Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis recently released the US Department of Labor’s (DOL) fiscal year (FY) 2010 budget request. The budget requests $104.5 billion including $13.3 billion in discretionary funding and 17,477 full-time equivalent employees (FTEs). This represents an increase of $400 million in non-Recovery Act discretionary spending and 997 non-recovery Act FTEs.
Solis said that the DOL will measure its progress in FY 2010 through its progress toward meeting four strategic goals:
Goal 1 — A Prepared Workforce: Develop a prepared workforce by providing effective training and support services to new and incumbent workers and supplying high quality information on the economy and labor market.
Goal 2 — A Competitive Workforce: Meet the competitive labor demands of the worldwide economy by enhancing the effectiveness and efficiency of the workforce development and regulatory systems that assist workers and employers in meeting the challenges of global competition.
Goal 3 — Safe and Secure Workplaces: Promote workplaces that are safe, healthful and fair; guarantee workers receive the wages due them; foster equal opportunity in employment; and protect veterans’ employment and re-employment rights.
Goal 4 — Strengthened Economic Protections: Protect and strengthen worker economic security through effective and efficient provision of unemployment insurance and workers’ compensation; ensuring union transparency; and securing pension and health benefits.
To meet these goals, the DOL plans to hire 670 new enforcement staff including 200 new Front-line Investigators for the Wage and Hour Division, 130 new Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) officers, 75 new staff at the Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) and 213 new staff at the Office of Federal Contract Compliance (OFCCP).
The DOL also plans to use $8.7 billion for employment and training programs, including $50 million for green jobs. From the Recovery Act funding, the DOL intends $500 million for competitive grants for green worker training. Another $135 million will go to the Career Pathways Innovation Fund, formerly known as Community-Based Job Training Grants. The new program will focus on developing career pathways in community colleges for high-growth careers in partnership with workforce investment boards, faith-based groups and other community groups. Transitional jobs program testing will receive $50 million to see if such programs can help individuals with severe employment barriers gain the skills and experience they need to find unsubsidized jobs. YouthBuild is scheduled to receive $114 million for low-income and at-risk youth to receive the opportunity to obtain a high school diploma or GED while building affordable housing and learning the skills necessary for construction jobs. An additional 7,200 homeless veterans, especially women, would be the beneficiaries of $255 million as would green jobs training for veterans and employment workshops for veterans to assist in the transition to civilian life.