Yesterday I posted the letters sent by the National Coalition for Literacy (NCL) and the National Council of State Directors of Adult Education (NCSDAE) to the House Education and the Workforce Committee in response to the Supporting Knowledge and Investing in Life Long Skills (SKILLS) Act, (H.R. 803), the Republican-backed bill to revamp the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) that was passed by the committee last week and will likely get a floor vote in the full House sometime late this week. Both groups expressed serious concerns about the legislation. (Here is a link to the bill as reported by the committee.)
But it’s not just groups representing the field of adult education and adult literacy that are concerned that the bill, if enacted, would undermine the country’s adult education system. Here are some of the letters to the committee I’ve seen from other organizations and coalitions that have expressed such concerns (click on the thumbnail to read the entire letter):
American Association of Community Colleges and Association of Community College Trustees: AACC and ACCT have not historically taken a position on consolidation of the funding streams within WIA and we do not object to the concept of program consolidation per se as long as it is done to help program effectiveness and takes into account the particular needs that a given program fulfills. For this reason, we are pleased that H.R. 803 no longer permits governors to consolidate Perkins Career and Technical Education funds into the Workforce Investment Fund. We urge the same change be made for WIA Title II adult education funds.
The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights: H.R. 803 will result in significant reductions in high-quality education, job training, and supportive services to the most disadvantaged populations, including disconnected youth, persons living in high-poverty communities, minorities, women, seniors, persons with disabilities, those recently incarcerated, single parents, veterans and those who lack English proficiency or a high school diploma or equivalent credential.
National Skills Coalition: [W]e need a diversity of pathways into the labor market that meet the skill needs of all jobseekers: young people struggling to find their first job; mid‐career dislocated workers who have been employed for 20 years but who now must re‐train for a new occupation or even to remain in their own industry; older workers who are postponing retirement and need some skills and support to continue earning a living; and vulnerable populations such as disconnected youth, individuals with low‐literacy or limited English proficiency, migrant and seasonal farmworkers, and low‐income single‐parents.
National Council of La Raza: Without direction to focus on workers who need intensive services—such as Latinos with limited basic education or English skills—our workforce investment system has tended to prioritize a high volume of job placements that require limited intervention.
I’ll update this list if I come across other letters/statements expressing similar concerns.