U.S. Senator Angus King (I-Maine) today applauded the Senate's passage of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act. The bill modernizes and improves existing federal workforce development programs, helps workers learn skills for 21st century jobs, and fosters the modern workforce.
"There's no denying that government workforce, job training, and education programs can be a real help to people looking for work. But when there are 47 different job-training programs and a convoluted maze of other options, these programs can also be more of a headache than a help," Senator King said. "This bipartisan bill will streamline and strengthen existing workforce development programs to ensure that they're accessible and effective for those who need them, and in doing so, will also guarantee the prudent use of taxpayer money. It's a win for job-seekers, especially when it's still so hard to find work right now, and it's a win for all of us who want to make sure that we're getting the most out of our tax dollars. And, importantly, it's also a sign that members of Congress on both sides of the aisle and in both chambers can work together and find common ground to help out those who sent us here."
The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act creates:
A streamlined workforce development system by:
Eliminating 15 existing programs.
Applying a single set of outcome metrics to every federal workforce program under the Act.
Creating smaller, nimbler, and more strategic state and local workforce development boards.
Integrating intake, case management and reporting systems while strengthening evaluations.
Eliminating the "sequence of services" and allowing local areas to better meet the unique needs of individuals.
Greater value by:
Maintaining the 15 percent funding reservation at the state level to allow states the flexibility to address specific needs.
Empowering local boards to tailor services to their region's employment and workforce needs.
Supporting access to real-world education and workforce development opportunities through:
On-the-job, incumbent worker, and customized training;
Pay-for-performance contracts; and
Sector and pathway strategies.
Better coordination by:
Aligning workforce development programs with economic development and education initiatives.
Enabling businesses to identify in-demand skills and connect workers with the opportunities to build those skills.
Supporting strategic planning and streamlining current governance and administration by requiring core workforce programs to develop a single, comprehensive state plan to break down silos, reduce administrative costs, and streamline reporting requirements.
Ensuring individuals with disabilities have the skills necessary to be successful in businesses that provide competitive, integrated employment.
Improved outreach to disconnected youth by:
Focusing youth program services on out-of-school youth, high school dropout recovery efforts, and attainment of recognized postsecondary credentials.
Providing youth with disabilities the services and support they need to be successful in competitive, integrated employment.