House Education and Workforce Committee Approves WIA Reauthorization Measure

Posted on: June 21st, 2012 by NADO Admin

On June 7, the House the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, chaired by Rep. John Kline (R-MN),  held a “mark-up” of the Workforce Investment Improvement Act of 2012 (H.R. 4297) that would reauthorize the Workforce Investment Act of 1998 (WIA).  The bill was originally introduced in the Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Training by Reps. Virginia Foxx (R-NC), Joe Heck (R-NV), and Buck McKeon (R-CA).  The bill may be considered on the House floor in coming weeks depending on the House Republican leadership.

The Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) has not yet formally introduced a reauthorization measure and it is unclear whether they will do so before the November elections.  If the Congress fails to pass a similar version in the House and Senate this year, the process will need to start over next year in the new Congress.

Resources for the Workforce Investment Improvement Act (H.R. 4297):

  • To read H.R. 4297, click here. (http://thomas NULL.loc NULL.R NULL.4297:)
  • To read the House Education and Workforce Committee’s summary of the bill, click here. (http://edworkforce NULL.R NULL._4297_Bill_Summary NULL.pdf)
  • To watch a recorded webcast of the markup, click here. (http://edworkforcehouse NULL.granicus NULL.php?view_id=2&clip_id=93)
  • To view the amendments offered at the markup, click here.  (http://edworkforce NULL.aspx?EventID=298228)

Highlights of the Workforce Investment Improvement Act (H.R. 4297) as reported by the National Skills Coalition:

  • Consolidates more than 25 federally funded workforce development programs into a single $6 billion Workforce Investment Fund, which would be allocated to states and localities by formula.
  • Eliminates all current membership requirements for state and local workforce boards, except for certain requirements relating to business and economic development representation, and locally elected officials
  • Eliminates provisions relating to automatic designation of local workforce areas, allowing state boards to designate local areas in consultation with the governor
  • Eliminates the requirement that local WIBs give priority for services to low-income individuals
  • Authorizes states to develop unified state plans, and consolidate funding for other federal training and social services programs—including funding for TANF, Trade Adjustment Assistance, Community Services Block Grants, and programs under state unemployment compensation laws—into the state plans
  • Sets common performance measures for the Workforce Investment Fund, adult education programs under Title II, and Vocational Rehabilitation programs under Title IV
  • Reduces the governor’s set-aside for statewide activities from 15 percent to 5 percent of a state’s Workforce Investment Fund allotment
  • Requires states to reserve no more than 18 percent of Workforce Investment Fund allotments for new State Youth Challenge Grants
  • Requires states to reserve 2 percent of Workforce Investment Fund allotments for grants to serve adults with barriers to employment
  • Mandates a minimum percentage of local area allocations that must be used for training services

During the mark-up, Higher Education and Workforce Training Subcommittee Chair Foxx (R-NC) offered a substitute amendment that made several changes to the bill, including:

  • Removes Job Corps from the list of consolidated programs and instead authorizes the Secretary of Labor to hold 28 percent of funding under the Workforce Investment Fund to maintain Job Corps as a national program
  • Eliminates Youth Challenge Grants
  • Adds new definitions for:
    • “out-of-school” and “at-risk” youth
    •  “industry or sector partnership,” an “industry-recognized credential,” and a “recognized postsecondary credential”
    • Adding examples of the types of individuals or organizations that may serve on state or local WIBs (including members elected officials, organizations that have experience working with youth, education and training providers such as community colleges and community-based organizations, and agency officials)
  • Eliminates National Emergency Grants (NEGs) and reduces the funding that the Secretary of Labor shall hold at the national level from 2 percent of the total funds under the Workforce Investment fund to ½ of 1 percent, 50 percent of which shall be used for technical assistance and 50 percent of which shall be used for evaluation
  • Creates a new “hold-harmless” provision for state and local allocations in FY2013
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