The Department of Labor supports the work force by improving working conditions and protecting employee benefits. Business owners often look upon this department with the same distain that police officers regard Internal Affairs. They are the administrator and enforcer of employment policies and their interest is, in fact, to the wage-earner, retiree and job seeker (the employee) and not the employer.
That doesn’t mean that the Department of Labor offers neither grant nor contracting opportunities for your business, however. Two of the nine key agencies that support the department, the Employment and Training Administration and Veterans’ Employment and Training Service (VETS), are focused on today’s hot topic: Getting Americans back to work. Because this is such a pressing issue, contracts and grants abound for those companies who train or retrain employees. In 2013 alone, the US Department of Labor allocated 6% of its total spend of $1,622,141,239 on Vocational/Technical training and another 1% on Other Education & Training Services
Two other agencies are focused on safety. The Occupational Safety & Health Administration, or OSHA as it’s commonly called, is charged with assuring a safe and healthy working environment by setting and enforcing safety standards. The Mine Safety & Health Administration is charged with the same tasks as OSHA but specifically relating to prevention of death, disease and injury in the Nation’s mines. An integral component required for each of these agencies to meet their objectives is training and education.
Another two agencies are dedicated to employment issues relating to specific groups of individuals. The Women’s Bureau develops policies and standards to protect the interests of women in the workforce. The agency advocates for women’s equality and the economic security of women and their families. The Office of Disability Employment Services’ mission is to develop disability employment-related policies and practices with the goal of affecting an increase in the employment of individuals with disabilities.
The Employee Benefits Security Administration is charged with the daunting task of educating and assisting the 150 million Americans covered by over 718,000 private retirement plans, 2.6 million health plans and other plans totaling over$6.5 Trillion in assets. And the Bureau of Labor Statistics compiles and publishes all of the data and statistics about the labor force and makes that information available to the general public.
The last key agency in the US Department of Labor is the Bureau of International Labor Affairs. This agency is tasked with ensuring workers around the globe are treated fairly and can share in the benefit of the global economy. By using all available international channels, this agency improves working conditions, raises living standards and addresses the workplace exploitation of children and other vulnerable populations.
There is a common thread that links almost every agency in this department together; and that commonality is training & education. Whether that’s actual job training for those individuals who wish to get back into the workforce, benefits training and education for the active and retired workforce, safety training to make for a safer work environment or workplace training to expand opportunities for equality in the workforce for women and the disabled; companies who are in the training sector or are vertically aligned with this industry can benefit from the grant and contacting opportunities in the Department of Labor.