Relaunching America’s Workforce Act: $100M in Vital State LMI Funding

The recently introduced Relaunching America’s Workforce Act (RAWA) would deliver $100M in vital state LMI funding. In the previous 2008-2009 financial crisis, resulting in the Great Recession, state labor market information (LMI) agencies were called upon to produce critical information to monitor both immediate and ongoing impacts to their respective state economies, as well as to produce information on high-demand jobs in order to help state residents get back to work in a next generation of good, high-paying jobs. At the time, the federal government used ARRA money to double the funding to state LMI shops to support this need for good research and information.  We are now faced with a similar, and perhaps even greater need for this information, given the scale of COVID-19 worker displacement.

Fortunately, the valuable work of LMI shops across the country are being recognized with the LMI provisions currently included in RAWA. If passed, the Act would authorize $15 billion to supercharge existing American workforce development and education investments under the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act of 2014 (WIOA) and the Perkins Career and Technical Education (CTE) Act of 2006.

Included in the Act is an additional $100,000,000 for workforce information systems improvements, including for electronic tools and system building, which is the source for Workforce Information Grant (WIG) funds to state LMI shops. 

Federal funding to state labor market information offices has declined significantly in real terms over the past two decades, yet there are more demands for labor market information and more demands for electronic delivery directly to customers. The passage of RAWA would bring an important boost to the efforts of state LMI shops.

The LMI funding to address Covid-19 and worker dislocation would be directed to the following activities:

  • Workforce information grants to States for the development of labor market insights and evidence on the State and local impacts of COVID–19 and on promising reemployment strategies, and to improve access to tools and equipment for virtual products and service delivery;
  • The Workforce Information Technology Support Center, to facilitate voluntary State participation in multi-State data collaboratives that develop real-time State and local labor market insights on the impacts of COVID–19 and evidence to promote more rapid reemployment and economic mobility, using cross-State and cross-agency administrative data; and
  • Improvements in short- and long-term State and local occupational and employment projections to facilitate reemployment, economic mobility, and economic development strategies.

The LMI Institute, working with NASWA and other workforce system partners, will continue to support RAWA and will keep you posted on its progress.

Click here for a copy of the bill text. The LMI provisions start on page 25.