Below is the latest America Forward “Tip Sheet,” a weekly update related to COVID-19 relief and recovery legislation.
Funding for Workforce Training and Stabilization
Last week, Bobby Scott (VA-03) and Patty Murray (D-WA) introduced H.R. 6646, the Relaunching America’s Workforce Act, authorizing $15 billion for workforce training infrastructure and career and technical education in response to COVID-19. A section by section summary of the legislation is available here. It is viewed as a precursor to the workforce section of a broader House Democratic COVID recovery bill, which we expect will be introduced in the coming weeks.
America Forward endorsed the legislation, and we especially support the provisions allowing workforce boards to use up to 40 percent of their funding to support transitional jobs, $2.5 billion for subsidized youth employment, $350 million in funding for reentry services, $250 million for YouthBuild, and the overall attention to individuals with barriers to employment. We also support the bill’s funding for rigorous evaluations of both WIOA and Perkins programs.
While we support the legislation, we have also worked this week with Results for America, REDF, Year Up, Roca and other employment social enterprises (ESEs) and ESE-promoting organizations in our Coalition to draft a joint letter to Chairman Scott urging him to ensure that the final bill specifically includes programs that employment social enterprises (ESEs) can access. ESEs are mission-driven, revenue-generating, and evidence-based entities that provide employment and on-the-job work and life skills training to participants who face barriers to employment, and they will be an invaluable part of a viable economic recovery strategy.
You can read our final letter to Chairman Scott here.
Advocating for National Service
The critical role national service can – and should – play in the recovery from COVID-19 is a major part of the reason that America Forward recently signed on in support of The Pandemic Response and Opportunity Through National Service Act. Led by Senator Chris Coons (D-DE) in the Senate and a bipartisan group of Members in the House of Representatives, the legislation would fund an exponential increase in AmeriCorps and national service positions “over a three-year response and recovery period, in part to meet the projected need for as many as 300,000 public health workers.” The bill “would also expand partnerships between AmeriCorps and federal health agencies and increase the AmeriCorps living allowance to ensure all Americans can step up to serve regardless of their financial circumstances.”
On Friday afternoon, America Forward joined Members of Congress, Voices for National Service and other national service leaders in a #StandforService Twitter storm in support of the bill. We are calling on Congress to move this bill as part of the next COVID-related legislative package.
Support for Child Care Services
Last week, America Forward signed onto the First Five Years Fund’s Child Care Relief campaign, a coalition of organizations focused on advocating for policies and funding to support child care services and workers across all industries. The campaign takes a tri-pronged approach: 1) ensure child care facilities that have been forced to close due to COVID-19 receive the necessary supports to be ready to reopen and provide services post-COVID-19; 2) guarantee all necessary supports to providers who are staying open through this crisis; and 3) create a sustainable child care system with affordable and diverse options for families across the country both during COVID-19 and beyond.
Quality child care services are necessary across every industry and both families and providers have long faced challenges in terms of legislative priorities and economic investments. This Coalition will aim to leverage its collective voice to advocate for child care support in the coming COVID-19 relief legislation and beyond.
To join the coalition or for more information, please contact Charles Joughin at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Both sides of the Capitol continue to debate when a next COVID-related bill will be considered and what will be included in it. House Democrat leaders are working with their different committee leaders on crafting a package that includes relief for state and local governments, additional funding for safety net programs, and a number of other relief measures. Senate Republican leaders are taking a slower approach, saying that the country needs time to better ascertain the impact of the previous bills before moving ahead with another large package.
America Forward continues to share our funding and policy priorities with Congress, our Coalition, and partners. As a reminder, we sent this letter outlining those priorities to congressional leaders last week.
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