding at the FY 2012 level, which is $38,185,000. I cannot speak to what the National Coalition might have announced.

2:58 Comment From Cesar Cardenas: How will ETA allocations for state and locally-administered WIA programs be impacted in FY2014?

2:58 Jane Oates, ETA: The President’s budget includes additional deficit reduction that would eliminate sequestration reduction in FY2014 and future fiscal years. The budget proposes an increase of $79 million for WIA Adult, Dislocated Worker and Youth programs over FY2012 to compensate for increasing the state-wide reserve from 5% to 7.5%.

2:59 Comment From Guest: Changes in the Federal Employees Compensation Act program are again on the table; do all of these require legislation, or can some of these be done administratively....

2:59 Agency: This year’s President’s budget again proposes FECA reform which will standardize FECA benefit rates, including establishing a “conversion benefit” for beneficiaries at the age of retirement; provide additional benefits; and enable recovery of certain costs. Another important focus of the reform is to promote increased return to work opportunities for federal workers. Other provisions of FECA reform will make FECA more equitable and easier to administer, improve FECA program management, and strengthen program integrity. These changes will require legislation.

2:59 Comment From Jessica Sondgeroth: What recommendations from the internal review of the Upper Big Branch Mine disaster does the department intend to implement?

2:59 Joe Main, MSHA: MSHA has been implementing corrective actions to respond to about 100 recommendations in the Internal Review report. As of the first quarter of FY 2013, MSHA had completed work on over one-half of them; we are on track to complete the remaining recommendations that have due dates by December 31, 2013, although sequestration could cause delays. There are a few recommendations such as ones that require rulemaking that will take longer to complete. MSHA posts its completed actions on its website on a quarterly basis.

2:59 Comment From via DOL Webmaster: What is the budget for and plans for the Women's Bureau?

2:59 Latifa Lyles, WB : The FY 2014 request is for $9, 214,112. While this does represent a reduction of 2.5 million, the department is fully committted to advancement of working women and the women's bureau will continue to elevate the issues of working women throughout the department. The bureau will continue to be a leading voice for equal pay and increased job opportunities for working women.

2:59 Comment From via DOL Webmaster: How does sequestration affect the FY2014 Budget? It seems counterintuitive to be asking for increases if the aim of sequestration is to cut spending.

2:59 Michael Kerr, OASAM: Thank you for your question. Let me reiterate, that if adopted as proposed, the FY 2014 budget would not continue sequestration or employee furloughs. Sequestration applies to FY 2013. Provisions in the recent continuing resolution will permit VETS to re-evaluate the need for furloughs and plans will be finalized by the end of the month.

3:01 Sonia: For FY 2014 the Wage and Hour Division (WHD) budget is $243,254,000 and 1,872 FTE. The budget provides an increase of $3.4 million for the WHD for increased enforcement of the Fair Labor Standards Act and the Family Medical Leave Act, which ensure that workers receive appropriate wages, overtime pay, and the rights to take job-protected leave for family and medical purposes.

3:01 Comment From Ryan Hess, Employment & Training Reporter: The budget requests some significant increases for the WIA adult, dislocated worker and youth programs and the Wagner-Peyser Employment Service. The administration has been supportive of these programs in the past, but would you care to comment on the result you hope to gain from these increases? Are you seeking to sure these programs up for future (2014) sequestration reductions?

3:01 Jane Oates, ETA: The increases in WIA formula funding reflect the administration’s priority to maintain funding that impacts workers in every part of the country. The President’s budget includes additional deficit reduction that would eliminate sequestration reduction in FY2014 and future fiscal years. The budget proposes an increase of $79 million for WIA Adult, Dislocated Worker and Youth programs over FY2012 to compensate for increasing the state-wide reserve from 5% to 7.5%.

3:02 Comment From Guest: Please tell us whether the sequestration will impact the FY14 budget in any way

3:02 Acting Secretary Harris: Thanks for your question about sequestration. The sequester is a very important issue for DOL. Congress' decision to allow sequester to take effect resulted in a $3.1 billion cut to DOL programs in FY 2013 --- that means fewer job training and job placement opportunities for workers, fewer resources to help transitioning servicemembers find civilian employment, and cuts to minimum wage, overtime, and safety and health enforcement. The President's FY 2014 budget would "turn off" the sequester and invest in programs that strengthen the middle class, including some of those that have been cut by sequester. The President is offering a balanced approach that makes some tough choices, but also advances his strategy of growing the economy from middle class out, rather than from the top down.

3:03 Comment From via DOL Webmaster: AAUW and groups devoted to equal opportunity for women in the workplace are deeply disappointed that, yet again, the administration cut the budget for the Women’s Bureau, this time by 25%. This is the only federal agency devoted to the needs of working women, and we continue to be dismayed by the administration’s seeming lack of appreciation of its importance. Last year, the administration said they shifted the money to focus on enforcement. That’s all well and good, but strengthening enforcement should not be at the expense of public education, training, and outreach. It’s clear women still do not know their rights or how to seek help – how will people file a complaint if they don’t have this basic information? The Women’s Bureau has long been the best voice for these issues within the government. Why does the Administration continue to insist on these ill-conceived cuts in the face of continuing economic discrimination against women?

3:03 Latifa Lyles, WB : Thank you so much for your question and ongoing support of the Women's Bureau. Despite the decrease, the department is fully committted to advancement of working women and the Women's Bureau will continue to elevate the issues of working women throughout the department. The Bureau will continue to be a leading voice for equal pay and increased job opportunities for working women.

3:03 Comment From Ken: Could you speak generally about how the sequester is affecting the program to clear up the MSHA appeals backlog, and about what the budget proposal from the President does on that issue>

3:03 Joe Main, MSHA: The Department continues to work with OMB on the final impact of the newly enacted continuing resolution and the application of reductions due to sequestration. Final funding allocations will be available when the Department's operating plan is sent to Congres as required by the continuing resolution. The plan is required to be sent by April 25.

3:04 Comment From Christopher Cole: Could you better explain the breakdown of whistleblower FTE and where such resources would go? How much of that would go toward expediting 11(c) cases versus the new and other existing statutes the office enforces?

3:04 David Michaels, OSHA: OSHA is requesting $21,833,000 and 162 FTE for its whistleblower protection program. This includes an increase of $5.9 million and 47 new investigators over the FY 2012 enacted level for the improved administration of 22 whistleblower statutes, including Section 11(c) of the OSH Act, and to handle new higher caseloads under the Affordable Care Act, the Consumer Financial Protection Act, and the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21). We allocate those resources as needed, and they are not specifically assigned to any one statute.

3:05 Comment From Ed Knox: Will the budget emphasize putting America's Workers back to work?

3:06 Jane Oates, ETA: The FY 2014 budget includes a proposal to improve and streamline job training and employment services for displaced workers known as the Universal Displaced Worker (UDW)program, which would consolidate two more narrowly targeted programs - trade adjustment assistance program and the WIA dislocated worker program to :
• Personalize services to better meet individual re-employment needs;
• Link training programs to jobs with local and regional employers;
• Deliver critical services more quickly by streamlining administrative steps;
• Provide a single access point to services for all displaced workers; and
• Identify what works best through unified, transparent performance metrics.
This program will serve more than 1,000,000 displaced workers each year, which broadens the number of workers served that will help them gain the skills and services they need to get back into the workforce.

3:08 Comment From Nick Catanzaro: Does DOL plan to continue its support of funding internships in the 2014 budget to engage and recruit students and recent graduates, of all backgrounds, and provides them professional development opportunities at DOL?

3:08 Michael Kerr, OASAM: The Pathways Program for students and recent graduates is up and running at the Department of Labor. We plan to continue using Pathways for recruitment in 2014.

3:09 DOL Moderator: We're getting quite a few duplicate questions. We may have already covered your question earlier so please check the chat to see if we have. Also, you won't see your question until it is answered so please don't submit it twice.

3:10 Comment From Guest: Can you say what are the "other provisions in the President’s budget that address the needs of workers and job seekers 50 and older? Can you address the SCSEP budget cuts.

3:10 Jane Oates, ETA: The President’s budget proposes to use $25 million to pilot and evaluate low cost structural changes to the public workforce investment system to improve services to older workers. In addition, the President’s budget request proposes to transfer the Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP) ETA to the Administration for Community Living at the Health and Human Services Department to improve coordination with other senior service programs. This transfer would consolidate Federal oversight of the Older Americans Act under one department, streamline operations, and advance the mission of helping older American’s maintain their independence and their active participation in communities.

3:12 Comment From DE: Can you provide more detail on the reduction in funds and staff for mine plan approvals? Is this a function of fewer mines to approve?

3:12 Joe Main, MSHA: The President's request for MSHA allocates funding to carry out the agency's higher-priority enforcement activities and identifies efficiencies within existing programs. The budget reflects the necessary resources to effectively carry out our mission in plan approvals.

3:12 Comment From Dave Heidorn: Will there be any effect at all on VPP in this budget? Will companies be required to pay for participation in VPP?

3:12 David Michaels, OSHA: We have no plans to move VPP to a fee-based program.
To focus on the integrity and modernization of OSHA’s cooperative programs and reduce the backlog of VPP recertifications, the agency will slow the growth in the number of new cooperative program participants.
OSHA will continue to recognize worksites that demonstrate safety and health excellence through its VPP and will continue to implement initiatives targeting federal agencies, Fortune 500 companies, and the construction industry for VPP participation.

3:13 Comment From via DOL Webmaster: How will Round 3 funding for the TAACCCT program be impacted by this new budget? Specifically, in terms of funds available for Round 3 and timing of the release of the Round 3 announcement?

3:13 Jane Oates, ETA: The current TAACCCT grantees are not impacted by sequestration. Round 3is to be released this spring and will be reduced by 5.1% due to sequestration - $474.5million will be available for this round of competition.

3:14 Comment From via DOL Webmaster: Good afternoon: I am a journalist covering labor issues, and have three questions for today's Web Chat.: 1. What are the top two or three priorities for the DOL during the 2014 fiscal year? Have priorities changed recently? 2. How much of an emphasis is being placed on labor problems that pertain to workers at or near the bottom of the pay scale, who clearly need help the most, compared to those higher up? 3. How will you be addressing the problems of self-employed individuals, whether they are in that status by choice or because other work options have become unavailable?

3:14 Acting Secretary Harris: Thanks for your multip-part question. The DOL FY 2014 budget is a response to the three questions the President asked during his State of the Union Address: (1) How can we make America a magnet for jobs? (2) How can we assure that U.S. workers have the skills they need to succeed in those jobs? (3) How do we assure that workers get a decent wage for an honest day's work?

Skills development is a leading edge of economic development, so the Labor Department's contribution to job creation will be to assure U.S. workers have the skills they need for 21st Century jobs. The budget includes $8 billion for a Community College to Careers program to help employers work with community colleges to assure workers get the training they need for jobs that are available now and will be available in the future. It also includes major investments to help unemployed workers get back to work quickly --- most prominently, the Universal Displaced Worker program, but other initiatives, as well.

The budget also invests about $100 million more to help veterans and transition servicemembers to find civilian employment. This amount includes an expansion of the Jobs for Veterans State Grants program and $50 million for innovation by the workforce system and others to improve veterans employment opportunities.

Finally, the budget makes new investments in our efforts to fight wage discrimination and to assure that workers get the overtime pay and family and medical leave to which they are entitled. In addition, the President is seeking increased funds for OSHA's whistleblower protection programs and mine safety enforcement.

All of these priorities are extensions of the President's State of the Union Address and his larger budget priorities.

3:15 Comment From J. Carr: Can you talk more about the Pathways back to Work Fund, specifically as it pertains to youth? What other iniatives are included in the budget that pertain to youth employment issues (access, training, etc.)? Is there any special funding proposed specifically for youth transitioning out of the child welfare and/or juvenile justice systems?

3:15 Erika Henderson, ETA: The pathways Back to Work Fund will include three distinct pieces: 1) subsidized employment for low-income and long-term unemployed adults; 2) summer employment and year round employment for low-income youth; and 3) competitive grants to support innovative training and employment programs for these populations, including work-based employment strategies of demonstrated effectiveness.
The department requested $2,500,000,000 to support summer and year round jobs for low-income youth, ages 16-24. These efforts will emphasize direct linkages to academic and occupational learning.

3:16 Comment From Douglas Klayman: What kinds of programs will be available for people with disabilities including youth and older Americans?

3:16 Kathy Martinez, ODEP: ODEP will continue to collaborate with ETA to increase employment for people with disabilities through the public workforce system through the DEI initiative. Through DEI, ODEP and ETA seek to improve education, training, and employment opportunities and outcomes for youth and adults with disabilities who are unemployed, underemployed and/or receiving Social Security disability benefits. DEI is entering its fourth round of cooperative agreements and is complemented by an evaluation which will be used to glean best practices and determine the initiatives effectiveness.

Additionally, ODEP will provide technical assistance to the workforce system through its National Center on Leadership for Employment and Advancement of People with Disabilities and National Technical Assistance and Demonstration Center on Preparing Youth with Disabilities for Employment. A comprehensive accessibility study of the AJCs is underway and will further inform us about areas of need.

To improve employment opportunities for individuals with the most significant disabilities ODEP will continue its partnership with the Wage and Hour Division; revise its Integrated Employment Toolkit and through competitively awarded cooperative agreements and provide technical assistance to states to modify applicable policy and reimbursement structures. The initiative expands on the work of the Employment First initiative and is designed to scale and sustain efforts within states to implement effective practices in integrated employment.

Through the Add Us In initiative, ODEP will conduct outreach and build the capacity of small and minority owned businesses to hire people with disabilities. Also, ODEP’s National Center on Leadership for Employment and Advancement of People with Disabilities will implement an American Job Center (AJC) focused demonstration that will provide intensive individualized training for people with disabilities and technical assistance for AJC staff.

ODEP’s Community College Initiative will identify and evaluate coordinated service delivery strategies that increase the number of youth and young adults with disabilities that enter community colleges and complete career and technical programs that provide industry recognized credentials. In addition, five of the states receiving funding through the ODEP and ETA jointly administered Disability Employment Initiative are intended to help improve youth transition outcomes.

To change the attitudes and perceptions about the value of employing people with disabilities, in addition to the Add Us In initiative, ODEP conducts the Campaign for Disability Employment, which provides information to employers and others extolling the value and talents people with disabilities bring to the workplace.

3:17 Comment From Guest: How does the DOL budget address the needs of women in blue collar trades/non-traditional occupations? There is no mention of women specifically in the Workforce Innovation Fund nor in the Re-entry area and Women in Apprenticeship funds are eliminated as a specific funding. Women need to be called out specifically in blue-collar areas if there workforce needs are to be addressed. (I am reminded that under the language of the 13th amendment , women were not given the right to vote as "Citizens" but that a specific amendment to the constitution was necessary to make it clear that women were included. That still can be necessary although women are 50% of the workforce.)

3:17 Jane Oates, ETA:

After multiple rounds of WANTO grants, the Department has found that the program is too small (as a stand-alone grant program) to have a significant impact on women’s participation in Registered Apprenticeship (RA). However, the Department has incorporated lessons learned from the grant into more system solutions including:
Guidance for quality pre-apprenticeship programs that help women as well as minorities gain greater access to apprenticeship opportunities; and
Developing proposed changes to regulations for Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) in Registered Apprenticeship (29 CFR part 30), which are planned for publication in the Fall of 2013.
ETA will continue to aggressively reach out to employers and other sponsors to highlight the best practices of RA programs that create placement opportunities for women.
ETA will pursue registering apprenticeship programs and occupations that have typically been held by women (such as in the health care and culinary fields), thus increasing the opportunities for women to reach and stay in the middle class.
ETA is also planning technical assistance to the workforce system on how RA programs can work more closely with community based organizations to improve the pipeline of women into RA programs.

3:18 Mary Beth Maxwell, WHD: Thank you for your question. The total FY 2012 enacted level was $227,061,000. FY 2014 the Wage and Hour Division (WHD) budget is $243,254,000 and 1,872 FTE. The budget provides an increase of $3.4 million for the WHD for increased enforcement of the Fair Labor Standards Act and the Family Medical Leave Act, which ensure that workers receive appropriate wages, overtime pay, and the rights to take job-protected leave for family and medical purposes.

3:19 Comment From Bill Donahue: Can you put the budget increases for enforcement at WHD in context? How much was tagged for enforcement of the FLSA and the FMLA in the last budget, and how much was actually enacted?

3:19 Comment From via DOL Webmaster: Is spending on veterans services increasing? If so, how much? And how does that compare with previous years?

3:19 Keith Kelly, VETS: Yes, the budget includes increased funding for the Veterans’ Employment and Training Service. The total increase for all programs funded under this budget is $36 million over 2012, an increase of approximately 13.6 percent. In addition, $50 million will be devoted from the ETA Workforce Innovation Fund to improve employment services for veterans, family members of active duty personnel, and members of the National Guard and Reserve.

3:20 Comment From via DOL Webmaster: Given the technological advancements society has made in the last thirty years, are we likely to see more funding for Veteran Services on the front lines of Employment Services such as the DVOP’s and LVER’s and if so, will the individual states be controlling those funds or the Agency that is employing those LVER’s and DVOP’s? Who or What agency Regulates or Monitors the Funding made available for the Services the LVER’s and DVOP’s provide in the State of South Carolina?

3:20 Keith Kelly, VETS: The answer to your first question is yes, the President’s budget includes a $38 million increase for additional DVOPs. The individual states ARE the entities that employ LVERs and DVOPs – they are one and the same – and they administer the funding allocated to the state. The answer to your final question is my agency, VETS, which monitors and regulates DVOP and LVER funding.

3:20 Comment From Les Roberson: Do you feel as though the DEI Grantees are going in the right directon and will the sequestraion effect the furture of the grant?

3:20 Jane Oates, ETA: Hello Les. Yes, we do think the DEI grantees are heading in the right direction. We are excited to see early signs that the intense collaboration required by the grants is yielding results. ETA and ODEP continue to support the program. Existing grant programs will not be impacted by sequestration, but the department is reviewing how sequestration may impact the number or size of awards made in the future.

3:20 Comment From Guest: Are any changes proposed for the Reemployment Trade Adjustment Assistance program? Would it remain intact, be subsumed under the UDW, or what?

3:20 Jane Oates, ETA: The wage insurance option in the Universal Displaced Worker program being proposed is identical to that operated under the Trade Adjustment Assistance program.

3:21 Comment From Guest: How does the President's budget affect the Job Corps' recent shortfall?

3:21 Jane Oates, ETA: The President’s budget requests an additional $17.7 million for Job Corps. In addition, the President’s approach to FY2014 budget reverses the cuts required in FY2013 to comply with sequestration, which for Job Corps, required cuts of $82 million.

3:23 Comment From Guest: Will the pilot demonstration and research budget activity appropriate of $25,000,00 be conducted in targeted areas or nationwide and what impact will this have on services to program participants?

3:23 Jane Oates, ETA: Thank you for the question. Funding for the pilot reemployment demonstrations will be available for any state to apply. The goal of the pilot is to test and evaluate innovative reemployment strategies for unemployment insurance claimants.

3:23 Comment From Neil: It is great to see the Pathways Back to Work Fund for low-income adults and youth and long-term unemployed in the budget. Are there any changes to this proposal compared to earlier versions in the AJA and previous budgets?

3:23 Jane Oates, ETA: Great Question, Neil. No significant changes from last year. The Pathways Back to Work initiative will include three distinct pieces: 1) $8,000,000,000 for subsidized unemployment for unemployed, low-income adults; 2) $2,000,000,000 for summer employment and year-round employment opportunities for low-income youth; and 3) $2,500,000,000 work-based employment strategies of demonstrated effectiveness.

3:24 Comment From Matt Helmer: Does the proposed minimum wage increase have any increase for tipped workers? Are there amendments to the companionship exemption?

3:24 Mary Beth Maxwell, WHD: Thank you for your questions. The President is calling on Congress to raise the federal minimum wage for working Americans in stages so that it reaches $9 an hour in 2015, raise the tipped minimum wage, and index it for inflation. The proposed changes to the home care worker minimum wage and overtime exemption is still under review and no final decisions have been made concerning this proposal.

3:24 Comment From Pete Calvo: OJC-39 Please clarify the target and actual levels reported. Delays observed in CPER/CPAR, ROAR reports, etc. Discuss level of accountable related to reported data.

3:24 Jane Oates, ETA: The target and actual level represent the percent of Job Corps contracts eligible for transition from CPER to CPAR. This does NOT include the universe of all Job Corps contracts. We will continue to transition the remaining contracts as required.

3:25 Comment From Susan Dempsey-Spurgeon; Arizona Western College: Would you expand on your comments regarding the Community College to Career Fund? With a 28%+ unemployment rate in the area I live and work this is a significant issue.

3:25 Acting Secretary Harris: Susan, our expectation is that the Community College to Career Fund will operate in similar manner to the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Technical Training grants that ETA is currently administering. It will incentivize community colleges to build strong partnerships with employers to construct training programs in demand occupations and growing industry sectors. For example, I have seen several advanced manufacturing programs around the country funded by the TAACCCT program that are tied to local manufacturers' personnel needs. Employers participate in the TAACCCT programs by developing competency models and curricula that allow workers to satisfy those competency models. They also provide work-based training and, hopefully, hire the graduates of the programs.

The President's hope is that, by developing a skills infrastructure to ensure employers a reliable pipeline of skilled workers, local employers will be more successful and grow, and employers making siting decisions will choose to locate in communities like yours.

3:26 Comment From RMIWNY: What kind of stress do you see the Federal Budget sequester putting on federally funded workforce development programs? Are the states expecting to pick up the expected slack?

3:26 Jane Oates, ETA: Thanks for the question. The President’s FY2014 budget request includes a $80 million increase for the WIA Adult, Dislocated Worker, and Youth formula funds in recognition of the additional demands on state and local workforce partners.

3:27 Comment From dave kittross, lrp pubs: How will DOL act, within this budget, to protect job training activities that help Native American organizations?

3:27 Jane Oates, ETA: This budget continues to support the WIA section 166 program, which provides employment and training services to Native Americans. In addition, the budget proposes a number of competitive grant programs for which Native American organizations are eligible to apply.

3:29 Comment From dave kittross, lrp pubs: How does the president's proposal to consolidate job training programs differ from HR 803, which was just approved by Congress?

3:29 Jane Oates, ETA: Thank you for your question Dave. The Universal Dislocated Worker program proposed in the President’s FY 2014 budget merges the best features of two programs targeted to an overlapping population – the WIA Dislocated Worker program and Trade Adjustment Assistance. It provides a simplified process to access services that are customized to the needs of the job-seeker in order to get them back into a good job as quickly as possible.

The random consolidation in HR 803 appears to be about flexibility to states, not necessarily about targeting services to achieve better outcomes for workers.

3:30 Comment From Georgia C.: How will the Community College to Career Fund work, will there be a request for proposals or will it be formula based?

3:30 Jane Oates, ETA: While we have not fully developed an implementation plan for the Community College to Career Fund, we envision that it will include a competitive grant opportunities.

3:30 Comment From Liza Casabona: Does the $14 million allocated for WHD to combat misclassification of workers as independent contractors represent an increase/decrease from previous funding? What was the amount of the change?

3:31 Comment From James Flammang, independent journalist covering work/labor issues: What would be the two or three most important things for ordinary workers-- especially those who are unemployed, underemployed or earning minimum wage--to know about the DOL budget, in terms of its near-term impact on their own lives.

3:31 Acting Secretary Harris: James, I want workers to know that the President's FY 2014 budget is focused on helping them to secure and succeed in middle class jobs. It invests in skills, including a major investment in community colleges, and significant efforts to help long-term unemployed workers get back to work as soon as possible. The President has also invested about $100 million in this budget to help veterans and transitioning servicemembers find and keep civilian employment. I could offer a long list of programs, but the bottom line is that DOL's budget is tightly focused on supporting job creation and growing the economy.

With respect to minimum wage workers, I have been traveling the country meeting with these workers to give them the opportunity to tell their stories of living on a low wage in America. Their stories are powerful and poignant. They make impossible choices between buying food or clothes for their kids, keeping the lights on or keeping the heat on in winter, or fixing the car to get to work or fixing the furnace. As the President said during his State of the Union Address, full-time workers shouldn't live in poverty in the richest country on Earth. That's why he proposed increasing the federal minimum wage from $7.25 per hour to $9.00 per hour, and indexing it to inflation.

3:32 Comment From Guest: According to the Job Corps Budget Narrative, "On at least a monthly basis, Job Corps and the Department will compare costs against plans. If any differences appear, the explanation for those differences will be sought. Potential areas of concern will be identified and addressed quickly. Depending on the origin of those differences, the model will continually be updated to ensure better accuracy in developing future spend plans." Since this is already accomplished through monthly and contract year to date budget data, what will be different?

3:32 Jane Oates, ETA: Today’s webchat is focused on the President’s 2014 budget. For more information, please contact the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Employment and Training Administration.

3:32 Comment From Tarelton Cherry - Jackson Pierce: The budget proposes to strengthen Job Corps' financial and contract oversight. Can you elaborate.

3:32 Jane Oates, ETA: The budget requests additional FTE dedicated to financial oversight that will increase the quality of financial analysis of Job Corps contract expenditures by analyzing actual to the target for the operations budget. This will enhance financial oversight of Job Corps contracts that will be more comprehensive and timely.

3:33 Mary Beth Maxwell, WHD: In regards to the question asked by Liza Casabona at 3:30: Under the FY 2014 proposed budget, the Wage and Hour Division (WHD) would receive $3.8 million to investigate misclassification and $10 million of the $14 million request would be for Employment Training & Administration (ETA) grants to states to identify misclassification and recover and unpaid taxed within the unemployed insurance.

3:33 Comment From Arvindh Somanathan: With nearly $14 million to combat the misclassification of workers as independent contractors, What are the key areas of interest into which the $14 million dollar budget is used for this cause? How will the department of labor follow up on efforts committed to this cause after FY2013?

3:33 Mary Beth Maxwell, WHD: Under the FY 2014 proposed budget, the Wage and Hour Division (WHD) would receive $3.8 million to investigate misclassification and $10 million of the $14 million request would be for Employment Training & Administration (ETA) grants to states to identify misclassification and recover and unpaid taxed within the unemployed insurance.

3:35 Phyllis C. Borzi, EBSA: Hello Everyone, Assistant Secretary for Employee Benefits Security Phyllis C. Borzi here. I am glad to say that the President’s budget provides the resources for our Benefits Advisors to continue the important work they do. You may know that these staffers, located in 15 field offices across the country, help individuals and small employers with retirement, healthcare and other benefits questions and problems. Last year, through the hard work of our entire staff, EBSA recovered or protected more than $1.2 billion for individuals and plans. If you have a question or problem, contact a Benefits Advisor at 1-866-444-3272 or www.askebsa.dol.gov.

3:36 Comment From Steve Vogel - Washington Post: Could acting Secretary Harris elaborate on the changes to Job Corps - what centers are being closed and why, and if funding for the program is being cut?

3:36 Jane Oates, ETA: Hi Steve. I hope you don’t mind if answer your question, since Job Corps is a part of ETA. The final methodology and the names of the three centers to be closed due to chronically low performance will be published in the federal register in the coming weeks in alignment with the procedures established in the Workforce Investment Act. Our press shop will keep you posted.

3:37 Comment From Maynard Friesz, Easter Seals: Can you describe/clarify the proposed funding breakdown of the $150 million Workforce Innovation Fund, both in terms of where within the Administration the $150 million funding comes from and also the breakdown of how the funding would be used to target groups of jobseekers (ie: youth; veterans)? Will the fund be used for projects to help increase employment for people with disabilities? Thanks.

3:37 Jane Oates, ETA: Thank you, Maynard, for the question. Within the Workforce Innovation Fund, $10 million is dedicated to building knowledge about which interventions are most effective for disconnected youth, with a particular emphasis on those under age 20. Twenty million will be set aside for Pay for Success projects; and $50 million of the fund will be set aside for projects that address the employment needs of veterans to improve employment services for them, military families, and members of the Guard and Reserves, who face unique challenges in the civilian workforce because of their military commitments.

3:38 Comment From Eric Frumin, Change to Win: what plans do you have to enhance DOL's data collection to help drive its labor standards enforcement, as described in the "New Approaches" document in the Strategic Plan? Are any current data-collection activities, or planned initiatives, affected by either the current sequester or the proposed Budget, and how will that affect enforcement programs?

3:38 Acting Secretary Harris: Eric, as you know, DOL has emphasized data-driven decision making as part of the Obama Administration's larger focus on evidence-based policy making. We have instituted a comprehensive performance management and measurement system, including in the worker protection agencies. And we have dramatically increased our investments in program evaluation. This FY 2014 budget proposal would further increase investment in program evaluation.

Sequester has done a good bit of damage to our programs at DOL. It is going to cost the department $3.1 billion in FY 2013 and make it harder for us to enforce the laws Congress has charged us with enforcing. Unfortunately, our evaluation program will also suffer a cut, like other programs, and it will make it more difficult to use the evaluation set-aside Congress provided us in the last budget. But the President's FY 2014 budget proposes increasing the evaluation set-aside to 1% --- a sizable increase in this function.

3:39 Comment From Kim Musheno, AUCD: Are there specific initiatives in the FY 14 budget to promote Employment First policies for people with developmental and other disabilities?

3:39 Comment From Allison Wohl: ODEP’s Employment First work has been groundbreaking and vital to Americans with disabilities who can and wish to work in their communities in integrated jobs at competitive wages. Will these programs continue to be funded?

3:39 Kathy Martinez, ODEP: Thank you Kim and Allison for your important questions regarding ODEP’s work in the area of Employment First. The FY 14 budget includes an exciting initiative to promote Integrated Employment for people with the full range of disabilities, including developmental and other significant disabilities. We know that too often, erroneous historical stereotypes have kept individuals with significant barriers to employment from becoming employed in integrated settings in their communities, at minimum wage or above. In FY 14 ODEP will begin an exciting initiative that will take to scale what we are learning through our current Employment First projects across the nation. If Congress approves funding, our new Integrated Employment initiative will provide technical assistance and training to states to scale and sustain efforts to implement effective practices in integrated employment. It will also facilitate policy collaboration at the federal, state and local levels to achieve this goal. In addition, ODEP will develop new products including a comprehensive curriculum to communicate validated best practices associated with successfully changing provider business models from those that focus on segregated work/non-work outcomes to those that promote integrated employment. I see that many questions are coming in on this topic. Please visit ODEP’s website for more information: www.dol.gov/odep. Thank you again for your questions.

3:39 Comment From Guest: Any perspective on eliminating MSHA grants to states?

3:40 Joe Main, MSHA:
To meet the demand of the Agency’s higher priority enforcement activities, MSHA will defund the State Grants program and shift the responsibility for training back to mine operators as the Mine Act originally intended. MSHA regulations will continue to require that all miners receive training and mine operators will be required to develop their own programs or contract these services.

3:42 Erica Groshen, BLS: Bureau of Labor Statistics Commissioner Groshen here. I’m excited about 2 enhancements to BLS programs in the 2014 request. One funds an annual supplement to the Current Population Survey in order to capture data on contingent work and alternative work arrangements and a range of other topics, including workplace flexibility and work-family balance issues. The other enhances the Consumer Expenditure Survey to help the Census Bureau develop a supplemental measure of poverty in the United States.

3:42 Comment From Guest: Will the "Pathways Back to Work" program be under the auspices of the local Workforce Investment Boards?

3:42 Jane Oates, ETA: Thanks for the question. As in many of our grant programs, we hope that the local workforce system will choose to be engaged.

3:43 Comment From Mike Cooney: What is the status of EBE grant? It seems to be having difficulty getting off the ground.

3:43 Jane Oates, ETA: Thanks, Mike, for the question. EBE (Expanding Business Engagement) grants have been awarded to 13 states. Grant activities in these states will continue through next winter.

3:49 Comment From Steve Vogel - Washington Post: To Jane, re my question about Job Corps: Why is this information not available now? Thank you.

3:49 Jane Oates, ETA: The original methodology was posted in the federal register in January 2013 and we received comments. So, to get to the next step, we’ve analyzed those comments and we are finalizing the methodology that will address the comments. We anticipate, as I said previously, to publish the methodology in the federal register within the next few weeks.

3:49 :

3:49 DOL Moderator: That's a photo of Acting Secretary Seth Harris answering your questions!

3:51 Pat Shiu, OFCCP: Hello this is Pat Shiu, Director of the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs. OFCCP’s 2014 budget request increases the agency’s capacity to narrow the persistent pay gap between men and women by addressing workplace discrimination. On the heels of Equal Pay Day, and in anticipation of the 50th anniversary of the Equal Pay Act in June, the OFCCP remains vigilant in combatting wage-based discrimination on behalf of all women including women of color who are disproportionately affected by the pay gap. Women earn, on average, 82 cents for every dollar earned by men. The gap is even greater for women of color: 70 cents on the dollar for African-American women and approximately 60 cents for Latinas. Over the course of her career, the average woman stands to lose about $389,000 because of the pay gap.

3:52 Comment From Guest: What role does the Department see for Local Workforce Investment Boaads in the UDW and other grant programs targeting worker training and skills development, including those involving Community Colleges?

3:52 Jane Oates, ETA: Great question. State and local workforce investment boards will continue to play leadership roles in UDW, as they do in other grant programs.

3:54 Comment From Guest: Will WIA Adult and Dislocated worker funds still be subject to 1st quarter spending limitations?

3:54 Jane Oates, ETA: Thanks for your question. The President’s 2014 budget increases WIA Adults Youth and Dislocated Worker formula program funds by 80 million dollars. The issue you’ve addressed in your question refers to actions taken in response to the sequestration budget. ETA has issued a planning notice regarding sequestration funding levels beginning with the first quarter allotments starting July 1. Final numbers are forthcoming this month.

3:55 Comment From Bill W. Farley: Why is the funding being cut again and again for SCSEP? This program has helped thousands of seniors stay afloat in this high dollar economy, especially with the cost of health meds. Furthermor, whihc is truly the real reason for the program, is IT IS WORKING! Many seniors have found employment and have become productive citizens. By cutting funds to this program will DOL/HHS expect the program to serve the same amount of seniors but with less money? This program is already stretch and it's participants help administer the program in the absence of a paid teamworker from the grantee. What can be done to encourage the President to look closely at the results of this program to those indiviuals who have already given back and are just asking to consider not cutting the funding to this program?

3:55 Jane Oates, ETA: Thanks for the question, Bill. The President’s budget request proposes to transfer the Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP) from ETA to the Administration for Community Living at the Health and Human Services Department to improve coordination with other senior service programs. This transfer would consolidate Federal oversight of the Older Americans Act under one department, streamline operations, and advance the mission of helping older American’s maintain their independence and their active participation in communities.

3:56 Comment From Bill Donahue: A follow up for Mary Beth Maxwell: I see that WHD is getting a $3.4 million increase for more FLSA and FLMA enforcement. But is there a figure for what was spent on enforcement activities in the previous year to put the increase in context?

3:56 Mary Beth Maxwell, WHD: Bill, thank you for your follow-up question. There is no such figure available. The WHD does not allocate its budgetary resources by statute. WHD is responsible for enforcing all the laws entrusted to the division.

3:58 Comment From Guest: will local Workforce Investment Boards set policy/approve budgets for the Universal Displaced Workers program, since it appears it will replace the dislocated worker program?

3:58 Jane Oates, ETA: That’s a good question, Bill. See my answer to the question from Guest at 3:52.

4:00 Comment From JMedina: signed in late; will the Pathways back to work include individuals over 50 years of age? Executive Orders disallow age discrimination; however the practice seems prevalent.

4:00 Jane Oates, ETA: Thanks for the question, J. Medina. Pathways Back to Work grant program will provide subsidized employment opportunities for low-income and long-term unemployed adults, and competitive grant programs for both adult and youth populations. The adult populations will have no restrictions on age.

4:01 Comment From Stephen Lee, Bloomberg BNA: Does the $2 million increase for OSHA's standard-setting program reflect anticipated work on any specific standards, such as its I2P2 rulemaking?

4:01 David Michaels, OSHA: In calendar year 2013 (which covers the first quarter of fiscal year 2014), OSHA plans to continue its work on standards, including Injury and Illness Prevention Programs; Combustible Dust; Infectious Diseases; Crystalline Silica; Beryllium; Improving Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses and several others cited in our most recent regulatory agenda, which can be found at http://tinyurl.com/ch7argm

4:02 Comment From via DOL Webmaster: This is for MSHA chief Joe Main: You are proposing to end all state grants funding and cut the Small Mines Consultation Program by $303,000, yet you indicate in the budget that you want to assist mine operators with health and safety training. How do you reconcile these apparently conflicting activities?

4:02 Joe Main, MSHA:
The President's budget proposes to defund the State Grants program and shift the responsibility for training back to mine operators as the Mine Act originally intended. MSHA regulations will continue to require that all miners receive training and mine operators will be required to develop their own programs or contract these services.

The Small Mines Consultation Program (SMCP) personnel have been strategically relocated, increasing their access to the small mining operations and enhancing the level of consultation services provided. MSHA has also worked to leverage our resources by working with state aggregate associations. Over the past several years the numbers of fatalities and injuries occurring at mines with five or fewer miners have declined. This modest reduction to SMCP will be balanced by enhanced training and field coordination reforms, which started in FY 2012.

To continue to assist the mining industry in meeting its training obligations, MSHA produces and distributes high-quality training materials that are available to the mining industry. We plan to make additional training resources available on our website. Educational Field Services (EFS) will continue its work to assist mine operators to develop effective training plans and programs, and to assist instructors with improved delivery methods. The President's request includes $800,000 for additional EFS resources to review required training records and monitor contractor training.

4:03 Comment From Guest: Regarding your answer to the role of WIBs in the UDW and other grant programs, could you please be more specific about the "leadership" roles? Would that role be like it is now for the Adult, Youth and current Dislocated Worker Program, or would it be different?

4:03 Jane Oates, ETA: We look forward to working out the details of the UDW proposal through the legislative process.

4:03 Comment From Teresa Theis: The Universal Dislocated Worker program is a great idea, and more in tune with the constant restructuring of the labor market in a global context. What feedback have local areas expressed regarding the combined funding from the two former programs and the effectiveness of a more relevant vision implemented across a broader scope?

4:03 Jane Oates, ETA: Thank you, Teresa. Since today is the introduction of the UDW program, we’re looking forward to hearing people’s questions and ideas about the program. We’ll be working with our inter-governmental organizations and welcome any comments that workforce professionals might have.

4:04 Comment From Mike Eastman, EEAC: Can you further elaborate on the proposed $1.1 million increase to strengthen OFCCP’s efforts to combat pay discrimination and what appears to be a proposal to add additional FTEs at OFCCP?

4:04 Pat Shiu, OFCCP: Hi Mike, thanks for your question. Just as it came in, I posted the comment above. I hope it is helpful in understanding our priorities. As you know, OFCCP is committed to facilitating the success of federal contractors and we will continue to provide technical assistance on ways to prevent wage-based discrimination.

4:06 Comment From via DOL Webmaster: Do you plan additional Rules to Live By initiatives in FY '14?

4:06 Joe Main, MSHA: It is important that MSHA focus on the most commonly occurring deaths. MSHA implemented Rules to Live By 1, 2 and 3 to address this issue. MSHA will continue to analyze data to determine when our Rules to Live By initiative needs to be modified.

4:09 Comment From Jon: Page 4 of ETA's FY2014 Budget Justification notes that "[t]he Office of Foreign Labor Certification (OFLC) will place a high priority on processing employer applications for jobs requiring higher-level degrees and skills, particularly those in STEM-related occupations." What does "high priority" mean? Hiring more staff to improve processing times? Moving applications in the areas mentioned to the front of the line for processing? Something else?

4:10 Jane Oates, ETA: Thank you for your question, Jon. OFLC places processing priority on those jobs requiring a higher level degree of skills, particularly those in STEM-related occupations. By this, we mean fewer existing resources will be assigned to those applications outside of that criteria, while continuing to meet overall processing goals.

4:16 Comment From JMedina: Ms. Oates, does Pathways Back to Work grant contain restrictions on educational level--I have MSLIS.

4:16 Jane Oates, ETA: J Medina, thank you for your question. The language concentrates low-income or long-term unemployed workers. As grantees apply, they will define target populations served in their proposal. We expect, as with other grants, that there will be variations in the targeted populations to be served.

4:16 Comment From Brad Turner-Little: I see a number of new strategies utilizing Pay for Success as the funding model in the ETA budget. What factors led ETA to pursue this route and what implications do you foresee for WIBs and CBOs in how they deliver services/run their operations?

4:16 Jane Oates, ETA: The President’s FY2014 budget promotes new approaches to job training and employment services. The Department is now in the process of awarding the first pilots of the Pay for Success innovative funding mechanism, designed to attract non-government investment in social service interventions. The 2014 budget includes a set-aside of up to $20 million of the WIF to be used for Pay for Success projects.

In the long-term, the Department anticipates that those interventions that produce proven, positive results and cost efficiencies through the Pay for Success model may be scaled-up and replicated by Federal agencies and state/local/tribal partners. We look forward to the obtaining the evidence necessary for state, local, and tribal governments to consider whether to pursue the Pay for Success approach on their own in the future.

4:17 Comment From via DOL Webmaster: Is MSHA still on track to release a silica proposed rule in August 2013? Will it include a reduced permissible exposure limit?

4:17 Joe Main, MSHA: As reflected in the President's budget, MSHA will continue to work on a health standard to reduce miners' exposure to respirable crystalline silica; the agency is addressing the permissible exposure limit, among other issues.

4:17 Comment From Peg Bittner: One concern that keeps going through my mind is; Does the DOL have plans with their new budget in the making working on streamlining the process of the public's ability to submit complaints, concerns or inquiries that get clearly written replies in a timely manner for their immediate questions. I am talking about concerns like, I have immediate management that is harassing the staff and putting unreasonable demands on them. what can we have at our disposal?, Where do we look to get an easy explanation on what is payable in overtime hours and what are not? here is the question I was trying to get answered; There were number of times that the DOL has been contacted and in returned people were put on a merry go round of sub-departments with no results. Can this please be eliminated and turned into more efficient?

4:17 Mary Beth Maxwell, WHD: Peg. I’m sorry your experiences contacting the department have not yielded the results you have been hoping to receive. Both the Wage and Hour Division, and its sister agencies within the department, have Web sites and toll-free phone numbers for you to contact us with your questions. For wage and overtime questions, please call 1-866-4US-WAGE. Regarding your overtime concerns, generally speaking any hours over 40 in a standard 7-day workweek would be subject to an overtime premium (usually time and one-half the hourly rate). Coverage restrictions and exemptions do apply. For more information, please see: http://www.dol.gov/whd/overtime_pay.htm. For workplace health and safety and whistleblower concerns, please contact OSHA at 1-800-321-OSHA, or www.osha.gov. We appreciate you bringing your concerns to our attention and hope your future interactions with the department will be satisfactory.

4:21 Comment From Karl: Where can I find the Detailed Budget for DOL 2014

4:21 DOL Moderator: All of the budget information is online at http://www.dol.gov/budget

4:24 Comment From Guest: How does Labor Market Information play into the grand scheme of things?

4:24 Erica Groshen, BLS: Labor market information makes the economy more efficient by informing the decisions of businesses, households, policymakers, educations and others. For example, unemployed workers and students use our Occupational Outlook Handbook to inform their job search and training choices. Another example is that extensions to unemployment insurance benefits are usually based on changes in state unemployment rates provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Also, businesses refer to BLS benefits and occupational wage data when making compensation decisions. I think it’s safe, and appropriate, to say that without the information we collect and provide, all of these actors would be making their decisions in the dark.

4:24 Comment From via DOL Webmaster: Mr. Main: What currently is the budget of the Small Mines Consultation Program and how much of it will be cut if MSHA's $303,000 decrease for SMCP is approved in FY'14?

4:24 Joe Main, MSHA: Currently, the Small Mines Consultation Program is budgeted for $2.4 million and, under the President's budget, will be funded at $2.1 million.

4:26 Comment From via DOL Webmaster: Can you provide more specifics on the universal dislocated worker program proposed in the President’s budget? Who would the program target? What services would be available?

4:26 Jane Oates, ETA: The primary target is all displaced workers, no matter the reason for the lay-off. We look forward to working out the details of the UDW proposal through the legislative process.

4:27 DOL Moderator: Thank you for all the great questions. We hope to wrap up in the next 10 minutes (at 4:35).

4:27 Carol Pier, ILAB: Hello, this is Carol Pier, acting head of DOL’s Bureau of International Labor Affairs. We are excited that our budget request this year includes an additional $2.5 million for our work monitoring compliance with labor requirements of U.S. free trade agreements and trade preference programs. As the U.S. expands its trade agenda, this work is increasingly important and vital to help ensure greater respect for workers’ rights, improved livelihoods, elimination of child and forced labor, and better working conditions in the context of trade. This means getting children out of dangerous work in the fields and in the mines and putting them in schools, protecting workers from workplace dangers, and giving workers a voice at work by protecting their right to organize and bargain collectively. To have a real impact for workers on the ground, we will combine our heightened trade-related monitoring with programming that can make a real difference. We will be funding groups and organizations, for example, to implement projects in other countries that can prevent hazardous child labor, provide technical assistance to help labor ministries better enforce labor laws, and build the capacity of workers’ organizations. This is critical to inclusive economic growth around the world and leveling the playing field for U.S. workers here at home.

4:31 Comment From Guest: Does the LMI shops still have a place within all the different programs?

4:31 Erica Groshen, BLS: The State Labor Market Information shops continue to be valued partners of the Bureau of Labor Statistics in the conduct of four very important programs. These are :
Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages
Current Employment Statistics
Local Area Unemployment Statistics
Occupation Employment Statistics

4:34 :

The DOL Budget Team

4:35 Acting Secretary Harris: That wraps up the webchat on the Labor Department FY 2014 budget proposal. Thank you for participating. We appreciate your questions and your interest in our work. We look forward to further partnership with all our stakeholders going forward.

4:36 :

 

 

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