As we were told yesterday, two Workforce Investment Act bills were introduced in the House of Representatives today.
There are fact sheets on both bills here:
- H.R. 3610, the Streamlining Workforce Development Programs Act
- H.R. 3611, the Local Job Opportunities and Business Success (JOBS) Act
The bills focus is really on consolidating Title I job training programs and not on Title II adult education programs. However, the purpose of H.R. 3610, which is to consolidate what the bill’s author considers duplicative programs, is a start down a thematic path that adult education advocates are likely to be concerned about.
(h/t to the National Coalition for Literacy for the links.)
There’s also a press release from the Committee on Education and the Workforce that is worth a look. I thought the key quote here was from Chairman Kline, because it lays out the Republican’s WIA reauthorization stategy:
“The proposals brought forward by Reps. Buck McKeon, Virginia Foxx, and Joe Heck will serve as the foundation for the committee’s work to reauthorize the Workforce Investment Act in the months ahead,” continued Chairman Kline. “I want to thank my colleagues for their efforts on behalf of the nation’s workers, job seekers, and employers.”
The Democrats’ initial response to the bills can be found in this press release (spoiler alert!—they don’t like it): Bill Would Dismantle National Commitment to Job Training and Educational Assistance, Say Top House Democrats
Key quote in the Democrats press release, I think, is Congressman Tierney’s pledge to introduce a Democratic WIA reauthorization bill soon:
“It is unfortunate, though not surprising, that the Republican leadership of the House Education and the Workforce Committee introduced legislation so narrowly focused on the consolidation of workforce programs. I believe the Workforce Investment Act must be modernized and strengthened in ways that better align services, increase access to training, support innovation, enable workers to obtain the skills they need to compete for jobs, and ensure employers have the workforce they need to grow and thrive. Ranking Member Miller, Congressman Hinojosa and I will soon introduce WIA reauthorization legislation that reflects these principles and presents a far better and more thoughtful approach than the Republican bill introduced today.” (my emphasis)
UPDATE: Here are URLs for the full text of the bills:
The National Skills Coalition is not pulling any punches in their critique of these bills, characterizing them as “calls for elimination of training programs“