On May 7, Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis outlined President Obama’s FY 2010 U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) budget, which she said will begin to restore worker protection programs and revitalize employment opportunities for the American workforce.
The budget requests a total of $104.5 billion for DOL, with the majority to be used for unemployment insurance benefits for displaced workers and federal workers' compensation. DOL’s discretionary request of $13.3 billion allocates $1.7 billion for worker protection programs, a 10 percent increase over the prior year's budget.
The budget requests $564 million for OSHA, which is $51 million, or 10 percent, more than that agency received in FY 2009.With this funding, DOL plans to hire 160 new enforcement staff, many of whom will be bilingual to communicate with staff in the changing workplace.
Overall, DOL expects to hire nearly 1,000 new employees under this budget, including about 670 investigators, restoring worker protection staffing to FY 2001 levels.
"The president's budget launches new and innovative ways to promote economic recovery and the competitiveness of our nation's workers," said Solis. "At the same time, the budget reflects our effort to invest in what works and cut or reduce programs that do not. The budget is transparent, and we are accountable to the American public."
Other DOL budget highlights include:
- DOL’s Wage and Hour Division will receive $228 million, an increase of $35 million from the prior year, including funding to hire 200 new investigators.
- The budget saves $17 million by ending the Work Incentive Grants program. According to DOL, this demonstration program has accomplished its mission, and the lessons learned are being incorporated into other programs.
- DOL is receiving $38.3 billion under the Recovery Act to assist unemployed workers and provide more training and employment opportunities to seniors, the unemployed and underserved populations.
- The budget provides $9 billion for employment and training programs, including $50 million for green jobs training initiatives. DOL will use $500 million from the Recovery Act for competitive grants to train workers for green jobs.
- DOL will use $135 million for the Career Pathways Innovation Fund, which will help people to advance in the workplace. Another $50 million will be used to test transitional job programs, which help individuals with severe employment barriers gain the skills and experience they need to find unsubsidized jobs.
- Another $114 million is requested for Youth Build, which gives low-income and at-risk youth the opportunity to obtain a high school diploma or GED and learn construction job skills, while serving their communities by building affordable housing.
- For veterans, the budget provides $255 million (a 6 percent increase) to reach an additional 7,200 homeless veterans, particularly women veterans; provide green jobs training; and expand access to employment workshops for service members and their families who are transitioning to the civilian workforce.
- The budget provides $12 million for evaluation of job training programs, a 68 percent increase, and provides $5 million for a new department-wide evaluation initiative. The additional funding will support rigorous evaluations to determine which programs and interventions work and inform the department's policy, management and resource allocation decisions.
According to DOL, the budget builds on the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (Recovery Act), restoring worker protection programs; promoting an inclusive, green recovery; and ensuring accountability and transparency.