Profile Image

Info

nationalskillscoalition.org

Our Facebook Page (510 fans)

Don’t see your organization on POPVOX? Any U.S. nonprofit organization or community group can get listed.

National Skills Coalition

Mission: National Skills Coalition is a broad-based coalition working toward a vision of an America that grows its economy by investing in its people so that every worker and every industry has the skills to compete and prosper. We engage in organizing, advocacy, and communications to advance state and federal policies that support these goals – policies that are based on the on-the-ground expertise of our members.

* This organization profile has been set up by POPVOX.

Take Action with National Skills Coalition

Campaign Priority Bills and Proposals POPVOX Sentiment Take Action
H.R. 3102
view

September 12, 2013

Dear Representative:

On behalf of National Skills ...

view the full position statement

Join National Skills Coalition in opposing H.R. 3102

75% 25%

1115 total users

Oppose
H.R. 803
view

March 4, 2013

Dear Chairman Kline, Ranking Member Miller, Chairwoman ...

view the full position statement

Join National Skills Coalition in opposing H.R. 803

74% 26%

202 total users

Oppose

Detailed Legislative Agenda

H.R. 3102: The Nutrition Reform and Work Opportunity Act

September 12, 2013

Dear Representative:

On behalf of National Skills Coalition—a national network of business leaders, union affiliates, community colleges, community‐based organizations, and public workforce agencies working together to help every worker and every industry in this country gain the skills they need to compete and prosper in today’s economy—I am writing in opposition to the House Leadership’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) proposal. If enacted, this legislation would cut SNAP funding by at least $40 billion over ten years and would force millions of low-income households—including many working families—off of the program.

House Leadership has suggested that part of the motivation behind this proposal is to ensure that more SNAP recipients work. Unfortunately, the provisions included in this proposal are extremely unlikely to result in more SNAP recipients obtaining family-supporting employment and, in fact, will almost certainly result in a loss of access to exactly the kinds of education and training that we know can help SNAP recipients succeed in the labor market.

Rather than investing in the skills necessary for SNAP recipients to gain employment, the House Leadership’s proposal would allow states to cut off SNAP benefits for most adults, including parents with children as young as 1 year old, if they are not working or participating in an employment or training program for at least 20 hours a week. The proposal would create a perverse financial incentive for states to take up this option by allowing states to keep half of the federal savings from cutting people off of SNAP. Furthermore, states that decline to take up this option would actually face a fiscal penalty, as these states would lose all federal matching funds (commonly referred to as “50-50 funds”) for their existing SNAP Employment & Training (SNAP E&T) programs. The House Leadership’s proposal offers no funding for job creation, work or workfare programs, or new employment or training programs. States would receive no recognition for actually helping SNAP recipients find and retain employment, but rather would be rewarded solely on the basis of declining SNAP caseloads. Realistically, it is difficult to imagine that even the most well-intentioned states could provide the kind of employment and training services that many low-skilled SNAP recipients need to succeed in the labor market under these circumstances.

With two-thirds of all jobs created over the next decade expected to require at least some form of postsecondary education and training, it is clear that skills are the key to economic self- sufficiency. And yet, many SNAP recipients lack the skills or credentials needed in today’s economy: in Fiscal Year (FY) 2010, four out of five SNAP households did not include anyone

National office: 1730 Rhode Island Avenue NW, Suite 712, Washington DC 20036 | 202.223.8991 | www.nationalskillscoalition.org

with an education beyond the high school level, and one-third of households did not include even a high school graduate. With unemployment still above 7 percent—and more than 40 percent of the unemployed out-of-work for 26 weeks or longer—it is increasingly difficult for lower-skilled workers to compete in today’s economy. To suggest that we can increase employment among SNAP recipients simply by demanding that they obtain employment or lose their benefits reflects a fundamental lack of understanding about the realities of the current labor market. If House Leadership is genuinely interested in helping SNAP recipients succeed in the labor market, move toward economic self-sufficiency, and ultimately exit SNAP, then we would urge them to consider expanding investments in SNAP E&T (as the House Agriculture Committee passed Farm Bill did) rather than threatening to further reduce already limited federal investments.

SNAP E&T is one of the only federal programs specifically targeting very low-skilled, low- income individuals, providing them with access to the job search, work experience, and job training services they need to find and keep family-supporting jobs. In FY 2011, nearly 2.8 million individuals participated in E&T programs, including nearly 1.4 million who used the program to pursue a secondary diploma or GED. Without skills training, many SNAP recipients simply cannot successfully enter employment and exit SNAP. As a result, a growing number of states are administering SNAP E&T programs designed to connect SNAP recipients with meaningful education and training opportunities leading to postsecondary degrees and other industry-recognized credentials with value in the labor market.

 In Washington, nearly all of the state’s 34 community and technical colleges and more than 20 community-based organizations (CBOs) participate in the state’s Basic Food Employment & Training (BFET) program, serving nearly 50,000 SNAP recipients since 2005. At South Seattle Community College—the largest community college BFET program—completion rates for short- and long-term training participants exceeded 75 percent in 2008–2009, while the overall employment placement for BFET participants was 70 percent.

 In Connecticut, Capital Community College has served about 1,000 students under SNAP E&T just since 2009, including graduating more than 300 certified nurse aides over that time period.

 83 percent of graduates of Maine’s Competitive Skills Scholarship Program—which supports training targeted at high-demand industries within the state—were employed as of June 2011. Full-time workers earned an average hourly wage of more than $16, an increase of 51 percent over average wages before program entry.

 Iowa’s Kirkwood Community College serves SNAP recipients through its Gap Tuition Assistance Program, which helps working adults obtain occupational training and credentials. More than 400 students participated in the Gap program between 2007 and 2011, with an overall employment rate of 90 percent.

Because federal funds for SNAP E&T are extremely limited, all of these successful programs are utilizing additional 50-50 funds to provide robust employment and training services to the greatest number of program participants. In FY 2012, states used this funding to leverage more than $241 million in state, local, social enterprise, philanthropic, and corporate dollars. Yet the House Leadership SNAP proposal would eliminate this funding entirely unless states are willing to impose TANF work requirements on program participants, which would almost certainly result in the dismantling of these proven employment and training programs.

With low-skill individuals still struggling to regain a foothold in the labor market, federal policy should be focused now more than ever on helping SNAP participants prepare for sustainable careers in high-demand industries. SNAP E&T is the cornerstone of such policy. Yet the proposed changes to SNAP E&T under the House Leadership’s SNAP proposal will undermine the very flexibility to focus on skills and education that makes SNAP E&T—especially the 50-50 funding—such an effective investment. Rather than increasing employment and moving SNAP recipients toward economic self-sufficiency, the House Leadership’s SNAP proposal will almost certainly actually reduce access to critical employment and training services and increase economic hardship for countless current and future SNAP recipients.

Therefore I urge you in the strongest possible terms to reject this proposal, and instead work together to find better alternatives that will strengthen the SNAP E&T program and ensure that SNAP recipients can obtain family-sustaining employment, move toward economic self- sufficiency, and ultimately exit SNAP.

(Letter provided to POPVOX by Congressional office.)

* The organization’s position on this bill was entered by POPVOX. Direct link to this position: https://www.popvox.com/orgs/nationalskillscoalition#nationalskillscoalition-hr-3102-oppose
H.R. 803: SKILLS Act

March 4, 2013

Dear Chairman Kline, Ranking Member Miller, Chairwoman Foxx, and Ranking Member

Hinojosa:

On behalf of National Skills Coalition—a national network of business leaders, union affiliates, community colleges, community‐based organizations, and public workforce agencies working together to help every worker and every industry in this country gain the skills they need to compete and prosper in today’s economy—I am writing to express significant concerns with the

Supporting Knowledge and Investing in Lifelong Skills (SKILLS) Act (H.R. 803).

National Skills Coalition feels strongly that Congress should take up reauthorization of the Workforce Investment Act (WIA), and we appreciate the Committee’s consideration of this important issue. WIA has not been reauthorized since its enactment, and is now nearly a decade overdue for reauthorization. Given the skill needs of the U.S. economy—the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that two‐thirds of all job openings over the next decade will require some education or training past high school—it is vitally important that we strengthen and

reform the nation’s federal workforce development system to better ensure that workers have the skills they need to get and keep family‐supporting jobs, and that businesses have access to the skilled workforce they need to compete in the global economy.

Read full letter at http://democrats.ed...ILLSConcern-NSC.pdf

* The organization’s position on this bill was entered by POPVOX. Direct link to this position: https://www.popvox.com/orgs/nationalskillscoalition#nationalskillscoalition-hr-803-oppose
H.R. 1240: SECTORS Act of 2011

May 4, 2011

Amidst continued high unemployment, Congressional leaders are advancing the “Make It In America” agenda, a set of bills focused on revitalizing American manufacturing and rebuilding the nation’s middle class. National Skills Coalition applauds lawmakers for their continued efforts to address the needs of the more than 13 million individuals who still remain unemployed, by encouraging critical investments in our nation’s manufacturing sector.

In particular, National Skills Coalition strongly supports the inclusion of the Strengthening Employment Clusters to Organize Regional Success (SECTORS) Act (HR 1240) as part of the Make it in America agenda, which will be crucial to training the workforce needed to continue strengthening the manufacturing industry. Introduced earlier this year in the House and Senate, the SECTORS Act would support partnerships that allow businesses, unions, educators, and the public workforce system to develop and implement plans for addressing immediate skill shortages and developing skilled worker pipelines to support U.S. manufacturing.

“It is more important than ever to invest federal dollars in efficient, cost-effective strategies with proven results,” said Andy Van Kleunen, Executive Director for National Skills Coalition. “While some policymakers in Washington have turned their back on America’s workers and industries by calling for the elimination of federal workforce funding, these leaders have instead called for better, more effective approaches to training our workforce by championing solutions like the SECTORS Act. This bill will enable our education and training institutions to better meet the needs of regional manufacturers and provide pathways to good jobs for America’s workers.”

Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) first authored the bipartisan SECTORS Act in 2008, with Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME) as the lead Senate sponsor and Patty Murray (D-WA) as a cosponsor. In 2009, the SECTORS Act was also introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by Reps. Loebsack (D-IA) and Platts (R-PA). In July 2010, the bill passed the House with unanimous bi- partisan support.

http://www.national...ease_2011-05-04.pdf

(This bill failed to be passed during the two-year Congress in which it was introduced.)
* The organization’s position on this bill was entered by POPVOX. Direct link to this position: https://www.popvox.com/orgs/nationalskillscoalition#nationalskillscoalition-hr-1240-support
H.R. 4227: Workforce Investment Act of 2012

March 20, 2012

Today, Congressman George Miller (D‐CA), Ranking Member of the House Workforce and Education Committee, and Congressmen John Tierney (D‐MA) and Rubén Hinojosa (D‐TX), announced that they will introduce the Democrats’ proposal for reauthorization of the Workforce Investment Act. During a press conference hosted by the Congressmen, National Skills Coalition Executive Director Andy Van Kleunen made the following statement:

On behalf of NSC’s diverse membership of business, labor, community colleges, community organizations, and workforce boards, I want to thank Congressmen Miller, Tierney and Hinojosa for their leadership on this bill. This bill is an important, positive step toward strengthening and modernizing the nation’s workforce investment system. We look forward to working with the Committee to advance a final bill that ensures that all U.S. workers and businesses have access to the skills they need to compete and prosper.

The Workforce Investment Act of 2012 makes a number of critical improvements to the current workforce system. In particular, NSC supports efforts in the bill to:

 Accelerate the adoption of industry‐ and sector‐based partnerships, which would engage more employers in the development of training programs that prepare workers for available jobs in an industry.

 Increase cross‐program alignment through career pathways models to provide seamless employment and training pathways for individuals and eliminating disincentives to serve adults with low basic skills.

 Implement system‐wide measures that would require each state to develop quantifiable benchmarks demonstrating annual improvement in program alignment, engaging employers, expanding access to training, and increasing credential attainment.

 Creating a line‐item for infrastructure spending and requiring a minimum percentage of funding for training. With the decline in WIA funding over the last decade states often must choose between using limited resources to maintain physical infrastructure or provide training. Clearly delineating infrastructure spending coupled with new training minimums will allow states to better prioritize training services.

 Emphasize attainment of industry‐recognized postsecondary credentials as a measure of the effectiveness of the workforce system in meeting the skill needs of workers and businesses.

In his January State of the Union address President Obama listened to Main Street, making skills for America’s Workers central to his vision for an economy that’s built to last. He committed to train 2 million workers through a streamlined workforce system built on partnerships with businesses. Today’s proposal from the House will help put America on track to reach this goal.

http://www.national...final_2012_3_20.pdf

(This bill failed to be passed during the two-year Congress in which it was introduced.)
* The organization’s position on this bill was entered by POPVOX. Direct link to this position: https://www.popvox.com/orgs/nationalskillscoalition#nationalskillscoalition-hr-4227-support
H.R. 2421 (112th): The Layoff Prevention Act

On July 6, Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI) and Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) introduced legislation, the Layoff Prevention Act of 2011, which is intended to support the development and expansion of state worksharing programs.

Worksharing is a model that allows participating businesses to reduce hours for employees that might otherwise be laid off, and provides affected workers with unemployment insurance (UI) benefits to cover lost wages. The model allows employers to retain their skilled workforce during economic downturns while ensuring that employees can continue to earn a living and upgrade critical job skills. 23 states have implemented worksharing programs, and it is estimated that more than 200,000 jobs have been preserved by these programs over the last three years.

The Layoff Prevention Act of 2011 would:

- Provide 100 percent federal financing of worksharing benefits paid by states with approved programs for up to three years;

- Provide states without approved programs with the opportunity to implement temporary programs for up to two years at 50 percent federal financing, with the option of a third year at 100 percent financing if they make their programs permanent;

- Authorize grants to states to support implementation and administration of worksharing programs, as well as grants to support promotion and enrollment efforts; and

- Require the Department of Labor to update model legislative language to help states implement worksharing programs, provide technical assistance to states, and survey states and employers to identify obstacles to implementation.

Reed and DeLauro introduced similar legislation during the 111th Congress. National Skills Coalition supports efforts to expand and strengthen worksharing programs, and we look forward to working with Congress to advance this important legislation.

http://www.national...ed-reintroduce.html

(This bill failed to be passed during the two-year Congress in which it was introduced.)
* The organization’s position on this bill was entered by POPVOX. Direct link to this position: https://www.popvox.com/orgs/nationalskillscoalition#nationalskillscoalition-hr-2421-support
S. 1333 (112th): The Layoff Prevention Act

On July 6, Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI) and Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) introduced legislation, the Layoff Prevention Act of 2011, which is intended to support the development and expansion of state worksharing programs.

Worksharing is a model that allows participating businesses to reduce hours for employees that might otherwise be laid off, and provides affected workers with unemployment insurance (UI) benefits to cover lost wages. The model allows employers to retain their skilled workforce during economic downturns while ensuring that employees can continue to earn a living and upgrade critical job skills. 23 states have implemented worksharing programs, and it is estimated that more than 200,000 jobs have been preserved by these programs over the last three years.

The Layoff Prevention Act of 2011 would:

- Provide 100 percent federal financing of worksharing benefits paid by states with approved programs for up to three years;

- Provide states without approved programs with the opportunity to implement temporary programs for up to two years at 50 percent federal financing, with the option of a third year at 100 percent financing if they make their programs permanent;

- Authorize grants to states to support implementation and administration of worksharing programs, as well as grants to support promotion and enrollment efforts; and

- Require the Department of Labor to update model legislative language to help states implement worksharing programs, provide technical assistance to states, and survey states and employers to identify obstacles to implementation.

Reed and DeLauro introduced similar legislation during the 111th Congress. National Skills Coalition supports efforts to expand and strengthen worksharing programs, and we look forward to working with Congress to advance this important legislation.

http://www.national...ed-reintroduce.html

(This bill failed to be passed during the two-year Congress in which it was introduced.)
* The organization’s position on this bill was entered by POPVOX. Direct link to this position: https://www.popvox.com/orgs/nationalskillscoalition#nationalskillscoalition-s-1333-support
H.Con.Res. 34 (112th): The Federal Budget for FY 2012

he House budget would do virtually nothing to address the nation's long-term fiscal crisis, cutting $4.3 trillion in federal spending over ten years but also reducing tax revenue by $4.2 trillion over the same ten years, and ultimately yielding a paltry $160 billion in deficit savings. In return for these negligible gains, the budget would cut $2.9 trillion--fully two-thirds of the proposed reduction in federal spending--from programs that help individuals across America support themselves and their families. Targeted programs include Pell Grants and job training programs designed to help laid-off workers, low-skilled individuals, and others gain the skills they need to get and keep decent jobs.

With nearly 14 million Americans still unemployed, now is not the time to reduce critical investments in the skills of the U.S. workforce. In a report issued in January 2011, the Government Accountability Office observed that "[f]ederally funded employment and training programs serve an important role in our society by helping job seekers enhance their job skills, identify job opportunities, and obtain employment." The value of such programs has been amply demonstrated by the substantial increase in demand for services during the recent economic downturn. Last year, more than 8 million U.S. jobseekers were served through programs funded under Title I of the Workforce Investment Act (WIA)--a 234 percent increase in participation rates in just two years. The number of Pell Grant recipients is expected to rise from 6.2 million in 2008 to 9.4 million in 2011, an increase of more than 50 percent. These programs have proven effective at getting America back to work: 4.3 million WIA participants found jobs last year, despite continued high unemployment, and millions of other Americans enrolled in education and training programs that will lead to career-enhancing degrees, certificates, and other industry-recognized credentials.

However, instead of helping these individuals obtain the skills they need to take advantage of emerging economic opportunities--and helping U.S. employers get the qualified workers they need to compete in today's global economy--the House budget proposes:

**Consolidating "dozens" of unidentified federal job-training programs into undefined "career scholarships," potentially slashing nearly $60 billion in funding for these vital services over the next decade;

**Significantly reducing access to the Pell Grant program by effectively cutting the maximum award available to low-income college students by 60 percent, and denying eligibility to working adults attending classes on a part-time basis;

**Eliminating $1.5 billion in mandatory funding for community colleges working with local and regional high-growth industries to support job creation and retention in communities impacted by trade-related layoffs; and

**Eliminating tens of billions of dollars for supportive services such as child care, and transportation, housing, and nutrition assistance.

At a time of increased global competition, America can only maintain its economic edge by continuing to have the world's most highly-skilled workforce. Far from being a "path to prosperity," the House FY 2012 budget proposal is instead a roadmap to disaster, ensuring America's workers lack the critical skills necessary to compete in the 21st-century economy.

https://secure3.con...erAction&id=143

(This bill failed to be passed during the two-year Congress in which it was introduced.)
* The organization’s position on this bill was entered by POPVOX. Direct link to this position: https://www.popvox.com/orgs/nationalskillscoalition#nationalskillscoalition-hconres-34-oppose