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Letter to The Honorable Arlen Specter, Chairman, Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education and The Honorable Tom Harkin.....

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC


The Honorable Arlen Specter
Chairman, Subcommittee on Labor,
Health and Human Services, and Education
184 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

The Honorable Tom Harkin
Ranking Member, Subcommittee on Labor
Health and Human Services, and Education
123 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

Dear Chairman Specter and Ranking Member Harkin:

We are writing to express our strong support for restoring funding to fiscal year 2005 levels for Workforce
Investment Act (WIA) and Employment Service programs in fiscal year 2007 Labor, HHS, Education
Appropriations.

In today's fast-paced global economy, the American workforce continues to undergo profound changes that
require all workers to acquire advanced skills, which is key to keeping the nation's competitive stronghold.

That is why the need to invest public resources in education and job training is so crucial.
This year, 15 million workers, or more than one in ten workers nationally, will seek assistance from our
nation's employment and training programs. The most recent data from the Bureau of Labor statistics
indicates that while the overall unemployment level has decreased recently, there are still one million more
unemployed workers than there were in 2001 and the number of long term unemployed has risen by 71%.

WIA is an employer-led system that provides skills training for a demand driven economy, providing
workers with the skills that employers need. More and more employers recognize the interdependency of
workforce training and economic competitiveness and are increasing their support for job training.

With a
solid investment in America's job training system, skill levels of the workforce become an asset to global
economic competitiveness, rather than a deficit.

However, investment in employment and training programs has been diminishing, with WIA and
Employment Services at $1 billion below funding levels enacted five years ago. Continued decreases in
funding for federal job training programs will force One Stop Career Centers around the nation to close their
doors, and our ability to train our most valuable economic resource, our workers, will be greatly diminished,
threatening our nation's economic security.

We recognize that tough funding choices will have to be made in this very difficult fiscal environment. The
strong, continuing, and bi-partisan Congressional support for the Workforce Investment Act programs
reflects accurately our commitment to ensure our nation's workers and employers have access to critical
workforce services.

We urge you to ensure that appropriations for education and job training programs in FY 2007 reflect this
commitment to our nation's employment and training system.

http://cantwell.senate.gov/news/04_05_06_WIA_FY07_Appropriations.pdf

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