Three senior Democratic members of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce today applauded President Barack Obama's signing of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) after the bill received overwhelming bipartisan support in both the House and the Senate. Representatives George Miller (D-Calif.), Rubén Hinojosa (D-Tex.) and John Tierney (D-Mass.) said the legislation, which reauthorizes the decades-old Workforce Investment Act, will help connect job training programs with the needs of employers, ensuring workers learn the most in-demand skills and to be prepared for the jobs of tomorrow. The Representatives called on Congress to continue its work to create jobs as outlined by Democratic leaders in their "Middle Class Jumpstart" economic agenda.
"Americans need to be confident that they're learning the important skills that employers want. The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act will help workers meet the needs of local employers by improving our nation's job training programs," said Rep. Miller, senior Democrat on the House Education and the Workforce Committee. "The bill also makes groundbreaking changes that will empower Americans with disabilities so that they receive the skills and training necessary to succeed in competitive, integrated employment. I am happy that this legislation continues the bipartisan tradition of support for workforce development programs, but Congress must carry this bipartisan momentum beyond today. American families expect Congress to move forward with legislation that creates good jobs and strengthens the middle class."
"I am extremely pleased to see President Obama sign this bipartisan and bicameral bill into law because it will make significant improvements to our nation's public workforce training and adult education system," said Rep. Hinojosa, ranking member on the Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Training. "The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act promotes career pathways and utilizes sector strategies for delivering job training services. These same strategies have had successful outcomes in my congressional district in South Texas and I have no doubt this legislation will be successful across the nation. This bill is designed to help people receive job training and to improve their skills so they can compete in the 21st century global economy."
"This legislation, which includes much of what I proposed, constitutes the most significant jobs bill that Congress will pass this session and it improves existing law," said Rep. Tierney, ranking member on the Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor, and Pensions. "It allows for collaboration and partnership among businesses, employees, communities and higher education institutions, ensuring that people have the exact skills and educational background needed for jobs in their area that actually exist. It also helps employers have access to a qualified workforce that allows them to hire, compete, and grow."
The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act modernizes and improves existing federal workforce development programs, helps workers attain skills for 21st century jobs, provides supports to people with disabilities to enter and remain in competitive, integrated job settings, and fosters the modern workforce that evolving American businesses rely on to compete. In addition to winning strong bipartisan support in both the Senate and the House, the bill is supported by a broad array of labor, business, workforce development leaders, and disability advocates, as well as governors and mayors from around the country.
The legislation was approved earlier this month by a vote of 415 to 6 by the House of Representatives; it was approved by the Senate last month by a vote of 95-3.