Bill Would Dismantle National Commitment to Job Training and Educational Assistance, Say Top House Democrats

Dec 8, 2011

WASHINGTON – Leading House workforce training and education advocates spoke out strongly today against legislation introduced by Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC) to dismantle the national commitment to the millions of Americans seeking job assistance, skills assessment, career counseling, and job training programs. H.R. 3610 would eliminate a number of programs that target populations of high unemployment with high need of services and instead block-grant funding to states without meaningful accountability.

The introduction of this bill comes after House Republicans attempted to completely eliminate job training and assistance funding earlier this year. Democrats also announced that they intend to introduce comprehensive reforms to modernize and strengthen these vital programs contained in the Workforce Investment Act. 

Rep. George Miller (D-CA), the senior Democrat of the House Education and the Workforce Committee:  

“During these times of economic uncertainty, our nation’s workforce programs are essential to helping out-of-work Americans find jobs. Rather than turning our back on the millions of Americans seeking new skills and education, we should work together to design a modern public workforce system that both meets today’s challenges and tomorrow’s economic demands.”   

Rep. Rubén Hinojosa (D-TX), the senior Democrat of the Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Training:  

“I am deeply disappointed by the legislation introduced by Representative Virginia Foxx today. As a member of this committee, I welcome the opportunity to work in a bipartisan manner to improve and strengthen our nation's public workforce training and adult education system. Millions of American workers are struggling in this economy and need our help to acquire the education and workplace skills necessary to access good, family-sustaining jobs and get back on track.”

Rep. John Tierney (D-MA), member of the House Education and the Workforce Committee:

“It is unfortunate, though not surprising, that the Republican leadership of the House Education and the Workforce Committee introduced legislation so narrowly focused on the consolidation of workforce programs. I believe the Workforce Investment Act must be modernized and strengthened in ways that better align services, increase access to training, support innovation, enable workers to obtain the skills they need to compete for jobs, and ensure employers have the workforce they need to grow and thrive. Ranking Member Miller, Congressman Hinojosa and I will soon introduce WIA reauthorization legislation that reflects these principles and presents a far better and more thoughtful approach than the Republican bill introduced today.”