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Proposed Plan to Merge Education and Labor Departments

July 2, 2018

Late last week the White House released a comprehensive plan to reform and reorganize Executive Branch departments and agencies.  The document, the Delivering Government Solutions in the 21st  Century – Reform Plan and Reorganization Recommendations, prepared by OMB, includes a proposal to merge the Departments of Education (ED) and Labor (DOL) into a single Cabinet agency, the Department of Education and the Workforce (DEW).

The goal of merging ED and DOL is to allow the Federal Government to address the educational and skill needs of students and workers by eliminating duplication of effort and maximizing the effectiveness of skill-building efforts.

The proposed plan looks to merge all of the existing DOL and ED programs into a single department, DEW, with four main sub-agencies, focused on K-12, Higher Education/Workforce Development, Enforcement, and Research/Evaluation/Administration. In the new DEW, all of these agencies would report to one senior official to enhance the efficiency and coordination of enforcement and compliance assistance efforts.

The sub-agency of Enforcement would include worker protection agencies from DOL that are responsible for enforcing statutes relating to workers’ pay, safety, benefits, and other protections, as well as Federal workers’ compensation programs. The Agency would also include ED’s Office of Civil Rights, which is responsible for ensuring equal access to education through enforcement of civil rights in the nation’s K-12 school and higher education institutions.

The next step involves OMB and agencies beginning a dialogue with Congress over the summer to prioritize and refine the proposals. The full details of the plan can be found at: