Legislative Report - 2.8.2013

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WASHINGTON — Sen. Marco Rubio delivered a short speech about education on Wednesday, February 6th discussing the need to modernize education for a new century and ensure that students receive the skills necessary to succeed in the changing job market.

Speaking at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce as part of a larger event on coordination between the business community and educational institutions, the likely 2016 presidential contender said that a “fundamental obstacle to economic progress is the skills gap that exists in our nation. The fact of the matter is that millions of our people do not have the skills that they need for the 21st century.”

Congratulations to J.J. Keller on Their 60th Anniversary

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J. J. Keller Celebrates 60 Years of Helping Guide Companies in Compliance, Safety and Best Practices
Neenah, WI — In 2013, the “Diamond K” logo of J. J. Keller & Associates, Inc.® will take on new meaning as the company begins a year-long celebration of its 60th “Diamond” Anniversary (officially November 1, 2013).

John “Jack” Keller established the company in downtown Neenah, Wis. in 1953, as a one-man regulatory consulting, warehousing and insurance underwriting operation.

As government regulations evolved and new compliance challenges materialized, the company kept pace with new product and service offerings, building a solid reputation for providing companies in a variety of industries with solutions that help them manage safety and regulatory compliance.

“Over the years, we have seen markets develop and grow, and we’ve adapted accordingly,” said Robert Keller, Chairman of J. J. Keller. “We believe we have contributed positively to that growth and development by helping companies meet their safety and compliance goals and by supplying the industries we serve with cutting edge products and services that, as a whole, are unsurpassed by any other provider.”

Now the nation’s most-trusted source for safety and compliance solutions, J. J. Keller stays on top of new regulations and industry needs, and offers over 5,500 products and services for the transport, manufacturing, hazardous materials, human resources, construction, food and government markets.

At the core of the company’s success is a strong commitment to providing outstanding customer service and quality resources. J. J. Keller's subject matter experts research and write content, answer questions, and speak on subjects covering 1,500 topics.

“Throughout the years, we’ve promoted a number of core values among our associates,” said James Keller, President/CEO. “Today J. J. Keller associates continue to deliver these important values through quality products, dedicated customer service and innovative thinking.”

Along with growing the company, Jack and his wife Ethel Keller made it their personal mission to give back to the community. In 1990, Jack established the J. J. Keller Foundation in honor of Ethel’s 70th birthday. This private, independent family foundation provides charitable funding to many worthwhile organizations, especially those addressing the causes and consequences of poverty in the neighboring communities.

To date, gifts and commitments from the Foundation and funding programs have totaled more than $35 million.

J. J. Keller and its associates also support numerous charitable endeavors, such as Habitat for Humanity® home builds, United Way, Boy Scouts, Catalpa Health, and other benevolent work in the community.

Along with a commitment to community, J. J. Keller has demonstrated a commitment to the environment by achieving ISO 14001 certification, a standard aimed at reducing the environmental footprint of a business and decreasing pollution and waste.

Today, J. J. Keller remains a privately owned business. It ranks as one of the largest employers in Wisconsin’s Fox River Valley, employing over 1,200 associates and serving over 350,000 customers, including more than 90% of the Fortune 1000. While most associates work at the company’s four locations in Neenah and Appleton, a number of associates are located throughout the United States to provide personalized service to customers.

Celebration of the 60th anniversary will continue throughout 2013 with events and a J. J. Keller history book supplement highlighting the company’s changes and growth over the past 10 years. The company has also developed an online photo album that chronicles the history of J. J. Keller. It can be viewed at

Legislative Report - 2.6.2013

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Earlier this week the U.S. House Committee on Education and the Workforce held its first Full Committee Hearing of the 113th Congress entitled "Challenges and Opportunities Facing America's Schools and Workplaces".
The hearing covered a wide array of topics and interests expressed by both the Committee Members and the four panelists. A common theme which surfaced was a clear indication that both Republicans and Democrats, and their invited witnesses, are very concerned with how the Committee can inspire and support economic recovery and job growth through education.

Affordable Care Act

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Under a provision of the Affordable Care Act, which takes effect in January 2014, employees who work at least a 30-hour work week must receive health benefits from their employers. And the IRS has indicated that colleges must ''use a reasonable method for crediting hours of service,'' noting that it would not be reasonable to include ''only classroom or instruction time and not other hours that are necessary to perform the employee's duties, such as class preparation time.'' The proposed rules don't provide a definitive formula for calculating instructor workload, but ''further guidance may be provided,'' according to the announcement.

The agency is collecting comments on the proposal through March 18.

House Education and Workforce Committee News

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Chairman John Kline (R-MN) of the House Education and Workforce Committee spoke last week about the Workforce Investment Act (WIA). Chairman Kline helped usher a Republican-backed bill through committee last year that would have consolidated 27 of the job training programs contained in WIA into a block grant. The proposal was never taken up by the full House, but it will likely be reintroduced as is and move through the committee swiftly despite Democratic opposition.

News from The House Education and the Workforce Committee

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The House Education and the Workforce Committee hearing will hold a hearing on Tuesday, February 5 entitled "Challenges and Opportunities Facing America's Schools and Workplaces". The witnesses for the hearing are:

Dr. Jared Bernstein, Senior Fellow, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, Washington, DC

The Honorable Gary Herbert, Governor, State of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah
Mr. Jay Timmons, President and CEO, National Association of Manufacturers, Washington, DC

The Honorable Laura Fornash
Secretary of Education
Commonwealth of Virginia
Richmond, VA

Legislative Committee will monitor the hearing and will report back accordingly.

Trucking adds 5,000 jobs in January

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For-hire trucking companies added 5,000 payroll jobs in January on a seasonally adjusted basis as the overall economy added 157,000 nonfarm jobs, according to the latest estimates released Feb. 1 by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The national unemployment rate ticked up slightly to 7.9 percent.

Payroll employment in trucking in January totaled 1.375 million jobs — up 0.36 percent from December and 47,400 jobs, or 3.6 percent, from January 2012. The total number of seasonally adjusted payroll jobs is higher than previously reported because BLS has adjusted figures going back at least five years. Trucking employment is up by 141,100 jobs, or 11.4 percent, from the bottom in March 2010, but it remains 78,300 jobs, or 5.4 percent, below the January 2007 peak.

The BLS numbers for trucking reflect all payroll employment in for-hire trucking, but they don’t include trucking-related jobs in other industries, such as a truck driver for a private fleet. Nor do the numbers reflect the total amount of hiring since they only reflect the number of employees paid during a specified payroll period during the month. Due to high turnover rates, the BLS estimates may overstate the number of job positions due to the methodology used in the agency’s Current Employment Survey.