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February 20, 2013

Tierney introduces bill to modernize workforce development programs

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Rep. John Tierney, along with top House Education and the Workforce Committee Democrats, introduced legislation today to improve the federal workforce development programs so that they better respond to local economic needs and help get workers find a good job or a new career.

The Workforce Investment Act of 2013 — introduced by Tierney, Rubén Hinojosa (D-Texas) and George Miller (D-Calif.) — would modernize the current system by promoting more effective coordination among local stakeholders including business representatives, labor organizations, educational institutions, economic development agencies and community-based organizations. The bill would also increase taxpayer accountability of programs and encourage innovation and best practice throughout the system.

“It is imperative we strengthen our workforce system so people of all ages and abilities can obtain the skills and training they need and so businesses can hire and grow,” said Tierney in a press release. “The bill we are introducing today does just that, and it will promote and expand the kind of innovative partnerships among colleges, businesses and workforce boards that are occurring in my district and throughout the country.

“Some in Congress have unfortunately prioritized the arbitrary consolidation of workforce programs above all else. That’s the wrong approach. Our bill will improve the effectiveness and increase the accountability of the workforce system, while still ensuring that those who need services can get it. I urge Chairman Kline and his colleagues to work with us and reauthorize the Workforce Investment Act in a bipartisan manner,” said Tierney, the only member from Massachusetts on the House Education and the Workforce Committee.

Enacted in 1998, the Workforce Investment Act created local workforce investment boards made up of community stakeholders who decide how to respond to local economic needs. However, supporters of workforce training programs agree that improvements to the current system are needed to make the program work better for those looking for a good job, local communities, businesses and taxpayers. The Workforce Investment Act of 2013 would accomplish this by focusing on finding workers jobs and careers through strategic partnerships with in-demand sector employers, community colleges, labor organizations and nonprofits.

Specifically, the Workforce Investment Act of 2013 would:

Streamline and improve workforce program services

Improve accountability and transparency through performance measures and reporting across programs

Promote innovation and promising practices

Expand the role of community colleges in job training

Develop a 21st century delivery system for adult education literacy and workplace skills services

Engage youth through multiple pathways to success

Create competitive employment services and opportunities for individuals with disabilities

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