2004 Adopted Resolutions
72nd Annual Meeting
Boston

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H-1B SKILLS TRAINING GRANTS

WHEREAS, the H-1B Technical Skills Training Grant Program was established in 1998 to address the shortage of skilled workers in the United States, and was enhanced in 2000 with H.R. 5362, which raised the fee charged to employers who petition for H-1B foreign workers from $500 to $1,000 of which fifty-five percent funds the H1-B Technical Skills Training Grants, and  the American Competitiveness in the Twenty-First Century Act of 2000 (AC21 2000), which increased the number of H-1B temporary workers to 195,000 for each of fiscal years 2001, 2002 and 2003; and

WHEREAS, the H-1B Technical Skills Training Grant Program- administered by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) -- has offered thousands of Americans the opportunity to learn and master the skills necessary to acquire jobs that will provide upward mobility and long-term job retention; and

WHEREAS, reviews of the H-1B Skills Grants program by the Government Accounting Office and the Office of Inspector General, indicate that these grants are accomplishing what Congress intended and affirm and strengthen the value of the program; and

WHEREAS, by providing grants to local governments, workforce boards and other entities across the country, the H-1B program has enabled cities in urban and rural areas to meet the needs of their business communities by providing more highly skilled workers; and

WHEREAS, as of September 30, 2003, the $1,000 fee placed on employers was eliminated because the legislation which authorizes the H-1B program, AC21 2000,  expired and has not been extended or reauthorized, and the H1-B visa level was reduced from the current cap of 195,000 to 65,000, and there is still $100 million for the H-1B Skills Grants program generated from employer fees; and

WHEREAS, effective on January 16 of this year, the Department of Labor (DOL) canceled the solicitation for grant application for H-1B Technical Skills Training Grants that was published in the January 6, 2003 Federal Register and stated that DOL would review applications received prior to this cancellation to consider possible funding for those found eligible; and

WHEREAS, on February 2 of this year, in their FY 2005 Budget proposal, the Bush Administration proposed to eliminate the H-1B Skills Training Grants program and to rescind a $100 million of the funding currently available for these grants which was intended to fund approximately 33 additional grants estimated at $3 million each; and

WHEREAS, canceling the grant solicitation for available H-1B Skills Grants funds and eliminating the H-1B program will do away with an important job training program that strengthens America's own workforce, and lessens dependency on foreign workers,

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the U.S. Conference of Mayors opposes the Bush Administration's elimination of the H-1B Technical Skills Training Grant program; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Conference of Mayors opposes rescinding funds from the H-1B program in the FY 2005 Budget proposal and calls on the Department of Labor to use the $100 million available in H-1B employer fees to fund H-1B Skills Training Grants as was intended by Congress; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that for any reauthorization of the H-1B program and or any legislation applying to a nonresident foreign worker program, the U.S. Conference of Mayors calls on Congress to continue the technical skills training grants program awarded to local governments and local workforce boards and funded by employer fees at a level of at least a $1,000 fee.