March 11, 2009

Training | A Major Focus of the U.S. Stimulus Package

President Obama was signed the massive $787 billion dollar stimulus legislation, called the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (HR 1) on February 17, 2009. The bill is designed, in part, to stimulate the economy and to create millions of jobs across the United States.

The stimulus package includes more than $5 billion in training for a variety of programs across a number of U.S. federal agencies. The bill will invest heavily in new technologies, infrastructure projects, and health care. It also calls for investments to help laid off workers get back to work. An important part of the legislation allocates $3.9 billion to the Department of Labor. $2.95 billion will be used for training and employment services through FY09. The Department of Labor has 30 days to allocate funding to the states.

What should you know about this bill, and what can you do to help your organization take advantage of these opportunities?

The majority of the training funds will be allocated through the publicly-funded workforce system. You can access information about how much of these resources are coming to your states and communities by reaching out to the executive director of your local Workforce Investment Board or to the manager the local One-Stop Career Center in your community.

A significant portion of training funding – $750 million – is being devoted to competitive grants for high growth industries, and $500 million of these funds will invest in projects as part of the new Green Jobs Act. If history repeats itself, the competitive grants will require active private-sector participation with community colleges or higher education institutions.

With billions devoted to training, it is clear that U.S. lawmakers understand the important connection between learning, job creation, and economic recovery. This increased focus on training means that everyone in the workplace learning and performance profession has a huge opportunity to engage in the economic recovery efforts. Let’s work together to help our organizations and communities make the best use of their investments in training and development.

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