By Frank Lewis
U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-Ohio) today praised the House of Representatives passage of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA). All four key components of bipartisan workforce development legislation authored by Portman, known as the Careers Through Responsive, Efficient, and Effective Retraining (CAREER) Act, are reflected in the final package, which now heads to the President’s desk for signature.
Portman said WIOA, which has not been reauthorized since 1998, modernizes and improves existing federal workforce development programs to be more responsive to the needs of employers, more efficient with taxpayer dollars, and more effective in connecting the unemployed with good-paying jobs.
“For too many Americans, the only jobs that are available are those they don’t have the skills or qualifications to fill,” Portman said. “This has created a skills gap that is hurting unemployed workers and businesses, and is holding back the economy. For the past three years, I have worked in a bipartisan fashion to help these workers get back on a career path by bringing critical reforms to the federal government’s inefficient and outdated workforce development system. I am pleased that today the House passed these reforms along with the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, bringing the federal government’s primary workforce development programs into the 21st Century.”
The CAREER Act calls for a reduction in wasteful and inefficient overlap among the federal workforce development programs. To that end, WIOA consolidates 15 programs from the nation’s federal workforce development system.
The CAREER Act calls for an increased focus on helping unemployed workers attain high quality credentials that make them more competitive in their local job markets and it calls for accountability in the federal workforce development system called “Pay for Success.”
Finally, the CAREER Act brings about access to better data to make it less difficult and expensive for state and local officials to assess the effectiveness of their training activities in real-time.
“I remain committed to removing federal barriers to job creation, and creating an environment where America’s businesses – small and large – will have the certainty they need to begin hiring again,” U.S. Representative Bill Johnson (R-OH-6) said. “Today, the House passed a bipartisan bill, which the Senate has also approved, that will help put Americans back to work. In addition to strengthening job training programs, the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act eliminates over 15 unsuccessful workforce development programs, and stresses the importance of input from local employers on workforce investment boards while reducing administrative costs and unnecessary bureaucracy. This legislation is a prime example of the progress that can be made when the Senate decides to work with the House. I now urge Senator Majority Leader Harry Reid to take a look at the over 40 House-passed jobs bills still sitting on his desk.”
The CAREER Act has been the centerpiece of what Portman says are his efforts to close the skills gap. Additionally, Portman recently co-founded the Senate Career & Technical Education Caucus (CTE) with U.S. Senator Tim Kaine (D-Virginia) in an effort to promote and support career and technical education for both adults and youth looking to acquire skills they need to enter the workforce.
Frank Lewis can be reached at 740-353-3101, Ext. 1928, or on Twitter @FrankLewispdt.