Skip to page content
Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez

2012 DOL Budget - Q&A Session with Secretary Solis

Secretary Solis and other DOL leaders answered your questions about the 2012 budget in a Q&A session on February 14, 2011.

1:30 Secretary Solis: Good afternoon.

Thank you for joining us for this interactive discussion regarding our fiscal year 2012 budget request to Congress.

I am looking forward to your questions and suggestions. The same goes for my Assistant Secretaries and Director. Most of them are also in the room with me today for this Webchat.

We are going to try to get to as many of your questions as possible.

Remember that you can also find additional information about our FY 2012 budget request, including a transcript of this web chat, on our website

Let’s begin!

1:33 Comment From Houstonworkplaceexaminer: With the face of budget cut looming, will dol be able to keep up with some of its good programs like Dol grant and Funds to TAA

1:33 Jane Oates, ETA: DOL and ETA will work to maintain programs to the best of our ability. Clearly, cuts will mean reduced services.

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
  • Keith Hall, Commissioner, Bureau of Labor Statistics
  • Ray Jefferson, Assistant Secretary, Veterans' Employment and Training Services
  • Brian Kennedy, Assistant Secretary, Office of Congressional and Intergovernmental Affairs
  • 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
  • Patricia Smith, Solicitor of Labor, Office of the Solicitor
  • 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, Office of the Chief Financial Officer

1:34 Comment From Kyle Morrison, S+H: Can we expect DOL to hire additional OSHA compliance officers (inspectors) under this budget?

1:35 Comment From Florence Olsen, BNA: Can the secretary or assistant secretary provide top-line budget numbers for regulatory and enforcement activities for the Employee Benefits Security Administration in the president's fiscal 2011 budget and compare them with those in effect under the continuing resolution?

1:35 Comment From Stephen Lee: The president's budget restores funding to its compliance assistance programs, which was the only line item that would have been cut in the president's 2011 OSHA budget. Why was that money restored?

1:35 Phyllis Borzi, EBSA: The FY 2011 President's request is $161,995,000. The FY 2012 President's request is $197,528.000. Under the current continuing resolution, EBSA may spend up to $56,090,655 through March 4th.

1:36 Comment From Stephen Lee: The President's budget request calls for a 37 percent increase in funding for OSHA's standards group. Can you specify what OSHA will do with the extra $7 million?

1:36 David Michaels, OSHA: The request for OSHA includes increases of $6.4 million to improve regulatory standards that protect workers; including combustible dust, infectious disease, walking and working surfaces, hazard communication and silica. Included in the request is $2.4 million in the safety and health standards budget activity to continue to develop the Injury and Illness Prevention Program rule.

1:36 Comment From Manuel Quinones: How does funding for MSHA compare to the current CR and how does the increase show the administration's posture on mine safety?

1:36 Joe Main, MSHA: It’s an increase over the current CR and reflects the Administration’s support for mine safety.

1:37 Comment From Anna: Will the minimum Hourly Wage rate change for the 2011 year?

1:37 Nancy Leppink, WHD: Thank you for your question, Anna.

The federal minimum hourly wage rate for workers covered by
the Fair Labor Standards Act is currently $7.25 per hour.

Congress sets the minimum wage through statute. The last inactive increase was effective July 24, 2009.

1:38 Nancy Leppink, WHD : Thank you for your question, Anna.

The federal minimum hourly wage rate for workers covered by
the Fair Labor Standards Act is currently $7.25 per hour.

Congress sets the minimum wage through statute. The last enacted increase was effective July 24, 2009.

1:39 Comment From E. Jones: Is there any funding for a summer jobs program for youth?

1:39 Secretary Solis: The budget does not include additional money for a stand alone summer youth program. However, we will continue to work with states and local areas to look for alternatives. We remain optimistic as we continue our efforts on behalf of youth through programs like YouthBuild, which is funded at $115 million, and $1.7 billion for Job Corps. While these programs do not provide direct summer jobs, they do provide a variety of opportunities for our youth year-round.

1:40 Comment From Christopher Cole: Could you explain in more detail the whistleblower funding changes from the previous year and what are the administrative changes to increase the program's transparency and effectiveness?

1:40 David Michaels, OSHA: An increase of $6 million and 45 whistleblower investigators are requested to meet the increased workload of this program which includes new statutes for food safety, health care reform, finance reform and maritime. The whistleblower program has been given its own budget activity. This will allow OSHA to more easily track and report the FTE-related and other resources used for the Agency’s whistleblower activities. Separating it into a separate budget activity will also allow increased transparency for the work conducted by whistleblower investigators and the Office of Whistleblower Protection Programs. We recently completed an internal evaluation of the whistleblower program and are reviewing recommendations to improve oversight and management of the program.

1:40 Comment From Susan: How much is set aside for the Disabled Veterans in government contractracts?

1:40 Ray Jefferson, VETS: Hello Susan. What we have in the federal government is a goal for all federal agencies to award 3% of their contracts to service-disabled, veteran-owned small businesses.

1:43 Comment From Guest: Is DOL working with Veterans Affairs to reduce and eliminate homeless veterans

1:43 Secretary Solis: I am proud to be the chair of the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness, which includes Veterans Affairs and HUD. We work very closely with Veterans Affairs on the Homeless Veterans Reintegration program for which we are requesting a $3 million increase in FY 2012.

1:44 Jane Oates, ETA: Yes. Both states and broad parternships (including local areas) will be eligible for WIF

1:44 Comment From Deseree: what is the eligibility criteria for grant recipients of the new Workforce Innovation Fund, are local governments eligible?

1:44 Comment From Guest: Will funding be maintained for the Susan Harwood Training Grants?

1:44 Comment From Barbara Rahke: Will the budget maintain funding for Susan Harwood capacity building grants that aim to build knowledge capacity in community based organization of occupational safety and health?

1:45 David Michaels, OSHA: Funding for the Susan Harwood Training Grant Program will increase by $1.25 million over FY2010 to a total of $12 million. The increase will continue to strengthen OSHA’s outreach effort and provide funding to support innovative training techniques using modern technology such as computers, cell phones, and social networking to reach more workers more effectively , both in the classroom and remotely.

1:46 Comment From Venus Gines: There are more than 4000 Promotores and Community Health Workers who can not find jobs, yet they are ready, willing and able to eliminate health disparities that exists in this nation's complicated health system. Is there any funds for them in the new budget?

1:46 Secretary Solis: Yes, one of my priorities is to increase training for community health workers. Some of that we anticipate can be funded through the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training Grant Program. We just announced a $500 million solicitation for grants for that program, and encourage community-based organizations to partner with community colleges.

1:48 Comment From Guest: What plans does OSHA have for the $2.4 million slated for the I2P2 rule? Is there an expected timeline of how and when this proposal will proceed?

1:48 David Michaels, OSHA: Since the majority of companies, especially small businesses, do not currently have programs, OSHA will use some of this proposed funding to conduct extensive site surveys and economic and feasibility analyses to ensure that a rule is developed that employers of all sizes can easily comply with. In addition, we plan to begin to develop compliance assistance materials to help small and large employers develop prevention programs.

1:48 Comment From Jennifer: What impact with this budget have on the State operated 21(d) OSHA Consultation Programs?

1:49 Comment From Linda Copening: With the President's remaks in the the most recent State of the Union address - specifically, his desire to re-align the federal government - has the department given any thought (or have they been asked to identify any programs) that might be merged or eliminated to meet the President's mandate?

1:49 Comment From Erika: Can you explain the thinking behind the reductions to the WIA programs, which would appear to undercut the administration's overall philosophy that the government has a role to play in helping workers get back on their feet after the recession?

1:49 Secretary Solis: The President's budget provides nearly $10 billion for WIA programs. The administration is committed to improving the quality of services WIA supports, and we'll work with Congress on a reauthorization bill that allows us to streamline service delivery and improve efficiency. Our goals are to increase accountability and better meet the needs of employers.

1:49 Comment From Guest: Most of the cases investigated by EBSA require travel. The budget cuts will ultimately have an adverse effect on funds available for travel, resulting in fewer cases being investigated. How is EBSA prepared to handle this issue? Since, there will be fewer cases (i.e. less work), are investigators in our agency at a higher risk for layoffs?

1:49 Seth Harris, Dep Sec: Thanks, Linda. The Labor Department’s 2012 budget contributes to the President’s strategy of winning the future. As part of that strategy, the budget makes some hard choices. For example, the budget calls for the elimination of the Career Pathways program in ETA saving $125 million. It also shifts funding from a slow-spending fund in the workforce investment system to support a new Workforce Innovation Fund. We’ve also reduced funding for construction in the Job Corps program and proposed transferring the Senior Commu
nity Service Employment Program to the Department of Health & Human Services at a substantially reduced funding level.

1:50 David Michaels, OSHA: The free, on-site consultation program is OSHA’s most important small business program. OSHA is requesting an increase of $1 million to provide a necessary inflationary adjustment for the program and an additional 500 visits will be conducted.

1:51 Comment From Mike: Can we expect DOL to hire additional OSHA compliance officers (inspectors) under this budget?

1:51 David Michaels, OSHA: The FY2012 budget request includes funding for an additional 25 compliance officers.

1:51 Comment From Mindy Larson, IEL: How do you see the President's FY 2012 budget request impacting young people with disabilities moving toward employment? (This question is from the Institute for Educational Leadership)

1:51 Comment From Laura Owens: How will this budget impact the employment for individuals with disabilities?

1:52 Kathy Martinez, ODEP: Hello Laura and Mindy. Thank you for your important questions about the impact of the budget on adults and youth with disabilities. The budget allows us to maintain our effort in the following major areas: 1. the Disability Employment Initiative - ODEP collaborates with ETA to implement strategies to increase the participation of people with disabilities in the WIA system; 2. Add Us In- to increase employment opportunities for people with disabilities within small businesses in diverse communities; 3. Integrated Employment—to assist states to align funding and policy in support of broader employment options for people with the most significant disabilities; 4. Promote the Federal Government as a Model Employer for People with Disabilities—through implementation of Executive Order 13548 that will enhance the recruitment and hiring of people with disabilities into the federal government; and finally 5. the Workforce Recruitment Program—which provides a pipeline for college students and recent graduates interested in federal careers.

1:52 Comment From Guest: How will the proposed FY2011 CR that eliminates $2B from the TAA CCCTP impact the current competition? Also, how will the proposed FY2012 budget impact, if at all, the anticpated $500M that was going to be available for another TAA CCCTP competition next year?

1:52 Jane Oates, ETA: We are competing $500 million right now for TAACCCT. So as of today, there will be no impact. We are hopeful that Congress will allow us to compete the total amount during these times when our community colleges are so in need of additional funds to build their capacity to meet the needs of employers. Students need to have access to cutting edge curriculum in order to be competitive for the jobs that are available.

1:53 Comment From Cheryl Amey: What do you expect the impact of cuts to be on the unemployed who need retraining to return to the workforce?

1:53 Secretary Solis: Winning the future cannot be achieved without giving workers the skills necessary to be productive in today's economy. However, winning the future also requires fiscal discipline. That's why we are looking to preserve the integrity of our training programs.

1:53 Comment From Camille Cormier: Will WANTO funding for women into apprenticeships be retained? If so at the current, static $1 million level?

1:53 Jane Oates, ETA: Yes, the president has proposed retaining funding for WANTO at $1 million for FY 2012.

1:54 Comment From Jim Sharpe: The MSHA budget refers to "enhanced training opportunities" for miners. Can you be specific about what those will be? Also, how much are you setting aside for the state grants program in FY 2012? Finally, the language you use to explain the transfer of the Small Mine Office is difficult to decipher. Please explain what you mean by "greater efficiencies through the use of their expertise at all mines and improved implementation through more meaningful compliance assistance..." What about the current arrangement is less meaningful and why are you providing SMO's expertise at all mines when small mines are the ones needing it the most?

1:54 Joe Main, MSHA: The enhanced training opportunities include the development of online training programs, such as special emphasis programs that include “Rules to live by,” and “Safety Pro in a Box.” These types of training models will be used going forward to provide enhanced training opportunities. State grants will be $9 million. The transfer of Small Mines will improve the quality of implementation of small mines assistance. Transferring oversight of Small Mines’ personnel to the districts will allow the districts to direct assistance to targeted problem areas, thereby providing increased assistance to small mines.

1:54 Comment From DC: Very glad to see the continued focus on enforcement of worker protections, the inclusion of the paid leave fund, and the proposal to strengthen the UI system. However, I'm having trouble determining what is being proposed for extended unemployment benefits -- the EUC and EB components -- can you please summarize what is being proposed or point me to where in the Appendix or Budget in Brief it is stated what is being proposed and at what funding levels? Thanks.

1:54 Jane Oates, ETA: Thank you for your question. While we don’t have the details right now, we do know that in addition to the state pay leave proposal, there are new proposals.
1) A proposal to provide relief to states and employers for 2 years with regard to interest-free borrowing and delay of FUTA tax credit reductions for borrowing states;
2) And expanded work-sharing programs; and
3) New provisions for UI integrity.

There is no proposal related to EUC or EB.

1:54 Comment From Kyle Morrison, S+H: Dr. Michaels, in regards to the money allocated for additional OSHA standards, what’s your response to recent comments from congressional leaders who have suggested additional safety and health regulations could hamper job creation and economic growth?

1:54 David Michaels, OSHA: There is extensive evidence OSHA regulations do not kill jobs. In fact, the evidence is that employer implementation of OSHA standards generally costs far less than predicted and actually increases productivity. In short, OSHA doesn’t kill jobs, OSHA stops jobs from killing workers.

1:54 Comment From Sandy Roberts, FRB: Will the cost of workers' comp medical fees be reduced

1:55 Gary Steinberg, OWCP: Sandy, thank you for your question. There is no intent to reduce medical fees for workers compensation.

1:55 Phyllis Borzi, EBSA: In response to the question about EBSA's enforcement resources, the President's FY 2012 budget provides for increased resources to undertake the full range of our program responsibilities, including in the enforcement area.

1:56 Comment From Mark: How much of the budget is going towards green jobs?

1:56 Secretary Solis: We continue to make investments in green jobs training programs. In this budget, $60 million has been allocated for this purpose. That is in line with the President's priorities with respect to energy independence and innovation.

1:56 Comment From Cheryl Amey: How does the 115M proposed for YouthBuild compare to last year's funding?

1:56 Jane Oates, ETA: FY 2011 funding was $102.5 million, so this is an increase of $12.5 million

1:57 Comment From Vivian: Will Veterans Employment and Training Services continue to be a priority?

1:57 Ray Jefferson, VETS: Hello, Vivian. Let me assure you that both Veterans and the Veterans Employment and Training Service will continue to be a priority of Secretary Solis and the Department of Labor. We are working urgently and innovatively to provide the best possible programs and services to Veterans. For example, in the FY 2012 budget, we are requesting a $2 million increase in the Transition Assistance Program and $3 million increase in the Homeless Veterans Reintegration Program.

Moreover, here is a quick summary of just a few of our actions here at VETS.
1. We are increasing engagement with employers, and particularly the private sector. Last year, we launched a pilot with the U.S. Chamber, which we plan to make a national initiative this year.
2. We have launched a Rural Veterans Outreach Initiative
3. We launched a pilot program for Veterans 20-24 years old, the cohort with the highest unemployment.

1:57 Comment From Cheryl Amey: In the face of these and other cuts, collaboration will be a critical strategy in meeting community needs. What is the Department doing to foster public/private partnerships and other forms of collaboration?

1:57 Nancy Leppink, WHD: Thank you for your question, Cheryl.

The Wage and Hour Division is committed to working with community organizations, faith-based organizations, employer associations and other stakeholders, to promote compliance with the laws it enforces. We plan to support our ongoing and successful partnerships like those in Dallas, Los Angeles and New York. We are always looking for opportunities to develop new partnerships.

1:59 Comment From D. Hornback ICWUC: Hopefully a meaningful CD standard will be issued in the near future. What are your regulatory priorities under the proposed 2012 budget?

1:59 David Michaels, OSHA: Our number one regulatory priority remains injury and illness prevention programs. We are also continuing to gather information and interact with stakeholders around a combustible dust standard.

1:59 Comment From Ryan Hess, ETR: Would the reduction in the Job Corps construction budget place any in-progress projects on hold, or simply back-burner projects that have not yet broken ground? And could you identify centers where approved projects would be halted if this is the case?

1:59 Jane Oates, ETA: The FY 2012 construction budget does not affect current construction projects at Job Corps Centers.

1:59 Comment From Laura Owens: Will this budget include supports for individuals with disabilities to start their own micro-enterprises?

2:00 Kathy Martinez, ODEP: Hello Laura. There are two relevant initiatives. First, through the Add Us In Initiative, people with disabilities may become familiar with small business enterprise development. This information can serve as a launching pad for those interested in microenterprise development as an employment option. Second, through the Disability Employment Initiative, strategies related to self-employment and microenterprise are some of the strategies likely to be explored.

2:00 Comment From Ken Ward Jr: Joe Main -- You said that the proposal is an increase over the current CR -- could you provide the specific numbers for what MSHA is getting under the current CR compared to the proposal for 2012?

2:00 Joe Main, MSHA: Thanks for your question, Ken. The current CR assumes the FY2010 funding level of $357,293,000; the 2012 request $384,277,000.

2:01 Comment From Cassandra: Several months ago the DOL released a guide for microenterprise/entreprenuerial training standards for Workforce Investment Programs. Is their any plan to do more than encourage this option, for example, mandate that a percentage of DOL dollars be used for these types of programs?

2:01 Comment From wider opp. for women: Does the President's budget cut funding to the Women's Bureau in general or to apprenticeship programs for women under WANTO?

2:01 Secretary Solis: I am proud to report that the President's budget for FY 2012 funds the Women's Bureau at the same level as his proposal for FY 2011. The President also proposes to retain funding in FY 2012 for WANTO at $1 million.

2:01 Jane Oates, ETA: Thanks for your questions. At this time our plan is to continue to provide guidance on entire entrepreneurship but we have no plans for any mandates.

2:01 Secretary Solis: Just heard we have more than 3,000 participants!!!!

2:01 Comment From Stephen Lee, BNA: Why was $4 million restored to OSHA's compliance assistance program, after $3 million was taken out in the president's 2011 budget request?

2:01 David Michaels, OSHA: We are no longer proposing alternative funding for the Voluntary Protection Program (VPP). OSHA will continue to fund VPP out of the federal compliance assistance budget activity.

2:02 Comment From Pat Schaeffer: How does OFCCP's proposed budget compare to FY 09 and FY 10? Will the 2012 budget result in any cuts to staff or enforcement initiatives? Does OFCCP plan to conduct more compliance evaluations in FY 2012?

2:02 Pat Shiu, OFCCP: Pat, thank you for your question. The 2012 budget reflects a $3.6 million increase from FY 2010. We don’t foresee any cuts to staff and will continue to increase our number of compliance evaluations.

2:03 Comment From Manuel Quinones: Follow up for MSHA - how much is in the current CR? And how important is it for you to get more money in FY 2012?

2:03 Joe Main, MSHA: The President’s budget for FY 2012 requests increased funding in the coal and metal and non-metal enforcement program areas, which includes additional funding for respirable dust sampling; provides funding to improve mine emergency response operations; and support the agency’s regulatory program. Increased funding will also continue support for the administration’s program to reduce the number of contested cases pending before the Federal Mine Safety and Health Review Commission.

2:03 Comment From BCGi: re OFCCP: When will the 2012 Congressional budget justification document become available?

2:04 Pat Shiu, OFCCP: Thanks, BCGI, the budget justification was made available today:

2:05 Comment From Marisabel Torres: Innovation Fund? Who it is targeting?

2:05 Secretary Solis: We are committed to discovering programs that work best and providing resources to replicate them. The Workforce Innovation Fund allows states and regions to compete for $380 million in grants that promote system reform and demonstrate efficiencies.

2:06 Comment From Mark Ellis: The Supplement Appropriations Act of 2010 included $18,200,000 for one year's time to help reduce the backlog of contested cases before the Federal Mine Safety and Health Review Commission (due to expire on July 29, 2011). Funds will be allocated to the Solicitor's Office and to MSHA to help in that reduction. Could you explain the $2,808,250 transferred to MSHA for investigation of the Upper Big Branch Mine disaster? How will this reduce the case backlog at the Review Commission? Thank you.

2:06 Joe Main, MSHA: Mark E, Congress provided funding as part of the $18.2 million for the Upper Big Branch disaster investigation.

2:06 Comment From cheryl: employment of people with disabilities and enforcement of wage and hour issues for them has not always been the best. Will this budget hurt or help enforcement efforts under 14 (c)?

2:06 Nancy Leppink, WHD:
Thanks again for your question, Cheryl.

The Wage and Hour Division is committed to protecting the most vulnerable workers in the workplace – especially workers with disabilities. We are working on a multi-pronged approach to promote compliance with Section 14(c). Elements of this approach will include targeted enforcement, outreach to the community, and training Wage and Hour investigators on enforcement techniques. Wage and Hour will continue its enforcement presence in this program area in FY 2011 and 2012.

2:06 Comment From Abby Caplan: Will the additional MSHA funding provide additional inspectors? If yes, how many?

2:06 Joe Main, MSHA: Yes. The FY 2012 budget requests an increase of more than 30 full-time equivalent employees, including additional enforcement personnel, health specialists, regulatory staff, conference litigation representatives and other personnel.

2:07 Comment From Angelia: Will the budget cuts reduce the number of OFCCP compliance evaulations in FY 2012?

2:07 Pat Shiu, OFCCP: Thank you for your question. We do not foresee any decrease in the number of compliance evaluations at this time.

2:08 Comment From Patrick Preston: How is the DOL and VA working together to eliminate our homeless veterans populations. The figures I am seeing are not very good

2:09 Ray Jefferson, VETS: Hello Patrick. Let me first affirm that DOL, HUD, and VA are working together in exemplary fashion to eliminate Veterans’ homelessness. We are all aligned as part of the goal to eliminate Veterans’ homelessness in five years. This also involves partnerships with the nonprofit sector and other government agencies. At the beginning of this initiative, it was estimated that there were 133,000 Veterans homeless on any given night. Today, as a result of this initiative and the effective partnerships, that number is reported to be less than 107,000. However, as you know, even one homeless Veteran is one too many.

Therefore, for the FY 2012 budget, we have requested an additional $3 million dollars for our Homeless Veterans Reintegration Program (HVRP). Last year, in FY 2010, we have also launched a special HVRP Program for women Veterans and Veterans with families.

This year, in our HVRP Programs, we expect to serve a total of nearly 27,000 homeless Veterans.

2:09 Comment From Husch Blackwell: For Director Shiu, what is the expected timeframe for the release of proposed new regulations? Originally, new regulations (under VEVRAA) were slated for release in January 2011. Additionally, will a potential budget cut effect the release of proposed new regulations?

2:09 Comment From Therese,older workers: What is rational for moving the senior community service employment program from DOL to DHHS/Administration on Aging?

2:09 Secretary Solis: SCSEP will be in the company of other older Americans programs housed at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Combining these programs will help ensure that seniors continue to receive work-readiness skills and also have efficient access to health care, housing and other critical services.

2:09 Comment From Molly Kurt: Where does funding stand for the hiring of additional compliance officers/EEO specialists at OFCCP? How many new COs/EEO Specialists have been added to date during this Administration?

2:09 Comment From Participant: When does OFCCP plan to release proposed VEVRAA regulations, originally slated for release in January 2011? Also, does an impending budget cut affect the issuance of proposed regulations by OFCCP?

2:09 Patricia Shiu: Husch, Molly & Participant, thank you for your questions. The VEVRAA will be published soon. We do not foresee the budget affecting the release dates of any OFCCP proposed regulations.

2:10 Comment From Karyne Jones, NCBA: The budget calls for a reduction and transfer of the SCSEP Program to the DHHS. Could you explain when this transfer will occur and the administrative details of this move?

2:10 Comment From Brad: How will the proposed move of SCSEP to HHS impact 1) the upcoming grant competition and 2) efforts to reauthorize the Older Americans Act?

2:10 Jane Oates, ETA: Brad and Karyn,

The proposed move of the SCSEP program to HHS will be worked on jointly to ensure an orderly transition of the program from DOL to HHS. The departments will jointly plan and conduct the new grant competitions for the SCSEP program. This will not impact the reauthorization of the Older Americans Act

The transfer of SCSEP to HHS will become effective with enactment of the 2012 budget, with the administrative details to be worked out jointly by the two departments.

2:11 Comment From Guest: Will funding for OLMS be increased or reduced?

2:11 Phyllis Borzi, EBSA: Thank you for your question. The FY 2012 OLMS budget request is neither increasing or decreasing over FY 2011.

2:11 Comment From Alan: How does the budget estimate for Training and Employment Services breakdown as far as WIA Adult, Dislocated Worker, Youth, and Innovation grants are concerned?

2:11 Jane Oates, ETA: Thanks for your question, the breakdown for employment and training services under WIA is as follows:

(Total Appropriation / WIF)
Adult – $860,527,000 (Appropriation) / $68,442,000 (Workforce Innovation Fund)
Dislocated workers – $1,403,763,000 / $93,968,000
Youth – $923,913,000 / $73,913,000
Employment Service – $3,286,920,000 /$61,181,000

2:12 Comment From Mississippi: What are the funding levels for ETA programs in 2012?

2:12 Jane Oates, ETA: The proposed funding level for ETA programs in 2012 is $10,811,733,000

2:12 Comment From Anon: One proposal in the budget was for a 50% increase in sample size for the CPI. Would this be fully funded over and above current budget for the program? Would adjustments be made in the rest of BLS to accomodate?

2:12 Keith Hall, BLS: Anon, this is an increase in the budget with no programmatic reductions.

2:13 Comment From Guest: For the OSHA budget, the Budget discusses several different standards at different stages of completion. Putting aside the $2.4 Million for the I2P2 rule, which are the 7 standards are slated for either proposed or final rules in 2011, and which are the 8 slated for proposed or final rules in 2012 (understanding that one of those is likely to be I2P2)?

2:13 Comment From Guest: Can you explain the reasoning beind cutting the Career Pathwys Initiative?

2:13 Secretary Solis: The lessons learned under the Career Pathways Initiative will have an impact of all of our grant programs moving forward. Grantees will be asked to demonstrate how they will move workers from low-wage into higher-paying jobs that can sustain them and their families. Our Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training Program will offer community colleges $2 billion over the next four years to incorporate the Pathways model into current and future curricula. Again, we encourage community- and faith-based programs to partner with community colleges.

2:14 David Michaels, OSHA: In FY2011, OSHA will issue final rules for hazard communication (GHS), Standards Improvement Process (SIPs), Subpart V (electrical), Shipyards and Consultation Program Revision. Proposed rules for FY2011 include Silica, NAICS, and recordkeeping modernization. In FY2012, OSHA will issue final rules in Confined Space in Construction, Walking, Working Surfaces, and transition from SICS to NAICS. In FY2012, proposed rules include I2P2, Combustible Dust, Infectious Diseases and Beryllium.

2:14 Comment From Mary Henschel: People with disabilities can have a huge impact on business and the economy. What is in the 2011-12 budget to support employers in recruiting, hiring and retaining employees with disabilities?

2:14 Kathy Martinez, ODEP: Through the Job Accommodation Network, we will continue technical assistance to employers in recruiting, hiring and retaining people with disabilities. Additionally, through the Add Us In Initiative, ODEP will be providing assistance to small employers who want to hire individuals with disabilities in their community. Add Us In will be a rich source of technical assistance to small business in increasing the employment of people with disabilities – particularly in addressing the critical intersection of cultural diversity and disability.

2:14 Comment From Guest: What's happening with workforce funding for Trade Act

2:14 Jane Oates, ETA: Guest, thank you. This 2012 budget proposal includes a legislative proposal to continue the expansions to the program that were enacted in 2009 and expired on Saturday, February 12. The request under current law reflecting the expiration of the 2009 expansions is $1,100,100,000, and the Department is requesting an additional $571,000,000 for the extension of the expansions, for a total of $1,671,100,000.

2:15 Comment From Ken Ward Jr: Dr. Michaels -- could you provide some specific examples of studies that show that OSHA regulations don't kill jobs?

2:15 David Michaels, OSHA: In 1995, Congress’ Office of Technology Assessment found that for example, the vinyl chloride standard, the ethylene oxide standard and the cotton dust standard all cost far less than anticipated and did not have a meaningful impact on jobs.

2:15 Comment From Guest: Do you expect OFCCP and EEOC to merge?

2:15 Pat Shiu, OFCCP: Thank you for your interesting question. I do not anticipate any merger between the OFCCP and the EEOC.

2:16 Comment From Melissa Attias, CQ: Two questions - Can you explain how the budget allows for a 25 percent reduction the Job Corps' construction budget? It's unclear to me from looking at the tables. Also, do you have total numbers for mandatory expenditures on unemployment insurance programs for this year and last year?

2:16 Jane Oates, ETA: The reduction in Job Corps CRA funding is to offset an increase in Operations, which ensures that the program continues to provide services to students at its current complement of 125 centers. Further, at this level of CRA funding, the program will be able to maintain current facility conditions and respond to emergencies as required.

The mandatory UI expenditures, as represented by benefit outlay in all programs is projected to be 130 billion in FY 2011 and 92 billion in FY 2012.

2:16 Comment From Ray Uhalde: Given the President's 2010 budget request, can we assume that DOL and the Administration will strongly oppose the House Appropriation Committee's proposal to eliminate funding for WIA in FY2010?

2:16 Jane Oates, ETA: Thank you for your question, the President’s FY 2012 budget request for job training programs is an expression of the administration’s values and priorities.

2:17 Comment From Jim Henderson: You said there may be a reduction in services if TAA funds are reduced. How stable are the funds for the current solicitation for TAA-Community College and Career Training Program?

2:17 Jane Oates, ETA: from private FFEL Student loan to direct loans. TAACCT funds have already been appropriated. The Trace Act funds are separate from the TAACCT funding which was achieved through the change

2:18 Comment From Ed G: Is there any talk of reducing current FECA, BL or Energy Compensation benefits?

2:18 Keith Hall, BLS: (This answer was accidentally attributed to Keith Hall, but was answered by Gary Steinberg, OWCP)The FY 2012 Budget includes a legislative proposal for FECA reform entitled “Federal Injured Employees’ Reemployment Act (FIERA)”. The reform will standardize FECA benefit rates, including establishing a “conversion benefit” for beneficiaries at the age of retirement; provide additional benefits; and enable recovery of particular costs. The reform will also make FECA more equitable and easier to administer, improve FECA program management, and strengthen program integrity. There are no proposals in the FY 2012 budget that will reduce benefits for either Black Lung or Energy Programs. It should be noted that a key focus of the FIERA is on Return to Work for federal employees with work-related injuries or illnesses.

2:18 Comment From S. Williams: Will there be additional funding provided to the Wage and Hour Division for more investigators to monitor for Davis-Bacon compliance?

2:18 Nancy Leppink, WHD: Thanks for your question.

This Labor Department is committed to revitalizing Davis-Bacon enforcement as shown through a myriad of efforts we have undertaken to enhance enforcement, improve outreach, and reengineer the administrative process since 2009.

In FY 2010, the Wage and Hour Division pursued an aggressive enforcement and outreach program of the government contract programs, the Davis-Bacon Act and the Service Contract Act. Wage Hour’s proposed FY 2012 budget would allow us to continue these and other enforcement efforts.

2:18 Comment From Guest: Winning the future cannot be achieved without giving workers the skills necessary to be productive in today's economy. However, winning the future also requires fiscal discipline. That's why we are looking to preserve the integrity of our training programs. Monday February 14, 2011 1:53 Secretary Solis...please explain your statement about preserving the integrity of our training programs.

2:18 Secretary Solis: We are preserving the integrity of our training programs by continuing to fund the programs that we know work. The budget proposes to eliminate or reduce programs that we believe are duplicated elsewhere. Moreover, through the Workforce Innovation Fund, we are encouraging efficiencies that will strengthen our training programs.

2:19 Comment From Chris Freeman: Where does Job Corps stand in the new budget? How will JC be affected?

2:19 Jane Oates, ETA: Thanks for your question. Job Corps is requesting $1.7 billion for operations, construction and federal oversight of the program. This will allow Job Corps to operate 125 centers nationwide and maintain the current condition of its facilities.

2:19 Comment From Bert: OFCCP's 2012 budget request increased to $109 million. How will these additional funds be utilized?

2:19 Pat Shiu, OFCCP: Thank you for question. The FY 2012 budget will be used to continue OFCCP's current programs and to implement "The Plan, Prevent and Protect" misclassification initiative.

2:19 Comment From Sandy Roberts, FRB: Because of the cost workers' compensation has on agency's budgets, is there any future suggestions to cap the compensation an injured workers can receive

2:20 Keith Hall, BLS: (This answer was accidentally attributed to Keith Hall, but was answered by Gary Steinberg, OWCP) The FY 2012 Budget includes a legislative proposal for FECA reform entitled “Federal Injured Employees’ Reemployment Act (FIERA)”. The reform will standardize FECA benefit rates, including establishing a “conversion benefit” for beneficiaries at the age of retirement; provide additional benefits; and enable recovery of particular costs. The reform will also make FECA more equitable and easier to administer, improve FECA program management, and strengthen program integrity. It should be noted that a key focus of the FIERA is on Return to Work for federal employees with work-related injuries or illnesses.

2:20 Comment From Jim Sharpe: The MSHA budget explains that the $2.3 million for Small Mine Office will go to the Metal/Non-Metal Division; however, once in M/NM, the money is earmarked for enforcement and litigation assistance, not compliance assistance. Will the SMO funds transfer thus go for compliance assistance or enforcement/litigation assistance? If the latter, how can you persist in saying SMO's compliance assistance function is not being terminated? Also, to repeat an earlier question, you say the reconstituted SMO will be used at all mines, but why all mines when it is small mines that need the most assistance?

2:20 Joe Main, MSHA: Jim, As previously noted, MSHA plans to continue the small mines assistance program through the districts. Like the existing program, the program in the districts will be aimed at small mines and improving the quality of assistance to these mines.

2:20 Comment From Jeremy: How will DOL's budget reduction impact State Plan OSH states? Are there any plans to reduce guidance and oversight of state plans? In light of the financial troubles most states are facing are there any plans to provide more assistance to those states who are not meeting the federal mandates.

2:20 David Michaels, OSHA: In FY2012, OSHA will provide an increase of $1.5 million to provide a necessary inflationary adjustment for state programs to help cover, among other costs for increasingly budget-strapped states, State Plan staff annual pay raises. After conducting a review of all state plans last year, OSHA is in the process of increasing oversight over state plan operations to ensure that they are at least as effective as the Federal program.

2:20 Comment From Kim Oliver, WSCMH: You mention reauthorizing WIA. Will the President make this a priority on his agenda? Also, do you anticipate changes to the bill to better maximize resources and align public funding with private dollars?

2:20 Jane Oates, ETA: The Departments of Education and Labor have worked jointly to support the bi-partisan bill being developed in the Senate. The administration will continue to provide technical assistance to both the Senate and the House of Representatives.

2:21 Comment From Abby: Is there a place where we can learn more about the "Innovation" Fund grants? (i.e., Youth, Green)...

2:21 Jane Oates, ETA: Thanks for your question. Please refer to the 2012 Budget.

2:21 Comment From Zoe: What slow spending fund in the workforce investment system does the Workforce Innovation Fund shift money from? Adult, Dislocated or Youth?

2:21 Jane Oates, ETA: Thanks for your question. Please refer to the 2012 Budget.

2:21 Comment From Guest: What are the prospects of WIA reauthorization in the coming year?

2:21 Jane Oates, ETA: 1:45 Guest, please see the response posted at 2:20.

2:22 Comment From Travis Rhoden: According to OSHA's budget documentation, the Site-Specific Targeting program will for the first time target establishments with 20 or more employees. In the past, the SST has been used for sites with 40 or more employees. What prompted this change?

2:22 David Michaels, OSHA: By targeting employers with high injury rates who have 20 or more employees, we will be impacting a far larger group of workplaces, while actually conducting a slightly higher number of inspections. In 2012, we project about 2,000 SST inspections compared to 1,780 conducted in FY 2010.

2:23 Comment From Adrienne: Does the Budget include funding for the Green Jobs Initiative, proposed in FY11?

2:23 Secretary Solis: Thanks. We received a similar question a few minutes ago (see 1:56 p.m.). Funding for green jobs programs is $60 million.

2:23 Comment From Ken Ward Jr: For Joe Main: Please provide us with the AMOUNT of money that MSHA has via the current continuing resolution -- what is the agency's 2011 budget?

2:23 Comment From John Brenton III: Under Secretary Solis we have seen Service Contract enforcement increased as a number of investigators has increased. Do you think the budget will effect this improvement and if so how?

2:23 Nancy Leppink, WHD:
Thanks for your question, John.

In FY 2010, the Wage and Hour Division revitalized its enforcement and outreach under the government contract programs – specifically, the Davis-Bacon Act and the Service Contract Act. Wage and Hour’s proposed FY 2012 budget would allow us to continue these and other enforcement efforts.

2:23 Comment From Jennifer Badgley, IBEW569: OSHA has begun to address"green" construction job hazards such as exposure to cadmium telluride and confined spaces in wind turbines. How does the budget impact research into new potential consruction hazards in renewable energy generation?

2:23 David Michaels, OSHA: OSHA is looking into a number of new hazards associated with Green Jobs. We will continue to work with NIOSH and other agencies to ensure that the potential of Green Jobs is fulfilled while ensuring worker safety.

2:24 Joe Main, MSHA: To Ken Ward: MSHA’s FY 2011 budget continues the FY 2010 appropriation level of $357.3 million. The FY 2012 budget requests $384.3 million.

2:24 Comment From Al: The proposed budget for DOL ETA OFlC calls for a two million dollar decrease. How will this decrease be accomplished?

2:24 Jane Oates, ETA: The Department will focus its funding on increased automation and technology systems that continue to improve customer service and streamline program operations.

2:24 Comment From Jean: There is a line item in the OFCCP budget document on Page OFCCP-5 entitled "Inspectors Dedicated to Misclassification". Can you provide very brief explanation on which "misclassification" possibility this refers to? Thank you.

2:24 Pat Shiu, OFCCP: Thank you Jean for your question. The misclassification initiative ensures that workers are accurately characterized as independent contractors as opposed to employees

2:25 Comment From Margie McGranahan: For the upcoming Transitions grants for adult ex-offenders it is required that the State apply for the funds. Does this means the office of the Governor or the Workforce Boards?

2:25 Secretary Solis: In answer to your question, the workforce boards are the appropriate agencies to apply for this funding.

2:25 Comment From Maynard: Can you explain the almost $20 million cut in the ex-offender program, from $108.5 million in FY10 to $90 million proposed in FY12

2:25 Keith Hall, BLS: (This answer was accidentally attributed to Keith Hall, but was answered by Jane Oates, ETA) Hello Maynard. The primary difference in the funding amount reflects the completion of a demonstration for youth in persistently dangerous schools. Lessons learned from this demonstration will be provided to the Department of Education. The request does include $20 million dollars for a competitive grant program for national and regional intermediary organizations serving school drop-outs and young youth offenders in high-crime, high-poverty areas.

2:26 Comment From Laura Harmon, SC: What is the name of the pilot program for Veterans 20-24 years old and where can I find more information?

2:26 Jane Oates, ETA: The Employment and Training Administration’s Office of Job Corps has partnered with the Veterans Employment and Training Services to offer training service members an opportunity to participate in the Job Corps program. Participants are able to receive no-cost education and training at 3 primarily residential centers. To learn more, visit one of the following websites or call 800-733-JOBS. or

2:28 Comment From Lidia: What happened to the funding to states for the BLS Current Employment Statistics Program?

2:28 Keith Hall, BLS: Proposed changes will reduce CES State funding from approximately $19 million to $7 million, funds totaling about $75 million will be provided to States for all Labor Market Information (LMI) cooperative statistical programs. The initiative does not impact the other four LMI cooperative statistical programs: The Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages, Occupational Employment Statistics, Local Area Unemployment Statistics, and Mass Layoff Statistics.

2:29 Comment From Etan Newman: Does the Department have plans to increase the resources allocated to administer the employer-application process of the H-2A program, monitor compliance with the program’s requirements, and enforce workers’ rights under the program?

2:29 Jane Oates, ETA: Hi Etan. The Department’s processing of H2A applications is based on timeframes established in statute and regulations. We are committed to allocating sufficient resources to ensure employer applications are processed in a timely manner.

2:29 Comment From Jill: The main criticism of federal job training efforts has focused on the need for greater coordination across federal workforce and training programs. How does this budget request enhance program coordination?

2:29 Jane Oates, ETA:
The Employment and Training Administration is collaborating with our partners in the Department of Education to leverage resources in providing training opportunities for the American workforce. Additionally, we are increasing the connections in our workforce investment programs, including the office of apprenticeship, office workforce investment and the office of Job Corps. In addition, all of our grant programs will require program collaborations in the future.

2:30 Comment From Adrienne: What were the levels for WIA in FY10 and requested in FY11?

2:30 Comment From Angelia: The 2012 budget states that OFCCP will expand efforts to deter, detect, and eliminate worker misclassification and expend its investigative process to include analysis of workers' potential misclassificaton as independen contractors during compliance evaulations. Will OFCCP be providing the contracting community with any additional guidance on how this analysis will be conducted?

2:30 Pat Shiu, OFCCP: Thank you Angelia. Yes, OFCCP will provide training and technical assistance to contractors to enable them to comply with the law. The Secretary's initiative is in various parts of the budget and totals $46 million. Several agencies will be participating.

2:30 Jane Oates, ETA:
WIA 2010 2011 (Estimate)

Adult: 861,540,000 865,540,000
Dislocated Worker: 1,183,840,000 1,183,840,000
Youth: 924,069,000 924,069,000

2:30 Ray Jefferson, VETS: Thanks for the question, Robert. We developed the Job Corps Pilot Program for Veterans 20-24 years-old because this cohort has the highest unemployment rate. However, Veterans of all ages are eligible for our other programs and services. To address your specific question regarding employment, VETS funds the Jobs for Veterans State Grant Program, for which we are requesting a $165 million in FY2012. This program funds over 1,900 employment representatives across the nation. These representatives are an excellent source of service to help Veterans of all ages find meaningful employment. Last year, 624,000 Veterans were served through this program.

2:30 Comment From Robert: Is there any proposed funding for programs to help Vets who fall out of the 20-24 range, who would also not be eligilble for current Vet after service benefits due to the length of time they have been out of service and now they are currently out of work?

2:31 Comment From Sean: Given what seems to be a greater appreciation and acceptance for the effectiveness of Registered 21st Century Apprenticeship, is it likely that there will be an increase in the number of federal State directors and ATRs serving in the field? Or will staffing levels for the Office of Apprenticeship likely remain the same as it is now?

2:31 Jane Oates, ETA: The President's FY 2012 budget calls for a small increase in the number of staff associated with the Office of Apprenticeship. Therefore, we anticipate staffing levels to remain relatively constant moving forward.

2:31 Comment From Center for Workforce Lrg: What is the expected impact to WIA Adult, Dislocated Worker, and Youth formula money that will go to local workforce areas?

2:31 Comment From Kristen: Would you provide some details about how the WIA One Stop Center program will be effected?

2:31 Jane Oates, ETA: Kristen and the Center, thank you for your questions. The changes in 2012 funding for local areas under WIA Adult, Dislocated Worker, and Youth programs is negligible. Therefore, One-Stop service levels should be similar with new benefits and service delivery improvements through the Innovation Fund leading to better employment and training results.

2:31 Comment From Paul Kill: Do you foresee any changes to the federal reporting criteria for WIA, Wagner-Peyser or TAA funding streams due to these budget reductions?

2:31 Jane Oates, ETA: Thanks, Paul, no changes to the federal criteria for WIA are anticipated.

2:32 Comment From C. Michael Ferraro: What will be the WIA allocations next year?

2:32 Jane Oates, ETA:
WIA 2010 2011 (Estimate)

Adult: 861,540,000 865,540,000
Dislocated Worker: 1,183,840,000 1,183,840,000
Youth: 924,069,000 924,069,000

2:33 Comment From Jim Baker: Congress is aparently scrutinizing Training Grants very closely. The WIB process seems to do a very good job of screening and vetting non-compliant, unscruplious vendors. How can we protect and even increase funding for WIB authorized training programs?

2:33 Jane Oates, ETA: We agree that there is good training provided through one-stops and WIBS. In this difficult budget environment, it is not possible to seek additional funds. However, through the innovation fund and formula programs, we will seek new efficiencies, encourage opportunities to leverage resources like pell, to expand the reach of our training resources.

2:33 Comment From Kirk K: What is the status of "The Right to Know Under the FLSA" (RIN 1235-AA04), and does the FY 11 or proposed FY 12 budget include additional enforcement officers or budget appropriations to complete the NPRM and implement this plan?

2:33 Nancy Leppink, WHD: Thanks for your question, Kirk.

As you know, the Department’s Wage and Hour Division is developing a proposed rule to update the recordkeeping regulation issued under the Fair Labor Standards Act to assist employers in protecting workers’ entitlement to wages that they have earned and to bring greater transparency and openness to the workplace.

This initiative also contributes to the Department’s efforts to prevent misclassification that denies workers employment law protections to which they are entitled. Wage and Hour’s FY 2012 budget proposal includes a misclassification initiative to enforce labor violations that result from the misclassification of employees as “independent contractors” and to deter such violations in the future.

2:33 Comment From CA: Are there provisions in the budget for combined enforcement intiatives by the OFCCP, EEOC sharing etc. ?

2:33 Pat Shiu, OFCCP: Thank you for your question. The OFCCP's overall strategy involves close collaboration with the EEOC and the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice.

2:33 Comment From Sandra: What is the percentage of reduction in WIA appropriations from 2011 to 2012?

2:33 Jane Oates, ETA: Hi Sandra. The FY 2011 appropriation is not yet completed. This budget was based on an assumed continuing resolution level based on FY 2010.

2:34 Comment From Guest: I'm happy to hear that Education and Labor support reauthorization of WIA, but that really doesn't answer the questions regarding the prospects of WIA actually being reauthorized. Education and Labor has been supporting the reauthorization so that has not changed.

2:34 Jane Oates, ETA: We can not predict how soon Congress will act on reauthorization. We will support their efforts whenever they decide to act.

2:34 Comment From Eric Frumin: Your recent evaluations of state OSHA plans found that state inspectors frequently lacked adequate training, including the skills to properly recognize and document serious hazards that would require penalties. OSHA's Training Institute is a good source for consistent and high-quality inspector training. However, with the states' many budget problems, many states cannot send their inspectors to the Institute for this training. Do you expect in 2011 to fill the vacant FTE's at the Training Institute, and to press the states to better train their inspectors who currently lack adequate training?

2:34 David Michaels, OSHA: The FY2012 budget includes funding to fill instructor vacancies at the OSHA training institute. The State Plan oversight process will press states to ensure appropriate training for its compliance officers where problems have been identified.

2:34 :

Secretary Solis and Deputy Secretary Harris answer questions.

2:36 Comment From Al: Ms. Oates, Thank you for you response at 2:24. You mentioned streamlined operations. Does this include a reduction in federal workforce?

2:36 Jane Oates, ETA: Thanks for the question that everyone has on their mind. Our hope is to use stream lining to mean better services for our clients.

2:36 Comment From John Moore: What does the budget contain concerning UI Integrity and collection of overpayments and delinquent taxes

2:36 Jane Oates, ETA: The President’s budget addresses Unemployment Insurance overpayments through the following initiatives. The department will develop performance initiatives to encourage state use of the National Directory of New Hires which facilitates the early detection and prevention of “claiming while working” overpayments. The department is also aggressively promoting state participation in the State Information Data Exchange System, an automated system to obtain more accurate and timely job separation and wage information from employers.

2:36 Comment From Laura Walter / EHS Today: Will VPP be funded at the same levels? Does this eliminate the possibility of establishing VPP user fees?

2:37 Jane Oates, ETA: The request for Job Corps Construction, Rehabilitation and Acquisition (CRA) funding is $78,500,000, a reduction of $26,500,000 from the previous level of $105,000,000.

2:37 David Michaels, OSHA: Yes. VPP will be funded at the same level. There is no proposal to seek alternative funding for the program.

2:37 Comment From Mr. B: With unemployment rates remaining high and the nunber of manufacturing jobs still leaving the country do you anticipate any reduction in the retraining program funding through DOL or WIA?

2:37 Secretary Solis: Hi Mr. B. This budget is based on our belief that to win the future, we can not cut in a way that will undermine our ability to out-educate, out-innovate, or out-build our economic competitors. Many American workers, particularly those experiencing long-term unemployment need our help to obtain the skills and credentials for the jobs that will open up as the economy recovers. Our funding request is an investment in our future to train hardworking, unemployed Americans to upgrade their skills.

2:37 Comment From Mary: For the Plan, Prevent and Protect program, do you intend to work with OMB to amend the scheduling letter, only address issues which are noticed when on-site, add an inquiry module to all on-site invesitgations or some other implementation strategy? Thanks.

2:37 Pat Shiu, OFCCP: Thank you, Mary, for your suggestion. We are reviewing the contents of the scheduling letter now.

2:37 Comment From Guest: Nice Pic!

2:37 Comment From Sabina: Where can we find out more about the Innovation Fund?

2:37 Jane Oates, ETA:
As the budget process continues, we will provide information on our website.

2:37 Comment From Jim Sharpe: Mr. Main, how much money will be devoted to the small mines compliance assistance program through the districts and how many FTE will be used to carry out that function?

2:37 Joe Main, MSHA: Thanks, Jim, we plan to maintain at least the current levels for the Small Mines Office support.

2:38 Comment From Guest: Sometimes when funding is limited agencies will choose to fund down by choosing their new awards from those applications they received the previous year. Do you anticipate any of the grant competitions being "funded down" instead of holding new competitions?

2:38 Jane Oates, ETA: Thank you for your question. We anticipate holding new competitions.

2:39 Comment From Kim Oliver, WSCMH: What is the timeline for Getting America Back to Work funding? Will it be primarily through competitive grantmaking? Will the Workforce Innovation Fund leverage the Social Innovation Fund grants or will be they be considered separate initiatives?

2:39 Jane Oates, ETA: The Getting America Back to Work Program is not a DOL initiative that was included in the FY 2012 budget. The Workforce Innovation Fund will be separate from the Social Innovation Fund. However, we will work to learn from the Social Innovation Fund to make sure we’re using all lessons learned to provide the best opportunities.

2:39 Comment From JZ: What are DOL subagencies doing to ensure that each taxpayer dollar is spend wisely on workers in America? What steps are DOL leadership taking to ensure that subagencies are working together to share best practices, increase collaboration, and share resources that can lower cost?

2:40 Secretary Solis: Last year we hired a chief evaluation officer to conduct program evaluations, implement and manage a unified approach to evaluation. This budget calls for $30 million to evaluate programs so that we can do the best job possible and make sure taxpayer dollars are spent efficiently. In addition, we are increasing transparency and improving the efficiency of our IT system. The budget calls for permanent funding for an Office of Information Services that will help us to centralize and accelerate the department's ability to respond to Freedom of Information Act requests.

2:40 Comment From Guest: Director Shiu - in looking over the OFCCP org chart I do not see any mention of the FAAP Office. Can you tell me what the status of the FAAP Program is?

2:40 Pat Shiu, OFCCP: Thank you for your question. The FAAP program is alive and well.

2:41 Comment From Scott Stoddart: What is the impact of the dislocated worker and unemployed worker that has to go to an adult education center or workforce office for training? Will we see additional grant opportunities or additional federal funds for these groups to provide the necessary training in industry recognized certifications to get back into the workforce community?

2:41 Jane Oates, ETA: Hi Scott. Dislocated workers, particularly those experiencing long-term unemployment as a result of the economic downturn need our help to obtain the skills for credentials for the jobs that will open up as the economy recovers. Our budget recommendation includes a variety of investments that emphasize credentialing. We plan to work with employers to ensure that these credentials are recognized by industry. A skilled workforce is critical to ensuring our nation is competitive in the global marketplace and employment and training programs are a large part of this effort.

2:42 Comment From Abby Caplan: MSHA has requested additional funding to help it get through a backlog of some 66,000 violations. What percentage of that backlog does the agency expect to get through this year?

2:42 Joe Main, MSHA: MSHA expects to get through about 1/3.

2:43 Comment From Roy Houseman: Will there be any additional resources put into the FMCS labor management grant program?

2:43 John Lund, OLMS: The Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service is an independent agency and not part of the Department of Labor.

2:43 Comment From Joab: What steps can we take in order to maintain funding for workforce program for youth and adults?

2:44 Jane Oates, ETA: The best thing that anyone can do is to educate others on the merits of workforce programs at the local, state and federal levels.

2:44 Comment From Mike: We do short term Information Technology courses (1-2 weeks long) and had a tough time last year with getting approved through state boards. In the states where we are approved the success rate has been phenomenal. Are there any provisions for 2012 that will make approvals easier for short term certification trainers?

2:44 Jane Oates, ETA: There is nothing in the FY12 budget that changes the statutory provisions involving the eligible training provider process.

2:48 Comment From Guest: This is really wonderful and insightful!

2:48 Secretary Solis: This is a great web chat. I'm sorry to say I have to leave. All of my agency heads will continue to answer your questions so you are in very good hands.

2:49 DOL Moderator: Just a reminder: our chat will run until 3:30 p.m. ET today.

2:49 Comment From Guest: I am in NYC and we have workfare for people receiving food stamps ad public assistance. We have heard some states ar considering this for peope receiving UI. What is you rposition on that?

2:49 Bill Spriggs, ASP: The budget would allow states to adopt programs that let employers facing declines in demand shorten the workweek and still let their workers be eligible for reduced unemployment insurance benefits. These types of programs exist in some states including New York, where they have been a success in preserving jobs.

2:49 Comment From VanCleave/Toda: Ray Jefferson ... thank you for your passion and support of Veterans programs. You are making a huge difference, and your efforts are appreciated ... especially those of us in the rural areas of the Nation.

2:50 DOL Moderator: If you haven't seen it yet, here is Secretary Solis' video message about the DOL 2012 Budget request.

2:50 :

2:50 Comment From Guest: What impact will 2012 WIA allocations have at the state level?

2:50 Comment From Ryan Hess, ETR: Do I understand correctly that the WIA state set-asides, that historically have been 15 percent of allotments, would be reduced to 7.5 percent, under the budget proposal? And that this is meant to make more funding available locally, despite the request for reductions?

2:50 Jane Oates, ETA:
Thank you Ryan and Guest. The 2012 budget proposes to reduce the Governor’s Reserve portion of the WIA allocation by half, to 7.5%. This funding contribution will be used to create the Workforce Innovation Fund which will test systemic reforms and build capacity to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of service delivery, leading to better outcomes. No reduction to overall funding to local areas is anticipated.

2:52 Comment From AAP Guy: Director Shiu, will OFCCP be accepting and reviewing new FAAP requests?

2:52 Pat Shiu, OFCCP: Thank you for your question. OFCCP will be accepting and reviewing new FAAP requests.

2:53 Deputy Secretary Harris: Secretary Solis had to run to another meeting. I'm filling in to take some additional questions. Just a reminder for DOL employees . . . I will host a Web chat for staff on the FY 2012 budget on Wednesday from 2 to 3 p.m. Some of you have posted questions here about the budget's effect on DOL operations. I look forward to answering these questions and more on Wednesday.

2:54 Comment From Guest: Has the Department set aside money in the budget to ensure nondiscrimination in the workforce system?

2:54 Pat Shiu, OFCCP: The Labor Department's Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs enforces the following anti-discrimination laws which apply to the federal contracting community: Executive Order 11246, as amended, which prohibits employment discrimination on the basis of race, religion, color, national origin and sex; Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, which prohibits employment discrimination against individuals with disabilities; and The Vietnam Era Veterans' Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974, as amended, which prohibits employment discrimination against certain protected veterans. The OFCCP enforces the civil rights for the 25% of the American workforce who are employed by federal contractors.

2:54 Comment From Guest: Because we are discussing FY 2012 budget, does that mean OFCCP and others will be operating on a CR for the rest of this fiscal year?

2:54 Pat Shiu, OFCCP: At this time, OFCCP is working under a Continuing Resolution until March 4.

2:54 Comment From Guest: Under the new propsed budget, will the FAAP Division have authorization for creating more positions/new hires, tc.

2:54 Pat Shiu, OFCCP: Yes.

2:55 Comment From Joe - Colorado: USDOL just release a $2B initiative for Community College reinvention, why does the initiative not require WIB or Onestop participation?

2:55 Jane Oates, ETA: Thank you, Joe. The initiative is called “The TAA Community College and Career Training Program.” It will help community colleges and other eligible institutions develop innovative methods and replicate evidence-based practices to effectively serve TAA-eligible workers and other students. It encourages grantees work closely with employers, the workforce system and other organizations within their communities to coordinate services and reach potential students.

2:55 Comment From Guest: Was there any reduction in any program for 2012? What accounts for the increased amount requested?

2:55 Deputy Secretary Harris: Please see my response to a similar question at 1:49 p.m.

2:56 Comment From Guest: Is there going to be any funding for other emerging industries other than green jobs? and if so what other industries are identified?

2:56 Jane Oates, ETA: The H1B fees funded Job Training for Employment in High Growth Industries grants provide training for workers according to the need in different sectors of the economy. The Labor Department intends to support training and education models that lead to high skilled tech jobs in demand sectors such as IT, communication and broad band technology, advance manufacturing and health care.

2:56 Comment From Guest: Is money set aside for Workforce Investment Act Programs...Adult, Dislocated and Youth Programs

2:56 Jane Oates, ETA: s, Guest. We have set aside $860,527,000 for adult employment and training activities, $1,403,763,000 for dislocated workers, and $923,913,000 for youth activities.

2:58 Comment From Guest: Thanks you for this insightful one on one opportunity, Ms Solis

2:58 Comment From Laura Walter / EHS Today: In light of OSHA’s recent withdrawal of the interpretation on occupational noise, how does this budget support the agency’s pledge to seek other ways to abate workplace noise hazards?

2:58 David Michaels, OSHA: We are working closely with NIOSH to develop and disseminate materials on noise and hearing conservation. It is clear to us there are many inexpensive controls available to employers that can help preserve the hearing of workers. In addition, we will continue to focus on noise as part of our National Emphasis Program on primary metals.

2:58 Comment From Judy Jones: What are the prospects for funding for WIA and other job training programs?

2:58 Jane Oates, ETA: It is more important than ever that Congress re-authorize the Workforce Investment Act to support workers who need re-training and help finding new jobs. The Labor Department has been providing technical assistance to the Senate Committee staff on a bi-partisan basis. We will continue to work with Congress to re-authorize the Workforce Investment Act.

2:58 DOL Moderator: In earlier answers, it was stated that funding for green jobs in the budget proposal is $40 million. The correct figure is $60 million, an increase of $20 million over FY 2010.

2:59 Comment From Jean: Director Shiu-Can you elaborae on your comment that FAAP is "alive"? Are we able to go back to petitioning OFCCP for approval of FAAP's? On behalf of many contractors, I feel totally comfortable saying that FAAP's are a great business tool and enhance management accountability.

3:00 Pat Shiu, OFCCP: Dear Jean: Thank you for your question and comment. The new FAAP directive will be published soon.

3:00 Comment From LC: It appears there is no proposed funding for Transitional Jobs (TJ) programming in FY 2012. Are there any plans to support TJ with other funds?

3:00 Jane Oates, ETA: In FY 2012, transitional job activities will be one of the possible strategies that may be supported by the Workforce Innovation Fund.

3:00 Comment From Guest: Thank you secretary solis for your time. this is great!

3:01 Comment From E. Jones: What is the proposed funding level for WIA youth program? We have so many youth who are unable to get jobs because what were once"first jobs" are being taken by adults. As an emerging workforce not only do they have to compete with adults, who are often more skilled, they have to compete with veterans perference.

3:01 Jane Oates, ETA: Hi E. Jones. The proposed FY 2012 funding for the WIA youth formula program is $923,913,000. Our WIA youth formula, YouthBuild, Job Corps, and other programs are designed to enhance young people’s skills and help get them on career pathways that lead to postsecondary education and training and employment in in-demand industries. The Department encourages these programs to actively engage employers to connect young people to jobs.

3:01 Comment From Guest: Will the web chat continue to be posted after it ends at 3:30?

3:01 Deputy Secretary Harris: The transcript from the chat will be posted at this site. We will continue to answer as many questions as possible between now and 3:30 p.m. today.

3:03 Comment From anon: Considering the humongous operational and staff problems in OFCCP inherited by Director Shiu, why is there no hazardous duty pay allocation for her in the FY 2012 budget?

3:03 Pat Shiu, OFCCP: Thank you for your concern. I have referred this question to Dr. David Michaels, the Assistant Secretary for OSHA.

3:03 Comment From Jim Sharpe: Mr. Main, following up on Abby's question about the case backlog, will you get through about 1/3 this fiscal year (2010-11) or this calendar year (2011)?

3:04 Joe Main, MSHA: Hi Jim. The term of the supplemental funding is from August 28, 2010 through July 28, 2011.

3:04 Comment From Fred: To OFCCP Director Shiu: Regarding the FAAP program, the FY 2012 budget includes a target of 50 completed FAAP reviews. Does this mean that the moratorium on FAAP approvals by OFCCP, instituted last year, will soon be lifted?

3:04 Pat Shiu, OFCCP: Yes.

3:04 Deputy Secretary Harris: You should be able to watch the Secretary's video now. Sorry for the technical difficulties. Thanks to everyone for letting us know.

3:06 Comment From Guest: Director Shiu, will OFCCP be hiring more compliance officers in the upcoming year?

3:06 Pat Shiu, OFCCP: Based on our aggressive enforcement plan, we hope to hire additional compliance officers.

3:06 Comment From Jim Sharpe: Mr.Main, how much federal money has been spent on the Upper Big Branch investigation, and how much money is allocated for it in the 2012 budget, if any?

3:06 Joe Main, MSHA: Hi Jim. I don’t have the current amount available at this time. Any amount for FY 2012 would be covered in the overall 2012 budget.

3:07 Comment From Angela: According to a 2011 analysis from the Urban Institute, "within six months of job loss, 76% of displaced workers age 18 to 24, 70% of those age 25 to 34, and 69% of those age 35 to 49 become reemployed. By contrast, only 58% of displaced workers age 50 to 61 and 48% of those age 62 or older find new jobs over the same period." Is there funding in the 2012 budget to assist with training and retraining of older particular older women workers?

3:07 Jane Oates, ETA: Thank you for your question. The department funds many programs for training and retraining adult workers including special national programs and competitive grant programs. These are available to older women workers. While there is no specific training program targeted for older women there is the Women in Apprenticeship and Non-Traditional Occupations (WANTO) program, which serves women of all ages.

3:07 Comment From Julia: Ms. Shiu...just to clarify, the OFCCP is no longer reviewing whether or not to continue or change FAAP requests? Contractors can go ahead and follow former instructions to renew or request FAAP approval?

3:07 Pat Shiu, OFCCP: Thank you, Julia, for your question. No, please do not follow former instructions to renew FAAP agreements. A new FAAP directive will be pubished soon.

3:09 DOL Moderator: A few of our readers have asked about transcripts for this chat. The transcript will be available on this same page, immediately following the end of the chat.

3:10 Comment From Kathy: Where do the funds for the Workforce Innovation Grants within ETA's budget come from? Are they new funds or do they come from existing formula funds?

3:10 Jane Oates, ETA: New money was added to the appropriation that includes the Employment Services. Resources from Adult activities, Dislocated Workers, and Youth activities were shifted from the Governor’s set-aside for WIA formula statewide activities reserve.

3:10 Comment From Guest1: Will addtional money be spent on OFCCP Audit investigations for Disabled and Vets? If so how much?

3:10 Pat Shiu, OFCCP: Yes, OFCCP has and will continue to spend additional and significant time to enforce the civil rights of people with disabilities and protected veterans who work for federal contractors.

3:10 Comment From Gloria: In proposing to cut the Funding for the Senior Community Service Employment program, DOL will eliminate approximately 20,000 jobs for low income older workers. This works against the Administration's goal to create jobs, what is the justification for this cut?

3:10 Jane Oates, ETA: Thanks, Gloria, the program will be transferred to the Department of Health & Human Services in light of the scheduled reauthorization of the Older Workers Act in 2011. Transferring the program to the Administration on Aging in HHS will improve CSEOA’s coordination with other programs supporting low-income seniors and allow CSEOA to better support not only employment but health, wellness and independence for seniors.

3:10 Comment From M. Bireley: Patricia Shiu, OFCCP. You responded that the FAAP Program is alive and well. When do you anticipate that new FAAP requests will be considered by OFCCP? Thank you.

3:10 Pat Shiu, OFCCP: Thank you for your question. The new FAAP directive will be out shortly and will provide further guidance.

3:11 Comment From Special Guest: Can we expect agency growth, stagnation, or contraction in the upcoming years?

3:11 Deputy Secretary Harris: The Labor Department is going to play a critical role in the President's strategy to win the future. One of the most critical issues we face is getting America back to work. Our job training and job placement programs make an important contribution to that effort. Our worker protection programs ensure that workplaces are safe, healthy, fair and diverse, and help to guarantee that workers get the pay and retirement and health benefits they have rightfully earned. This budget makes hard choices, and balances new investments with cuts to redundant and less effective programs. So I see a Labor Department with a large and important role in assuring opportunity for America's working families.

3:11 Comment From Kathy: Does the President's budget propose to take funds from the existing WIA state formula grants to fund the Workforce Innovation Grants or are they new funds?

3:11 Jane Oates, ETA: The 2012 budget proposes to reduce the Governor’s Reserve portion of the WIA allocation by half, to 7.5%. This funding contribution will be used to create the Workforce Innovation Fund which will test systemic reforms and build capacity to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of service delivery, leading to better outcomes. No reduction to overall funding to local areas is anticipated.

3:11 Comment From Eber Lopez: Will this grant include funding for nursing and allied health programs

3:11 Jane Oates, ETA: There are a number of grant programs and competitions under the President’s FY 2012 budget proposal for in-demand industries such as information technology, advanced manufacturing, and health care -- including health information technology -- and allied health care. The specific industries to be targeted will depend upon the needs of industries and employers in regional and local markets.

3:12 Comment From WSATC: Given the emphasis on extending the reach of registered apprenticeship, and the limited resources currently available, how does it fare?

3:12 Jane Oates, ETA: Thank you for you question. The President’s FY 2012 calls for a small increase in the level of funding associated with the office of apprenticeship.

3:13 Comment From Guest: What is ETA doing to shorten the WIA performance reporting cycle? WIB boards review 1 and 2 year old data that could be provided on a real-time basis with current technology and incentive. The lapse in timely performance data reporting makes it difficult for WIBs to be flexible and forward thinking.

3:13 Jane Oates, ETA: Thanks for you question. Today’s Web chat is to address items proposed in the president’s FY 2012 budget. We would be happy to respond to your question if you would contact the Employment and Training Administration directly. Visit or call 1-877-US-2JOBS (1-877-872-5627).

3:14 Comment From Guest: Will ETA's disAbility program continue? It was in the same office as the Older Workers program.

3:14 Deputy Secretary Harris: Thank you for your question. The FY 2012 budget continues our $24 million investment in better serving workers with disabilities through the One-Stop system. This program is a joint initiative of the Employment and Training Administration and the Office of Disability Employment Policy.

3:16 Comment From Etan Newman: The H-2A temporary foreign agricultural guestworker program is expected to expand and there is no limit on the number of visas available to employers under the H-2A program. Employers complain that DOL does not act quickly enough. Farmworker Justice and other organizations see the Department approving H-2A applications with illegal job terms in part because the Department has failed to allocate staff to review the proposed job terms. Our question is: Does the Department have plans to increase the resources allocated to administer the employer-application process, monitor compliance with the program’s requirements, and enforce workers’ rights under the program?

3:16 Jane Oates, ETA: Etan, thank you for your question. The Department remains committed to allocating sufficient resources to process applications in a timely manner with the resources available in the 2012 Budget proposal. In 2010, the Department published final rules implementing changes to the H2A program that significantly strengthened worker protections and provided enhanced compliance. With the resources provided for in the FY 2012 Budget proposal, the Department’s Wage and Hour Division plans to conduct directed investigations of H2A employers to monitor compliance with the H2A program.

3:18 Jane Oates, ETA: Thanks for you question. While incentive awards are not a part of the department’s FY 2012 budget request, the department continues to work with the Department of Education to award incentive grants with funds appropriated for the Department of Education.

3:18 Comment From Center for Workforce Lrg: Will incentive awards be available for exceeding WIA performance

3:18 Comment From Guest: Is there discussion around incumbent worker training funds to avert further lay-offs and keep production in the United States?

3:18 Deputy Secretary Harris: Thank you for your question. This budget includes a "work-share" proposal that will allow workers to shift from a full-time schedule to a part-time schedule and receive unemployment insurance benefits for the days they don't work. This important proposal will expand a program that has succeeded in a number of states across the country and help to preserve jobs for countless workers.

3:19 Comment From Guest: Is it true that SCSEP is being proposed by DOL to be moved to DHHS/AoA?

3:19 Jane Oates, ETA: Thanks for your question. Yes. We are proposing to move the program to HHS/AoA.

3:19 Comment From Louis Silva: With the states' many budget problems, many states cannot afford out of state travel to send their inspectors to the OSHA Training Institute (OTI) for training. Do you expect in 2011-2012 to provide on-site training for states? It is more economical and effective to fly one instructor to one state for 30 students than sending all of them to OTI.

3:19 David Michaels, OSHA: Given the states many budget problems OSHA is looking at a variety of less expensive ways of providing training such as web-based training, teleconferencing as well as more on-site training.

3:20 Comment From Fred: To OFCCP Director Shiu: In last year's budget justification, OFCCP set targets of completing at least 10 investigations in individual VEVRAA and disability discrimination cases in FY 2010 and 15 in FY 2011. In the FY 2012 budget justification, there is no mention of the munber of these specific investigations completed in FY 2010 and no specific target set for FY 2011 or 2012. Are these individual investigations being dropped from the agency's enforcement plan?

3:20 Comment From AAP Guy: You mentioned "Plan,Protect, Prevent" initiative. OFCCP is planning on rescinding the compensation standards without publically replacing them. Without any written guidance that a contractor can follow (like UGESP for adverse impact) won't it make it impossible for a contractor to achieve the three P's goal.

3:20 Pat Shiu, OFCCP: Thank you for your question. As part of OFCCP's aggressive enforcement plan, the agency will continue to focus on investigating claims of discrimination on behalf of people with disabilities and protected veterans. Although the 2012 budget does not specifically measure a concrete number of investigations, we have incorporated these issues into every on-site investigation which is part of OFCCP's protocol.

3:20 Pat Shiu, OFCCP: As we explained in the Federal Register notice regarding the rescission of the compensation standards, OFCCP will continue to follow Title VII principles in investigating and analyzing compensation discrimination. OFCCP will develop and issue compensation investigation procedures in the same manner as procedures for investigating other forms of discrimination, for example through the OFCCP directives and other staff guidance materials.

3:22 Comment From Alex: Ms. Shiu, will the selection process for auditing FAAP plans change?

3:22 Pat Shiu, OFCCP: Alex, thank you for your question. The FAAP directive will be released soon and will provide further guidance.

3:22 Comment From Guest: One Stop, WIA, performance training programs are a joke, numbers definition of insanity, need to take a good look at their numbers. If they were so successful at what they are suppose to be doing why are so many of us still unemployed?

3:22 Jane Oates, ETA: Thank you for your question. I sympathize with your frustration at not finding a job, and I hope that you will continue to work with your local One-Stop Career Center to find your next job. The Department of Labor’s workforce and training programs are working to meet the needs of many unemployed and underemployed individuals to help them find good jobs. We hope that you will be one of those individuals soon.

3:23 Comment From Guest: Secretary Solis' video did not address OFCCP is there a reason?

3:23 Pat Shiu, OFCCP: Rest assured, Secretary Solis is very proud of OFCCP's work and is committed to enforcing the civil rights of the 25% of the American workforce that are employed by federal contractors.

3:24 Comment From Guest: WIA is currently CR funded through February 2011. Are there anticipated funding cuts for the WIA CR begining March 2011 for FY 2011? How do WIA formula allocations for 2012 compare to 2011?

3:24 Brian Kennedy, OCIA: While the budget includes funding for a Workforce Innovation Fund, it does so while protecting local funding for services for adult, dislocated workers, and youth.

The formula allocations may account for some changes as it does every year.

3:24 Comment From Guest: Will ETA continue to have a specific office focused on disability issues?

3:24 Kathy Martinez, ODEP: Hi Guest. The Department of Labor will continue to have a focus on disability employment policy through ETA and the Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP). ODEP and ETA are actively engaged in cooperative initiatives targeted on disability issues. An example of these collaborative efforts is the Disability Employment Initiative that is designed to demonstrate strategies that improve labor market outcomes for people with disabilities who participate in the public workforce investment program.

3:24 Comment From Bert: Director Shiu - the contractor community commends your decision to continue the FAAP structure. I would recommend that FAAP contractors also receive the "advance scheduling letter" notification received by non-FAAP contractors.

3:24 Pat Shiu, OFCCP: Bert, thank you for your thoughtful suggestion and we will definitely consider it.

3:25 Comment From Ken Ward Jr: Joe Main -- could you discuss the reasons for the split of MSHA's District 4 in Southern West Virginia, and explain how this will help improve mine health and safety in a region that's been a problem for years and has had many problems completing mandatory inspections and doing other jobs required of MSHA to protect miners?

3:25 Joe Main, MSHA: Howard B. and Ken -- We will be providing more detail on the D4 split.

3:25 Comment From Guest...: Director, Shiu, the FY '12 budget includes a target of 50 completed FAAP reviews, does that include completing those that are currently under review by your compliance officers? or does the 50 include new review?

3:25 Pat Shiu, OFCCP: We anticipate completion of at least 50 FAAP reviews, hopefully this will include many new reviews.

3:26 Comment From David Simmons: Are the Susan Harwood Grants going to take major hits.

3:26 David Michaels, OSHA: Thanks for your question, David. Funding for the Susan Harwood Training Grant Program will increase by $1.25 million over FY2010 to a total of $12 million. The increase will continue to strengthen OSHA’s outreach effort and provide funding to support innovative training techniques using modern technology such as computers, cell phones, and social networking to reach more workers more effectively , both in the classroom and remotely.

3:26 Comment From Jim Baker: Is there a website that gives more information on "Workforce Innovation Grants"?

3:26 Jane Oates, ETA: Thank you for your question. More information on the Workforce Innovation Fund will be available at and as the budget process progresses.

3:30 Comment From Guest: What about services for people with limited English proficiency in the One-Stop system? Has DOL set aside any funds to make sure services are being provided in other languages?

3:30 Jane Oates, ETA: Thank you for the question. It is important for everyone to understand what services are available, and how to access them. All One-Stops are required to provide services that reach LEP individuals in languages that are commonly spoken in their communities. Most One-Stops offer materials in English, Spanish and other languages. Many have access to direct translation services.

3:31 Comment From Roy Houseman: With a one year increase of $8,696,000 to fund implementation of a new Premium & Practitioner System (PPS)in the PBGC, how will the program simplify the premium payment process for pension plan administrators and improve customer service? errors and erroneous payments

3:31 Phyllis Borzi, EBSA: Hi Roy. The increase to fund the implementation of the PPS to replace the old system will be used to simplify the premium payment process for pension administrators, thereby reducing errors and erroneous payments, achieve significant progress in resolving the longstanding OIG audit finding on financial management systems integration and information security, improve customer service through a centralized solution to provide for transparency in premium data and the plans’ status with PBGC, facilitate timely and comprehensive communications, and provide practitioners with broader self service features through the web.

3:31 Comment From Wendy Parent, APSE: Do you anticipate any discretionary dollars withing the budget to allow for innovative program development to improve employment outcomes for individuals with disabilities?

3:32 Kathy Martinez, ODEP: Wendy, thank you for your question. There are limited discretionary dollars within ODEP's budget to undertake innovative initiatives. For 2012 these will include the continuation of the Disability Employment Initiative, the Integrated Employment Initiative and the Add Us In Initiative.

3:32 Comment From Guest: Will the Green Jobs Innovation Fund, TAA CCCTP, and Workforce Innovation Fund have a minimum that is going to be given to each state similar to the $2.5M that is guaranteed to go each of the 50 states in the current TAA CCCTP?

3:32 Jane Oates, ETA:
These competitive grant programs do not establish minimum funding levels for states.

3:32 Comment From Guest: In my state, the Equal Opportunity Officers and Disability Program Navigators have worked together to make the One-Stop system more welcoming to people with disabilities. I understand that the Navigator program has been cut from the budget. What about the Equal Opportunity Officer program? Is there money set aside in the WIA budget for EO Officers and staff?

3:33 Jane Oates, ETA: Thanks for your question. The 2012 budget proposal includes $24 million ($12 million from ETA and $12 million from ODEP) to provide Disability Resource coordinators in One Stops. These are full-time dedicated staff who will implement strategies to promote meaningful and effective employment of persons with disabilities. This Disability Employment Initiative will build on the Disability Program Navigator Initiative and others.

3:34 Comment From Rose Whitehair: Tribal governments were inadvertently excluded from the Green Jobs title of EISA (Title IX) which was incorporated into the Worker Investment Act (WIA). For example, tribes are not eligible to apply for recently announced funding opportunities under the Pathways out of Poverty program. Under this statutory arrangement tribal governments cannot receive funding directly but only through eligible entities like state governments – an arrangement disparaging to tribal sovereignty and the nation-to-nation relationship between the federal government of Indian Tribe, and to the reality that tribal unemployment rates are double the national rate, and 8 of the 10 poorest counties in America are located on Indian reservations. Reauthorization of WIA must include amendments to Title X that enable tribal governments and organizations to directly access these programs. Can you explain your offices intent on working with the Tribes?

3:34 Jane Oates, ETA: We appreciate your question. DOL agrees that Tribal organizations should be eligible to compete for training grants whenever possible. During the past year, Tribes have won competitive grants for programs such as YouthBuild, On-The-Job Training, Pathways Out of Poverty and are eligible to compete for the upcoming Career Pathways Innovation Fund Grants.

3:34 Deputy Secretary Harris: I want to thank all of you -- more than 3,200 people -- for participating in today's Labor Department FY 2012 budget Web chat. We've answered nearly 200 questions about a wide variety of budget-related issues.

Your involvement in Labor Department activities, and your keen interest in our work, reminds us that we are accountable to America's working families. We are committed to serving you in the best way we know how. This budget is designed with you and your future in mind.

The President's plan is a responsible approach that cuts wasteful spending and makes tough choices on some things we can't afford, while keeping the investments we need to grow the economy and create jobs. We can move forward responsibly by investing in what works and helps us grow, and cutting what doesn't. The Labor Department budget does exactly that.

Thank you again for participating. Please stay involved with the Labor Department.

3:34 :