American Workers Come First, Trump Administration Launches “Engaging as One Workforce for America” Initiative
Today, the Trump administration announced that the U.S. Departments of Health and Human Services (HHS), Labor (DOL), and Agriculture (USDA) will be joining efforts to put American workers first in a post-COVID-19 economic recovery initiative to help more families experience the benefits of work.
Together, through the “Engaging as One Workforce for America” initiative, HHS’ Administration for Children and Families (ACF), DOL’s Employment and Training Administration (ETA), and USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) will work to increase the capacity of state and local governments to:
- Engage unemployed individuals to shorten durations of unemployment and reduce disconnections from the workforce that make it harder for individuals to return; and
- Connect to the workforce those who were not participating in the labor force prior to the pandemic, through a comprehensive and coordinated public and private effort.
The vision of “One Workforce” is to encourage states and local communities to coordinate and maximize resources and technical assistance across federal, state, and local funding streams, as well as from the private sector, to support training, employment services and social supports to increase access to employment opportunities for all Americans. “One Workforce” will create a coordinated approach to helping state and local governments, working in conjunction with community organizations, to prepare a skilled workforce for employers.
“We’re doing everything we can to help struggling Americans secure the training, support resources, and job opportunities they need to provide for their families,” said Assistant Secretary Lynn Johnson. “Our goal in this partnership is to lift up our American workers and help set them up for success.”
“Developing an integrated local partnership system that serves Americans who have been most affected by the pandemic is critical,” said ETA Assistant Secretary John Pallasch. “This initiative encourages states to coordinate funding and leverage resources available to create a one workforce system that will more efficiently and effectively move Americans off the economic sidelines and toward the dignity of work.”
“Together our agencies are focused on combining our efforts to move more families forward,” said USDA Deputy Under Secretary Brandon Lipps. “The outcome of work provides hope, dignity, and a better future for workers, their children, and our nation.”
The three agencies will join forces with an initial small number of states to pilot cross-program strategies that will help more Americans impacted by COVID-19 access reemployment services, training, and social supports to help them enter, re-enter, and remain in the workforce. This includes leveraging federal funds and program opportunities from within their agencies, including:
- Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) at ACF;
- Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) at DOL; and
- Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program Employment & Training (SNAP E&T) at USDA.
ACF, ETA, and FNS have pledged to support this initiative through technical assistance, identification of potential funding sources, coordination of efforts, and bringing other federal partners in to assist. The focus of these partnerships will be on supporting state and local government innovations across programs, in coordination with their business communities, as state and local governments know best their job sector needs and how to connect their citizens to the training and jobs needed for their specific labor markets. Flexibilities and innovations identified through the pilot efforts will be made broadly available to all state and tribal grantees, along with any federal technical assistance needed.
Concurrent with the announcement of the initiative, a limited number of states are being sent this letter.
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