tv Labor Secretary Testifies on Presidents 2023 Budget CSPAN May 18, 2022 7:18am-9:13am EDT
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unfiltered, unbiased, word for word. if it happens here or here or here or anywhere that matters, america is watching on c-span powered by cable. >> labor secretary marty walsh says the economy would cover severe damage if the childcare shortage is not addressed. the secretary testified on president biden's 2023 budget request before house appropriations subcommittee. this is just short of two hours. >> this hearing, 2,023 budget request for the department of labor.
this is a hybrid hearing so we need to address housekeeping matters. the members joining virtually once you start speaking is a slight delay before being displayed on the main screen, speaking into the microphone activates the camera displaying the speaker, do not stop your remarks if you don't immediately see the screens switched. of the screen does not change after several seconds please make sure you are not muted. to minimize background noise and ensure the direct sequencing we ask you remain on mute unless you have thought recognition. the chair individual designated by the chair, when they are not under recognition, to a laminate the background noise. members who are virtual are responsible for muting and on muting themselves. finally, house rules require me to remind you that we've set up an e-mail address which members can send anything they wish to submit in writing at any of our hearings.
that e-mail address has been provided in advance to your staff. that i would like to acknowledge, all the members of the subcommittee joining today's hearing both in person and virtually and i want to say thank you to all from members and our witness for your flexibility as we start this hearing to welcome the prime minister of greece later this morning. i would like to welcome secretary walsh first in person, hearing of the subcommittee as secretary of the department of labor. you join virtually last year, happy that it is in person today. i want to thank you for how hard you have fought this past year throughout your entire career for american workers and working families. the last two years have been difficult for so many especially working families, too many lost their jobs while
businesses and restaurants close, school shutdown, childcare -- the pandemic exacerbated what we have known for a long time, that pay has not kept up with cost of living. too many americans struggling and the pandemic took a massive hole that left so many reeling. workers are living paycheck to paycheck, struggling to pay taxes that are too high. big corporations, and monopoly prices pushing monopoly profits pushing up prices and we are facing a war abroad, and created energy and cost-of-living crisis as well. economic opportunity remains hard to reach for millions in underserved community, an employment rate for black and hispanic workers higher than the overall population, workers without a college degree face more barriers and college graduates. too many women pushed out of the workforce forced to
consider new employment the last two years, sectors that employ predominantly women continue to suffer and access childcare and workforce capability make returning to the workforce harder. we need to be doing more for the communities that need us the most, that is why we were elected. roosevelt's secretary of labor, frances perkins, the first woman appointed to a presidential cabinet said, quote, i came to washington to work for god, fdr and the millions of forgotten common working men, working for the forgotten, our workers should be the reason every single one of us is in washington and we know that is why you are here. you have a responsibility. thank you for joining us today to discuss department of labor's budget, appreciate all you have done and continue to protect workers and support their families.
the important work of rebuilding our economy, congress passed the first fiscal year government funding omnibus in march including a $653 million increase program. 550 million training programs to help workers reenter the workforce, earn better wages, improve economics ability, increased funding for registered apprenticeships to help develop new high skilled trades and job-training programs that help return to the workforce supporting those with significant barriers, helping employers hire and retain skilled workers, strengthening community college training grant programs, meeting the demand by providing training at community college. i am proud this committee was instrumental in creating this program in 2,020 in the
apprenticeship grant program in 2016 both of which are growing our economy from the bottom up. a priority of mine for years was to strengthen worker protection agencies, we work closely, proud to work closely on the wage in our division, occupational safety and health administration and employee benefits security administration, we provided $1.8 billion. they protect against wage theft and worker classification, enhance the health and safety of american workers and potential workplace hazards. to support working conditions abroad to increase international labor affairs bureau for high-impact international assistance the combat the most abusive labor practices including use of child labor and funds from the us-mexico canada agreement, making huge strides to enforce
labor positions while helping workers and employers in mexico make their workplace safer. this always includes protecting those who find them selves unemployed, long-standing problems in unemployment compensation systems that disproportionately harm, service industry workers, blue collar workers by modernizing technology and employment services for job seekers. we included district specific community project fundings for workers in the home district and meet the needs including funding for job training, workforce development and apprenticeship programs. the america competes act, keeping the economy competitive. we need to build on these investments, budget requests, $14.9 billion, 13% increase over 2022.
there's a plan to look at workers and their families and how they access opportunities they need and deserve. to support workforce development will increase investment in state grants for workforce training, apprenticeship and other drought - job-training, double funding, strengthening community college training grants when they need it most. budget requests continues efforts to rebuild the unemployment compensation to help make ends meet while they looked reenter the workforce and that means a strong commitment to worker protection pleased to see the request of increase of $355 million for worker protection agencies to rebuild as critical important mission that has been underfunded for decades. we must do more to support our workers and people who keep the nation running, proud that we
are able to support people who keep this body running. the bill paving the way for staffers to unionize. more needs to be done not only in this building but everywhere. workers deserve fair shot and good paying job. i want to lend my voice and support to the millions of american workers joining together and unionizing for higher wages and better working conditions, you've seen successes at amazon, starbucks and other corporations and no better way to strengthen the middle class and ensure that workers have a seat at the table which is why i support the pro act, strengthening bargaining rights, to choose to join the union as they work for a better future. what the rest of the department does is provide safety and opportunity for our workers to make our country better, pushes our economy forward.
we've made progress over the past year but there's more to do, people need to have government look out for them and those work hard. the budget request and support will ensure we live up to these ideals and i look forward to working with you over the next year and today's discussion and let me recognize the ranking member for his remarks. >> thank you, wonderful to have you here. i want to make three quick observations. a big day for the kitty, you are going to name this hearing room after our former chair of the whole committee, it will be a happy moment. second, god thank the person who got us new chairs on this podium. we can all move and get in and out, don't know who the staffer
is but give that person a raise. that was wonderful and the housekeeping matter i will have to leave at 9:45, meeting to redo our structure. i apologize to you and my colleagues for having 2-part early, that's not the normal pattern for me. i am pleased to have you here in person in this year's hearing and welcome our subcommittee and start by thanking the secretary for traveling to my district, which he was kind enough to do to visit tinker air force base, the largest defense aircraft maintenance depot, the world's largest, many of our nation's most important national security aircraft and safe operational order long after the normal lifespan. i raised before in the
subcommittee, our aircraft depots and all the dod and economy at large have serious shortages of qualified high skilled workers. the secretary was helpful in helping us think through the problem and helping us come up with ways to address it. we appreciate that it have particular need for computer engineers and other cyber professionals and suspect we are not alone, that particular set of skills, the secretary took time to meet with key-based leadership, the union leadership and several workers to investigate the issue. i ask a question as time permits but look forward to working with you and your team and the coming months to pursue cooperative solutions along with the air force. turning to the president's budget request i must reiterate several concerns. last year president biden signed the american rescue plan into law without a single republican vote.
this legislation pumped $2 trillion of new spending into our economy, much of an unneeded and poorly targeted. the law has been a direct cause of a 40-year high inflation we are currently experiencing. gas prices averaging $4 a gallon and prices at grocery stores up in double digits. history has taught us we cannot spend our way out of inflation but this year's budget seems to think we can do that. i respectfully disagree. spending levels in this budget double down by the same levels resoundingly rejected by congress, from the last budget, to enact such an increase in this environment would irresponsibly add to the national debt and further push our economy into possible recession. some believe we are on course to ca recession in the next year. are fact i find incredibly unfortunate. the worst effects of the president's economic policies could have been avoided with a
sharp partisan approach to spending in the administration. the fiscal year 2022 appropriations represents the compromise, and requested by the administration. we came together and funded joint priorities in bipartisan manner at reasonable levels and hope we can do that again for fiscal year 2023. my second concern is lack of concern for employers, unemployment is at an all-time low, with 3.6%. in my state of oklahoma below the national average. they are struggling to find workers and worker shortage is exacerbating inflationary pressures further pushing our economy into a down spiral. i did not see workforce policy from the administration
affecting realities of many businesses. recent proposals to modernize the standard for prevailing wage would turn us back to a definition not used for 40 years. the budget requests more than 20% increase for the wage in our division and 35% increase for the office of federal contractor compliance programs, 15% increase in occupational safe and healthy safety at ministration in 200 additional staff for labor enrollment in the department. specifically, the need for greater enforcement, in the sharing economy. with on a plummet at record lows they don't need excessive executive overreach stifling innovation and flexibility for workers and employers. our innovation solutions like those found in the sharing economy enabled millions to find work when they want and
help them find workers when other options were not available. we should be supporting new forms of employment, not smuggling them with overly aggressive rules, regulations and enforcement. i want to come and your support for the apprenticeship, we have seen these programs flourish under multiple administrations, apprenticeships represent opportunity and pathway to high-paying jobs many of which don't require a college degree but i'm disappointed by lack of support to alternatives to registered apprenticeships. i hear from businesses regularly about limiting structure and cumbersome model of registered apprenticeships. the model was not built for the economy and the opportunities of today, it is not doing enough to support today's worker and the growing sector of information technology, cybersecurity and supply chain logistics. the administration should do
more to support intermediaries and alternatives to registered apprenticeships, bring opportunities to these aggressively growing businesses and american workers. these are just some of the policy differences i'm sure we will discuss today. i'm hopeful we will work to the shortened budget year and be able to once again find the middle ground. i said before and i will say again the chair and i have worked together the past 7 years to find a spending level in final appropriation and we have been able to do that 7 times in a row. i hope to do so again and certainly not like to see our 7 year streak broken don't believe it will be. we will find common ground and get the bill done and give you a budget in a reasonable period of time so you can go about your important job. the chair doesn't want to drag this into next year and i don't want to drag this into next year. we want to get our work done on
time. i want to thank you for taking the time to come to my district, very generous act on your part and look forward to your testimony and continued work, with that i yield back. >> i think the gentleman. you have full written testimony entered into the record. with is that you are recognized for 5 minutes for your opening statement. >> great to be in person. last year -- can you hear me? last year was my first hearing when i did zoom. to get into a rhythm again, great to be here today. i'm pleased to outline president biden's priorities for the department of labor fiscal 2023 fiscal sphere. my mission as secretary of labor is to empower workers
morning, noon and night, front-line workers to carry us through the pandemic and the worst days of the pandemic, and face barriers to employment opportunities, veterans who serve our nation, rural workers who serve through targeted workforce training programs, department of labor stands with all workers in every community to build a stronger and more resilient and inclusive economy. i'm proud of the department of labor and what we accomplished this past year and diplomatic key provisions of the rescue plan. opening up the economy, supporting healthcare workers and pensions, and heat exposure, for mental health services to do more of in this country, we expanded career training programs to connect more americans to more opportunities and more
industries to skilled workers and temperament to the president's $15 an hour minimum wage for federal contractors, people in this country were earning $7 an hour trying to raise a family, that's impossible. we had legislation, we worked on legislation to stop surprise medical billing and protections for tip workers to advance in 2,018. we advance governmentwide initiatives to support workers organizing rights, climate action, and implementation, we are committed to equity, across america. we have in this moment a unique opportunity to help workers track, the president's plan produced historic job driven recovery and congress made a transformative investment in workers to the bipartisan infrastructure law and other actions congress has taken. the department of labor good jobs initiative partnering across government to make sure these investments create good
jobs and access for all people, to invest in workforce training, child care, education that we depend on in every community in our neighborhood, in our country, this budget submission builds on these investments and reduce our pledge to job seekers and retirees in america. if workforce developing budget request $303 million to expand registered apprenticeship programs that work to help people get better jobs and get into an industry. 100 million jobs for community college, to 10 community colleges to talk about the importance of investment in every community. one hundred million dollars would create training, growing industry sectors such as tinker air force base and we talked about the challenge the air force has competing with the private sector getting good
paying jobs and diverse workers, meeting critical supply chain needs in the economy. the administration is working urgently to ensure that infant formula is safe and available for families across the country. this work is led by the fda our work is to -- over the long term. it is critical to provide good careers with workers and people of color, women in rural america and veterans opportunities to get into those good paying jobs. the budget increase funding for veterans through veterans employment and training service agency, increases funding for women's bureau to expand access for women's careers where they are underrepresented. the budget invests $2.2 billion in the worker protection agency, this work is more essential now than ever as we rebuild staffing levels, that includes efforts to double down on the number of inspectors by
the end of the president's first term. restore staffing unemployment benefits security administration to protect workers health, retirement and disability benefits, increase funding for wage divisions of vulnerable workers and offer office of federal contract compliance programs federal contracting advances for america's promise of fairness to all workers in the country. the budget increases funding to the office of the labor solicitor rebuilding the department's capacity to enforce the law. this ensures our training partners uphold labor commitments so american workers can compete on a level playing field, this budget funds and updates the state's funding
formula for unemployment insurance, the first comprehensive update in decades. allows to serve claimants more efficiently and includes $150 million to strengthen the integrity of the system. all your states had a problem over the last two years for unemployment insurance, the budget request anticipates good jobs initiative and advance the president's priority of good jobs with the choice to join the union. as labor secretary, i traveled across the nation to better understand the needs of communities in this country. despite all they've been through workers are showing up every day to move communities forward. in return we must do all we can to ensure well-being and empower them with opportunity. i want to thank you for the opportunity to testify in person today. i look forward to discussing our budget requests with the committee and any questions i can't answer we will work with your teams to get the answers to you.
hopefully. depending how early we get out. >> thank you very much, really interested because we've been discussing the issue of infant formula for the legislation but the tie in with the truck drivers, i hadn't thought about that, to move products where we can gauge the supply and that is where the fda said that we have supply but if we can move that quickly and get the product back on the shelves so parents are not at risk. mr. secretary last week along with my colleagues, introduce the wage recovery act, legislation to but hard earned wages back at work to crackdown on employees who unfairly call wages from their employees,
every day they should achieve that from legally owed wages, they violate employees overtime, minimum wage and tip work rights. wage theft is disproportionally harming low-wage workers, making the enforcement work at the department's wage division more critical. how can the department proactively stop bad actors from hard earned wages on workers, prioritizing meaningful enforcement efforts to ensure corporations are not stealing wages from the most valuable workers. >> look forward to partnering with you and make sure the bill moves to congress, wage theft, wage recovery act would strengthen fundamental protections, and it will crackdown on corporations but subject workers to abuses. we have to do what we can to
take steps people are not losing wages, that's the bottom line and the department of labor is working the building trades, when somebody does their job they expect to get wages. i spent a lot of time, a lot of church basements talking to workers taken advantage of because they feel they have no power to support themselves on fighting for their back wages. anyone in the united states that goes to work any day every day should pay for every minute they were, that's the bottom line, this bill will help us to ensure illegal practices disproportionately hurting low income workers are overturned and make sure we protect all workers as we move forward and that is important and we have to continue to support 35% of tip workers and make sure tip workers aren't taken advantage of for. they serve the food and the
coffee and clean out tables and bring us the food we brought to restaurants and it is appalling to think in 2,022 we have people being taken advantage of mostly low income workers, workers of color, women and should not be the case. i look forward to working with you to pass that law. obit is a bipartisan effort, the wage theft happening on both sides of the aisle. >> let me ask about the us mca, since passage of us mca implementation included $210 billion from this committee, there's been great progress in this area as noted, we talked about supporting the first independent union elections at general motors at the plant in
mexico and the facility, in april the department announced $28 million in investments to combat forced labor and human trafficking and support workers capacity to negotiate collective bargaining agreements that would wage wages, how would you support the could call monitoring enforcement and capacity building role in us mca as we make progress in mexico what other areas of the world can we focus on workers and american businesses? >> last month deputy secretary traveled to mexico and met with labor minister to talk about what is happening on the ground and reports we feel really good, higher four, to look at the trade agreement, she felt positive, to enforcing labor laws in mexico and i support
their efforts to make sure wherever we are in the world we are doing collectively to together. also looking at child labor and how that impacts labor negotiations across the world. last year we saw the first time in 20 years and increase in child labor abuse in this world so we are focused on working partly due to the pandemic and other things but we can't be standing by and watching that happen. >> i would hope you would stay in touch on that issue and we would be leading in the effort in eliminating child and forced labor, may not eliminate it but do what we can to curtail it. with that let me recognize the ranking member.
>> in my opening remarks i mentioned the bipartisan agreement on apprenticeships and how important they are, this committee includes funding for those under administrations of both parties but only a modest increase in the number of folks actively registering. what sorts of things can we do to increase those numbers and skill sets the the economy needs. how to attract more people in the use opportunities. >> we have to let people know these opportunities exist and what we are doing in the department of labor is looking at industries where we can expand registered apprenticeship program similar to the building trade model, look at how we do that we are able with the trucking challenge, supply chain
challenges, in a matter of 48-hour turnaround application, 100 companies are working on an apprenticeship program in the trucking industry, 400 have signed up, and we move forward not to keep bringing it up but at tinker air force base, looking at opportunities for community colleges just for members of the committee, there's a need for 3,000 engineers, 1500 engineers for local colleges in oklahoma, 1500 opportunities are needed and competing with the private sector. they can't compete fiscally so think about a program like that creating an apprenticeship program that allows tinker to hire people to come in as apprenticeships, get on-the-job training working with schools and universities over a short time, scale the workers up but they have an outstanding days work. that is how i envision these
programs working, not just engineering but high tech biotech, any industry we want to think about we can create a program that we need companies, private sector has to work with us, public sector to some degree, investments, the private-sector investment is the best way it will be. last thing i will say, we signed an mou with austria a month ago to talk about what austria and switzerland have a robust apprenticeship program and when they do it it is embedded in their philosophy. we are not there yet and we have to get there slowly. a lot of people are resistant to an have to understand this is not a program of creating a program, it is a process, a program of creating advancements for educating people to go to work. >> you mention tinker as much as you like, go right ahead. you mentioned in your remarks some of the modernization
efforts on unemployment insurance programs. i recognize we are coming out of an extraordinarily different period where we had systems that were strained beyond what their capacity was ever meant to be your anybody envisioned, going through a pandemic to make decisions, we will have slowdowns or shutdowns, got to give people an alternative. these systems were not set up to handle that volume well so glad you are looking at that. we've had a few reports about fraud. when you put this much money to the system that will happen and i am interested in going forward if you could detail a little more about specific things you will try to state and insurance funds do, what are the protections in terms of fraud going forward that you would highlight? >> when congress made the appropriation last year i was not sure how states and
territories would be involved and interested in doing something with unemployment insurance, we have 49 states that are very engaged in this process. we put together tag teams have identified challenges in different states and identifying, making investments through grant programs to fix the challenges states have had. the unemployment system will need an investment on state and federal level to bring systems up to 21st century standards. they are working on systems built in the 80s and 90s and the infrastructure is not there. the appointment insurance office is making sure we are making to billion-dollar investments and make sure every penny of those $2 billion goes towards modernizing and fixing the challenges we experienced through the pandemic, pre-pandemic of fraud numbers were low, post pandemic they were high because of the pandemic and i am expecting numbers to come back down but not expecting problems to go
away if we don't address it. some states are making investments, we are taking the $2 billion congress gave us. strong but powerful team, the same team that was able to distribute money in the american rescue plan congress supported for the last few years. >> i'm going to have to leave. thank you for visiting my district. thank you for the job you did. >> [inaudible] >> child abuse of children. i just want to point out in our
own country we are guilty of child abuse in the workforce and i'm talking about children that worked in agriculture who are the only children in agriculture not protected under our child labor laws and as a result children that work in agriculture die at much higher rates than in any other industry not to mention the impact on their education and injuries. i want to thank your office for helping me put together information. i am introducing a bill, i have introduced the children's act for responsible employment and farm safety of 2022 which is
intended to address this issue to protect children in agriculture and it has all kinds of exemptions for families and we try to address every concern that has been raised. i want to bring it up to the subcommittee because it is a dirty little secret in this country about these children. mr. secretary, i am a cochair of the nursing caucus and very concerned that nurses and other healthcare workers have experienced high rates of infection and deaths from covid 19 and increasing rates of workplace violence during the covid 19 pandemic. this is due to the fact that there is a failure of healthcare employers to have in place any kind of workplace
violence prevention plans, but more importantly it is largely due to osha's failure to act. osha has for many years said they were in the process of writing proposed rules on workplace violence and healthcare settings. given osha's lack of action, congress, this house, has tried to correct that and passed a couple of bills to make that happen. it seems inexcusable to me that osha has yet to finalize a rule to protect these healthcare workers. can you please explain why osha has been unable to put together a rule to protect these healthcare workers and hopefully can we expect something this year?
>> thank you for raising this important issue and i look forward to working with you on legislation in your office. don't know if i would describe osha as failing. in the last year and 1/2 osha has been working hard on standards dealing with covid, workplace violence is one of the issues we have to work on. in the last four years osha has lost significant amounts of money, been significantly understaffed and there are concerns there so we are stepping up osha. i will promise i will make this a priority. we had conversations, actually had a group of nurses, it was nurses week, one of the issues they brought up was workplace violence not just during covid but pre-covid and workplace violence is not just around nursing but other professions as well. i give my commitment i will work with your office. >> i appreciate that.
>> congressman harris. >> good to see you, i would like to talk about h2 bbs, you talked about there may have been, we will look into whether adequate protections exist against abuse of the system. .. it's important to a lot of people stitchers on his podium and in this congress so we will continue to strengthen that. the system changed in 2014. congress used to allow it. we didn't have to do this additional every single year,
twice a year. for me personally that was a better system than having to do this but i want to make sure as would do the visa we do it whether it's 20,000 20,0f the number is about to make sure the workers work really hard have the protection they deserve. as of right now i feel confident that we are looking longer-term to make sure other workers have good protection. >> thank you very much. if you find areas where we can tighten it up again to protect the workers because the employers i work with a new the workers come willing to follow the rules come just tell them what the rules are. those who are not willing to follow should be getting workers comp that simple. >> but thanks for your help and that the copley we can get back to the system may be returning workers or something. the other issue i didn't want to bring up and you make, probably have to get back to me about it is the issue of how we're constructing offshore wind. there's going to be a push for
it. there's also a visa system involved called b1 visa which are outer continental shelf visas which we give to shift that are going to do the construction and they bring in the labor. normally it's not american labor doing this. i was surprised about we're going to construct this offshore winds but we're not. a lot of ships are nordic countries ships and then they hire workers from non-nordic countries because nordic countries would be competitive in salary with our salaries. they hire other eastern european like that with a pay much less. we are losing american jobs because the way the visa system works. if you look and how that b1 visa system works and let us know if there are ways we can get those jobs to be done by americans. those are good jobs and i think the system by allowing these countries, nordic countries to apply, , get visas for hire othr
countries, workers at a low cost i think just undercuts our ability. any knowledge about that? this is one of the growing industry. >> the issue there is the work that's on the shore. our workers can do that. when you get to the rigging out in the sea the companies will often say our workers are not trained and are unable to do the work but i think we can scale up or workers very quickly. train people to do this work. i know it's an ongoing conversation honestly with the visa that you just brought up and i will look into that but i think what we have to do is make sure we have good training programs. we can do that work. just a matter of new technology coming to the united states of america and for the most part it's a brand-new industry. we talked about it for long time but now we're starting to see the fruits of construction. after a short time we can get one of these and has a workforce that strain. our workforce in america can
build anything. >> i agree. if there's a loophole there are exploiting. one of the industries hardest hit by covid was the restaurant industry. they still have concern over a minimum wage that would include tip waged workers. you understand the issue. the fact of the matter is tipped wage worker whose wage is less than the employer has to earn the minimum wage when you add tips in. any efforts to expand the minimum wage that doesn't take into account tipped wage i think would hurt our restaurants. a lot of them small businesses, especially my district. if you come out to visit we will bring you to a mom-and-pop place that barely survived covid that is real concerns. they want their employees to earn a a fair wage but as you understand if you bring the tipped wage up to the minimum it prices of out of the market. so again just speeded one of the
things we can talk more about it. one of the things we've seen and restaurant hospitality industry is 11.2% increase in wages. most of the restaurants i've spoken to have complained about it to me. i'll get back to you on that and look forward to getting to her district and having some crabs. >> i yield back. >> recognize ms. clark as a thank you to mr. pocan for having ms. clark jump the line. >> thank you so much. thank you, madam chair. mr. secretary, always good to see you, and thank you for your incredible work since you have been in your position. i especially to thank you for having focus on women in the workplace. we know that at the height of the pandemic 2.5 million women left the workforce and 1 million fewer women in the workforce today than in february of 2020.
and we know who these women are. they are low income. are our essential workers. they care for our children and for our parents, our seniors, are disabled family members. they are primarily black, brown, indigenous and rural women, and they are mom's. because we know there is a price to be paid in this country for being a mom. so your secretariat finds himself at the intersection of another crisis that we're having for women in this country, and that is that we are about to see roe v. wade overturned and moving in many states to mandated pregnancies, government mandated pregnancies. so as we are looking at who is most impacted by this post
pandemic economy, and, frankly, was most impacted going into the pandemic but the pandemic has shone a light on his women and economic forces, these are the exact same women, low income mom's, who are most likely to seek abortion care. so in this new world that we are entering, this new crisis for women, some of the work that you have done is around childcare, which is absolutely necessary. a recent gao report that i requested found that only 11% have all workers have access to employer-provided childcare. and we know the united states is way behind other developed countries in supporting this. can you tell me a little bit about the impact that you will see an being able to have women have jobs that can provide for their families if we do not do
something about childcare? >> thank you, madam chair, and certainly this is an issue both of us worked on back in our days in massachusetts. if we don't do something as a country about childcare, we are going to do severe damage to our economy. if we don't get women back into the workforce at a big level, and we are seeing women come back to the workforce but we see high levels of unemployment it will impact our economy, number one. number two if, in fact, our family structure in america. number two. i know that in legislation a couple piece of legislation the president has filed that in front of congress now, but this is an issue again this is not a partisan issue. this is a bipartisan issue, child care in america. both the cost of childcare, the availability of childcare, and not just childcare high-quality childcare, the cost of paying
folks that work and it is you are also predominately women and women of color that are underpaid making minimum wage in that industry. if you look at the numbers across the board, what the pandemic has taught us is that we are deficits in different parts of her, come one of our deficits are so lame job training that was on, people quitting jobs at high rates in the biggest glaring spotlight is on women in our economy. it's not just childcare. it's paid family leave as well. 50%, 51% of women of women in this country are the leads in the family yet we don't respect him for that. i'm working cross agency with others working on how to respect her childcare system. it's time for us as a country to make a major investment in childcare. that's the best i can say right now. >> and speaking of childcare and imams, the data they came out of the department of labor, the most recent that we can fight is
2018, showed that one out of four mom's had to return to work within ten days of giving birth. we are the only wealthy country that doesn't have national paid leave, which is a disgrace. but can you tell me are you considering updating that information and surveys to give us new insight? >> let me get my quick cheat sheet here. the latest data we have is 2020 but let me just say this to you. we need to have numbers from 2022, not from 2020, not from 2018, not from 2016. that was yesterday. i will do everything i can to get updated numbers so we can see up close and personal what the real issues are. >> thank you so much. thank you, madam chair. >> mr. fleischmann. >> thank you, madam chairwoman. mr. secretary, good morning, sir.
>> how are you? >> good, good. congratulations to your boston celtics first and foremost for making the eastern conference finals. the secretary and i have different views on a lot of things including sports teams but i was appreciate that so wish you well. >> thank you. >> also appreciate the fact you've taken the time to come back for this administration and our side had some fundamental strong differences in ideology and on policy, but i think we both want the best for the american workers, different path to get there so thank you for your willingness to sit down and talk to some of the typical issues. appreciate that. mr. secretary, i first wanted to come in the department for opening the ombudsman position to oversee the energy employees occupational illness compensation program. this is an issue albeit a little bit parochial, it's particular
importance to my issue for my constituents in the oak ridge area. many employees, contractors, subcontractors and the vendors were exposed to radiation, and other highly toxic substances that it left them with chronic illnesses. my first question is what is the administration's timeline for reviewing applications and filling the ombudsman position, and what plan of action to help to see from the new ombudsman? >> thank you very much for the question, congressman. first and foremost we're in the process of hiring and looking at a timeline just got whispered in my ear about six months we should have that position ready to go and i look forward to working with you but, in this area to make sure that people are getting the proper attention they deserve. >> yes, sir. mr. secretary, we are receiving a lot of calls from constituents who have been exposed to these
particular substances over the years and many of these people were trainees at the time. a little bit of a specific question. is the administration willing to expand the eeo ic program to include trainees as a covered cause? >> let me have a conversation with my office and get back to you on that. i just come i'm not prepared to answer the question at this particular second. >> understood. and getting the background as i say it covers a specific class of worker but as trainees is people were of course workers and exposed in a capacity but i understand -- >> i don't see the obstacle. that meet again before commit to anything want to have a conversation with the office. >> agreed, understood. finally the advisory board on toxic substances and worker health officially requested a support contractor three years ago. it's my understanding that the
contract is still in the procurement process and is not yet been set out for bids. mr. secretary, is this a normal timeline for the procurement process? when you expect the process to be completed? >> it doesn't sound right, certainly the timeline for three years on this. again i could go back and check and do more research on this. i wasn't prepared to answer this question today's i will get get back to you and your office right after this hearing. >> understood, sir. i know we've got some other hearings and issues coming up so mr. secretary, i will just say thank you and thank you i will yield back. >> thank you. congresswoman lee. >> rank very much madam chair and ranking member cole and thank you mr. secretary, to be here. and thank you and your testimony for being straight up pretty blunt and authentic in much of what you talk, wrote about especially in assessment as relates to black women. and we know that black women and
you laid this out in your testimony right now, the unemployment rate is at 5% and is the highest of women by race and ethnicity. i think it was 6.6% a month or so ago so it's heading in the right direction but it's very concerning its i know that black women have been disproportionately impacted during covid what in the world are you able to do to address this? what are you doing to address it? and then secondly with regard to your commitment to racial equity, thank you again for being very clear in your testimony about what the issues are around racial equity and, in fact, you mentioned oftentimes black women, the intersection of racism and sexism means that black women are experiencing a different and more difficult recovery. but also how they are treated differently within these jobs. and so in terms of executive order how does at 13985 calling
for equity throughout the federal government, how do you address equity as relates to african-american women and the unemployment rate? and then secondly, you talk about we must embed equity into how we recruit high rate, what have you. how are you doing that? how do you embed it? i understand how structural racism works. sources subjected to spend before you can do anything to move forward to develop equity strategies. so i'm curious as to how you are doing that and what you see in terms of strategies to make sure they're treated properly, first of all and that their unemployment rate comes down. >> thank you, congresswoman. let me start by saying you talk about it. you don't run away from it. it's no surprise to me black unemployment rate is 5% and we can't say unfortunately we can't say it's because of the pandemic
5%. pre-pandemic that was a challenge with black women in employment in this country in the black community as a whole in this country. we have had usually the black unemployment rate is double that of the white unemployment rate. it's been a stork forever. some of the things we can do is when we think about the bipartisan infrastructure law and with a grunt opportunities and challenges that come from that law i think we have an obligation to make sure part of the good jobs initiative is making sure we have an equitable recovery, making sure those investment from the bipartisan infrastructure law whether it's the job took him off at people of color particularly black people and latino have an opportunity to get access to those good-paying jobs. the investment in the wage we think about raising wages. people work on projects being paid to lower rates. that's an opportunity to lift wages up for people. we passed the 50 contacting minimum wage.
we had many people particularly community of color working on those projects that were underpaid and paid $7.8 an hour by federal contracts and federal contracting when we need te weight up to $15 an hour. executive order the president signed that you referenced 13985 is across the government. the president has asked all of us to look to make sure equity is embedded in everything we do as a department and how we continue to move forward. my women spirit of you want to be more granular my women spirit is focused on creating opportunities and pathways as well. this isn't a word i'm saying. this is we are taking and we have a long way to go but we also have to mention the data. if you don't have the data you don't look at the data, doesn't tell the truth. >> too bad we don't have the data speeds i'm saying measure the data to make sure the investments were making now, that we see a very short time the data is speaking a different
story. >> and work on the over such a project, in my district for example, golden state of california, historically well, california eliminated affirmative action, the only type of programs that you can apply racial equity and gender equity to our federally funded programs. so you look around in my district and you don't see any black and brown people working for the big infrastructure projects in the past. so how do you make sure, you have to make sure the black and brown people are on the infrastructure projects and what kind of a stick do you have for contractors to make sure they do that? >> i think the state is to work, i'm working with the building and trades out to make sure we're getting apprentice programs. i've done in the past as head of the building trades in boston, great a couple different programs that have created pathways people of color and when to get the building trades. they are proven programs that
work. i know how to do it. you don't need a stick. unita conversations about equitable. i know you you talked about affirmative action programs. we are well beyond in my opinion from action programs. we should be doing this as a major business in this country. again i feel confident in the conversation i've had with the building trade and the conversations i've had about this if for such a law. notches infrastructure law but private construction as well come to get more opportunities and pathways into the tray. not just the trades. when we talk to chairman cole would talk to apprentice programs. we need to make sure all these apprentice programs when we create them whether it's trucking or other industries we need to make sure they are diversified going in the beginning of them. >> thank you very much. thank you, mr. secretary. >> ms. herrera beutler. >> thank you, mr. secretary. it's been helpful to just sit and listen to your approach. i commend you, you obviously
worked on these issues, not all secretaries due to be honest. you work them and i appreciate that, your willingness to work with all of us up here because it's true the american worker is forefront on our minds, especially right now and i wanted to ask, ranking member cole talked a little bit about the unemployment fraud that took place during the pandemic. i wanted to make sure you are aware two weeks ago department of justice issued a press release that a nigerian citizen played guilty to covid-19 unemployment fraud in washington state. that individual was able to submit more than 2 million in unemployment claims. so i know since then they found 163 billion and pandemic unemployment benefits could've been paid improperly and i was watching our secretary of labor at the time and she was not doing a very good job and there
were a lot of warnings. shias since moved on, thankfully, although now she's at the federal level which is not a good idea, i digress. i wanted to ask how much has come have you'll be able to recover from that fraud? >> let me -- i don't have the exact number. but i'll tell you i meet monthly with my ig and our are ig ig after any fraudulent cases so i will get you a number. a lot of these cases court so it's going through the court process. were talking up about a year since they identified it. we work closely with the justice department but anything over 250,000 department we're going after so i will get you the money that he recovered and also get to the money that's on the hook that we are in court on. you have two numbers. >> that would be great. ms. clark spoke about the childcare workforce shortages.
and i think, so this isn't a shop in working on with the a nr of folks on the panel for a while. childcare continues to be hot issue for folks in southwest washington. 25% of our regions childcare capacity completely disappeared during the pandemic and is already an issue before the pandemic. i just wanted just a commitment from you i think you will give it frequently the department is going to commit to helping us build this pipeline for childcare workers, quality childcare workers as a type an address these shortages to create opportunities for mom's and others in this country. >> you have a commitment on that. not only that i'd love to talk to anyone ideas because it's a very challenging career because what happens is a lot childcare facilities is somebody will start a child care and is, work, getting paid low wages and then ultimately a lot of them go into teaching and to get into speedy they get pulled right out. >> we lose that infrastructure.
and then so i would love come any ideas you have on that. there's a couple of bills, bipartisan bills, some are bicameral because it a few different things you to do. some of it is training, some of it making sure there's physical brick and mortar places. some of it making sure the thumbs can afford it. we have a few different bills that would be happy to get your way again bipartisan, bicameral speeders are childcare industry got destroyed during covid. after six months they went back to the old structure but people went back to work so the when that giving the money from the parents or whatever the vultures to do it so they went out of business. that whole industry is desmet. >> we have some ideas for you. on another topic, project labor agreements, and i suspect we will see eye to eye on this -- >> you never know. >> it's important you understand, you mentioned that
pla's a welcome news for all workers but that is not what i'm hearing from the 87% of nonunion workers in construction. this administration, their executive order on pla is mandating them. my challenge is to limit the pool of qualified bidders primarily to one stream of bidders and i can have impacts not just for taxpayers for people who are working and they won't have a chance at a job at a good job. washington state the unionization rate is relatively high at 18%. 18%. in washington state is not exactly a red state, right? i am in no way -- i have family members who work in the trades who are part of unions. that is not my issue but i am pro-worker editing pro competition. what i'm concerned about is the key allies are really going to disenfranchise the 80% of
nonunion contractors smaller mom-and-pop industries, again i have family who are in the side of the business in washington and they just want a fair shot at competing for projects funded by the federal government. my opinion is it's going to increase the cost of federal construction projects and is going to curb competition get what are your thoughts? >> first of all project labor unions is $359 or above so the 87% of contractors that can't apply because were talking a large construction projects that the bidding pool is small. it doesn't prohibit nonunion nonsignatory contractors from bidding on that work and actually project labor agreements prove it saves taxpayers money because it guarantees in the agreement that that job done on time, on budget, doesn't it work stoppages in it. the project labor agreements i've been involved with and building trades or my time in my other will i had in my career
oftentimes those projects come in under budget and on time. it's the reality of the situation, no question about it. it doesn't prohibit speeders i have to stop either because i'm way, way over time. there's a question about i had to submit for the record we differ on that one but thank you so much. >> thank you. >> yield back. >> mr. pocan. >> thank you, madam chair and thank you mr. secretary. really want to thank you and your staff. i think you've done a great job in the role as your staff and i think her knowledge and your passion for workers is very much appreciated. i would like to try to get to three subjects let me start with the first one. you served alongside vice president harris as vice chair of the white house task force and worker organizing and apartment which earlier released a report 70 recommendations for action the administration should take to empower workers. many of those recommendations call for courtney and effort by department of labor and other
agencies such as nlrb which is flat funded for a decade. what resources do you and other agencies like the nlrb and the office of solicitor required to fully implement those recommendations from task ? >> i have a meeting later today to talk about the task force. it's our first follow-up since report commit. i do have the exact number what we need for any resources you want allocate that way i will gladly take them and that's not a snide comment. it's reality of the situation. but let me have a meeting today and after get a chance to understand exactly what departments varies we need i think i would love to come back to. >> we are in the middle of doing next years budget so please do that. also i found it very exciting new way of organizing. you and i come from the labor background have seen a lot of traditional labor organizing in the past but now we're seeing it at starbucks and target and trader joe's and amazon and the
videogame industry and a lot of other industries that haven't seen it before. one campaign of watching particularly close is a quality assurance workers at raven software company in my district which has a captive audience mees and other types of classic unionbusting tactics. one of the recommendations in the task force report was for the department of labor to update its rules for persuader activity reported. can you explain how an update to the persuader rule would help protect and our workers and what resources do need from this committee to make the update? >> thank you for that. i can't get to its intent because were in the process right now but certainly i spent enough time is will talking to workers in this country that are disgruntled and we see an increase in involvement in union organizing. we're seeing workers rising up, seeing last month 4.7 4.7 mn people quit their job because they weren't happy in the job they had. i actually think a lot of what we talked about today, i'm off topic of the job development
investment, the apprenticeships. we have to do that for our economy because we can't continue an economy where people are quitting at the rate they're quitting every month because they want to earn more money. we have to create pathways for them to better paying jobs. that's why we're seeing a lot of this organizing conversation going on. people say wait a second union worker over there seem to have better situation, better benefits of more money and i want part of that. as a society as an economy the department of labor i think with work closely with commerce as well and how to be create better pathways into better paying job. as you look at that rule, part of the additional organizing was pushed back and we've seen it time after time whether the amazon, starbucks or in the videogame industry like raven software so do appreciate anything you do in that area. many of these campaigns also involve smaller bargaining units and like starbucks for example.
interested whether this new wave of organizing requires a shift in how we can track this type of activity at the federal level? the bureau of labor statistics only tracks strikes and other work stoppages only involving over 1000 workers. do need to change way they track this and if so are you going to additional resources quickly due to get to that? >> i haven't thought of it that way. i would have to talk to be a less but i'm assuming if we don't track it they will d additional resources to track that information. i will have to get back to you on that. it's a good point. i have thought of that. >> i appreciate it here madam chair, i will yield back my 40 seconds. >> mr. moolenaar. >> thank you, madam chair. good morning, mr. secretary. just wanted to raise some issues that i am hearing as a travel throughout my district. the number one issue i hear is inflation and the concerns of people's paychecks not going as far as they used to.
i am wondering what ideas you have at lowering inflation? because i do have concerns, ms. herrera beutler talked about project labor agreements. it kind of defies logic to me that by discriminating against certain people working on projects that somehow that would be a cost saving. seems like competition would encourage more but that's a different topic. i'm just wondering if you could tell me what your plans are to have lower inflation? >> that's obviously a great question. i think inflation that the country is in with right now following a dip last week but it is still high. one of the biggest things we can do i could just secretary of labor is continue to work on the supply chain issues. supply chain has caused part of the problem in creating getting goods and service to our shelves
and our stores and into people's homes. we have worked i've worked with hard over the last eight months along with secretary buttigieg to really think about making sure that we're doing everything we can to get the ships offshore on to lance and the product into the stores. also monitoring very closely the negotiation right now in the l.a. ports to make sure we're not seeing any destruction come negotiation between the carriers and the longshoremen, making sure we don't see any shortages that they -- i feel pretty comfortable we are in a situation today. i was out in a light about a week ago and i sat down with the company. we had a conversation about the ports. we had about 27 ships offshore to be unloaded. i was there previous month before that where i was in seattle and with 67 ships. we are seeing that alleviation of the burden. my concern is that right now
with china, facilities are closed to swear that 100 ships to my knowledge offshore in china waiting to be loaded and brought to the united states. we have a system in place to move those goods. >> i appreciate the update on the ports and the ships. that's a big concern. i think the trucker shortages also seem to be a concern. as i talk to people, there's just a real need for more truck drivers. i wonder, you know, the vaccine mandate to administration pursued, the court chose not to implement that. are you continuing to pursue that? i do think between truckers trying to go and canada across national lines, it was a big concern about that. i do feel that some of these administration policies are contributing to undermine what people are having to choose
between getting a a vaccine ae doing their job. i think it's discouraging people in the workplace. i wonder, are you rethinking that are still pursuing a. >> was first and foremost with a policy that came out of the department of labor was not a mandate. it was neither nor. it was a vaccine on testing. that is in black and white, and we did. for the most part trucking was not part of that because truckers drive in the truck by themselves and they were covered by do some degree but it wasn't a mandate. it hasn't discouraged one person from driving a truck i think where we have a problem in this country with truck is we have made investments in trucking and a longtime and we a people, i met with the independent trucking agency talking about how those drivers that are independent that own their own rates and tried on trucks that they are undercut all along the way and that's with a disgruntlement as coming from. the biggest thing we would be able to do at the department of labor is working to shorten the time to get into an
apprenticeship to 48 hours to have over 100 companies right now that a signed up with the department of labor attacks have apprenticeship they were able to limit that to 48 hours, truck drivers i think thousands of truck drivers in the system now work with big or small co-pays, union, nonunion, independent companies. working with everyone who's interested in bringing faith back into its trucking industry trucking is a good cricket it's a good middle-class career that give people have to to earn a good living and summing over the time we lost obit of that but i feel confident as we move forward that will meet those challenges. also with 70,000 over the last five years 70,000 cdl veterans that come out of the service that we have an opportunity to get them into trucking and working on that now and so. >> thank you, mr. secretary. thank you, madam chair. >> ms. frankel. >> thank you, mr. secretary.
hello. good morning. thanks for being here. first, i want to pick up on something that ms. clark talked about. i know you are sincere about an equitable economy so i'll just do a little ranting, which is of this. we ban abortions across this country, which looks like were about to in 26 states. there is not going to be an equitable economy for women if they are not allowed to make their own decisions about their bodies, their lives and their futures. all right, you don't have to comment on that. i had to say that. all right. so first time we talk of florida. florida come when covid hit and whose unemployment assistance, our state i think was the worst if not one of the worst in giving that money out. you asked for an increase for unemployment assistance.
is there any way we are going to be able to help states like florida? i don't know if we can force them to make the system better. our system was designed in a way so people could not get unemployment because one of the covenant i think it was rick scott who do not believe in unemployment, okay, are you >> answer --djuvant -- >> no, i'm asking about florida so i can answer your questions. >> i don't know if there's a way to get our state government to help people when it's necessary. >> well, , the question i ask hm we did have tiger team in florida have been able to assess the system in florida. florida is one of the state that is working with the department of labor to better receive the grand stilton and limit some changes in florida. so to my knowledge the relationship between the department of labor and florida's unemployment office has been strong, been good and where working there. i can't promise that particular
case as you know we don't have the ability to increase benefits and the timing of giving benefits out and have instituted a program but what we can do is work to fix some the shortfalls and make recommendations to florida. in some cases i i just finishd the book on frances perkins and there was a real move at one time to make social security administration a federal program where we set the benefit across the board but they decided acted to make it a state program. we administer it and they do it. i think i've gone back and forth on being in the legislature in massachusetts and push for higher benefits and being the secretary of labor i think at this moment i wish it was a federal program so they could do some real improvement there. >> thank you. i know you're lots of ideas on creating good-paying jobs. we note unemployment is very, very low in this country now. what is the relationship between immigration and giving us, you
know, it's the labor shortage. you want to create more good jobs, that means the would be more labor short? >> i'm glad you open the door for me. i don't know if i'll get myself in trouble but the reality of the situation is when you immigration reform and the united states of america. i have talked to every business, republicans and democrats, go talk to businesses and your communities privately and asked them what they want. every single company will say we need immigration reform. big companies, small companies, we need more workers in this country. we are a country that constantly depends on immigrant workers. we always have. my parents were two of those workers akin to this country. we were a country who want to continue to move forward we need to figure out some immigration laws and get some reforms. we need real immigration reform in this country for a pathway to
citizenship because those are some of the challenges. i'm speaking to congress and i know nothing will happen about it. i'll be completely honest with you and i think it's unfortunate but talk to your employers, talk to your employers in any district, they can put in his country. >> i got to get one more question in. >> i'm not filibustering. >> listen, we were talking about inflation. in my opinion, and many, the president is being unfairly blamed for inflation. i would say covid is the biggest factor but one of the analysis i heard has to do with supply and demand versus supply -- demand for products versus demand for services. would you comment on the? >> the president is taking it for inflation and he is the president so obviously he has big broad shoulders we can take it by different think there's lots of challenges why we're in this economy, why 4.5 million
people quit the job less but because of code. we are seeing more of violence against nurses because of covid. covid has cost a lot of concern but again we can't blame covid paragraph to address the issue and the president has a plan to address the issue. i was asked what am i doing a little role to deal with inflation? where working on supply chain issues. secretary buttigieg is working on issues. this isn't all of government, i'm not going to blame anybody for the inflation issue. what we had to do is address the inflation issue. >> thank you, madam chair. i am thank you also. >> thank you. >> mr. klein. >> thank you, madam chair. thank you, mr. secretary. talking about the labor shortage. i just can't grasp why in light of the unprecedented labor shortage and employs reports of increasing prepared as a
department not supporting an effect now attending to eliminate industry recognized upmanship programs. i know you asked this by my good friend from oklahoma but even without federal funding the programs were expanding valuable partnership opportunities for workers and employers alike in fields in the rapidly changing, rapidly developing. and feel so disproportionally filled by women and minorities. can you comment on that? >> the administration, i am certain committed. the administration is committed to expanding registered apprenticeship and industry driven programs. that's how to work. proven flexible models that we can go across industry on. we don't need a disconnect, in my opinion i disconnected to put the program that does nothing but create confusion. the eye wraps will he proven. they were created and then to wherever they were a few years ago and we have a program friendship program that works in the country. they don't have to be a union apprenticeship program.
they can be -- what i talk but expanding registered apprenticeship to not talk about expanding union, i thought about a pernicious tendencies that are proven to work. >> let me just say hope they don't duplicate existing upmanship programs because often those are not working. the federal government spends billions each year on shokin programs that feel to let workers with that you expect that helps them to find and retain jobs. even gold standard evaluation that a government workforce investment act which is both provide training for interventions that only 32% of participants on occupations and air training and the majority 57% did not believe their training help them find implement. moreover, individual receiving the full workforce training are less likely to think health insurance or pension benefits, the households on several thousand dollars less and more likely to be in food stamp participants who received services. national job corps study found
federal taxpayer investment of 25,000 per job corporate is the result advertisement think less likely to high school at home, no more likely to do a complete college and earn only $22 more a week, not surprising that the federal programs including upmanship programs are out of touch with the needs of employers in high demand occupations because bureaucrats in washington can never know businesses need better than employers themselves. i think better for the economy for the supply chain shortages that you're talking about in a way to address the supply chain, supporting the industry led upmanship programs of the first way to start. >> thank you. let me first and foremost, i agree with you. i have concerns about job corps. i've had conversation with many members of congress about job corps both strengthen job corps. i've talked to mayors in cities
that job corps exists, ask them to partner with us because quite honestly the mayors and the local authority has to be part of the solution because right now what i see with job course independent entities around the country doing the best they can but there's an opportunity. with 37,000 and people who go through job corps every year that we potential the great job training programs right in her own backyard meaning in the federal government so what to strengthen that i do talk to the caucus and you will see i think we've asked for budget request for job corps as well. on the apprenticeship stuff, i wouldn't necessarily say i don't know if i apprenticeship i think some of her workforce development programs have not been as successful as they need to be. what we've done, what i try to get at the department of labor is really change the way we're making investments in some of it we can do because we have the flexibility and a lot of cases i don't have the flexibility to change the workforce development program or the job training program because when it comes to me through congress and
investment estimate as to follow parameters. it's not, no strings attached investments that i would like to have more of. >> -- varying degrees of need in states, right? >> in some cases depending on the grants. we have to change that because the challenges, i spent a lot of time talking to employers, if you ask the employer, i set the chamber of commerce the other day, as a democratic secretary of labor i probably spend more time talking to businesses than probably some of my predecessors, and to do that because it's important as a think about creating workforce development and job training programs. again to your comments, and needs to be created from the employer side and tell us what the new as far as how to move forward and that's historically how i've always to do. were working to change that way. when i think of future apprenticeships in this country i think of a program that will be built by the business community to help us understand the needs they have so we can make the right investments.
tinker air force base, that is, at a set this to the commanding officer down there, there's no point of me creating a program in the department of labor when, in fact, you understand what you need. i can make a program of it might not be specific to your needs. my office does that. we reach out to businesses. >> we need to cut the strings interstate or control give industry more control. we have to help them. >> we have to monitor the states. not all states do it well either. >> i'll ask about transparency in the next round of questions. i yield back. >> ms. watson-coleman. >> thank you very much, madam chairwoman. thank you, mr. secretary, for being here. first of all i've agreed with your assessment of things and our need to ensure there's better inclusion and there are better jobs and we work to put
resources into ensuring that those that are underrepresented have access to the training and good jobs. what i'm not clear on is how you intend to accomplish some of these things. the unemployment rate is very, very low. can you tell me what it is again real fast? >> 3.6%. >> the unemployment rate for black women is -- >> 5%. >> the unemployment rate for black men? >> i think, i think it's probably in the -- it's probably in the sixes. >> is there an employment shortage and employee shortage because we don't have enough people to work, or because we have a significant amount of people particularly in the black community that can't work for one reason, either it's -- >> i think the answer is for both reasons but the significant
amount of folks in the black community and communities of color and women that right now are sidelined are working in jobs they are not earning a living wage and through job training programs and workforce development programs we can quickly get people trained up to get better paying jobs into better industries. >> i agree with you. how are we going to accomplish that? what is it that your department is going to do either alone or in conjunction with other departments to get more women and minorities into these training programs for good marketable jobs? what specifically do you see planning out to reach them and to engage in? >> we are doing that to our investments in a workforce development grants that desha reauthorization grants. i think congress is voting on that today. >> i know the investments are going there. what are the mechanisms to get a better program and better
involvement? participation specifically but better outreach, better support. what is it that you're proposing to do that will manifest these ideals that you have, these new investments that we are willing to support? >> first and foremost i would like a little more discretion with investment in the grants. a lot of our grants are funding a lot of discretion rent in. i would like to people to invest in them. we are working with, we have to work with and we need to work with states and cities, workforce you want boards around the country. we put the grants through them and they get the programs. that's one way. the second way quite honestly is continuing to meet with employers where they're at. so we understand the challenges they have and create direct programs. the larger employers and the
unions. unions have unique opportunity as well to open their doors to allow people the opportunity. i think in some ways, i wouldn't say reinvent the process but we have to do some significant surgically precise investments in communities. >> let me ask you to make quick questions. number one is to have enough staff that will be able to monitor what is happening to ensure that these programs are moving in a manner and direction you want or do you need more sort of monitoring staff? >> complete honest i need more staff that we are understaffed of the department of labor. we are understaffed in a lot of different places and the american rescue plan helps us but we are understaffed and all of our office we could use more people. >> i'm very concern about the reentry of programs and the opportunities for returning citizens can whether or not they are the youth that are really fertile for some new training, and the older folks that need to
be retraining, redirected and supported. and i was wondering, and they are trying to get jobs. what specifically are you are looking at doing to work with that population? which is coming back into our community. >> first and foremost the president's budget has have grant proposals that focus on disadvantaged communities, part of that president is focused on reentry as a major opportunity in our country. listen, there are people in our prison system right now that are not counted as potential future workers in america. if we set the right training programs up and the right job opportunities and meet people where they're at we can create a whole new pathway. i rarely have seen someone who is incarcerated comes out, gets into a good chapter and program, and earns a good living. they don't reoffend if they don't go back to jail because they don't have an opportunity and i seemed a close and
personal in the past and i think we have unique opportunity now in our country we also have a couple job corps centers in america job centers inside prisons in america that we are working to help train workers. with real training, not fake training. not giving them some type of certificate but real training that's connected to a job. that's going to be the answer to the future. how do we connect folks with job training to a real job. >> thank you. i think it is very much quality and training in preparation it's very important you have the kind of stuff you need to ensure this is having. let me be a partner weber. 90. thank you, madam chair and thank you, mr. secretary. >> thank you, congresswoman. thank you. mr. harder. >> anti-semites for hosting and thank you, secretary walsh are being here. we have an affordability crisis in our community and much of a comes down to our young people who are struggling to find jobs that pay enough. i spent a lot of time talking to
our employers, and you did and do, and i hear a lot of them about how hard it is to hire how much of a labor shortage their struggle with every day. but at the time i also spent a lot of time talking to student right of high school, right out of community college and the tell me how much challenges they are having as well. more than 75% of youth in our area expressed concerns that will not have the skills necessary to secure a job. this disconnect i think represents an enormous policy failure. we need you to a better job of helping our next generation develop the skills that they need to take those jobs that are right in committees like mine. there are some programs that are somewhat helpful and need workforce training but they're not perfect and not nearly enough and there's frankly so many young people who are left behind an overlooked by these
programs, and i attribute to brain drain in this excite my aunt also to a real crisis for our employers as well. i know that the president's budget request includes a proposal for a new program that the national youth employment program, i would love to hear more about this program and how you actually envision this addressing the current capital workforce development and what else can we do to address this disconnect that seems pretty prevalent? thank you. >> thank you, congressman. first and foremost i think with a big opportunity here with young people in america to really create and get some opportunities into innovative careers, you're just a good part of that. for many years and discussion we've only been focus on pushing kids into a four-year college system and we have an amazing to me college system in our country that allows people to work and get a grant processes and work with employers again on what's
needed. i think we need to start being smart about investment. young people are smart about what the what the future to be. in some cases they're tn but they know they don't want to work at a fast food restaurant and make ten bucks an hour or 15 bucks an hour. they want to do better than that. a lot of investment the the president is making whether it's in youth bills or even job corps, web to create better pathways for young people and we have to meet them where they're at and really figure out how to move forward. i think we have to be strategic plus it's an opportunity we saw two months ago in the jobs numbers one of the biggest gains was young people that had less than a high school diploma, the highest number of employed people in the last 25 years in our country. so we are seeing people look for opportunities. we need to help them and put them on a pathway to some type of career that are interested in. a lot of them are not sure what the what. that's why think apprenticeship
is key for that generation. >> absolutely. thank you for that. i couldn't agree more. more than four out of five adults white district doesn't have a four-year college degree. the only route to the middle class, leaving a lot of people out. this disconnect does feel to be more impactful in certain areas than others. would the department of labor consider rural areas or compared to national unemployment rate when awarding fees these ce grants? i am worried with a program that's already fairly small that it might not be going to the places that need it most. >> certainly i would love to work with you on that. some of the grant proposals we have our competitive and we can't do that, and other heirs with discretionary funds we can build programs and rural america or areas that might not even getting the proper attention
they need. i would love to work with your office on the absolutely, no question about that. >> thank you so much. look forward to working in an area with high and implement just a couple hours away from an area that has low unemployment. we want to make sure those weren't capable programs are going where the need to be. i yield back. >> congresswoman loretta. >> thank you so much, madam chair. thank you so much for being here, secretary. you have the amazing good fortune as i did to tour the new zero factory, and walking about that factory we saw that there were more robots than the work people. well, in the past it was filled with hundreds of employees who are working every day. but as new technology progressed, we now need more technicians and more computer programmers than we did assembly
workers. so my question is about upscaling. there are some people especially in the auto industry who have given almost 20 years of their life to being an effective and knowledgeable assembly worker. .. >> so they could retool it for new technology which included the robots that are going to do the work of people. and some people lost their jobs during the pandemic, as we know, but how can we continue to invest in our work force
where we're not discounting hundreds of people who, by no-fault of their own, are now displaced or unemployed? >> now, thank you very much, congresswoman. let me just say this. in talking and in hearing every question that was asked of me today, every question was in some ways geared toward what the future of what work looks like in america and the challenges we have, whether it's immigration or h2 visas and development. i think as a government we have a unique opportunity at this moment in time to make investments in workers unlike we've seen. that's young workers, not going to college and getting job training. when i think of dislocated work investment or what have you, it comes down to job training. when i was in that factory. we were in the factory at the
gm facility, there was a young woman there, she was 16 years on the job or 14 years on the job, a uaw member and when she started the job she was getting dirty every day and she was in lugnuts and wrenches, a she's still working there, she's retrained as a technician in that factory to work in her career. as a country we need to do better jobs creating job opportunities and path ways to job training programs, folks in job corps or folks in prison or women of color, with whoever it is, we a unique opportunity in this moment in time, in this committee and the appropriations that you're going to give us through the department of labor and the budget. i'm going to do everything i can, as long as i'm secretary of labor to make sure that the investments are making a difference. i'm not going to get caught up in the politics and make sure i make a difference in people's
lives, whether that's urban america, rural america, downtown washington d.c., albuquerque, new mexico, i want to make sure that it's one of the departments that they say, wow, we help build the work force of the future and people can be proud of who they are. that's my goal and my job, i don't know if that answers your question, congresswoman, but i think we do have a unique opportunity at this moment in time. >> what i was looking for as the commitment to understand the opportunities that it's overlooked and we em prays new technology and we need it for so many reasons and going to advanced technology and to deal with our climate issues, but we can't turn our back on those people who are going to be dislocated. and our last concern i wanted to talk to you about, our community college investments.
often time, not only in the community, but in private company who do the apprenticeship training, it's been brought up before, at the end of that, all they have is certificates, but not a job and so many employers are saying that they need certain things, and how can we match our federal dollars that we've paid to get people certified, will equate to them being hired? it's a gap there that's frustrating to no end. >> i think we have to work strongly with our community college systems. and recently announced, strengthening in community college and a training grant and we're going to award to-- and the community colleges they've gone to. i've been to the technical college, montgomery in maryland, delgado in warren,
lorraine in ohio, and thomas nelson in newport news, virginia and i spent a lot of time in the colleges in this country and i think it's important that we continue to work with them and grant programs is the best way to help them and working with their legislatures. and a lot of money come from the state and we need to make sure we support them. and that's the best networking we have in this country to really, with job training and work force development in our system. we have with unin almost every district in the country. and some of you have more than one. and we have an opportunity to strengthen the community college and really prepare people for the future. again, working with our business community and also working with our community colleges. >> the accountability of matching skills with jobs is something i feel is a very high standard for you.
thank you, i'll yield back. >> thank you, i'd like to ask congressman harris to close and we're looking at a 11:00 greek prime minister so we're-- i'll be brief and i'm going to ask you to be brief. >> i will, madam chair, thank you so much. mr. secretary, it's good to see you and as a faculty member i should enjoy the other two parts of what the committee's jurisdictions are. and i enjoy yours because you want it, and i love your enthusiasm about making american workers first, foremost. in a global economy, it's not an easy job. the need for technical training is important, and prison rehabilitation, huge issue, that's the way we solve some of our crimes crisis, there's no question about it and anything you could do would be appreciated. legal immigration, you're right, we should appreciate,
i'm the son of immigrants, you're the son of immigrants, and this is for the work force, shame on congress for not recognizing that. i can speak for my members of the aisle, we enjoyed very much working with you, because you have a can-do attitude keeping american workers first. i appreciate that. >> thank you. >> with that i'll yield back. >> thank you, and i think you summed it up in the future of the american work force, i'm so you're reading francis perkens, perkins is a hero. and when asked, i said i wanted to be francis perkins. your that's where we come into play here, we have the ability to provide the investments that
haven't been made over the years and that's what is critical and working-- working men and women have for a long time thought that they have been on their own and that they don't have the kind of support they need from government in order to help them with job training, with wages, or if their wages are stolen from them. or if their place of work is not an environment where they can be safe and so forth. they've been through a tough time in the last two years, but you said it in your closing, in your conclusion, and your testimony. despite all that we have for workers across the nation, still showing up every day, to help meet this moment, we have the responsibility to meet this moment and to help you to meet that moment and we're committed to doing that, i want you to know that. >> thank you for what you're doing and for your support of america.
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