White House FY 2015 Budget Proposal At A Glance

On March 4, President Obama publicly released his $3.9 trillion Fiscal Year 2015 Budget Proposal, representing the Administration’s funding “wish list” that, unlike past years, contains fewer compromises to court Republican appropriators’ support and emphasizes regulatory agencies’ enforcement activities. Additionally, the proposal includes new tax increases for wealthier Americans in order to lessen the financial burden on low-to-middle income families and reduce the overall deficit -- changes that could potentially affect IEC small business owners.
The following are a few selections from the budget regarding programs and initiatives that might impact IEC members.
Department of Education (ED)
The budget proposes to keep funding for the Perkins Basic State Grant at $1.118 billion in FY 2015, with no increase for Career and Technical Education (CTE) National Programs. It is a concern that state Perkins funding, which is proposed at $5 million below pre-sequester levels and over $140 million below FY 2010 levels, will negatively impact high schools, CTE centers, community and technical colleges, employers, and millions of CTE students nationwide. Consequently, this would have a negative impact on student enrollment in CTE and preparation for employment in the skilled trades. The Administration does propose to fund several new programs that could provide students with expanded education opportunities, including $150 million for high school redesign grants, $20 million for Skills Challenge Grants to benefit adult education, and $100 million for a First in the World Fund in postsecondary education. However, IEC believes that the resources provided to education would be better directed toward proven programs like Perkins that have already demonstrated success, rather than largely untested and unproven alternatives.
Department of Labor (Including the Office of Apprenticeship, Education and Training Administration, Veterans Employment and Training Services, and Job Corps)
While the specific details of the budget have not yet been released, the budget proposed for the Department of Labor (DOL) reflects the Administration’s emphasis on job training and employment programs.
The budget proposes to fund continued promotion of innovative, job-driven approaches to training and employment services and higher performance through the Workforce Innovation Fund and improved Incentive Grants. It is proposed that DOL move to create a single program to help all displaced workers as part of a larger effort to modernize the Federal job training system. In addition, it is proposed that DOL enhance efforts to provide technical assistance support to employers as they seek to comply with regulations and enforcement programs to ensure such compliance.
The budget proposes that $11.8 billion in discretionary funding be provided for the DOL to make targeted investments to improve job training and employment programs; strengthen enforcement activities related to workers’ wages and working conditions; ensure a strong safety net for workers who lose their jobs or are hurt on the job; and promote a secure retirement for workers at the end of their careers. Additional activities proposed include raising the minimum wage, providing funding for in-person reemployment services to reach unemployed workers at risk of losing their services, providing support for recently separated veterans seeking placement in the civilian sector, and assisting states as they seek to launch paid leave programs.
It is further proposed that $6 billion be designated over the next four years to fund the Administration’s  Opportunity, Growth, and Security Initiative. Specifically included in the funding for the Opportunity, Growth and Security Initiative is a total of $2 billion ($500 million per year over four years) to be set aside for grants to states and regional consortia to increase new apprenticeships and increase participation in existing apprenticeships. This initiative is coupled with a positive administration response to the Advisory Committee on Apprenticeship's recommendations to actively educate employers, educators, and