The U.S. Department of Labor recently outlined its part of the president’s fiscal year 2012 budget request to Congress. The department’s budget request focuses on efficiently achieving the department’s goals while exercising fiscal restraint.

“Our fiscal year 2012 request reflects what it will take to keep America’s work force strong and innovative,” said Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis. “It also makes responsible and reasonable cuts that are rooted in current economic realities and a continued focus on increased efficiency and effectiveness.”

The department’s budget request totals $12.8 billion in discretionary funding. The budget aims to help Americans find and keep jobs through programs that provide training and employment opportunities for unemployed adults, dislocated workers and vulnerable communities. The budget also preserves support for employment and training programs that target Native American communities. The department will continue to support veterans by investing an additional $2 million in the Transition Assistance Program and an additional $3 million in the Homeless Veterans Reintegration Program.

Job training programs need to be as efficient and effective as possible. In order to test new ideas and replicate proven strategies to deliver comprehensive and cost-effective services that help individuals acquire skills and succeed in employment, the 2012 budget will reinvest funding previously allocated to the states in order to establish a Workforce Innovation Fund. The budget proposes almost $380 million for the fund in the U.S. Departments of Labor and Education, which will jointly oversee competitive grants to support innovative, systemic and evidence-based reforms in the work force system.

The 2012 budget also includes cuts. For instance, the budget eliminates the $125 million Career Pathways Innovation Fund and reduces funding for Job Corps construction to cover higher operations costs.
The department will continue its commitment to enhancing worker safety. Further, the department will invest almost $50 million to combat worker misclassification.

For more information on the 2012 budget request for the Department of Labor, visit www.dol.gov/budget.