You are here

US Department of Labor RSS Feed

Subscribe to US Department of Labor RSS Feed feed
Updated: 2 min 4 sec ago

5 Tips on Building Financial Security for People with Disabilities

Mon, 02/24/2020 - 7:13am
5 Tips on Building Financial Security for People with Disabilities


If you are a person with a disability entering the workforce, you probably have a lot of questions about your new job and your financial security.

During America Saves Week 2020, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) and its Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) are sharing tips on achieving your financial goals.

Here are five things you should know:

  1. Planning is key. EBSA has resources for everyone on financial planning, including worksheets on budgeting and managing debt. Assess your financial fitness and create or strengthen your plan today.
  2. Not sure how to move from disability benefits to employment while achieving financial independence? An ABLE account, which is a tax-advantaged savings accounts for individuals with disabilities, might help you save for some of your goals without impacting disability benefits.
  3. Saving automatically is one of the most effective ways to build an emergency fund, save for retirement, or achieve any other financial goals. Ask your employer whether they offer direct deposit and how it would work for you.
  4. Your employer’s retirement savings plan is an essential part of your future financial security. Understand how your plan works and what benefits you will receive.
  5. Make the most of your workplace-provided retirement plan. Use our savings fitness worksheets to see where you are today and how much to save each year as a percentage of your current salary.

Want to learn more? Join our free webcast with America Saves, the National Disability Institute and the ODEP-funded LEAD Center on Thursday, February 27, from 2:00-3:30 p.m. Eastern Time.

Workers and employers with questions about workplace benefit plans can contact EBSA online or by calling 1-866-444-3272.

For more information about disability employment resources for workers and employers, visit ODEP’s website. Throughout this year, ODEP is celebrating the 30th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act with events like this one, new compliance assistance resources, and more.

Jeanne Wilson is the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Employee Benefits Security. Jennifer Sheehy is the Acting Assistant Secretary of Labor for Disability Employment Policy.

tkoebel Mon, 02/24/2020 - 08:13 Jeanne Wilson Jennifer Sheehy Tags:

Keeping America’s Miners Safe on the Job

Thu, 01/23/2020 - 1:49pm
Keeping America’s Miners Safe on the Job

The mission of the Mine Safety and Health Administration is clear: To prevent death, illness, and injury from mining, and promote safe and healthful workplaces for U.S. miners.

We know that it takes both robust enforcement efforts as well as extensive training and education to keep miners safe. In fiscal year 2019, we enhanced our compliance assistance efforts, focusing strategically on spikes in particular causes of mining accidents.

For example, following three mobile equipment fires that resulted in one fatality and one serious injury, we launched a Fire Suppression System Initiative to inform operators and miners of potential hazards. We examined all 4,288 pieces of mobile equipment currently in use with such systems for compliance but did not issue citations unless they remained unremedied at the next inspection. Compliance assistance specialists from the agency’s Educational Field and Small Mine Services emphasized the importance of fire suppression safety at 617 mines that collectively employ 32,000 miners.

About half of all U.S. mining fatalities in recent years – including 13 of the 27 fatalities in 2018 – were due to accidents involving powered haulage. That classification includes mobile equipment, conveyor systems, and anything else under power that hauls people or materials. We've made preventing powered haulage accidents a priority, focusing on mobile equipment at surface mines, seat belt usage and conveyor belt safety.

During a six-week period spanning August and September, three miners died in electrocution accidents, with another two close calls that resulted in injuries. On September 23, MSHA launched a special campaign to educate miners on the types of procedures that could have prevented these accidents, such as locking and tagging out equipment and using appropriate personal protective equipment. So far, we have taken this message to over 5,000 mines.

Beyond responding to specific issues, we conduct compliance assistance visits to identify potential violations without proposed monetary penalties. Last year, our inspectors made a point to conduct these visits at new mines, mines about to reopen after going on intermittent status, and new facilities/equipment at an existing mine, where this kind of proactive approach can have the most impact.

MSHA also briefs around 300-400 stakeholders quarterly through online conferencing to highlight our safety initiatives and discuss how the previous quarter’s fatalities could have been prevented through best practices and advanced technologies.

Additionally, we provide training materials, guidance and tools on our website. We updated our Mine Data Retrieval System in 2019 to simplify the process for operators and others to access key data points and compare the safety of their mines with industry standards. Operators can use MSHA’s Monthly Monitoring Tool and a Significant and Substantial Rate calculator to assess their risk of entering Pattern of Violations (POV) status. In the past five years, no mine has met the criteria for this penalty.

Finally, we continue to award grants that support education and training. We were able to increase our grants by $150,000 in 2019. Since January 2017, we've awarded $31.5 million through our State Grants Program that has helped provide required MSHA training to over 500,000 miners and contractors.

We will continue to work hand-in-hand with industry, labor, and other government agencies to ensure all miners go home safe at the end of their shifts. Have a question about mine safety or health requirements? Email us at AskMSHA@dol.gov or call 202-693-9400. Mine accidents and hazardous conditions can always be reported anonymously by calling 1-800-746-1553 or online through our hazardous condition complaint system.

David Zatezalo is the Assistant Secretary for Mine Safety and Health at the Mine Safety and Health Administration. Follow MSHA on Twitter at @MSHA_DOL.

 

tkoebel Thu, 01/23/2020 - 14:49 David Zatezalo Tags:

Overtime Pay Rules Were Implemented on January 1. Here’s What You Need to Know.

Fri, 01/03/2020 - 8:44am
Overtime Pay Rules Were Implemented on January 1. Here’s What You Need to Know.

 

 

The U.S. Department of Labor’s final rule making 1.3 million American workers newly eligible for overtime pay took effect on Jan. 1, 2020. Here’s what you need to know about the changes and where to find compliance assistance resources.

What’s new? The final rule updates the earnings thresholds necessary to exempt executive, administrative and professional employees from the Fair Labor Standards Act’s (FLSA) minimum wage and overtime pay requirements, and allows employers to count a portion of certain bonuses/commissions towards meeting the salary level. Specifically:

  • The “standard salary level” is now $684 per week (equivalent to $35,568 per year for a full-year worker).
  • The total annual compensation requirement for “highly compensated employees” is now $107,432 per year.
  • Employers are allowed to use nondiscretionary bonuses and incentive payments (including commissions) paid at least annually to satisfy up to 10% of the standard salary level, in recognition of evolving pay practices.
  • The special salary levels for workers in U.S. territories and the motion picture industry have been updated.

We have compiled a number of tools and resources to help employers and workers understand their rights and responsibilities, including the following:

  • Detailed fact sheets provide overviews of overtime pay issues, as well as information on specific exemptions and occupations.
  • The Wage and Hour Division’s e-tools can help employers calculate the amount of overtime owed, find out which workers are covered by the Fair Labor Standards Act and more.
  • Workers and employers can use our updated timesheet app to track regular work hours, break time and overtime hours.

For a complete list of resources – including a fact sheet, answers to frequently asked questions and more – you can visit the Wage and Hour Division’s webpage for the final rule. Employers and workers with questions about the changes also can email us through an online form or call the toll-free hotline at 1-866-487-9243.

 

Cheryl Stanton is the Administrator of the Department’s Wage and Hour Division.

lmcginnis Fri, 01/03/2020 - 09:44 Cheryl M. Stanton Tags:

5 Ways the Department of Labor is Fighting Human Trafficking

Thu, 01/02/2020 - 1:47pm
5 Ways the Department of Labor is Fighting Human Trafficking

 

January is National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month. This year also marks the 20th anniversary of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act, a landmark piece of legislation that established trafficking and related offenses as federal crimes. Recognizing this milestone, here’s a look at what the Department is doing to fight this criminal practice, both at home and abroad.

1. Teaming up across the government

To defeat human trafficking on our soil, it’s important for various government agencies to join forces. The department works hand-in-hand with interagency Anti-Trafficking Coordination Teams (ACTeams), which streamline federal criminal investigations and prosecutions of human trafficking offenses. In 2018, these efforts led to a 75% increase in defendants charged and a record 526 convictions domestically.

2. Helping survivors

Obtaining employment and access to economic opportunity is a critical part of moving forward for any survivor of trafficking. The Department’s Employment and Training Administration leverages its employment and training resources and expertise to help trafficking survivors move on with their lives when they are ready to do so.

3. Securing commitments

We need partners outside the United States to help stop trafficking before it ever reaches our borders. One of the most common ways it manifests is through unscrupulous recruitment practices, including the charging of exorbitant recruitment fees. The Department has secured commitments from Guatemala and Honduras to follow U.S. visa laws and guidelines regarding recruiting workers and prohibitions on charging recruitment fees, a powerful step toward curtailing a trick of this illicit trade.

4. Finding offenders

The Department’s Bureau of International Labor Affairs provides important international reporting on child labor, forced labor and human trafficking. Our Sweat & Toil app puts over 1,000 pages of research on these issues in the palm of your hand. Our Comply Chain app helps businesses develop social compliance systems to combat abuses, including human trafficking, in their product supply chains.

5. Providing technical assistance

ILAB is a leading funder of programs to combat international labor exploitation, including human trafficking. ILAB projects have helped reduce labor exploitation in garment factories, brick kilns and cocoa fields around the world.

 

Martha Newton is the Deputy Undersecretary for International Affairs at the U.S. Department of Labor.

lmcginnis Thu, 01/02/2020 - 14:47 Martha Newton Tags:

Supporting Workers of All Abilities

Thu, 01/02/2020 - 10:05am
Supporting Workers of All Abilities A worker with a visual impairment uses assistive technology during a meeting with his colleagues.

People with disabilities face plenty of challenges in finding and keeping jobs – challenges that keep skilled workers from sharing their expertise and reduce employers' pool of qualified workers. At the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP), we're making disability inclusion compliance with Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act a focus of our enforcement.

The Rehabilitation Act requires federal contractors and subcontractors (meaning those who do business with the federal government) to treat all qualified job applicants and workers equally, regardless of disability, and to take proactive steps to recruit, hire, retain and advance qualified individuals with disabilities.

At this time that the unemployment is at a 50-year low and job openings have exceeded job seekers for 20 straight months, job creators must find all pools of qualified talent. While the unemployment rate for Americans with disabilities reached record lows in 2019, there is still progress to be made on disability inclusion in the workplace.

OFCCP is placing a greater emphasis on disability-inclusion obligations for federal contractors and subcontractors to ensure that all individuals who self-identify as disabled receive equal opportunities for employment and advancement in their careers. To that end, OFCCP recently launched Section 503 Focused Reviews, which I am intent on making a lasting priority of the agency.

Our Section 503 Focused Review page provides easy access to best practices, answers to frequently asked questions, sample disability and inclusion programs, and other resources. In the coming months, we plan to expand these resources with additional best practices and by highlighting members of the contracting community who excel in meeting their responsibilities under Section 503 and exemplify the spirit of disability inclusion.

Federal contractors should also review our Technical Assistance Guides, which help contractors meet their legal requirements and responsibilities for equal employment opportunity by preventing violations before they occur. The guides address several key objectives:

  • Understanding legal obligations under the laws enforced by OFCCP;
  • Complying with federal equal employment opportunity (EEO) laws;
  • Implementing the Standard Federal EEO Construction Contract Specifications;
  • Developing written affirmative action programs; and
  • Preparing for an OFCCP compliance evaluation.

Make sure to check out OFCCP’s compliance assistance guides online at dol.gov/ofccp/CAGuides. You can also join our Contractor Assistance Portal to ask questions and find answers to common questions equal employment opportunity obligations for federal contractors. We look forward to helping you achieve all of your EEO goals.

Craig Leen is the Director of the Department's Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs.

tkoebel Thu, 01/02/2020 - 11:05 Craig Leen Tags:

$2.5+ Billion in Benefits Restored in 2019

Fri, 12/06/2019 - 9:53am
$2.5+ Billion in Benefits Restored in 2019

Through enforcing employee benefit plan laws and robust compliance assistance, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) serves 154 million American workers, retirees, and their families, as well as plan sponsors and other members of the employee benefit plan community. In fiscal year 2019, we recovered more than $2.5 billion in payments to plans, participants, and beneficiaries.

Investigations conducted through our enforcement program recovered $2 billion. Of that total, nearly $1.5 billion was collected through our Terminated Vested Participant Project, which helps retirement plan participants collect the benefits that are owed to them in the form of lump-sum payments, the present value of lifetime annuity payments, and interest. EBSA’s criminal investigations uncovered violations that led to 76 individuals being indicted.

Throughout the year, our benefits advisors provided informal assistance to more than 166,000 people on issues ranging from lost or stolen retirement benefits, denied health or disability benefits, and more. These benefit advisors helped return $510 million to workers and their families through our informal complaint resolution process.

We also believe in the importance of educating the public to ensure that plan sponsors, participants, and beneficiaries understand their rights and responsibilities under employee benefits laws. Our benefits advisors and other agency staff hosted 1,788 outreach events and distributed 376,991 publications in 2019. Additionally, benefits advisors are available via phone and email to inform employers, plan sponsors, service providers, and others about the federal laws that cover private-sector employee benefit plans.

Three of our other programs have delivered significant results for American workers and retirees in the last year. Through the Abandoned Plan Program, 661 plans made distributions totaling $33.2 million to participants. We also continued to encourage plan fiduciaries and others to participate in the Voluntary Fiduciary Correction Program (VFCP) and Delinquent Filer Voluntary Compliance Program. These programs provide incentives – such as reducing or eliminating potential penalties and/or avoiding other adverse consequences – for fiduciaries and others to self-correct Employee Retirement Income Security Act violations. We received over 20,000 delinquent filings and 1,600 applications for the VFCP, and VFCP corrections totaled $14.6 million.

We are committed to ensuring American workers, retirees and plan beneficiaries can access the benefits to which they are entitled. Have a question for us? More than 3 million people visited EBSA’s website last year for information about the laws governing employee benefit plans and compliance resources, and it’s a great place to start. You can also call us toll-free at 1-866-444-3272 and we’ll be happy to assist.

Preston Rutledge is the Assistant Secretary of Labor for the Employee Benefits Security Administration.

tkoebel Fri, 12/06/2019 - 10:53 Preston Rutledge Tags:

National Miners Day: Celebrating America’s Miners

Fri, 12/06/2019 - 7:40am
National Miners Day: Celebrating America’s Miners

Since America’s colonial days, miners have steadfastly toiled to extract natural resources vital to our economy. They have mined the iron that forms our skyscrapers, the coal that fuels our industries, and the materials to pave our roads. Without miners, America would not be the country that it is today.

In 2009, Congress designated December 6 as National Miners Day "in appreciation, honor, and remembrance of the accomplishments and sacrifices of the miners of the nation." At the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA), we aim to accomplish this every day by developing and enforcing safety and health rules for mines, providing technical education to mine operators, and working with industry, labor, and other federal and state agencies to improve safety and health conditions in mines across America.

The Trump Administration remains fully committed to the health and safety of American miners. Since January 2017, MSHA has awarded $31.5 million through our State Grants Program that states have used to provide required MSHA safety and health training to over 500,000 miners and contractors. MSHA continues to award Brookwood-Sago grants to support education and training to help identify, avoid, and prevent unsafe working conditions in the nation’s mines. The goal of these efforts is to prevent mining accidents, illnesses, and injuries.

Today, on behalf of MSHA and the U.S. Department of Labor, please join me in saluting the hard work, sacrifice, and dedication of the hundreds of thousands of people who work in more than 13,000 surface and underground mines across the United States.

David Zatezalo is the Assistant Secretary for Mine Safety and Health at the Mine Safety and Health Administration. Follow MSHA on Twitter at @MSHA_DOL.

tkoebel Fri, 12/06/2019 - 08:40 David Zatezalo Tags:

Tips for Protecting Workers’ Safety and Pay This Holiday Season

Mon, 12/02/2019 - 9:55am
Tips for Protecting Workers’ Safety and Pay This Holiday Season

As an increase in hiring for the coming holiday season is upon us, there are a few things to remember to ensure that workers go home safe and healthy at the end of their shift and receive the wages that they’ve earned.

If you're not familiar with hiring seasonal workers, you should know that employment rules under federal labor law apply to all workers. The U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Compliance Initiatives offers compliance assistance through Worker.gov and Employer.gov, which give an overview of rights and responsibilities regarding federal labor laws, as well as where to go for help. Here are some tips to keep in mind:

Safety and Health Tips

  • Whether workers are stocking shelves, packing boxes, delivering products, or selling merchandise, it’s important to give clear instructions for each task. New or seasonal workers may be unfamiliar with seemingly common tasks. OSHA can help employers and workers understand the requirements to provide hands-on training for using equipment, how to recognize hazards, and what to do in an emergency.
  • All workers – especially young employees and those new to the work environment – need to know they have the right to report safety concerns at any time, without retaliation. Safety takes teamwork, which means everyone needs to know the rules and feel comfortable speaking up. Employers should also know that certain hazardous jobs are prohibited for young workers.
  • Looking for safety information relevant to your workplace? OSHA has plenty of resources for protecting workers, including specific requirements and best practices regarding warehousing, tractor-trailer driving, forklift operation, crowd management, restaurant employment, and other jobs. You can also use our Hazard Awareness Advisor to identify potential safety and health hazards in the workplace. Visit osha.gov/holidaysafety to learn more.

Wage and Hour Tips

  • Common holiday season labor violations include failing to pay salespeople and cashiers for time spent prepping or closing out a register, requiring stock room and warehouse personnel to work through breaks without compensation, and not providing overtime pay to employees working more than 40 hours in a workweek. Employers can find industry-specific resources from the Wage and Hour Division here, including fact sheets for retail and other fields that see a seasonal uptick in hiring.
  • Earlier this year, we also created compliance assistance toolkits to address federal labor laws that apply to restaurants, resorts and hotels, youth employment, and other areas to help employers understand their responsibilities.
  • Workers employed in temporary or part-time jobs might have questions about their pay, from “Is extra pay required for weekend or night work?” to “When must breaks and meal periods be given?” Our guide to holiday season employment with answers to frequently asked questions and where to go for help.

Workers and employers can call the Labor Department’s toll-free helpline at 1-866-487-2365 Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Eastern Time. We wish everyone a safe, healthy, and happy holiday season!

Loren Sweatt is the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Cheryl Stanton is the Administrator of the Wage and Hour Division.

tkoebel Mon, 12/02/2019 - 10:55 Loren Sweatt Cheryl M. Stanton Tags:

Record Back Wages Collected for Working Families in 2019

Tue, 11/26/2019 - 8:38am
Record Back Wages Collected for Working Families in 2019

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) is proud to say that our efforts to protect the wages of America’s workers were record-breaking this year.

For the second year in a row, WHD recovered a record amount of back wages for workers — topping our 2018 record by recovering over $322 million in back wages for more than 313,000 workers. That’s over $882,000 per day recovered for working families across the country, and $1,025 per affected worker.

Recovering these back wages can transform lives and futures, but we are also dedicated to preventing these situations altogether. To help job creators understand their responsibilities under the law, we have stepped up our compliance assistance outreach. In another fiscal year 2019 record, WHD held more than 3,700 educational events across the country to ensure that employers had access to the resources they need to comply prospectively and avoid unintentional violations, with the understanding that most want to obey the law and simply need to know how.

Despite our record-breaking efforts, WHD is constantly improving and expanding our data-driven approach to identify the industries and sectors where we can focus resources most efficiently, and bring the most egregious violators into compliance. Our new Office of Enterprise Data and Analytics that launched this fall will enable us to use cutting-edge tools and data sources available to help us secure the largest possible impact.

I am proud to work alongside the great team at WHD who have dedicated their lives to helping the American workforce. It is their hard work and determination that have made these record achievements possible, and I look forward to what we can accomplish in the next year.

The Wage and Hour Division impacts the lives of working Americans on an enormous scale, and we will continue to deliver results for them in 2020. Learn more about our work and resources at dol.gov/whd. Employers and workers can contact us toll-free at 1-866-4US-WAGE with any questions.

Cheryl M. Stanton is the administrator of the U.S. Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division.

tkoebel Tue, 11/26/2019 - 09:38 Cheryl M. Stanton Tags:

7 Compliance Assistance Sites Small Business Owners Should Bookmark

Mon, 11/25/2019 - 8:14am
7 Compliance Assistance Sites Small Business Owners Should Bookmark

Small businesses strengthen our communities and drive economic growth. In fact, they generate about two-thirds of new jobs every year in the United States. Running a small business is rewarding, but it’s not easy – and staying up to speed on labor laws can be challenging. In recognition of Small Business Saturday (November 30, 2019), here are seven Labor Department pages that can help you make sure your small business is complying with the law.

Common Questions

What labor standards apply to new and small businesses? What posters do you need to display in the workplace? If you work with the federal government, what additional responsibilities do you have? Find resources to answer these and other common questions about running a small business on the Employer.gov Small Business Page.

Rules and Regulations

The first step toward meeting your legal requirements is making sure you understand them. Our Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization can help explain the rules and regulations the Department enforces. The page also connects to state compliance assistance resources, workplace poster requirements, and information from the Small Business Administration.

No-Cost Safety Consultations

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) offers compliance assistance resources and guidance specifically for small businesses, including their On-Site Consultation Program, which provides free, confidential safety and health advice to small and medium-sized businesses across the country. You can also assess yourself with self-inspection checklists in their small business handbook.

Wage and Hour Rules

If you’ve got questions about employee wages, child labor, family and medical leave, or recordkeeping, the Wage and Hour Small Business Portal can help – including links to plain-language explanatory videos and compliance assistance toolkits.

Benefits Guidance

Do you offer health, retirement, or other employee benefits? Find resources to help you select a plan, understand your plan operation obligations, and file annual reports on the Employee Benefits Security Administration’s Small Business Page.

Federal Contracts

If you conduct business with the federal government, you know contractors are held to a high standard for equal employment opportunity. You can use the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs’ Small Business Guide as a self-assessment tool to ensure that your employment practices eliminate discrimination and achieve equal employment opportunity goals.

The Office of Compliance Initiatives complements the Department’s ongoing enforcement efforts and focuses on providing compliance assistance resources to small businesses and other stakeholders.

S. Marisela Douglass is the director of the Department’s Office of Compliance Initiatives.

tkoebel Mon, 11/25/2019 - 09:14 S. Marisela Douglass Tags:

#NAW2019: Celebrating the Impact of Apprenticeship

Fri, 11/22/2019 - 2:54pm
#NAW2019: Celebrating the Impact of Apprenticeship U.S. Secretary of Labor Eugene Scalia with students, apprentices, and employers at a career fair hosted by Phelps ACE High School in Washington, D.C.

Apprenticeship means on-the-job training for career skills that will last a lifetime – but it’s also much more.

Apprenticeship means job opportunity. After completing an apprenticeship, 94% of apprentices retain employment. Apprenticeship means financial security. The average salary after completing an apprenticeship is $70,000. A growing number of Americans are turning to these skills development programs to jumpstart their careers.

The U.S. Department of Labor joined partners across the country in celebrating the fifth annual National Apprenticeship Week. This year’s National Apprenticeship Week included more than 1,200 events and proclamations across all 50 states, as well as Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Business, labor, education, policymakers, and other apprenticeship leaders showcased their successes, demonstrated apprenticeship’s role in closing the skills gap, and highlighted why more than 655,000 Americans have started apprenticeships since the start of 2017. These events underscored the diversity of contemporary apprenticeship, with programs in tech, engineering, hospitality, healthcare, manufacturing, information technology, construction, and other industries.

U.S. Secretary of Labor Eugene Scalia met with students, apprentices and employers at the NAW Youth Apprenticeship Career Fair, where more than 60 students from Phelps ACE High School and IDEA Public Charter School met with employer representatives from the construction industry. Hosted by the D.C. Students Construction Trades Foundation, the event gave students a chance to network and explore the skilled trades.

The Department’s Women’s Bureau hosted a National Summit on Women in Apprenticeship, where more than 200 stakeholders explored challenges and emerging opportunities in recruiting and retaining women in apprenticeship programs. Secretary Scalia, Deputy Secretary Patrick Pizzella, Women’s Bureau Director Dr. Laurie Todd-Smith, and the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation’s Susan Crystal-Mansour delivered remarks, followed by a panel discussion with leaders from government, nonprofits, and industry.

National Summit on Women in Apprenticeship speakers and panelists (from left): Nancy Houle of Minuteman Technical Institute, Lauren Sugerman of Chicago Women in Trades, Cierra Mitchell of the Department's Employment and Training Administration, Susan Crystal-Mansour, Dr. Laurie Todd-Smith, Traci Britton of CVS Health, Chris Magyar of Techtonic, Women’s Bureau Deputy Director Erica C. Wright

Top apprentices from various building trades were recognized along with the Indiana Careers in Construction Association during a half-time show at an Indiana Pacers Game. Signs in the arena described how apprentices and skilled workers built the Bankers Life Fieldhouse from the ground up, and announcers touted the value of on-the-job training by sharing apprenticeship stats with the crowd. 

During the National Career Academy Coalition Conference in Philadelphia, Diana Elliott, a senior research associate at the Urban Institute, spoke about the new Youth Apprenticeship Intermediary Project funded by the Labor Department that will establish at least 900 youth apprenticeships in 10 key cities across the country. Elliott addressed how youth apprenticeship can fit with the career academy model, which already emphasizes internships and work-based learning.

The School Superintendents Association united nearly 50 school district leaders, community college leaders, and industry leaders from across the United States for a two-day Superintendent Youth Apprenticeship Summit in Denver. Attendees participated in group strategy sessions, received testimonials from youth apprentices and industry leaders, and toured one of the nation's top high school innovation centers.

The Zurich National Apprenticeship Week Summit welcomed 125 Chicago-area high school students to a half-day conference at Zurich North America's headquarters. Students, teachers, and administrators learned about the benefits of apprenticeship, received tips on interview preparation, and heard from current and former apprentices on navigating their first corporate career.

In Virginia, Norfolk Naval Shipyard Apprentice Program participants celebrated their accomplishments in a graduation ceremony. In his keynote address, Rear Admiral William Greene talked about how important the apprenticeship program is to helping the Navy build and maintain a powerful fleet.  

Check out more #NAW2019 highlights here.

We are grateful for our partners' creativity and enthusiasm in spreading awareness about the many ways we're using apprenticeships to prepare a highly-skilled American workforce for the jobs of today and tomorrow.

Are you interested in becoming an apprentice or starting an apprenticeship program? Visit Apprenticeship.gov, the U.S. Department of Labor’s one-stop shop to find an apprenticeship, learn how to start an apprenticeship program, and more.

Bronte Wigen is the Deputy Chief of Staff for the Department’s Employment and Training Administration.

tkoebel Fri, 11/22/2019 - 15:54 Bronte Wigen Tags:

Innovating in Apprenticeship

Tue, 11/19/2019 - 8:38am
Innovating in Apprenticeship Through the AIM initiative, organizations in diverse fields – from healthcare to tech to manufacturing – are making their apprenticeship programs more inclusive. 

The Apprenticeship Inclusion Models (AIM) team is excited to share some updates about our work. AIM is an initiative funded by a contract with the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy to research, develop, test, and evaluate innovative strategies in existing apprenticeship programs that provide skills training to people with disabilities.

To do this, we have been working with four apprenticeship programs to enhance practices, innovate supports, and expand pathways for people with disabilities into high-demand, well-paying careers. Here’s a closer look at two of the apprenticeship programs that are participating:

Apprenti

Apprenti is a program of the Washington Technology Industry Association Workforce Institute. It combines paid on-the-job training and education to equip workers for high-skill occupations in the tech industry. Currently, 12% of their apprentices self-identify as having a disability.

The AIM team has supported Apprenti’s inclusion efforts by helping them update their marketing approach to make it more inclusive across the board. We reviewed and edited their marketing materials, providing guidance to make their digital documents and social media more accessible. We also focused on adding inclusive language and resources in their orientation materials for new apprentices, from general information for workers with disabilities as well as specific guidance addressing questions around self-identification of employees with disabilities.

AIM also supports Apprenti’s dedication to inclusion by working with an accessibility subject matter expert to audit Apprenti’s application portal, which will be brought up to Web Content Accessibility Guidelines Level 2.1 AA over the coming months. Given the number of applicants and participants that Apprenti interacts with, all of these improvements could have a real impact on the number of Apprenti apprentices with disabilities.

Industrial Manufacturing Technician

AIM is working with the Industrial Manufacturing Technician (IMT) apprenticeship program to expand its reach to people with learning disabilities. IMT trains frontline manufacturing production workers in the skills that today’s advanced manufacturers need. Apprentices may go on to work in settings as diverse as food processing, foundries, plastics, and biomedical equipment.

IMT aims to expand access to people with learning disabilities by developing a technology solution, “IMTFOLIO,” that will provide a way for participants to demonstrate their ongoing mastery of skills versus a traditional test assessment. Traditional assessments are a one-time, one-size-fits-all approach that require extensive recall, whereas IMTFOLIO will allow for practical application and assessment of skills and competencies at multiple points. IMTFOLIO will be piloted in IMT’s Wisconsin and Minnesota pre-apprenticeship programs.

The IMT project team consists of Jobs for the Future as the project lead, the Wisconsin Regional Training Partnership as the apprenticeship intermediary, and CAST as the technology and Universal Design for Learning (UDL) partner. CAST is designing IMTFOLIO using the UDL framework because it is a proven way to improve and optimize teaching and learning for all people based on scientific insights into how we learn. IMT anticipates that IMTFOLIO will provide a better measure of learning and skill mastery as well as a more constructive way for trainers and pre-apprentices to interact while adhering to high industry standards.

These programs and others are linking more Americans with disabilities to quality apprenticeship programs that lay the foundation for sustainable careers. Learn more about the Department’s efforts to expand inclusive apprenticeship opportunities and create pathways to employment.

Learn more about apprenticeship on Apprenticeship.gov, the one-stop source for all things apprenticeship sponsored by the Department of Labor.

Carolyn Jones is a senior policy adviser with the Office of Disability Employment Policy’s Youth Policy Team.

tkoebel Tue, 11/19/2019 - 09:38 Carolyn Jones Tags:

Apprenticeships Are Opportunities

Fri, 11/15/2019 - 1:22pm
Apprenticeships Are Opportunities

As we celebrate National Apprenticeship Week, America’s job seekers are living in a time of historic opportunity.

More than 6 million jobs have been added to the economy since January 2017. The unemployment rate has remained at or below 4% for 20 months in a row, and there are 1.3 million more job openings than job seekers. Today, more than 7 million jobs remain unfilled due to the growing skills gap that exists in the workforce. Many of these vacancies remain unfilled because employers cannot find workers with the right skills.

To bridge the skills gap, President Donald J. Trump signed an Executive Order in 2017 outlining tasks and requirements to help modernize America’s education systems and workforce development programs by expanding apprenticeships opportunities for America’s workers.

Apprenticeships offer a way for workers to earn a living while gaining the expertise needed to advance in a career. After the completion of an apprenticeship, the average starting wage is $70,000, and 94% of apprentices will remain employed nine months afterward. The apprenticeship model provides a viable career pathway to high-paying jobs allowing young Americans to avoid the burden of student loans and immediately start earning a salary during their training.

Research shows incredible potential for growing apprenticeships in the United States. A recent study of apprenticeships in 10 states found that participants had significantly higher employment rates and earnings compared to those who did not complete an apprenticeship. Apprenticeships are a proven pathway to middle- and high-skilled jobs. Yet apprentices comprise only 0.3% of the U.S. labor force, which is substantially less than in European countries. Consider for example that in Austria, Germany, and Switzerland, 55-70% of young people begin their career with an apprenticeship.

Apprenticeships can also help job creators make sound investments in the future of their businesses. Providing flexible training options creates a more diversified and dynamic workforce that can result in better productivity.

Apprenticeships benefit both job creators and job seekers, and this Administration is working to make high-quality apprenticeships as accessible as possible.

The Department recently awarded more than $183 million in grants to grow apprenticeships in advanced manufacturing, information technology, and health care. The grants will support greater access to apprenticeships for all Americans, including veterans, military spouses, women, people of color, and individuals transitioning from the justice system. These grants represent commitments to more than 85,000 future apprentices in new or expanded programs.

In addition, the Department has received public feedback on the proposed regulation establishing the Industry-Recognized Apprenticeship Program. Under the proposal, a diverse array of entities — including trade, industry, and employer groups or associations, educational institutions, state and local government entities, nonprofit organizations, unions, or a consortium or partnership of these entities — could recognize high-quality apprenticeship programs in industries or occupations relevant to their work or areas of interest.

Apprenticeships mean more opportunities for Americans. Whether you are looking for your first job, changing career paths, or reentering the workforce, apprenticeships can create a bright future. As the American job market continues this period of unprecedented growth, the U.S. Department of Labor will keep working to ensure that all Americans have access to the job training they need to further their careers.

Learn more about apprenticeship on Apprenticeship.gov, the one-stop source for all things apprenticeship sponsored by the Department of Labor.

John Pallasch is the Assistant Secretary of Labor for Employment and Training.

tkoebel Fri, 11/15/2019 - 14:22 John Pallasch Tags:

Creating Apprenticeship Programs that Work for Everyone

Fri, 11/15/2019 - 8:05am
Creating Apprenticeship Programs that Work for Everyone

Editor's note: This was first published on the Social Security Administration's Ticket to Work Blog.

In today's thriving economy, there are more than 7 million job openings in the United States that cannot be filled due to the growing skills gap that exists in the workforce. For those of us at the U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP), those numbers point to opportunity: to help the 450,000 job seekers with disabilities learn in-demand skills and connect them with quality career opportunities.

Inclusive apprenticeships

One way we are doing this is by supporting apprenticeships for people with disabilities, during National Apprenticeship Week (November 11-17) and all year round.

Apprenticeships are industry-driven, high-quality career pathways where companies can develop and prepare their future workforce, and individuals can obtain paid work experience, classroom instruction, and a portable, nationally-recognized credential. Apprenticeships are jobs that combine on-the-job learning with job-related classroom training, so apprentices start getting paid on day one and receive pay increases as they learn new skills and take on more responsibilities. The average starting wage for workers who complete an apprenticeship is $70,000 per year.

Apprenticeships are a priority for President Trump, who signed an Executive Order in 2017 directing the Labor Department to promote the development of more apprenticeship programs to help Americans gain the skills needed to fill the jobs of the 21st century. A core focus of this work is our commitment to ensuring that apprenticeships are accessible to all, including people with disabilities, whether they're joining the workforce for the first time or rejoining it after time away.

Three examples of Labor Department-funded models that are helping people with disabilities to participate in apprenticeship programs include:

  • FASTPORT, a Department apprenticeship partner who — in conjunction with the National Association of Publicly Funded Truck Driving Schools — is sponsoring a pilot program to provide American Sign Language training to Commercial Truck Driving Instructors at the Amarillo College Truck Driving Academy in Texas. The program is designed to offer more opportunities for deaf students to thrive in transportation jobs.
  • Shenandoah Valley Workforce Development Board, which is expanding apprenticeships throughout Virginia. The organization strengthened its existing partnership with a leading vocational rehabilitation center to support a manufacturing pre-apprenticeship program for individuals with disabilities. Pre-apprenticeships are programs that prepare individuals to enter and succeed in an apprenticeship program.
  • Apprenticeship Inclusion Models initiative, which is increasing pathways for youth and adults with disabilities into high-demand, lucrative careers by developing and testing new recruitment and retention strategies with employers, labor, and apprenticeship programs.

These programs and many others are linking more and more people with disabilities to quality apprenticeship programs that lay the foundation for rewarding, long-term careers.

Learn more about apprenticeships

To learn more about apprenticeship programs, check out the following resources:

We can all agree that valuable job-training programs like apprenticeships should be open to all workers, including those with disabilities. So this National Apprenticeship Week and all year long, we'll be reaffirming our commitment to expanding inclusive apprenticeship opportunities and creating new pathways to quality employment.

Jennifer Sheehy is the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Labor for Disability Employment Policy in the U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Disability Employment Policy

tkoebel Fri, 11/15/2019 - 09:05 Jennifer Sheehy Tags:

Kicking Off the Fifth Annual National Apprenticeship Week

Fri, 11/08/2019 - 1:00pm
Kicking Off the Fifth Annual National Apprenticeship Week

The fifth annual National Apprenticeship Week kicks off on Monday to celebrate apprenticeship and promote its advantages in matching the skills that job creators need with the high-paying careers that job seekers want.

Over the past four years, stakeholders have hosted more than 3,000 events with more than 300,000 attendees in all 50 states. This year, NAW is primed to have its biggest year yet.

Apprenticeship Builds Careers

Apprenticeship is an industry-driven, high-quality career pathway. Employers develop and prepare their future workforce, while apprentices develop in-demand job skills through paid work experience with on-the-job training, classroom instruction, and a portable, nationally-recognized credential. After completing an apprenticeship, the average starting wage for an apprentice is $70,000 (which is higher than the starting wage for four-year college graduates). Growing and expanding apprenticeship is a top priority for the U.S. Department of Labor, which is why we continue to invest in programs and initiatives that build and diversify apprenticeship programs. Since the start of 2017, more than 600,000 new apprentices have been hired across the country.

How You Can Get Involved

Visit Apprenticeship.gov/NAW to see how others are putting the spotlight on apprenticeship and check out our event and proclamation resources for tools to help plan and promote events. There are many ways to participate: business open houses, skills competitions, community forums, apprentice graduations, high school or college career fairs, apprenticeship signing days, and industry roundtable events.

A number of apprenticeship programs have already gotten involved in National Apprenticeship Week by hosting events to showcase their programs and facilities, and introducing their apprenticeship programs to career seekers in their communities.

We encourage you to spread the word about NAW by sharing information about it and encouraging others to get involved. Share what you’re doing with the #NAW2019 hashtag on social media for a chance to be featured on DOL's social channels.

National Apprenticeship Week runs through November 17. To learn more, please visit Apprenticeship.gov/NAW or email NAW@dol.gov.

Charles Drummond IV is a Senior Policy Advisor working to grow apprenticeship in the Employment and Training Administration.

tkoebel Fri, 11/08/2019 - 14:00 Charles Drummond Tags: