Posted on 2/2/14

Ed Whitfield new 300WASHINGTON (4/18/14) — U.S. Rep. Ed Whitfield (KY-01), Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Energy and Power, was joined by 41 additional Members of Congress, in sending a letter to U.S. Secretary of Labor, Thomas Perez regarding the Department's current application of the "Rule of Two" in awarding Job Corps Center contracts.

The "Rule of Two" is a Federal Acquisition Regulation that allows the Department of Labor to set aside the contract for operating a Job Corps Center if two small businesses bid on the contract. Under the Rule, if a center is set aside, large incumbent Job Corps center operators can be prohibited from re-competing their own contracts, even when their centers are high performing.

Whitfield, a founding member of the Congressional Job Corps Caucus, believes that because of the unique nature of the Job Corps program, the DOL should take more than the size of the operator during the procurement process. The Conference Report for the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2014 contained language encouraging DOL to consider a fair and open process when competing contracts including consideration of past performance of contractors. Whitfield's letter asks Secretary Perez to report back to Congress on a strategy for applying quality considerations to Job Corps center procurement practices within ninety days. Congressman Whitfield has been a leader on this issue since 2012 when he and 28 other members sent a similar letter to then Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis.

A few weeks ago Whitfield received acclaimed Job Corps honors for fighting to restart youth admissions and championing funding that allowed Job Corps to serve as many youth as possible.

As a result, thousands of formerly disconnected youth are safe, learning and starting careers in our nation's fastest growing occupations.

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