Workforce Development

The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, or WIOA, provides for comprehensive realignment of the nation’s workforce development programs. The federal government provides significant funding to states for workforce system programs covered by WIOA. For program year 2016 the federal government appropriated more than $6.9 billion to states for the Core WIOA Program and approximately $3.4 billion in federal formula funding for partner programs, for total funding of $10.5 billion. Federal funding is also provided through competitive grants.

The Trump administration announced a preliminary 2018 budget proposal that included elimination of the Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP). Funds from this program are allocated to states and national grantees in states to employ low-income senior citizens. SCSEP funds 43,600 positions nationwide at a cost of $9,698 per position.

The North Carolina Senate unanimously passed SB-8 on March 15th which eases occupational licensure burdens on veterans by allowing military members and their spouses to practice their profession with a license from another state while transitioning to the requirements of North Carolina. The bill, sponsored by Senators Andy Wells, Harry Brown, and Louis Pate, is a positive step towards helping military families working jobs that may require a license.

The Obama administration’s $175 million investment in American apprenticeship grants signifies that fed-eral policymakers are focused on workforce issues, including America’s high youth-unemployment rates, through expansion of apprenticeship programs. The youth unemployment rate stood at 10.10 percent in January 2017. Meanwhile the youth unemployment rates in countries heavily invested in apprenticeships programs such as, Germany or Switzerland, are, 6.5 percent and 3.1 percent respectively.

Maryland Delegate Cory McCray is currently sponsoring a bill moving through the House of Delegates entitled the POWER (Providing Our Workers with Education and Readiness) Apprenticeship Act (House Bill 467). As a graduate of a 5-year apprenticeship program, McCray has been a long-standing advocate for state expansion of apprenticeship legislation.


According to a study produced by the National Employment Law Project (NELP), the majority of states are creating barriers for people with criminal records to access occupational licensure opportunities. NELP estimates between 70 and 100 million American (nearly 1 in 3) have a criminal record. Additionally, people with records are on average only half as likely to get a callback after submitting an...

The 2016 Blue Star Families Military Lifestyle Survey summary was released in January 2017. According to the survey, just over half of all military personnel are married, while 36 percent are married with children. Survey respondents indicated family quality of life is the top reason for leaving the service. When asked about their top concerns, 37.9 percent of military spouses site their employment as a major concern.

The Council of State Governments and the National Conference of State Legislatures assembled a national task force to focus on workforce development efforts targeting people with disabilities in the states. This task force had four subcommittees composed of state policymakers along with non-voting stakeholders from the private sector and academia. The last in a four-part series that coincides with the subcommittee topics, this CSG policy brief highlights the recommendations from the Entrepreneurship, Tax Incentives and Procurement, or ETIP, subcommittee of the National Task Force on Workforce Development and Employability for People with Disabilities. This research brief builds on the work of the ETIP subcommittee by further exploring the role that states can play in supporting entrepreneurs with disabilities through education, training and technical assistance strategies.

The labor force participation rate of teens between 16 and 19 has declined substantially over the past thirty years. The average teen labor force participation rate across the states was 37.1 percent in 2015, compared to 56.8% in 1981. A recent BLS study analyzed the factors contributing to the decline in teens working.

In October 2016 the U.S. Department of Labor awarded $50.5 million in grants to help states develop and implement comprehensive strategies to support apprenticeship expansion. Grants were awarded to 36 states and one territory with grant awards ranging from $700,000 to $2,700,000.

Pages