Grants to be awarded for job-driven training initiatives

Monday - 7/28/2014, 11:01am EDT

By Stephanie Wasko
Special to Federal News Radio

Agencies have until Oct. 1 to include job-driven criteria in their competitive employment and training grants, according to a new memo from the Office of Management and Budget.

OMB is pushing agencies to include strategies that better prepare and place government workers in suitable jobs as presented in Vice President Joe Biden's "Ready to Work" report released this month. The report stated agencies should work with local and regional employers to determine hiring needs, include work-based learning opportunities and better use data for job-matching among other initiatives.

OMB said agencies should incorporate as many job-driven elements within their grants processes as "feasible within the law" by this fall.

In the memo, OMB gave suggestions for implementing these strategies when agencies are awarding grants.

"A grant solicitation could require that all grantees use local labor market information (LMI) in designing their training services," the memo stated.

OMB also suggested that government training and employment grant committees award points to applicants for demonstrating commitment to activities that focus on connecting workers to the right jobs. OMB also offered the option of grant applicants receiving priority for addressing any of the elements from the vice president's report in their application.

These efforts stem from President Barack Obama's State of the Union address in January, when he called on the vice president to make sure American training programs "have one mission: train Americans with the skills employers need and match them to good jobs that need to be filled right now. That means more on-the-job training and more apprenticeships that set a young worker on an upward trajectory for life."

Following the request, Biden along with cabinet secretaries and agency leaders, created a series of seven steps to make training programs more job-driven.

OMB included these steps in its memo:

  • Work up-front with employers to determine local or regional hiring needs and design training programs that are responsive to those needs
  • Offer work-based learning opportunities with employers including on-the-job training, internships, and pre-apprenticeships and Registered Apprenticeships, as training paths to employment
  • Make better use of data to drive accountability, inform what programs are offered and what is taught, and offer user-friendly information for job seekers to choose what programs and pathways work for them and are likely to result in a job
  • Measure and evaluate employment and earnings outcomes
  • Promote a seamless progression from one educational stepping stone to another, and across work-based training and education, so individuals' efforts result in progress
  • Break down barriers to accessing job-driven training and hiring for any American who is willing to work, including access to supportive services and relevant guidance
  • Create regional collaborations among American job centers, education institutions, labor, and nonprofits.

Stephanie Wasko is an intern with Federal News Radio.

RELATED STORIES:

Obama to propose employee training improvements in 2015 budget

Lessonsin federal training- straight from your garden

Is discrimination to blame for employees' sinking satisfaction with training opportunitites?