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Committee Approves Vital Job Training Reforms

H.R. 4297 will help put Americans back to work while advancing president’s goal to cut through maze of job training programs

The House Committee on Education and the Workforce, chaired by Rep. John Kline (R-MN), today approved legislation to fix the nation’s broken workforce training system and help ensure workers have the skills and education they need to succeed. The Workforce Investment Improvement Act of 2012 (H.R. 4297) will reauthorize the Workforce Investment Act of 1998 (WIA) and was approved in a vote of 23 to 15. The committee adopted a number of Democrat amendments to strengthen reforms in the bill.

“For more than a year, we have examined the problems plaguing federal job training programs and worked to identify positive solutions to create a 21st century workforce training system,” said Chairman John Kline. “The dismal jobs report released last Friday lends new urgency to the cause of reform. I am pleased the committee has taken definitive action to fix the nation’s broken job training system and help more Americans attain the skills and education they need to find a job.”

Sponsors of H.R. 4297 applauded the committee’s action:

“I am pleased that the committee has passed the Workforce Investment Improvement Act of 2012, which brings major reforms to failing federal programs. The bill gives states and local entities the flexibility to address their unique workforce needs. Millions of unemployed and underemployed Americans are not being served under the current system. I look forward to working with my colleagues to bring this bill to the House floor.” Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC), Chair of the Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Training

“I consider the reauthorization of WIA to be one of the most pressing items on the committee’s agenda and see it as an integral step to rebuilding our changing economy and getting Americans back to work. American workers looking to sharpen their skills and keep up with the changing economy don’t see WIA as a partisan, political issue. They see WIA as an opportunity to protect their livelihoods. House Republicans understand the urgency and are working to reauthorize the law in the 112th Congress.” – Rep. Howard “Buck” McKeon (R-CA)

“I am pleased that the committee has passed this important bill that will help get Americans back to work by eliminating ineffective job training programs and emphasizing local input on workforce investment boards. I look forward to working with my colleagues on the committee as we move this bill to the House floor.” – Rep. Joe Heck (R-NV)

As passed by the committee, the Workforce Investment Improvement Act of 2012 will:
  • Eliminate 37 ineffective programs, including 29 identified by the Government Accountability Office as offering redundant or overlapping job training services, fulfilling the president’s request to “cut through the maze of confusing training programs”
  • Create a single, flexible Workforce Investment Fund that will advance the president’s goal for “one program” and allow state and local leaders to create a wealth of dynamic programs to support workers;
  • Strengthen the role of employers in workforce training decisions by eliminating 19 federal mandates governing the workforce investment board representation and increasing the number of employers on the board to a two-thirds majority;
  • Require state and local workforce investment leaders to outline the strategies they will implement to serve youth, individuals with disabilities, and other workers with unique barriers to employment; and
  • Enhance accountability over the use of taxpayer dollars by establishing common performance measures and requiring an independent evaluation of programs at least once every five years.

Read more about the Workforce Investment Improvement Act of 2012...

To read opening statements, review amendments, or watch an archived webcast of today’s markup, visit

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