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Legislative Update: House Democrats Introduce Workforce Investment Act of 2013 (H.R. 798); House Republicans Release Proposals to Reauthorize Workforce Investment Act

House Democrats Introduce Workforce Investment Act of 2013 (H.R. 798)

In a recent move, Representatives John Tierney (D-MA), Ruben Hinojosa (D-TX) and George Miller (D-CA) introduced the House Democrats’ plan to reauthorize the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) (titled Workforce Investment Act of 2013). WIA is a key piece of workforce policy that has been pending reauthorization since 2003.  The bill’s stated aims include promoting more effective coordination among local stakeholders such as business representatives, labor organizations, educational institutions, economic development agencies and community-based organizations. It also aims to increase the accountability of programs to taxpayers and to encourage innovation and best practices throughout the system.

The bill seeks to expand the role of community colleges in job training, engage youth through multiple pathways to success and to streamline and improve workforce program services. Further details are expected to emerge in the coming weeks, at which point the projected impact both on Career Technical Education policy and spending levels will become clearer.

House Republicans Release Proposals to Reauthorize Workforce Investment Act

Late last week, Representative Virginia Fox (R-NC) released a proposal to reform WIA on behalf of the Republicans. The proposals, termed the Supporting Knowledge and Investing in Lifelong Skills (SKILLS) Act, will be formally introduced at a hearing, scheduled for 10am on February 25. The hearing, which will be broadcast live online here, aims to eliminate and streamline 35 employment and training programs and would create a Workforce Investment Fund to serve as a single source of support for employers, workers and job seekers. Carl D. Perkins Career Technical Education Act funding is not including as part of the 35 programs.

The proposals also seek to strengthen the role of employers in workforce training decisions by eliminating 19 federal mandates on Workforce Investment Board representation, it promotes accountability by establishing common performance measures, and it requires an independent evaluation of programs at least once every five years. Further details are expected to emerge at the hearing, where the effect on Career Technical Education should become more apparent.

David Beckett, Advocacy Manager

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