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Putting America Back to Work: Helping Unemployed Workers Gain Valuable Skills, Fill Local Jobs

For the nearly 13 million unemployed Americans, finding work is a full time job with little reward – but it doesn’t have to be this way. Decades ago, the federal government put in place a job training system designed to provide valuable services and support to struggling workers. Unfortunately, the system has become inefficient after years of neglect.

On behalf of the nation’s workers, House Republicans are advancing legislation to fix this broken job training system and help more Americans gain the skills they need to fill local job opportunities. The Workforce Investment Improvement Act of 2012 (H.R. 4297) will provide better support for job seekers by:

  • Closing the skills gap. Too often, unemployed workers lack the necessary skills to fill available local jobs. One reason for this trend – known as the ‘skills gap’ – is that area employers aren’t able to effectively participate in the workforce development system. State and local workforce boards are supposed to promote employer involvement, yet they have become mired in federal mandates. As a result, job creators are unable to ensure job training programs are developed for industries that are growing and in-demand. By strengthening the role of employers, encouraging industry-sector partnerships, and requiring boards to conduct workforce analyses to identify skills gaps, H.R. 4297 helps ensure the skills and training offered to workers aligns with the needs of area industries.
  • Eliminating arbitrary roadblocks to training. At a time when more than five million workers have been unemployed for six months or longer, many Americans can’t afford to wait to receive the support they need to find a job. Yet that is precisely what is required in today’s broken workforce development system; before they can receive any job training, workers must navigate through a cumbersome “sequence of services.” The Workforce Investment Improvement Act of 2012 eliminates this onerous requirement, allowing workers to access important services and support immediately.
  • Streamlining a maze of confusing programs. Today’s workforce development system has become unwieldy and ineffective, full of redundant programs and red tape. As a result, time and resources are often spent navigating a complex bureaucracy instead of delivering critical employment support to workers. Even President Obama has asked Congress to cut through the “maze of confusing [job] training programs” and create “one program.” H.R. 4297 eliminates 37 ineffective and redundant programs and creates a single Workforce Investment Fund so workers have one place to go for their job training needs.

On a recent edition of C-SPAN’s Newsmakers program, House Education and the Workforce Committee Chairman John Kline (R-MN) discussed in further detail the commonsense proposals in H.R. 4297. Watch the video below to learn more:


For more information about the Workforce Investment Improvement Act of 2012, click here. To watch the full C-SPAN interview with Chairman Kline, click here.

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