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House Workforce Hearing Sets up Contentious Markup


February 27, 2013

House Workforce Hearing Sets up Contentious Markup

The House Committee on Education and the Workforce’s Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Training held a hearing yesterday, February 26, to discuss the current state of the workforce system.

Testifying at the hearing yesterday was:

While the hearing was originally scheduled to discuss the current state of the workforce system, it evolved into a discussion of Rep. Virginia Foxx’s (R-NC) recently introduced Workforce Investment Act (WIA) reauthorization bill, the Strengthening Knowledge and Investing in Lifelong Skills (SKILLS) Act. The Act includes some controversial measures including consolidating 35 job training programs into a single fund controlled by state governors, allowing governors to determine local workforce areas and eliminating all required members of state and local workforce boards except for business and economic agency representatives.

While all of the witnesses that testified were in agreement that WIA and the workforce system is in desperate need of reform, their opinions on best practices for reauthorization differ. Dr. Holzer advocated for a greater emphasis on performance and adequate investment in the workforce system. On the other side, Mr. Hart and Mr. Gustafson both agreed that the SKILLS Act will produce greater outcomes for the workforce system.

Despite the disagreements among witnesses and members of the committee that were voiced  throughout the hearing, Rep. Foxx will move the SKILLS Act forward to a full committee markup next week. The markup will allow committee members a chance to offer amendments to the bill.

Update 3/1/13:
The markup will take place during ACTE's National Policy Seminar on Wednesday, March 6 at 10:00 a.m. in the Rayburn House Office Building.

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