WASHINGTON, D.C. | December 8, 2011 -
Access to effective job training opportunities and employment services is critical to building a more competitive workforce. Unfortunately, the nation’s workforce investment system is failing to meet the needs of today’s workers and employers. Federal requirements have left local workforce investment boards – which are responsible for policy and oversight of area training and employment services – mired in bureaucracy. As a result, the boards have difficulty responding to the changing needs of area employers. Despite an annual taxpayer investment of $18 billion for job training and employment services, employers still report difficulty finding workers with skills.
Congress must ensure the nation's job training system can effectively provide workers with the skills necessary to compete in the local workforce. Representative Joe Heck (R-NV) has introduced commonsense reforms to the nation’s current workforce investment system. The Local Job Opportunities and Business Success (JOBS) Act of 2011 (H.R. 3611) expands the role of job creators in workforce investment decisions, provides greater flexibility to help local leaders better meet the needs of their communities, and ensures workers receive training for jobs that are in demand.
THE LOCAL JOBS ACT:
- Creates a Dynamic, Employer-Driven Job Training System. The Local JOBS Act strengthens the role of America’s job creators in our workforce investment system. The bill ensures two-thirds of workforce investment board members are employers. This will allow a greater understanding of the needs of local employers and help the board quickly identify and fill gaps in the workforce. The legislation also expands the functions of the board to provide greater engagement with employers in the local area.
- Expands Decision Making at the Local Level. The legislation eliminates more than 20 specific federal mandates regarding board representation, empowering local officials to determine the composition of the remaining board members. The local workforce boards will regularly conduct analyses of area workforce needs, including economic conditions, the knowledge and skills of workers, and existing workforce development activities. This information will enhance efforts to ensure programs are benefiting local workers and employers.
Encourages More Job Training to Meet In-Demand Job Opportunities. To help our workforce keep pace with the ever-changing economy, the Local JOBS Act requires boards to reserve a portion of resources – which are determined by the local board – to spend directly on training. The bill also encourages local boards to partner with entities such as higher education institutions and economic development organizations to better develop job training programs that address the workforce needs of area businesses.