On February 15, key Democratic members of the House Education and Workforce Committee – Ranking Member George Miller (D-CA), Higher Education and Workforce Training subcommittee Ranking Member Ruben Hinojosa (D-TX), and Rep. John Tierney – introduced the Workforce Investment Act of 2013(H.R. 798), a bill to strengthen and modernize the nation’s workforce investment system.
The bill is driven by three core principles:
- Streamlining and improving workforce investment system programs;
- Strengthening workforce investment system accountability; and
- Promoting innovation and best practices within the workforce investment system.
National Skills Coalition sent a letter to Reps. Tierney, Miller and Hinojosa on February 14, voicing support for key provisions of the bill, including efforts to:
- Accelerate the adoption of industry- and sector-based partnerships, which would strengthen employer engagement and prepare workers for available jobs in an industry;
- Increase cross-program alignment through career pathways models, to support seamless employment and training pathways for individuals, with multiple exit and entry points for workers at various skill levels and states in their careers;
- Implement system-wide measures, to assess annual improvement within states with respect to program alignment, effectiveness in engaging employers in the workforce system, expanding access to training, and increasing credential attainment;
- Create a line-item for infrastructure spending and requiring states set a minimum percentage of funding for training, which will allow states to make needed investments in infrastructure and better prioritize training services over infrastructure costs; and
- Emphasize attainment of industry-recognized/recognized postsecondary credentials as a measure of the effectiveness of the workforce system in meeting the skill needs of workers and businesses.
House Democrats introduced a similar bill in the 112th Congress; unfortunately it was not considered by the committee. Education and Workforce Committee Chairman Kline has said he plans to put forth his vision for WIA reauthorization in the coming weeks.
NSC will provide additional updates as information becomes available.