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Reauthorize the Workforce Investment Act

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

Mr. TIERNEY. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to urge my colleagues to support legislation that I, along with Congressman George Miller of California and RUBÉN HINOJOSA of Texas, are introducing later today to reauthorize the Workforce Investment Act.

The Workforce Investment Act, or WIA as it is commonly known, is the primary Federal law governing how employment and training services are provided to adults, youth, and dislocated workers. It was enacted in 1998 when unemployment was below 5 percent and before many of today's high growth industries even existed. It is long past time for WIA to be modernized and retooled to address our country's current challenges.

The bill I'm introducing today does just that. This bill increases access to training and improves the delivery of employment services. It strengthens the law's accountability standards to better evidence program effectiveness and provide assurances that our taxpayer dollars are being well spent.

My bill ensures that the kind of innovative work that's being done by the North Shore Workforce Investment Board in my district and elsewhere across the country can be replicated and taken to scale, and it expands the role of community colleges in job training.

This is the kind of commonsense legislation on which this Congress should be acting. We need to make sure we provide the training and education so that Americans have the skills to fulfill the jobs of today and tomorrow. Too many businesses have job vacancies because they can't find qualified candidates. Working together to help workers and those looking to hire them should not be a partisan issue. We need to find those qualified candidates and put them to work.

Modernizing and strengthening WIA will help both workers and employers, and it will ensure that our country can remain competitive in this global economy. I urge my colleagues' support for it.

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