WASHINGTON, D.C. | May 11, 2011 -
Good morning, and welcome to the Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Training. I’d like to thank our witnesses for joining us today. We look forward to your testimony.
Today’s hearing will review ways we can make federal job training programs more efficient and effective. Such programs are critical to fostering a competitive workforce and assisting unemployed citizens. However, serious concerns about program fragmentation and potential duplication exist that could result in significant waste.
A recent Government Accountability Report identified 47 separate job training programs administered by 9 federal agencies. Of those 47 programs, the GAO found 44 overlap with at least one other program. Considering the 18 billion dollar price tag attached to these programs, a comprehensive review to identify ways we can reduce costs, consolidate programs, and improve services is vital.
In the coming months, Congress will take steps to reauthorize the Workforce Investment Act, which was passed more than a decade ago to reform the nation’s federal job training, unemployment, adult education and vocational rehabilitation programs. WIA has helped integrate federal and state employment and training programs by requiring services be provided through a ‘one stop’ delivery system. However, as the GAO report illustrates, there are still areas where overlapping programs or services could be further consolidated and improved.
A number of states have taken it upon themselves to streamline state workforce and welfare agencies that administer federally-funded programs. For example, Utah established the State Department of Workforce Services by merging 6 agencies that administered 23 employment and training programs. Texas consolidated 28 employment and training programs from 10 separate agencies to create the Texas Workforce Commission. Additionally, Florida established the Agency for Workforce Innovation by merging state workforce programs with employment and training initiatives administered by the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program.
In each of these instances, states reported such consolidation efforts reduced costs, simplified delivery, improved efficiency, and heightened the quality of services provided to program recipients.
As we work to revitalize our economy in the wake of the recent recession, we must encourage a robust and responsive job training system that helps American workers effectively compete in the 21st century workplace. This committee is dedicated to improving job training opportunities by streamlining unnecessary bureaucracy, eliminating duplicative programs, fostering economic development and encouraging the creation of high-skill and high-wage opportunities for workers in the global economy.