Notice of Availability of Funds and Solicitation for Grant Applications for the Older Worker Demonstration
The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), Employment and Training Administration (ETA) announces the availability of approximately $10 million in funds for Older Worker Demonstration Grants. These grants will be awarded though a competitive process as a part of the High Growth Job Training Initiative (HGJTI). The grants are intended to address the workforce challenges facing older individuals by developing models for talent development in regional economies that recognize older workers as a valuable labor pool and include employment and training strategies to retain and/or connect older workers to jobs in high growth, high demand industries critical to the regional economy. Grants awarded under the Older Worker Demonstration should focus on providing training and related services for individuals age 55 and older that result in employment and advancement opportunities in high growth industries and economic sectors. The proposed strategies must take place in the context of regional talent development efforts designed to contribute to a strong regional economy, and must be developed and implemented by a strategic regional partnership. The preferred eligible applicants for this solicitation are entities that represent the local workforce investment system, but other entities may apply. It is anticipated that the number of awards will range from 10 to 13, with award amounts ranging from $750,000 to $1,000,000. This solicitation provides background information and describes the application submission requirements, outlines the process that eligible entities must use to apply for funds covered by this solicitation, and details how grantees will be selected.
Labor Certification Process and Enforcement for Temporary Employment in Occupations Other Than Agriculture or Registered Nursing in the United States (H-2B Workers), and Other Technical Changes
The Employment and Training Administration (ETA) of the Department of Labor (DOL or the Department) is amending its regulations to modernize the procedures for the issuance of labor certifications to employers sponsoring H-2B nonimmigrants for admission to perform temporary nonagricultural labor or services and the procedures for enforcing compliance with attestations made by those employers. Specifically, this Final Rule re-engineers the application filing and review process by centralizing processing and by enabling employers to conduct pre-filing recruitment of United States (U.S.) workers. In addition, the rule enhances the integrity of the H-2B program through the introduction of post-adjudication audits and procedures for penalizing employers who fail to comply with program requirements. This rule also makes technical changes to the regulations relating to both the H-1B program and the permanent labor certification program to reflect operational changes stemming from this regulation. Although Congress has conferred the statutory authority to enforce H-2B program requirements on the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), recent discussions between DHS and the Department have yielded an agreement for the delegation of H-2B enforcement authority from DHS to the Department. This Final Rule contains the Wage and Hour Division (WHD) regulations establishing the H-2B enforcement procedures that the Department will institute pursuant to that agreement. Separately, this Final Rule institutes conditions and procedures for the debarment of employers, attorneys, and agents participating in the H-2B foreign labor certification process. As discussed further below, the Department intends to exercise its inherent authority under case law and general principles of program administration to determine what entities practice before it.
Temporary Agricultural Employment of H-2A Aliens in the United States; Modernizing the Labor Certification Process and Enforcement
The Department of Labor (DOL or Department) is amending its regulations regarding the certification for the temporary employment of nonimmigrant workers in agricultural occupations on a temporary or seasonal basis, and the enforcement of the contractual obligations applicable to employers of such nonimmigrant workers. This final rule re-engineers the process by which employers obtain a temporary labor certification from the Department for use in petitioning the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to employ a nonimmigrant worker in H-2A (agricultural temporary worker) status. The final rule utilizes an attestation-based application process based on pre-filing recruitment and eliminates duplicative H-2A activities currently performed by State Workforce Agencies (SWAs) and the Department. The rule also provides enhanced enforcement, including more rigorous penalties, to complement the modernized certification process and to appropriately protect workers.
Announcement of Public Briefings on Using the New H-2A Temporary Agricultural Labor Certification Program
The Office of Foreign Labor Certification (OFLC) in the Department of Labor's Employment & Training Administration (ETA) has been re-engineering several of its programs, including the H-2A foreign agricultural worker labor certification program. The Wage and Hour Division (WHD) of the Employment Standards Administration (ESA) has been amending contractual obligations applicable to employers of workers subject to Section 218 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). The Department published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) to redesign the H-2A agricultural labor certification program on February 13, 2008. The Department is currently reviewing public comments on this proposed rule and intends to publish final regulations before the end of the calendar year. In addition, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has published an NPRM to amend its H-2A regulations and intends to publish a final rule before the end of the calendar year as well. Pursuant to the Department of Labor final rule, changes to information collection and regulatory requirements will affect the application forms. The H-2A program will no longer use the Form ETA 750 (OMB control number 1205-0015). Instead the program will utilize the new Form ETA 9142 (OMB control number 1205-0466). The new regulations also federalize the prevailing wage determination process in the H-2A program. ETA and ESA are issuing this notice to announce that they will offer at least two public briefings to educate stakeholders, program users, and other interested members of the public on using the re- engineered program and new form. Representatives from DHS will also be joining the Department of Labor at the briefing sessions. As currently planned, the two briefings will take place in late 2008 in Atlanta and Denver. This notice provides the public with locations, dates, and registration information regarding the briefings. However, these briefings are subject to change and/or cancellation without further notice in the Federal Register. In the event of a change participants who have registered will be notified.