“The Relaunching America's Workforce Act” (RAWA), was introduced on Friday, May 1st, by the House Education and Labor Committee Chairman, Bobby Scott along with a co-led effort in the Senate by Tim Kaine. RAWA seeks to provide both immediate and long-term supports to the U.S. workforce. The proposed funding structure mirrors “The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act,” the stimulus bill passed in 2009 to address the Great Recession. Funding for the workforce system will be funneled through existing channels, to get resources to the local level as quickly as possible. RAWA aims to keep people on the job now, while also putting people back to work when necessary. The bill focuses on maintaining core elements of WIOA and Perkins CTE legislation by concentrating on the most vulnerable populations, while recognizing the definition of “vulnerable” will change due to the COVID-19 crisis, ensuring support will be provided to those most effected. The act increases flexibility so more funding can be used for training, supportive services, and career services. It is unclear how far this proposed bill will go, given the White House and the Republican majority in the Senate has yet to come onboard or offer any support/changes to the proposal.
Summary of Bill’s Key Provisions:
- Provides eligibility flexibility and maintaining eligibility for use. This legislation expands on increased eligibility offered in the CARES Act, ensuring that all individuals in need of WIOA services are able to access them.
- Expands eligibility so anyone can access individualized career services.
- This eligibility extends to all in the labor force, including the "gig" or independent contract worker.
- Expands the allowable amount of funds used on incumbent workers to 40%.
- Makes allowable 40% of funds for transitional jobs, including public sector jobs.
- Allows 75% of employee wages eligible to be reimbursed for on the job training.
- Allows for an additional 10% of allocated funds for governor's reserve to be used for COVID-19 response.
- Requires states to deliver a COVID-19 recovery plan within 60 days of funds being distributed.
- Requires that at least 50% of dislocated worker grants to be distributed in 60 days.
- Makes allowable 1/3 of adult education funds to be used on incumbent worker training and employer supports.
- Native American Grants expanded eligibility to individuals at up to 150% of poverty line.
- No funds for this act may be used for IRAPs or SREs.