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August 02
Senate Committee Passes WIA Reauthorization Bill
On July 31, the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) voted 18-3 to advance legislation (S. 1356) that would reauthorize the Workforce Investment Act (WIA). The committee’s bipartisan approval of the measure is a significant step towards reauthorization of WIA, which has been expired since 2003. The measure contains crucial adjustments to the original WIA legislation that reflect the ever-changing global economy, input from business, education, and labor groups, and more than a decade of experience with existing programs. Specifically, the bill contains the following NACo-supported provisions:
  • Would maintain locally-driven workforce development systems and the local elected officials’ role in administration of WIA

  • Would empower local workforce agencies to tailor their WIA programs to the specific needs of their communities

  • Would maintain the business majority on workforce boards while reducing the overall size of state and local boards

  • Would closely align workforce systems with regional economic development and labor market conditions

  • Would apply one set of common performance metrics to each workforce program supported by WIA

  • Would improve the funding structure for local one-stop centers by allowing local training service providers eligibility for state allocated contributions

  • Would maintain youth programs eligibility so that in-school and out-of-school youth may participate

NACo sent a support letter to the Senate HELP Committee on the bipartisan passage of S. 1356. The letter reflected support of a Workforce Investment Act that promotes innovation and flexibility at the local level, is responsive to local emerging economic realities and business needs and ensures that U.S. workers and businesses have the skills and training needed to compete in the global economy. To view this letter, click here.

 

The House, meanwhile, passed their WIA reauthorization measure (H.R. 803) in March. NACo sent a joint letter with the National League of Cities, U.S. Conference of Mayors and National Association of Workforce Boards expressing concerns about provisions in H.R. 803 that undermine the important role of local stakeholders in the administration of workforce development activities and reduce access to education and training for our nation’s most vulnerable workers. To view this letter, click here.

 

The next step for each chamber’s WIA reauthorization bill is floor consideration, but it remains unclear when legislators in the House and Senate will begin such floor debates. Congress begins a five-week recess next week.

 

Contact: Daria Daniel ddaniel@naco.org 202.942.4212

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