Larsen Votes for Stronger Job Training and Opportunity

Jul 9, 2014 Issues: Jobs Labor and the Economy

WASHINGTON—Better opportunities for job training and adult education will prepare more people to succeed in today’s economy because of a bill that Rep. Rick Larsen, WA-02, supported and the House of Representatives passed by a vote of 415-6. The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act improves workforce development and job training programs by updating them to align with the needs of today’s employers. These changes will help those who are underemployed and long-term unemployed with training and job searches, as well as improving adult education and literacy. 

The Act replaces the Workforce Investment Act, which expired in 2003. The new Act passed the Senate by a vote of 95-3 on June 25. Senator Patty Murray of Washington authored that bill. The Act now heads to the President for signature.

“Workforce development programs have a long and diverse history of success in Northwest Washington. For example, the Northwest Workforce Development Council connected long-term unemployed with a machining course and on-the-job training that helped job seekers find mid-level jobs with earnings 20 percent above entry level. And the Workforce Development Council of Snohomish County has increased high school and GED credentials for youth who have dropped out of school or are at risk of doing so.

“These examples from my district illustrate that our country’s workforce development programs are a critical resource for those seeking jobs and new skills. But these resources need to keep up with the demands of today’s economy, especially because there are more than 3 million people dealing with long-term unemployment. This bill will allow our counties and states more flexibility to better address the regional needs of job seekers and employers.

“Investing in long-term economic growth that creates jobs and opportunity means making sure businesses in the Pacific Northwest and across the country can hire workers with the right skills to get the job done. This bill helps achieve that goal by connecting those looking for work with relevant, customized training. And it recognizes the importance of basic literacy for adults to succeed in today’s job market. I am also pleased the bill continues the Job Corps program, which connects young people and veterans to higher education and jobs.

“Senator Murray deserves applause for her leadership of this overdue modernization of our country’s workforce development system,” Larsen said.

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