Best Practices in Workforce Investment
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I was given an opportunity today to testify before the House Subcommittee on Higher Education, Lifelong Learning, and Competitiveness about "New Innovations and Best Practices Under the Workforce Investment Act" (WIA). As I noted in my testimony, this is particularly timely given the economic situation in which the nation finds itself--particularly the mounting job losses. The one-stop career centers established as part of WIA are seeing record increases in those seeking employment and job training services. In recognition of this demand, Congress has included in the stimulus package over $4 billion of additional funding for programs under the federal employment system, including WIA.
But all is not rosy. Unfortunately, we have heard from our chamber members across the country that the WIA system has not always been able to meet the needs of many job seekers and employers. We believe that while the system has worked in some places, it is desperately in need of reform. While we haven't undertaken a comprehensive review of the WIA system, it is evident that some of the nation's most successful local workforce investment systems have several traits in common: strong business leadership; effective coordination; and relevant training. More details are available in the text of my testimony.
WIA is up for reauthorization this year, and we hope that Congress takes the opportunity to address these challenges and ensure this system is able to meet the needs of our nation's workforce.