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Moving in the Right Direction

Committee Advancing Legislation to Put Americans Back to Work

The Department of Labor today reported nearly 13 million Americans are still unemployed, indicating our nation’s outdated workforce development system is failing to provide the training and assistance job seekers need.

The problems in the system haven’t gone unnoticed. A Wall Street Journal editorial recently noted "a federal job training program that puts people back to work is hard to find." Even President Obama called on Congress to "cut through the maze of confusing [job] training programs" crippling workers’ ability to gain the skills employers need. 

It’s time to change the status quo. House Education and the Workforce Committee Republicans are taking action, advancing legislation that will strengthen and modernize the workforce investment system to better meet the needs of workers, employers, and taxpayers.

The committee will soon consider the Workforce Investment Improvement Act of 2012 (H.R. 4297). The commonsense proposals included in H.R. 4297 will revamp the current ineffective workforce development system by:
  • Enhancing the ability of local leaders to respond quickly to employers’ and workers’ needs. Numerous, fragmented programs are impairing the ability of state and local workforce investment leaders to assist workers. H.R. 4297 eliminates dozens of ineffective programs and establishes a single, flexible Workforce Investment Fund that will help workers to access the support they
  • Improving access to employment and training services in remote areas. Technology has changed significantly since 1998. H.R. 4297 calls on state and local leaders to develop a plan that utilizes technology to better serve workers. The bill also allows information to be distributed electronically, increasing the efficiency of the local workforce investment boards.

  • Increasing the role of employers on local workforce investment boards. With a growing skills gap standing between workers and available job opportunities, gaining input from the nation’s job creators is critical. H.R. 4297 strengthens the role of employers in the state and local workforce development systems by requiring a two-thirds business majority on both workforce investment boards.
  • Enabling workers to quickly receive valuable support. Workers are currently required to undergo a "sequence of services" that forces them to jump through unnecessary hoops before they can receive training. H.R. 4297 eliminates this requirement, allowing workers to gain immediate access to the education and skills necessary to fill in-demand jobs.
  • Ensuring workforce training programs are tailored to the job opportunities available in the local community. Too often resources are spent developing and administering training programs that do not help workers gain the skills needed to fill available jobs. H.R. 4297 requires workforce boards to conduct frequent surveys to determine employers’ needs and respond by structuring training programs to help workers fill available jobs.

As committee Chairman John Kline (R-MN) said earlier today, "The Workforce Investment Improvement Act of 2012 will help the nation close the skills gap, streamline federal workforce development services, and eliminate arbitrary roadblocks that prevent workers from learning the skills employers need. The fiscally responsible reforms included in our proposal are long overdue and urgently needed."

To learn more about H.R. 4297, click here.

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