Congressman John Tierney, along with top House Education and the Workforce Committee Democrats, introduced legislation today to improve the federal workforce development programs so that they better respond to local economic needs and help get workers find a good job or a new career.
The Workforce Investment Act of 2013 -- introduced by Reps. John Tierney (D-MA), Rubén Hinojosa (D-TX) and George Miller (D-Calif.) -- would modernize the current system by promoting more effective coordination among local stakeholders including business representatives, labor organizations, educational institutions, economic development agencies, and community-based organizations. The bill would also increase taxpayer accountability of programs, and encourage innovation and best practice throughout the system.
"It is imperative we strengthen our workforce system so people of all ages and abilities can obtain the skills and training they need and so businesses can hire and grow. The bill we are introducing today does just that, and it will promote and expand the kind of innovative partnerships among colleges, businesses, and workforce boards that are occurring in my district and throughout the country. Some in Congress have unfortunately prioritized the arbitrary consolidation of workforce programs above all else. That's the wrong approach. Our bill will improve the effectiveness and increase the accountability of the workforce system, while still ensuring that those who need services can get it. I urge Chairman Kline and his colleagues to work with us and reauthorize the Workforce Investment Act in a bipartisan manner," said Rep. Tierney, the only member from Massachusetts on the House Education and the Workforce Committee.
"This is a critical time in the United States for American workers and adult learners to have access to the education and job training they need to increase their literacy skills and to acquire good, family sustaining jobs," said Rep. Hinojosa. "What the Workforce Investment Act does, is it creates a 21st century delivery system for adult education and workforce training that leads to career pathways, increased educational opportunities, civic participation and economic self-sufficiency for our nation's increasingly diverse workforce."
"It's time for Congress to improve our workforce system and make sure it is efficient, effective and accessible to all workers," said Rep. Miller. "We need to support our workforce system so that it helps workers gain needed job skills and find a good job. Our bill takes the best ideas of the experts in the field in order to help local communities respond to business demands and workforce needs. I urge the majority to work with us to address the real shortcomings in the current system."
Enacted in 1998, the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) created local workforce investment boards (WIB) made up of community stakeholders who decide on how to respond to local economic needs. However, supporters of workforce training programs agree that improvements to the current system are needed to make the program work better for those looking for a good job, local communities, businesses and taxpayers. The Workforce Investment Act of 2013 would accomplish this by focusing on finding workers jobs and careers through strategic partnerships with in-demand sector employers, community colleges, labor organizations, and non-profits.
Specifically, the Workforce Investment Act of 2013 would:
* Streamline and Improve Workforce Program Services
* Improve Accountability and Transparency through Performance Measures and Reporting Across Programs
* Promote Innovation and Promising Practices
* Expand the Role of Community Colleges in Job Training
* Develop a 21st Century Delivery System for Adult Education Literacy and Workplace Skills Services
* Engage Youth through Multiple Pathways to Success
* Create Competitive Employment Services and Opportunities for Individuals with Disabilities
"Congressman's Tierney's Workforce Investment Act legislation will help train millions of workers for the new economy and strengthen the middle class," said Verizon executive Stanley J. Usovicz, Chair of the Mass Workforce Board Association.
"Employer-led partnerships across America will be strengthened as a result of this 21st century legislation to put people back to work," added William Tinti, member of the National Association of Workforce Boards.
"National Skills Coalition believes that this legislation is an important, positive step toward strengthening and modernizing the nation's workforce investment system, and we look forward to working with you to advance legislation that ensures that all U.S. workers and businesses have access to the skills they need to succeed in today's global economy," said Rachel Gragg, Ph.D. Federal Policy Director of the National Skills Coalition, a broad-based coalition of business leaders, union affiliates, education and training providers, community-based organizations, and public workforce agencies.