On June 9, 2021, the House Education and Labor Committee convened a full committee hearing with U.S. Department of Labor Secretary Marty Walsh to discuss the Department’s practices and priorities following the release of President Biden’s Fiscal Year 2022 budget request. Over the course of the hearing, committee members asked Secretary Walsh questions about a range of topics, including the President’s American Jobs Plan, the Department’s role in the infrastructure discussions, worker’s rights domestically and abroad, and workforce development, minimum wage, unemployment insurance and more.
Job Corps was specifically mentioned twice during the hearing. Rep. Frederica Wilson (D-FL), Chair of the Higher Education and Workforce Investment Subcommittee and a longtime champion of the program, praised the work of Job Corps and thanked Secretary Walsh for allowing virtual enrollments into the program. Rep. Wilson then posed a question that was originally drafted by NJCA regarding when the Department would resume normal enrollments, as well as updating the vaccine guidance and policies. Secretary Walsh highlighted his positive visit to the Dr. Benjamin L. Hooks campus in Memphis, TN, and stated that it is something the agency was working on, and that the Department’s goal is to ensure they are reopening in a way that is as safe as possible. Later in the hearing, Ranking Member Virginia Foxx (R-NC) posed a negative question regarding student safety and performance. She also asked Secretary Walsh if he would be willing to provide frequent updates to Congress about student safety and his plans to improve Job Corps more generally. The Secretary responded that it is important that the Job Corps program works to have safe and well-maintained facilities, continues to build corporate partnerships for student opportunities, and providing technical and mental health support for students. Secretary Walsh went on to state that he would like to do more with the Job Corps program in general, and he views it as a major opportunity to help young people in this country.
The NJCA will continue to work with the DOL and the House Education and Labor Committee to achieve the goals and priorities of our members, students, staff and campuses.