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Dear GWDC Members and Interested Parties:

The Weekly Workforce Update from the National Governor's Association (NGA) Center for Best Practices is forwarded to you in this message.  We receive this update as part of our annual membership subscription.  If you have trouble viewing this newsletter, you might try changing your computer settings to view HTML.  Have a great week!

Brenda Norman

 Workforce Update - April 9, 2007* 


Negotiations on FY 2008 Budget Resolution Scheduled Begin**
Staff-level negotiations on the fiscal year (FY) 2008 budget resolution were scheduled to begin this week even though Congress has adjourned for its spring recess.  The House adopted its version (H. Con. Res 99) on Thursday, March 29, while the Senate approved its budget resolution (S. Con. Res. 21) on Friday, March 23.  The House and Senate versions are similar in that they impose pay-as-you-go budget rules and increase discretionary spending, but the House plans calls for about $25 billion more than the President's plan and about $7 billion more than the Senate's version.  Key issues to be resolved in conference negotiations include whether to use the projected surplus in 2012 to extend expiring tax provisions and add new spending for the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) as assumed in the Senate version, or to offset these costs as called for in the House version.  The Senate plan assumes $15 billion for SCHIP without offsets and $35 billion more if offsets are found, while the House plan allows up to $50 billion with offsets (potentially from higher tobacco taxes).  Other differences include the Senate's two-year alternative minimum tax "patch" vs. the House plan's one-year extension; and the House plan's $20 billion increase in farm programs vs. the Senate's $15 billion, with both plans calling for offsets.


NASWA Submits Statement on FY 2008 Appropriations
The National Association of State Workforce Agencies (NASWA) transmitted testimony detailing its fiscal year 2008 appropriations request to Congress, requesting a restoration to fiscal year 2005 levels for Workforce Investment Act (WIA), Employment Service (ES) and One-Stop/Labor Market Information (LMI) programs and $300 million more for administration of the Unemployment Insurance (UI) program than was requested by the Administration in its fiscal year 2008 Budget request. 

 For a copy of the NASWA testimony, go to:


PY 2007 Allotments Released
The Employment and Training Administration (ETA) has released the states' allotments for PY 2007 (July 1, 2007-June 30, 2008) for WIA Title I Youth, Adults and Dislocated Worker Activities programs; additional PY 2007 funding from WIA Section 173(e) for eligible states; final allotments for Employment Service (ES) activities under the Wagner-Peyser Act for PY 2007; and Work Opportunity Tax Credit and Welfare-to-Work Tax Credit program allotments for FY 2007.

The WIA allotments for states and the final allotments for the Wagner-Peyser Act are based on formulas defined in their respective statutes.  The WIA allotments for the outlying areas are based on a formula determined by the Secretary. 

The April 6 Federal Register includes a state-by-state breakdown of the allotments:


U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) reaches FY 2008 H-1B Cap in 2 Days
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced this week that it has received enough H-1B petitions to meet the congressionally mandated cap for fiscal year 2008.  USCIS will use a random selection process for filings received on April 2, 2007 and April 3, 2007, and will reject and return along with filing fee(s) all petitions received on those days that are not randomly selected. 

 According to press reports, USCIS received 150,000 applications for 65,000 available spots on the first day (April 2).  High-tech firms and other businesses have been urging Congress to increase the number of visas available for skilled foreign workers.  The current 65,000 cap was reached more quickly than ever before, said Sharon Rummery, an immigration spokeswoman. Visas ran out in May last year and in August in 2005.

The six-year visas are given to skilled foreign workers, including engineers, architects, computer programmers and scientists.  Companies must agree to pay the H-1B workers the prevailing wage.  Visa recipients can begin work in October.

Representatives Luis V. Gutierrez (D-IL) and Jeff Flake (R-AZ) have proposed legislation in the House that would increase the H-1B visa cap to 115,000 and exempt from the cap some individuals who have earned advanced degrees in science, technology, engineering or math in the United States.  Under the legislation, the H-1B cap could be increased in subsequent years to 180,000.

Another proposed bill, by Senators Richard J. Durbin (D-IL) and Charles E. Grassley (R-IA), would limit the number of H-1B employees some companies could hire and would require employers to pledge that they had made good-faith efforts to hire American workers.

Employers who hire foreign workers under the H-1B program pay a fee that is intended to support the training of American workers for jobs in the specialty occupations that visas are awarded.  In recent years the U.S. Department of Labor has used these funds to support a variety of projects in high growth areas including the High Growth Job Training and WIRED initiatives.  

For a copy of the USCIS press release, go to:


ETA Issues Guidelines for Negotiation of Performance Goals for WIA Title IB Programs and Wagner-Peyser Act Program for Program Years 2007 and 2008
The Employment and Training Administration (ETA) has issued Training and Employment Guidance Letter (TEGL) 19-06, which informs states of the guidelines for negotiating Workforce Investment Act (WIA) Title IB performance and customer satisfaction goals and performance levels for the Wagner-Peyser Act Program for Program Year (PY) 2007 and PY 2008.  These negotiated performance goals will be incorporated into the State Strategic Plans for the WIA and Wagner-Peyser Act as part of the modifications states will be making for Years Three and Four of the Strategic Five Year State Planning cycle.

For a copy of TEGL 19-06, go to:


ETA Issues Additional Guidance on State Planning and Waiver Requests for WIA and ES Five-Year State Plans
ETA has issued Change 1 to Training and Employment Guidance Letter 13-06 - Instructions for Workforce Investment Act and Wagner-Peyser Act State Planning and Waiver Requests for Years Three and Four of the Strategic Five-Year State Plan (Program Years 2007 and 2008).  The TEGL has four purposes:  

  1. To inform states that May 1, 2007, is the revised deadline for submission of modifications of their State Strategic Plans for Title I of the Workforce Investment Act of 1998 (WIA) and the Wagner-Peyser Act (the State Plan) for years three and four of the current five-year planning cycle;
  2. To announce an option for states with newly-elected governors to request an additional sixty days to submit their State Plan modifications;
  3. To announce an electronic mail address for states to submit inquiries regarding the planning process to the Employment and Training Administration; and
  4. To provide additional instructions to states for modifying their State Plans using the unified planning guidance issued on April 12, 2005.

 For a copy of TEGL 13-06, Change 1, go to:


ETA Provides Details on the Phase-Out of America's Job Bank
The Employment and Training Administration (ETA) has issued Training and Employment Notice (TEN) 27-06.  This TEN informs states and local areas about the phase-out of America's Job Bank (AJB), scheduled for June 30, 2007, and the transition actions that the agency has undertaken including a background on the phase-out, a description of the "Business and Job Seeking Customer Assistance," and an outline of ETA's non-financial support to the States through the transition.  The TEN also emphasizes that the phase-out of AJB will not impact the availability of other ETA-sponsored E-Tools and Products. The TEN contains copy of the January 25 Federal Register notice on the AJB phase-out, and furnishes two listings -- the State AJB Transition Coordinators and the Regional Office AJB Transition Coordinators.


USDOL Announces Availability of Grant Funds for Eligible Grassroots Organizations to Connect to the One-Stop Delivery System
The Department of Labor's Center for Faith-Based and Community Initiatives and the Employment and Training Administration have announced the availability of $3 million in grant funds for eligible "grassroots" organizations with the ability to connect to the local One-Stop Delivery System.  The Department expects to award approximately 40 grants, with each grant ranging between $50,000 - $75,000. The closing date for receipt of applications under this announcement is May 8, 2007.  A copy of the grant announcement is available in the April 5 Federal Register at:

ETA Issues TEGL on Reauthorization of Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC)
The Employment and Training Administration has issued TEGL 20-06, which authorizes the processing of WOTC requests received from January 1 to December 31, 2007. In addition to the extension, the TEGL outlines the major changes in the statute: The earnings test for ex-felons is eliminated, the maximum age for Food Stamp recipients is increased, the certification request filing deadline is increased, and the WtWTC provisions are merged into WOTC.
 For a copy of TEGL 20-06, go to:

Pilots Career Advancement Accounts***

Governor Mitch Daniels has announced that four Indiana regions will receive grants to pilot a new career advancement account initiative. Career advancement accounts are self-managed, personal accounts that provide funds for training and education expenses.  The accounts are targeted towards low- to mid-wage incumbent and dislocated workers who need to update their skills.

Under the program, workers will receive up to $3,000 per year in their accounts. Individuals can use the funds to pay for education and training at a variety of providers, including community colleges and technical schools. Allowable expenses include tuition, fees, textbooks and related costs.

 Funding for the initiative comes from a federal grant Indiana received from the U.S. Department of Labor.  The state has set aside $944,000 for the accounts; an additional $710,300 in matching funds will be provided by the regions.  The program aims to serve 285 workers in its first year.  If the grant is renewed, the accounts may be extended for an additional year for a total of up to $6,000 per worker.

 For more information go to: Governor's Press Release


Report Highlights Need For Businesses to Meet Challenges of Aging Workforce***
The Center on Aging and Work has released a report that assesses how businesses are preparing for the aging of the workforce and offers recommendations on how to better utilize older workers to meet important business goals. While it is predicted that the percentage of workers 55 and over will increase by over 80 percent in the next 5 years, only 12 percent of employers have studied the changing demographics of their workforce to a "great extent."  A greater focus on age in areas of recruitment, employee retention, and career development is essential for businesses to meet the opportunities and challenges brought about by these changing workplace demographics. 

To help employers adapt to the aging of the workforce in a manner consistent with employee quality and productivity goals, the report recommends that businesses carefully consider the following:

  • The demographic makeup of not only a company, but also of specific departments and skill areas within the company;
  • A greater focus on late-career employees as options for meeting human resources needs;
  • Differentiating benefit options by employee age group;
  • Expanding career development opportunities for older employees; and
  • Utilizing flexible work schedules to improve employee engagement.

 For a copy of the report go to: The Center on Aging and Work


March Employment Report
Nonfarm payroll employment rose by 180,000 in March, and the unemployment rate was essentially unchanged at 4.4 percent, the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor reported today.  The gain in employment surprised many economists who had predicted a rise ranging from 120,000 to 135,000.  Employment increased in construction, retail trade, and health care.  The number of manufacturing jobs continued to trend down.  Average hourly earnings rose by 6 cents, or 0.3 percent, over the month.

 *Prepared by Kathleen Cashen and edited by NGA Center staff

  Provided as a service for states participating in the NGA Center EVT Fee-for-Service Program


**Excerpts from NGA's "This Just In"

***Excerpts fromNGA's" Front & Center"



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