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Senate Holds WIA Reauthorization Hearing

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June 23, 2013

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Senate Holds WIA Reauthorization Hearing

On June 20, the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) committee held it first hearing on reauthorizing the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) in the 113th Congress. Authorized in 1998, WIA authorizes the overarching federal workforce development system, which is comprised of programs such as adult and youth job training and adult education. The Act was due for reauthorization in 2003, but Congress has not been able to come to an agreement on a new bill.

While yesterday's hearing had a heavy focus on vocational rehabilitation services and English language proficiency courses provided through adult education, several Senators, including Franken (D-MN), Enzi (R-WY) and Sanders (D-VT), provided support for industry-recognized credentials. The Senators all spoke about the importance of training job seekers for in-demand careers and ensuring trainees are earning credentials to verify their skills. They also emphasized the importance of the nation's community and technical colleges in providing job training services for the workforce investment system.

Witnesses for the hearing also highlighted the importance of trainees earning credentials and programs leading to in-demand careers. Witnesses included:

  • Steve Partridge, President/CEO, Charlotte Works
  • Beverly Smith, Assistant Commissioner and State Director of Adult Education, Office of Adult Education, Technical College System of Georgia
  • David Mitchell, Administrator for Iowa Vocational Rehabilitation Services
  • Alan Rosenberg, Vice President, Chief of Staff and Chief Administrative Officer, Temple University Health System

Video of yesterday's hearing is available on the committee's website.

The HELP Committee is poised to introduce a bipartisan reauthorization bill in the coming weeks, which will be followed shortly thereafter by a markup. Previously, the House Committee on Education and the Workforce passed a reauthorization bill, the SKILLS Act, in March. The SKILLS Act narrowly passed the full House 215-202.

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