Letters of Opposition or Concern to H.R. 4297, the GOP's Workforce Investment Act of 2012

Jun 6, 2012 Issues: Labor, Jobs and Job Training

Workforce investment programs can be vital tools for helping Americans attain the skills and education they need to find good-paying jobs and join the middle class. The Republican approach to rewriting WIA walks away from our national responsibility to create and sustain a highly-skilled workforce, especially for our most disadvantaged workers. Read letters from groups who oppose H.R. 4297, the Republican reauthorization of the Workforce Investment Act:

  • AARP
  • AAUW
  • Adult Education and Literacy
  • American Association of Community Colleges (AACC)
  • American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO):"H.R. 4297 will have major implications on the quality of services being delivered to WIA eligible participants, as well as the overall accountability of the system to disadvantaged persons, dislocated workers, young people, and other populations whose livelihoods have been severely impacted by the Great Recession and continued mass unemployment."

Undersigned: American Federation of Teachers (AFT), Building and Construction Trades Department, AFL-CIO, (BCTD), International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAMAW), International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE), International Union of Painters and Allied Trades (IUPAT), National Education Association (NEA), Service Employees International Union (SEIU), United Autoworkers (UAW), United Steelworkers (USW)

  • American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME): "Instead of strengthening our rpresent workforce system, H.R. 4297 would cause it irreparable harm."
  • American Federation of Teachers (AFT)
  • Association of Farm worker Opportunity Programs (AFOP): "If H.R. 4297 were enacted, it would have a devastating impact on vulnerable populations and on the agricultural sector's employment  training needs."
  • American Jewish Committee
  • American Library Association (ALA)
  • Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE)
  • Campaign for Youth"As drafted, HR4297 would likely dismantle the current youth education, employment and training system for low-income and disconnected youth. The youth funding streams slated for consolidation in this bill served over 370,000 mostly low income and mostly minority youth."
  • California Human Development"If H.R. 4297 were enacted, it would have a devastating impact on vulnerable populations and on the agricultural sector's employment training needs. Migrant and seasonal farmworkers are an exceptionally hard-to-serve population with unique barriers that the traditional universal access model would not be able to effectively serve. In fact, it is unlikely that more than a handful of agricultural workers would be served each year, compared to the thousands who reach good careers through the current national program"
  • Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP)"We are particularly concerned about the creation of a statewide competition for youth grants in place of a youth funding stream for local areas; the elimination of the authority for supportive services and needs-related payments; and the inclusion of a form of super-waiver that allows states to consolidate funds from a list of mandatory and discretionary programs."
  • Congressional Black Caucus"Although we support reauthorization of [WIA] this important piece of legislation, we cannot support H.R. 4297 in its current form given that it severely weakens both the public workforce investment system's ability to provide equitable access to services for those most in need and the effectiveness of the adult education system."
  • Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities"HR 4297 takes a broad swipe at consolidating programs appearing to be “unnecessary and duplicative.” Unfortunately, the bill flatly ignores the fact that many of these programs are the best option available for veterans and people with disabilities. We are concerned that there is no specific fund dedicated to people with disabilities and, additionally, that many of the special emphases contained in existing programs will be lost or suffer from diminished resources."
  • Council for Advancement of Adult Literacy
  • Council of State Administrator of Vocational Rehabilitatio (CSAVR)"It is the belief of our membership that many of the major provisions in H.R. 4297 will be detrimental to the access, delivery and employment outcomes of Americans with significant disabilities."
  • Easter Seals: "H.R. 4297...could negatively afffect older adults and jobseekers with disabilities."
  • First Focus
  • Goodwill Industries International, Inc.
  • Jobs for the Future
  • La Courte Oreilles Tribal Governing Board"H.R. 4297 would repeal Section 166 - Native American Programs and Section 169 - Youth Opportunity Grants (which has a l .5 percent Native Youth set-aside) and replace these two sections with a "not more than one percent" set aside to "make grants to, and enter into contracts or cooperative agreements with Indian tribes, tribal organizations, Alaska-Native entities, Indian controlled organizations serving Indians, or Native Hawaiian organizations to carry out employment and training activities" from the total amount appropriated for states."
  • The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights: "We believe [H.R. 4297] will result in significant reductions in education, job training and supportive services to the most disadvantaged populations across our coalition, including low-income youth and adults, women, minorities, seniors, persons with disabilities, those recently incarcerated, single parents, and those lacking a high school diploma and basic literacy skills."
  • National Association of Counties
  • National Coalition for Literacy (NCL): "Several of our concerns about H.R. 4297 are addressed in H.R. 4277, and we urge the Committee to consider these provisions. WIA has long been a bi-partisan bill, with Congressional colleagues reaching across the aisle to support federal policies that provide adults with the education and training opportunities they need to achieve success. We urge the Committee to develop a truly bipartisan proposal that cuts across party lines and addresses the needs of American workers in every community."
  • National Collaboration for Youth
  • National Council for Family Literacy: "We are writing to express our serious concerns regarding the inclusion of section 127 in H.R. 4297, the Workforce Investment Improvement Act of 2012. If States exercise the authority in this section, entire Adult education programs could disappear, leaving those who rely on these critical services without any path to address their basic skill needs. This section could jeopardize the ability of adults to learn English and obtain GEDs, further restricting their employability at a time when the nation can ill-afford to scale back on its capacity to compete in the world economy."
  • National Council for Independent Living  (NCIL)
  • National Council of Jewish Women
  • National Council of La Raza (NCLR)
  • National Council of Negro Women
  • National Council of State Directors of Adult Education
  • National Council of Women’s Organizations
  • National Council on Aging
  • National Disability Institute (NDI)
  • National Disability Rights Network"According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the current unemployment rate for people with disabilities is around 15%, nearly twice that of the general population. The unemployment rate would be even higher, but for the fact that many people with disabilities have resigned themselves to unemployment...NDRN is also opposed to the elimination of supported employment programs for people with disabilities...Eliminating this program would be a setback in efforts to end unemployment for people with disabilities."
  • National Education Association
  • National Employment Law Project
  • National Job Corps Association"H.R. 4297 – the Workforce Investment Improvement Act would essentially end our nation’s single most effective career preparation program for at-risk youth by consolidating it into a block grant."
  • National League of Cities
  • National Partnership for Women & Families
  • National Skills Coalition
  • National Transitional Jobs Network
  • National Urban League
  • National Women’s Law Center
  • National Youth Employment Coalition
  • NETWORK, A National Catholic Social Justice Lobby
  • PACER Center"[Section 127] could completely end Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) programs in States exercising the authority in this section. This section would jeopardize the ability of individuals with disabilities to gain further education and skills and, most importantly, employment. This authority could seriously exacerbate what are already high levels of unemployment among individuals with disabilities."
  • Senior Service America, Inc.
  • Service Employees International Union (SEIU): "H.R. 4297 is, unfortunately, a heavy handed consolidation of workforce programs, eliminates priority for low income people that is contained in the current law, and eliminates important worker stakeholder representation on workforce boards, which is a basic tenant for effective policy development and delivery of services that must address the needs of both businesses and workers."
  • The Arc"We are concerned that consolidation of vocational rehabilitation and related programs would divert resources, focus, and accountability away from assisting individuals who are most in need of these services."
  • The Corps Network
  • United Autoworkers (UA)
  • United Steelworkers (USW)
  • United Way of the National Capital Area
  • Wider Opportunities for Women
  • Young Invincibles
  • Youthbuild Coalition: "If HR 4297 were enacted, many states would certainly attempt to address the needs disconnected  youth by launching similar programs. However, it is unlikely that a seamless hand-off of the YouthBuild program from federal to state government would occur, given the time and cost involved in establishing necessary regulations and oversight to administer and ensure the quality of programs at the state level...Disruption of the kind that is sure to result from HR 4297 would be extremely detrimental, effectively  a resource in (some 18,000 young people were turned away from Youth Build programs in 2011 due to lack of funding), causing programs to close their doors and local communities stranded and a needed segment of our population."
  • Youthbuild USA
  • YWCA USA