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H.R. 4297, the Workforce Investment Improvement Act of 2012


The federal government administers roughly 47 job training programs across nine agencies. Many of these programs overlap, and few have been evaluated for efficacy. This unwieldy system makes it more difficult for workers to access important job skills and assistance, and fails employers who seek a highly trained workforce.

During his 2012 State of the Union address, President Obama recognized the problem and stated his desire to “cut through the maze of confusing [job] training programs” and create “one program" for workers to find the help they need. Unfortunately, the president’s rhetoric has not matched his policies. The administration has offered competing proposals that would consolidate four programs while creating four more, falling far short of the president’s promise to create “one program” for workers. Additionally, the president’s policies ignore other challenges plaguing our workforce investment system, such as federal rules and onerous mandates that leave state and local leaders unable to address the needs of workers and employers.


As our nation continues to struggle with high unemployment and economic instability, streamlining ineffective programs and promoting better use of taxpayer dollars is critical. But simply consolidating programs is not enough. The Workforce Investment Improvement Act of 2012 will empower employers, rein in bureaucracy, and provide America’s workers with a more dynamic, flexible, and effective network of job training services.


Consolidates Ineffective and Redundant Programs

  • The Workforce Investment Improvement Act of 2012 eliminates dozens of ineffective and redundant employment programs and creates one flexible Workforce Investment Fund, strengthening an earlier proposal by committee Republicans to consolidate programs into four separate funding programs and helping advance the president’s goal for one program.
  • The legislation empowers state governors to consolidate additional programs and services at the state level, further rooting out waste and improving support for workers.

Cuts Through the Bureaucracy

  • H.R. 4297 eliminates arbitrary roadblocks that prevent workers from accessing job training immediately, and helps ensure support is tailored to the specific  needs of individual workers.
  • State and local workforce investment boards are responsible for policy and oversight of employment services. The legislation eliminates 19 mandates affecting who can serve on the boards and empowers state and local officials to appoint the remaining members.

Empowers Employers and Promotes Accountability

  • The Workforce Investment Improvement Act of 2012 strengthens the role of  job creators in workforce development decisions by requiring two-thirds of workforce board  members be employers.
  • H.R. 4297 requires state and local leaders to use a set of common performance measures for services offered to workers, improving accountability and protecting taxpayer dollars.

To read a bill summary, click here.

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