The nation's workforce development system, authorized under the Workforce Investment Act
(WIA) of 1998, is a confusing maze of programs. A 2011 Government Accountability Office (GAO) report identified 47 separate federal job training programs costing taxpayers $18 billion annually. Most programs overlap and serve the same populations, and only five of these programs have been evaluated for effectiveness. As a result of this broken system, taxpayer dollars are wasted, employers are unable to hire a properly trained workforce, and workers lack skills necessary for success.
Workers and taxpayers deserve employment and training assistance that is productive and cost-efficient. Representative Virginia Foxx (R-NC), Chairwoman of the U.S. House Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Training, has introduced the Streamlining Workforce Development Programs Act (H.R. 3610). The bill consolidates redundant federal job training programs, reduces administrative inefficiencies, increases accountability, and fosters a dynamic, outcome-driven workforce development system that more effectively serves job seekers and employers.
STREAMLINING WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMS ACT
- Streamlines Federal Workforce Training Programs. The Streamlining Workforce Development Programs Act consolidates 33 of the 47 programs identified by the GAO into four flexible Workforce Investment Funds:
o The Workforce Investment Fund – provides job training services to adults, unemployed workers, and
youth seeking employment;
o The State Youth Workforce Investment Fund – serves the nation’s disadvantaged youth, with a focus on
o The Veterans Workforce Investment Fund – delivers employment and training services to America’s
o The Targeted Populations Workforce Investment Fund – continues assistance to special populations,
including Native Americans and seasonal farm workers.
- Improves Accountability and Transparency. The Streamlining Workforce Development Programs Act requires state and local leaders to set “common performance measures” for all employment and job training programs to help eliminate waste and ensure taxpayer dollars are spent appropriately. The bill also requires an independent evaluation of U.S. Department of Labor programs every five years.
- Provides Greater Flexibility to State Leaders. The Streamlining Workforce Development Programs Act empowers the nation’s governors to determine the workforce areas that best serve their states. Factors the governor shall consider include the distance individuals travel to receive assistance and the availability of service providers.
- Simplifies Reporting Requirements and Creates a Seamless Workforce Development System. The Streamlining Workforce Development Programs Act allows states to submit one statewide workforce development plan to the federal government for all job training and related programs, providing administrative flexibility and ending the era of overly burdensome paperwork requirements.