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Part II: Despite False Rhetoric, Job Training Reforms Beneficial to Workers, Employers, and Taxpayers
Preserving an open process, protecting services for youth and disadvantaged workers

The House Education and the Workforce Committee is currently considering comprehensive reforms to the nation’s workforce development system. The Workforce Investment Improvement Act of 2012 (H.R. 4297) advances commonsense changes to federal job training assistance by eliminating dozens of ineffective and redundant programs, strengthening the role of employers, promoting new tools that will help close the skills gap, and delivering real accountability over the use of taxpayer dollars.

Opponents of reform are turning to the usual false rhetoric to justify a “no” vote on legislation that will help put Americans back to work. The following facts will help set the record straight. 

MYTH: The Workforce Investment Improvement Act of 2012 was advanced through a closed process, with no input from outsider groups, stakeholders, or Congressional Democrats. 

FACT: For more than a year, the House Committee on Education and the Workforce has been examining the nation’s workforce development system. The committee held five hearings, including one legislative hearing to discuss specific provisions in H.R. 4297, and listened as more than a dozen witnesses described the successes and weaknesses in a system designed to provide job training and employment assistance for America’s workers. 

FACT: Through these hearings, we have learned an expansive network of competing programs operated by numerous federal agencies is failing to meet the needs of our workforce. Despite an effort to establish a unified workforce development system 14 years ago, employers and state and local leaders still grapple with a bureaucracy that squanders taxpayer resources, stifles innovation, and stands in the way of the help and training workers need. 

FACT: The Workforce Investment Improvement Act was developed with the input of members on both sides of the aisle, and includes provisions to strengthen Job Corps and better serve at-risk youth, which are based on feedback obtained from witnesses and key stakeholders. 

MYTH: The Workforce Investment Improvement Act of 2012 provides no programs or services to support our nation’s youth. 

FACT: To ensure we are doing all we can to support our nation’s youth, the amendment in the nature of a substitute for the Workforce Investment Improvement Act of 2012 requires state and local workforce leaders to specify the strategies and services they will offer at-risk youth. 

FACT: The substitute amendment for H.R. 4297 also provides for disadvantaged youth participation in a new statewide initiative geared toward individuals with unique barriers to employment. 

FACT: At a time when one out of every four teenage workers is unemployed, these changes will further help disadvantaged youth complete a high school education, as well as gain skills and work experience that can lead to their future success. 

MYTH: The Workforce Investment Improvement Act of 2012 creates strong incentives for programs to avoid serving individuals with barriers to employment. 

FACT: The Workforce Investment Improvement Act of 2012 ensures resources are available to help all workers – regardless of race, disability, or circumstance – learn valuable skills for employment. 

FACT: H.R. 4297 requires state and local workforce investment leaders to develop targeted plans to serve special populations, such as dislocated workers, low-income individuals, Native Americans, individuals with disabilities, and veterans. 

FACT: Unlike the current system in which only a handful of programs have been evaluated, H.R. 4297 establishes common performance measures that will make it easier for the public to learn whether programs are helping workers find a job, and those that demonstrate a pattern of failure will lose funding. Furthermore, states will be required to dedicate a portion of funding to serve those most vulnerable, such as disadvantaged youth and individuals with disabilities.

To learn more about the Workforce Investment Improvement Act of 2012, click here, or click here to read Part I in this series.

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