< Back to H.R. 5015 (107th Congress, 2001–2002)

Text of the Rural Self-Sufficiency and Workforce Advancement Act

This bill was introduced on June 25, 2002, in a previous session of Congress, but was not enacted. The text of the bill below is as of Jun 25, 2002 (Introduced).

Source: GPO

HR 5015 IH

107th CONGRESS

2d Session

H. R. 5015

To promote workforce development in rural areas and assist low income residents of rural communities in moving from welfare to work.

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

June 25, 2002

Mrs. CLAYTON introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Education and the Workforce


A BILL

To promote workforce development in rural areas and assist low income residents of rural communities in moving from welfare to work.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

    This Act may be cited as the ‘Rural Self-Sufficiency and Workforce Advancement Act’.

SEC. 2. FINDINGS.

    The Congress finds the following:

      (1) Unemployment and underemployment rates are higher in rural than in urban areas.

      (2) Jobs in rural areas are more heavily concentrated in minimum wage, part-time, and seasonal employment than in urban areas.

      (3) Average earnings are lower and poverty rates are higher in rural areas than in urban areas.

      (4) Work support services such as education and job training, child care, and public transportation are less available in rural areas.

      (5) Rural residents have less formal education than do urban residents.

      (6) Overall, the barriers to successfully moving from welfare to work and to achieving economic stability and security among low-income families are greater in rural than in urban and suburban areas.

      (7) Research on rural welfare reform has shown that--

        (A) State welfare reform programs have found positive impacts on long-term welfare recipients in urban areas but not in rural areas;

        (B) employment, earnings, and poverty outcomes have been found to be worse for rural single mothers than for urban single mothers during the 1990s; and

        (C) there is some evidence that it is more difficult to reduce welfare caseloads in rural areas than in urban ones.

      (8) One of the main purposes of the 1996 welfare reform law was to move all low-income families toward economic self-sufficiency and not just those residing in urban and suburban areas.

      (9) Therefore, additional jobs, work supports, and targeted resources are needed to support low-income residents of rural areas in entering the workforce and moving towards self-sufficiency.

SEC. 3. GRANTS FOR TRANSITIONAL JOBS PROGRAMS.

    (a) IN GENERAL- The Secretary of Health and Human Services (in this section referred to as the ‘Secretary’) shall make grants among eligible applicants, on a competitive basis, in accordance with this section.

    (b) APPLICATION REQUIREMENTS- An entity desiring to receive a grant under this section shall submit to the Secretary an application in such form and manner and at such time as the Secretary may require. Any such application shall include a description of--

      (1) the local labor market of the eligible rural area, the barriers that low income individuals face in the labor market, and the problems associated with implementing welfare reform in the area;

      (2) how the applicant’s use of grant funds under subsection (d) will address the problems referred to in paragraph (1); and

      (3) the criteria which the applicant will use to select entities to participate in the provision of transitional jobs and employment services under a transitional jobs program established by the applicant, as described in subsection (e).

    (c) BASIS FOR COMPETITION- In determining whether to make a grant to an applicant under this section, the Secretary shall consider the following:

      (1) The percentage by which the national average unemployment or poverty rate is exceeded by the unemployment or poverty rate in the area in which the program proposed in the application would seek to provide transitional jobs.

      (2) The extent to which the program proposed in the application would be effective in helping the program participants achieve stable employment and job advancement.

      (3) The extent to which the program proposed in the application would seek to place participants in transitional jobs that expand the diversity of the local economy and that are not in traditional rural occupations such as agriculture, mining, and forestry.

      (4) The extent to which the program proposed in the application was developed in consultation and coordination with appropriate stakeholders in the eligible rural areas, including--

        (A) potential program participants;

        (B) employers;

        (C) labor organizations;

        (D) community-based organizations; and

        (E) units of local government.

    (d) USE OF GRANT FUNDS-

      (1) IN GENERAL- Each grantee shall use the grant funds to--

        (A) establish a transitional jobs program as described in subsection (e);

        (B) provide each program participant with an individualized plan of services as described in subsection (f); and

        (C) prepare and submit the reports described in subsection (g).

      (2) LIMITATION ON ADMINISTRATIVE EXPENSES- A grantee shall not use more than 10 percent of the grant funds for administrative expenses

(including expenses associated with preparing and submitting the reports described in subsection (g)).

    (e) REQUIREMENTS FOR A TRANSITIONAL JOBS PROGRAM- With respect to the transitional jobs program of the grantee, the grantee shall ensure the following:

      (1) IN GENERAL- The transitional jobs program shall--

        (A) place each program participant in a position of employment with an employer in the eligible rural area; and

        (B) provide for the reimbursement of each such employer in an amount equal to 100 percent (50 percent in the case of any for-profit employer) of the sum of all wages paid to each program participant employed by such employer and all payroll taxes required to be paid by such employer with respect to each such participant.

      (2) MEANS TEST FOR PROGRAM PARTICIPANTS- Each program participant shall be an individual who has income that is less than 185 percent of the poverty line (as defined in section 673(2) of the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1981, including any revision required by such section, applicable to a family of the size involved), and not less than 50 percent of all such participants in the program shall have income that is less than 100 percent of the poverty line (as of the date that such participants enroll in the program).

      (3) DURATION OF EMPLOYMENT- A program participant shall not be placed in a position of employment for more than 12 months.

      (4) MINIMUM WAGE- A program participant shall not be placed in a position of employment which is compensated at a rate less than the greatest applicable minimum wage provided under Federal or State law.

      (5) HOURS PER WEEK-

        (A) IN GENERAL- Each program participant shall be placed in a position of employment which provides for such number of hours of employment per week as equals or exceeds the relevant minimum and does not exceed the relevant maximum.

        (B) RELEVANT MAXIMUM- For purposes of subparagraph (A), the term ‘relevant maximum’ means, with respect to any program participant for any week, the difference between 40 and the number of hours such participant participates in counseling, training, and services during such week under subsection (f)(3).

        (C) RELEVANT MINIMUM- For purposes of subparagraph (A) and except as provided in subparagraph (D), the term ‘relevant minimum’ means, with respect to any program participant for any week, the difference between 30 and the number of hours such participant participates in counseling, training, and services during such week under subsection (f)(3).

        (D) EXCEPTION TO RELEVANT MINIMUM- With respect to any program participant for any week, the relevant minimum may be determined by substituting ‘20’ for ‘30’ in subparagraph (C) if such participant--

          (i) is a parent with a child who--

            (I) has not attained 6 years of age;

            (II) is disabled; or

            (III) has other special needs; or

          (ii) is an individual, or a member of a class of individuals, identified by the Secretary for purposes of this clause as eligible for reduced hours.

      (6) REQUIREMENTS RELATED TO WORKER PROTECTIONS- With respect to the program, the grantee shall ensure the following:

        (A) LIMIT ON PROGRAM PARTICIPATION- An employer with more than 20 employees shall not employ a program participant if more than 5 percent of such employer’s workforce would consist of program participants as a result of such employment. An employer with 20 or fewer employees shall not employ more than 1 program participant at a time or employ any program participant for more than 12 months during any 18-month period.

        (B) NONDISPLACEMENT- An employer shall not--

          (i) displace an employee or position (including partial displacement such as reduction in hours, wages, or benefits) or impair a contract or collective bargaining agreement, as a result of the employment of a program participant, or

          (ii) assign any program participant to fill any established unfilled vacancy or to perform any service, duty, or activity with respect to which an individual has recall rights pursuant to a collective bargaining agreement or applicable personnel procedures, or which had been performed by or assigned to an employee who--

            (I) resigned or was discharged during the preceding 12 months;

            (II) is subject to a reduction in force;

            (III) is on leave;

            (IV) is on strike; or

            (V) is being locked out.

        (C) PROMOTIONAL OPPORTUNITY- An employer shall not assign any program participant to an employment position if any employee of such employer is eligible and qualified to be promoted to such position.

        (D) CONSULTATION- Before placing any program participant, the grantee shall consult with the appropriate local labor organizations representing employees in the area who are engaged in the same or similar work as that proposed for the participant, to ensure compliance with this paragraph.

    (f) REQUIREMENTS FOR INDIVIDUALIZED PLANS OF SERVICES-

      (1) IN GENERAL- The grantee shall develop an individual plan of services for each program participant designed to prepare such participant for employment positions available in the local economy which offer the potential for advancement and growth.

      (2) COUNSELING AND TRAINING- Each plan developed under paragraph (1) shall provide for--

        (A) case management services to monitor the progress of the participant;

        (B) appropriate education, training, and other services to prepare the participant for employment;

        (C) job placement assistance; and

        (D) counseling and other services to aid the participant in obtaining and retaining employment.

      (3) DURATION- Each plan developed under paragraph (1) shall provide for at least 6 (and not more than 15) hours per week of counseling, training, and services for each program participant during the 24-month period beginning on the date that such participant is placed in a position of employment under the program.

      (4) STIPEND- Under each plan developed under paragraph (1), the grantee shall pay the program participant a weekly stipend in an amount equal to the product of--

        (A) the hourly wage earned by such participant in the position of employment in which such participant is placed under the program, and

        (B) the number of hours of counseling, training, and services in which the participant took part during such week.

    (g) ANNUAL REPORTS-

      (1) IN GENERAL- Each grantee shall submit to the Secretary an annual report described in paragraph (2) for each year during which any program participant participated in a transitional jobs program under subsection (e) or received a stipend under subsection (f)(4).

      (2) FORM AND CONTENTS- Each report submitted under paragraph (1) shall be submitted at such time and in such form and manner as the Secretary may require, and shall include--

        (A) demographic information about each participant, including education level, literacy level, and prior work experience;

        (B) the identity of each entity that provided counseling, training, or services to any participant under subsection (f) and a description of the counseling, training, or services so provided;

        (C) the number of participants who left the program before completing the program and the reasons therefore;

        (D) the number of participants who did and did not secure unsubsidized employment during--

          (i) the 60-day period beginning on the date that such participant completed the program; and

          (ii) the 60-day period beginning on the date that such participant completed the plan of services described in subsection (f); and

        (E) information regarding the unsubsidized employment secured by participants during the periods described in subparagraph (D), including industry, occupation, starting wages and hours, availability of employer sponsored health insurance, and sick and vacation leave.

    (h) PROGRAM ASSESSMENT-

      (1) IN GENERAL- The Secretary shall conduct a study regarding the employment and earnings status of program participants as of the date which is 12 months after the date such participant completes the plan of services described in subsection (f).

      (2) STATISTICAL SAMPLING- The Secretary shall conduct the study under paragraph (1) by using such method of statistical sampling as the Secretary determines appropriate to obtain an accurate representation of the employment and earnings status of all program participants.

      (3) GRANTEE COOPERATION- Each grantee shall provide such information as the Secretary may request for purposes of carrying out this subsection.

      (4) REPORT- The Secretary shall submit a report to Congress describing the results of the study conducted under paragraph (1) and including such conclusions, analysis, and recommendations as the Secretary considers appropriate.

    (i) DEADLINE FOR EXPENDITURE OF GRANT FUNDS-

      (1) RETURN OF UNEXPENDED FUNDS- A grantee to which funds are provided under this section shall remit to the Secretary any portion of such funds which are not expended within 3 years after date on which such funds are received by the grantee, except to the extent that the grantee demonstrates to the satisfaction of the Secretary that the grantee had good cause for not expending the funds.

      (2) REDISTRIBUTION OF UNEXPENDED FUNDS- The Secretary shall redistribute any funds remitted under paragraph (1) among other eligible applicants who have not received a grant under this section.

    (j) REGULATIONS AND NONCOMPLIANCE-

      (1) REGULATIONS- Within 90 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary shall prescribe such regulations as may be necessary to carry out this section, including procedures for the reporting of alleged violations of this section and remedies for such violations.

      (2) NONCOMPLIANCE- If a grantee fails to comply with any requirement of this title, the Secretary may take such actions as are necessary to obtain reimbursement of any grant funds which were misused or remain unused.

    (k) DEFINITIONS- In this section:

      (1) ELIGIBLE APPLICANTS- The term ‘eligible applicant’ means any of the following:

        (A) A unit of local government.

        (B) A community-based non-profit organization.

        (C) A labor organization.

        (D) An Indian tribe (as defined in section 4 of the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act (25 U.S.C. 450b)).

        (E) A community, technical, or vocational college.

        (F) A local welfare, human service, or workforce development agency.

        (G) An entity determined to be appropriate by the Secretary.

        (H) A combination of the entities described in this paragraph.

      (2) ELIGIBLE RURAL AREA-

        (A) IN GENERAL- Within 180 days after the date of the enactment of this section, the Secretary shall define the term ‘eligible rural area’ for purposes of this section.

        (B) CONSIDERATIONS- The Secretary shall consider including in the definition the following factors:

          (i) Poverty level.

          (ii) Trends pertaining to persistent poverty, joblessness, and population loss.

          (iii) Loss of agricultural or other natural resource-based employment.

          (iv) Significant labor market dependency on a single industry sector.

    (l) APPROPRIATIONS-

      (1) IN GENERAL- Out of any money in the Treasury of the United States not otherwise appropriated, there are appropriated to the Secretary $75,000,000 for each of fiscal years 2003 through 2007 to carry out this section.

      (2) LIMITATION ON USE OF FUNDS FOR ADMINISTRATIVE EXPENSES- Of any amount made available under paragraph (1) for a fiscal year, not more than 10 percent of such amount may be used by the Secretary for administrative expenses and evaluations.

SEC. 4. GRANTS TO IMPLEMENT RURAL WORKFORCE INVESTMENT PLANS.

    (a) PURPOSES- The purposes of this section are--

      (1) to provide rural communities with flexible resources to address labor market and workforce deficiencies;

      (2) to implement innovative community and workforce development strategies that strengthen rural economies and provide low-income individuals with jobs that will enable them to become economically independent; and

      (3) to provide the targeted resources necessary to ensure that rural, economically depressed regions do not continue to fall behind urban and suburban regions in welfare reform efforts.

    (b) GRANT AUTHORITY- The Secretary of Health and Human Services (in this section referred to as the ‘Secretary’) shall make grants among eligible applicants, on a competitive basis, in accordance with this section.

    (c) APPLICATION REQUIREMENTS- An entity desiring to receive a grant under this section shall submit to the Secretary an application at such time and in such form and manner as the Secretary may require. Any such application shall include a proposed rural workforce investment plan described in subsection (d).

    (d) RURAL WORKFORCE INVESTMENT PLAN-

      (1) PLAN REQUIREMENTS- Any rural workforce investment plan submitted by the applicant shall include--

        (A) a description of the workforce needs of the eligible rural area;

        (B) a description of the basic services in the eligible rural area that are available to assist low-income individuals in achieving economic security and stability;

        (C) a description of the opportunities for economic diversification and innovation in the eligible rural area, with particular attention to entrepreneurial support and innovation;

        (D) a description of the current and future human resource capacity of the eligible rural area;

        (E) an identification of innovative public and private collaborations in the eligible rural area that will build workforce capacity and provide low-income individuals with support in achieving economic stability and security;

        (F) a clear explanation of how the proposed activities and use of grant funds will increase the ability of low-income individuals to get and keep jobs that lead to economic security and stability;

        (G) an identification of the entity which will manage any grant funds awarded to such applicant; and

        (H) a listing of annual performance goals and a description of the strategies to be used to meet such goals.

      (2) WORKFORCE INVESTMENT ACTIVITIES- The activities proposed to be carried out with grant funds under the plan may include activities to--

        (A) support the development and training of rural workforces to facilitate the transition of individuals from welfare to work and their movement into jobs that provide them opportunities for advancement;

        (B) provide assistance to entities in the eligible rural area that provide workforce development services;

        (C) assist with job training, workforce development, and other needs related to the development and maintenance of strong local and regional economies including such facilities, infrastructure, and other physical assets as are determined by the Secretary;

        (D) assist in the development of collaborations that link public, private, and philanthropic resources to achieve solutions to rural workforce problems and enable low-income individuals residing in rural areas to move from dependency to economic security; and

        (E) provide funds that will enable communities to solve problems associated with the distance between rural residents and available jobs.

    (e) BASIS FOR COMPETITION-

      (1) DETERMINATIONS BY SECRETARY- The Secretary shall not make a grant to an eligible applicant under this section unless the Secretary has determined that--

        (A) the plan submitted by the applicant meets the requirements of subsection (d);

        (B) the management and organizational structure of the applicant is sufficient to oversee plan activities;

        (C) the applicant is able to provide the grantee share required by subsection (g);

        (D) the applicant agrees to achieve, to the maximum extent practicable, the annual performance goals referred to in subsection (d)(1)(H);

        (E) the grant will not supplant non-Federal funds currently expended to support the purposes of this section;

        (F) the entity identified by the applicant to manage the grant funds meets such requirements as the Secretary shall establish to ensure that such entity is qualified and reliable; and

        (G) the applicant and the plan of such applicant adequately represents the interests of all demographic groups in the eligible rural area.

      (2) PREFERENCES- In awarding grants under this section, the Secretary shall give a preference to eligible applicants--

        (A) that exhibit entrepreneurial innovation, particularly in a public-private partnership;

        (B) that represent a broad coalition of interests described in subparagraphs (A) through (G) of section 3(k)(1);

        (C) that address deficiencies in job promotion, job retention, and workforce development services;

        (D) that encourage economic diversification in the eligible rural area;

        (E) whose rural workforce investment plan strengthens workforce and community development so that low-income people can get and keep jobs that will enable them to increase their earnings and economic independence and stability;

        (F) from communities or regions where the unemployment or poverty rate exceeds 120 percent of the national average unemployment or poverty rate;

        (G) from the rural counties which are most isolated from a population center;

        (H) whose rural workforce investment plan provides for collaboration and coordination with local Workforce Investment Boards established pursuant to section 117 of the Workforce Investment Act of 1998, and transitional jobs programs established under section 3 of this Act; and

        (I) whose rural workforce investment plan addresses other workforce development needs identified by the Secretary.

    (f) USE OF GRANT FUNDS- Each grantee shall use the grant funds to--

      (1) implement the rural workforce investment plan approved by the Secretary under subsection (e); and

      (2) prepare the annual reports described in subsection (h).

    (g) COST SHARING-

      (1) IN GENERAL- Each grantee shall provide cash, services, materials, and other contributions (excluding grant funds), which have a combined value of not less than 25 percent of the grant funds, to carry out the activities described in subsection (f).

      (2) WAIVER- The Secretary may waive the requirement of paragraph (1) with respect to any grantee if the Secretary determines that such requirement would create a barrier to full participation in the program.

    (h) ANNUAL REPORTS- With respect to each year covered by the workforce investment plan, each grantee shall submit to the Secretary a report at such time and in such form and manner as the Secretary may require. Each such report shall include a description of the grantee’s success or failure in meeting the annual performance goals referred to in subsection (d)(1)(H).

    (i) DUTIES OF THE SECRETARY- The Secretary shall--

      (1) provide advice and technical assistance to applicants and grantees regarding workforce development and the means by which to assist rural low-income individuals and families attain jobs, develop basic life skills, and achieve economic security and stability;

      (2) evaluate the progress of grantees in achieving the annual performance goals referred to in subsection (d)(1)(H); and

      (3) with respect to any year for which a grantee submits a report under subsection (h), submit a report to the President and to the Congress describing the effects on eligible rural areas of the grants made under this section and such other information as the Secretary determines appropriate.

    (j) REGULATIONS AND NONCOMPLIANCE-

      (1) REGULATIONS- Within 90 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary shall prescribe such regulations as may be necessary to carry out this section, including procedures for the reporting of alleged violations of this section and remedies for such violations.

      (2) NONCOMPLIANCE- If a grantee fails to comply with any requirement of this title, the Secretary may take such actions as are necessary to obtain reimbursement of any grant funds which were misused or remain unused.

    (k) DEFINITIONS- In this section:

      (1) ELIGIBLE APPLICANTS- The term ‘eligible applicant’ means a consortium of entities described in subparagraphs (A) through (G) of section 3(k)(1) which represent the public, nonprofit, and private sector interests in the eligible rural area, including the interests of demographic groups which compose such sectors.

      (2) ELIGIBLE RURAL AREA- The term ‘eligible rural area’ has the meaning given such term under section 3(k)(2).

    (l) APPROPRIATIONS- Out of any money in the Treasury of the United States not otherwise appropriated, there are appropriated to the Secretary $75,000,000 for each of fiscal years 2003 through 2007 to carry out this section.