[Senate Report 116-205]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office]





                                                       Calendar No. 352
116th Congress                                                   Report
                                 SENATE
 2d Session                                                     116-205

======================================================================



 
           DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY NATIONAL LABS JOBS ACCESS ACT

                                _______
                                

                January 15, 2020.--Ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

        Ms. Murkowski, from the Committee on Energy and Natural 
                   Resources, submitted the following

                              R E P O R T

                         [To accompany S. 1739]

      [Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]

    The Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, to which was 
referred the bill (S. 1739) to enable projects that will aid in 
the development and delivery of related instruction associated 
with apprenticeship and preapprenticeship programs that are 
focused on serving the skilled technical workforce at the 
National Laboratories and certain facilities of the National 
Nuclear Security Administration, and for other purposes, having 
considered the same, reports favorably thereon without 
amendment, and recommends that the bill do pass.

                                PURPOSE

    The purpose of S. 1739 is to enable projects that will aid 
in the development and delivery of related instruction 
associated with apprenticeship and preapprenticeship programs 
that are focused on serving the skilled technical workforce at 
the National Laboratories and certain facilities of the 
National Nuclear Security Administration.

                          BACKGROUND AND NEED

    The Department of Energy's (DOE) National Laboratory system 
is comprised of 17 national laboratories with distinct 
capabilities that enable the United States to be the world 
leader in research, development, demonstration, and deployment. 
The national laboratories are generally classified as science 
laboratories, technology laboratories, or national security 
laboratories. The 2017 DOE Annual Report on the State of the 
National Laboratories (Annual Report) details how the national 
laboratories are able ``to tackle multidisciplinary problems 
with long time horizons, often coupling fundamental discovery 
research, technology development, and demonstration projects.''
    According to the Annual Report, there are 57,600 full-time 
equivalent employees at the national laboratories. In addition 
to employees, the national laboratories also have joint faculty 
appointments, postdoctoral researchers, undergraduate students, 
graduate students, facility users, and visiting scientists.
    The missions of the national laboratories require their 
workforce to have unique skills and expertise, often in highly 
specialized fields. A decline in science and engineering 
degrees coupled with a highly competitive job market can make 
it challenging for the national laboratories to recruit and 
retain suitable employees. In addition, national laboratories 
are facing a challenge with many long-time employees reaching 
retirement age within the next few years.
    The national labs have taken a number of actions to try to 
develop qualified candidates for these specialized positions, 
including developing a joint recruiting strategy to improve the 
visibility of the national laboratory system and conducting 
recruitment efforts aimed to improve workplace diversity.
    S. 1739 aims to improve the pipeline of talent for the 
national laboratories by providing grant funding for the 
development and delivery of programs that can fill the skills 
gap in their workforce.

                          LEGISLATIVE HISTORY

    S. 1739 was introduced by Senators Duckworth and Crapo on 
June 5, 2019. The Energy Subcommittee held a hearing on this 
measure on September 11, 2019.
    Congressman Lujan (D-NM) introduced H. R. 3135, companion 
legislation, in the House of Representatives on June 5, 2019, 
which was referred to the Committee on Education and Labor.
    During the 115th Congress, Representative Lujan introduced 
similar legislation, H. R. 5567, in the House of 
Representatives.
    The Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources met in 
open business session on November 19, 2019, and ordered S. 1739 
favorably reported.
    Following the Committee's action, similar legislation was 
enacted as section 3122 of the National Defense Authorization 
Act for Fiscal Year 2020, Public Law 116-92.

                        COMMITTEE RECOMMENDATION

    The Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, in 
open business session on November 19, 2019, by a majority voice 
vote of a quorum present, recommends that the Senate pass S. 
1739. Senator Lee asked to be recorded as voting no.

                      SECTION-BY-SECTION ANALYSIS

Section 1. Short title

    Section 1 sets forth the short title of the bill.

Sec. 2. National Laboratory Jobs Access Program

    Section 2(a) requires the Secretary of Energy (Secretary) 
to establish the Department of Energy National Lab Jobs ACCESS 
Program which will provide competitive grants to eligible 
entities for the Federal share of the costs of technical, 
skills-based preapprenticeship and apprenticeship programs that 
provide postsecondary credentials.
    Section 2(b) sets forth requirements for the program.
    Section 2(c) sets forth eligibility requirements for the 
program.
    Section 2(d) requires an eligible entity to submit a grant 
application to the Secretary.
    Section 2(e) requires the Secretary to prioritize the 
applications of eligible entities that meet certain criteria.
    Section 2(f) requires the Secretary to consider regional 
diversity when awarding grants.
    Section 2(g) limits eligible entities to one application 
during any one fiscal year (FY).
    Section 2(h) limits the amount of a grant to no more than 
$500,000 for any 24-month period of the five-year grant period.
    Section 2(i) requires a 25 percent non-Federal cost share.
    Section 2(j) allows the Secretary to provide technical 
assistance to eligible entities to leverage the existing job 
training and education programs of the Department of Labor and 
other Federal agencies.
    Section 2(k) requires the Secretary of Labor to submit a 
report to Congress describing any entity that receives a grant 
under this section, activities carried out using grant funds, 
and best practices used to leverage the investment of the 
federal government with the Secretary providing required 
information.
    Section 2(l) defines relevant terms.
    Section 2(m) authorizes $5 million for each of FYs 2020 
through 2024.

                   COST AND BUDGETARY CONSIDERATIONS

    The following estimate of the costs of this measure has 
been provided by the Congressional Budget Office:



    S. 1739 would authorize the appropriation of $5 million 
annually through 2024 for the Department of Energy (DOE), in 
consultation with the Department of Labor (DOL), to establish 
the Department of Energy National Lab Jobs ACCESS Program. 
Under the proposed program, DOE would award five-year grants 
and provide technical assistance to entities that facilitate 
preapprenticeship and apprenticeship programs that provide 
postsecondary credentials and prepare students for obtaining 
technician positions at the National Laboratories and the 
National Nuclear Security Administration. The bill also would 
require DOL to report to the Congress on the proposed program.
    CBO estimates that implementing S. 1739 would cost $14 
million over the 2020-2024 period and $11 million after 2024, 
assuming appropriation of the specified amounts and that the 
bill is enacted near the end of 2019. Estimated outlays are 
based on historical spending patterns for similar programs, 
adjusted for the timing of assumed implementation. The costs of 
the legislation, detailed in Table 1, would fall within budget 
functions 270 (energy) and 500 (education, training, 
employment, and social services).

                                    TABLE 1.--ESTIMATED INCREASES IN SPENDING SUBJECT TO APPROPRIATION UNDER S. 1739
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                    By fiscal year, millions of dollars--
                                                   -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                     2020    2021    2022    2023    2024    2025    2026    2027    2028    2029   2020-2024  2020-2029
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Authorization.....................................       5       5       5       5       5       0       0       0       0       0        25         25
Estimated Outlays.................................       *       2       3       4       5       5       3       2       1       *        14         25
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
* = between zero and $500,000.

    The CBO staff contact for this estimate is Aaron Krupkin. 
The estimate was reviewed by H. Samuel Papenfuss, Deputy 
Assistant Director for Budget Analysis.

                      REGULATORY IMPACT EVALUATION

    In compliance with paragraph 11(b) of rule XXVI of the 
Standing Rules of the Senate, the Committee makes the following 
evaluation of the regulatory impact which would be incurred in 
carrying out S. 1739. The bill is not a regulatory measure in 
the sense of imposing Government-established standards or 
significant economic responsibilities on private individuals 
and businesses.
    No personal information would be collected in administering 
the program. Therefore, there would be no impact on personal 
privacy.
    Little, if any, additional paperwork would result from the 
enactment of S. 1739, as ordered reported.

                   CONGRESSIONALLY DIRECTED SPENDING

    S. 1739, as ordered reported, does not contain any 
congressionally directed spending items, limited tax benefits, 
or limited tariff benefits as defined in rule XLIV of the 
Standing Rules of the Senate.

                        EXECUTIVE COMMUNICATIONS

    The testimony provided by the Department of Energy at the 
September 11, 2019, hearing on S. 1739 follows:

Testimony of Under Secretary of Energy Mark W. Menezes, U.S. Department 
                               of Energy


                              introduction


    Chairman Cassidy, Ranking Member Heinrich, and Members of 
the Subcommittee, it is a privilege and an honor to serve at 
the Department of Energy (DOE or the Department), which is 
tasked with, among other important responsibilities: overseeing 
the Nation's nuclear energy research and development programs; 
creating and sustaining American leadership in the transition 
to a global clean energy economy; working effectively with the 
States on our Nation's energy challenges; and supporting our 
current, and developing our Nation's future, energy workforce. 
Thank you for the opportunity to testify today on behalf of the 
Department regarding legislation pertinent to DOE that is now 
pending in the Senate.
    I have been asked to testify on nine (9) bills today. The 
Administration continues to review all of these bills. I 
appreciate the ongoing bipartisan efforts to address our 
Nation's energy challenges and I look forward to working with 
the Committee.


                             human capital


    In the United States we are producing a wider range of 
fuels, more abundantly and affordably, while using them more 
cleanly and efficiently than ever. As part of a balanced 
approach to energy policy, our Nation is vastly improving 
energy choice, embracing new and smarter ways to reach our 
energy, and our environmental goals. In the United States, our 
energy renaissance over the last decade has been nothing short 
of a game-changer. As energy evolves, so too does our demand on 
our current and future workforce.
S. 1739--Department of Energy National Labs ACCESS Act
    S. 1739, Department of Energy National Labs ACCESS Act, 
directs the Secretary to establish competitive five (5)-year 
grants to conduct Federal cost-sharing to aid in the 
development and delivery of related instruction associated with 
pre-apprenticeship and apprenticeship programs specifically 
designed to train critical skill sets needed to fill positions 
at the National Laboratories and at National Nuclear Security 
Administration (NNSA) sites.
    Sec. 2. (a) of the bill proposes that, ``Not later than 180 
days after the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary 
shall establish a program known as the `Department of Energy 
National Lab Jobs ACCESS program.''' NNSA's Office of 
Acquisition and Program Management is concerned that six months 
may not be long enough to implement a technical skills-based 
pre-apprenticeship and apprenticeship program envisioned by the 
Act. Further, NNSA's Office of Research, Development, Test & 
Evaluation notes that there is no funding path for the grant 
awards identified in the legislation and current funding cannot 
support the creation of a new program within six months. We 
defer to the Department of Labor on the technical aspects of 
the apprenticeship language as the Department of Labor is the 
lead Federal agency on pre-apprenticeship and apprenticeship 
programs, and as noted above, provides oversight of workforce 
development boards authorized under WIOA.


                               conclusion


    Thank you again for the opportunity to be here today. The 
Department appreciates the ongoing bipartisan efforts to 
address our Nation's energy challenges, and looks forward to 
working with the Committee on the legislation on today's agenda 
and any future legislation. I would be happy to answer your 
questions.

                        CHANGES IN EXISTING LAW

    In compliance with paragraph 12 of rule XXVI of the 
Standing Rules of the Senate, the Committee notes that no 
changes in existing law are made by S. 1739 as ordered 
reported.