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On June 20, the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee held a full committee hearing to initiate public discussions on reauthorization of the Workforce Investment Act (WIA).
The hearing featured testimony from Alan N. Rosenberg, Vice President, Chief of Staff, and Chief Administrative Officer of the Temple University Health System (Temple Health) in Philadelphia. In his testimony, Mr. Rosenberg highlighted Temple Health’s long-time partnership with the District 1199c Training & Upgrading Fund (Training Fund), led by NSC Leadership Council member, Cheryl Feldman. Mr. Rosenberg discussed the nearly 40 year partnership between Temple Health and the Training Fund, which has yielded thousands of new trained workers for Temple Health, and has helped countless incumbent workers move up the career ladder. Mr. Rosenberg delivered a powerful argument for these types of partnerships, stating:
“We believe that our investment in the training fund provides a valuable return not only for our employees, but for the patients and communities we serve. We also believe that the leveraging of employer contributions with government and philanthropic funds provides a strong platform for addressing the supply and demand side of the talent pool required by the health care industry.”
Also appearing before the committee were Steve Partridge, President and CEO of CharlotteWorks in Charlotte, North Carolina; David Mitchell, Administrator for Iowa Vocational Rehabilitation Services; and Beverly E. Smith, Assistant Commissioner of Adult Education for the State of Georgia.
Mr. Partridge told committee members how CharlotteWorks has found success by adopting a regional approach to preparing its workers for available jobs and working with business to align training efforts to meet their needs. Mr. Mitchell focused on creating better outcomes for individuals with disabilities, including more paths to employment.
Ms. Smith, representing adult education, made several recommendations to the committee on how WIA could be improved to better serve low-skilled adults. In particular, she noted the need for more collaboration between adult education and state and local workforce investment boards.
Yesterday’s hearing was the first on WIA reauthorization the committee has conducted this Congress. Senators Murray (D-WA) and Isakson (R-GA) – who is ranking member of the Employment and Workplace Safety subcommittee – are currently working to draft bipartisan WIA legislation. NSC expects the committee will introduce a bill within the next few weeks. A mark-up of the bill could occur as soon as the week of July 22.
NSC will continue to provide updates as the Senate moves forward with WIA reauthorization.