Legislative and Regulatory Updates

Departments of Labor and Commerce Launch Cybersecurity Apprenticeship Initiative 

Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh and Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo, on July 19, 2022, announced a new initiative to increase the cybersecurity workforce with a focus on underrepresented communities. During the White House’s National Cyber Workforce and Education Summit, the Secretaries, in partnership with other government agencies, launched the “120-day Cybersecurity Apprenticeship Sprint,” which would build upon the successful Registered Apprenticeship program. There is an overwhelming need for cybersecurity professionals, with a zero-unemployment rate in the industry. As explained in the announcement:

“The partnership between the departments of Labor, Commerce, other federal agencies, and the White House Office of the National Cyber Director seeks to recruit employers, industry associations, labor unions, educational providers, community-based organizations, and others to establish Registered Apprenticeship programs or to join existing programs to ensure the nation’s economic sectors have greater numbers of qualified cybersecurity workers. The sprint will continue until National Apprenticeship Week, Nov. 14-20, 2022.”

Prospective apprenticeship sponsors can find more information about the Cybersecurity Apprenticeship Sprint on the Administration’s Apprenticeship website.

Compliance: DOJ Obtains Settlement Agreements with 16 Employers Over Discriminatory Job Postings 

Employers or recruiters advertising jobs, including via online college recruiting platforms, should develop best practices and procedures to ensure the postings do not violate Immigration and Nationalization Act (INA) non-discrimination provisions.

The Department of Justice Civil Rights Division recently concluded investigations of 16 employers over job postings that discriminated against non-U.S. workers. The investigation was prompted by a complaint filed by a lawful permanent resident job seeker about a posting on a Georgia Institute of Technology online recruiting platform. The job posting excluded non-U.S. citizens. The Civil Rights Division Immigrant and Employee Rights Section’s subsequent investigation discovered violations were widespread across university hiring platforms. Companies, which denied liability, ranged from KPMG to Edward Jones Investments, and fines ranged from over $300,000 to less than $5,000.

The INA, 8 U.S.C. 1324b(a)(1)(B), prohibits employers and recruiters from limiting jobs based on citizenship or immigration status unless citizenship status falls within exceptions under 8 U.S.C. 1324b(a)(2)(C). The DOJ announcement reiterates that the “INA protects U.S. citizens, U.S. nationals, refugees, asylees and recent lawful permanent residents from citizenship discrimination in hiring, firing, and recruitment or referral for a fee.” Assistant Attorney General Kristin Clark said,

“Unlawful hiring discrimination based on citizenship or immigration status is a widespread problem across higher education in the United States, putting many jobs out of reach of qualified college students and recent graduates. . . . We will hold employers accountable for using on-campus recruiting platforms in a discriminatory manner and work to provide relief for victims.”

DOJ leadership has made it clear that the agency will continue investigating similar employer hiring practices. For more information about the investigation, subsequent settlements, and specific compliance suggestions, review Mayer Brown’s July 22, 2022, blog post, Unlawful U.S. Hiring Questions about Visa Status and Citizenship: Are Your Policies in Compliance? A 2022 Primer with Tips for Avoiding Discriminatory Practices.

Take Action: Make a Connection with your U.S. Senator or Representative During August Recess

With close margins in the House and a 50/50 split in the Senate, the 117th Congress has taken limited action on issues uniquely impacting TechServe Alliance members. However, legislation is introduced from time to time that may begin to move, or adverse proposals pop up and are suddenly in (or out) of omnibus-type bills. The Senate’s draft mini-Build Back Better bill, which initially included an agreement to raise taxes on pass-through entities, is a good example.

For these reasons, we encourage TechServe members to meet with their U.S. Senators and Representatives during the August recess:

  • Having an existing relationship with an elected official is essential should a crisis arise and you need their vote or assistance.
  • With the November midterms on the horizon, now is the time to talk to candidates (including current members running for reelection) to get our issues on their radar.

Meetings could include participating in an organized political event, scheduling a one-on-one appointment, joining a town hall, or attending a community event. The House of Representatives is expected to start August recess on August 1; the Senate is scheduled to be back in the states by August 8.

The TechServe Government Affairs Team is available to help you plan your activities and provide tips for effective contacts. The Team can also provide talking points on some of our critical issues, including the technical talent shortage and independent contractor status for highly paid IT/engineering professionals. Please email Julie Strandlie at strandlie@techservealliance.org.

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