Senate Committee Advances Bill to Reauthorize Workforce and Adult Education Programs

Aug 02, 2013

By Neil Ridley

In a spirit of bipartisan cooperation, the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee voted overwhelmingly on July 31 to advance a Workforce Investment Act (WIA) reauthorization bill (S. 1356). The Senate action is the first significant push to reauthorize WIA since House passage of a reauthorization bill (H.R. 803) in March.

Every year, federal workforce and adult education programs, including those authorized by WIA, help millions of Americans find jobs, prepare for work and build skills required for emerging employment opportunities. While the House bill combines dozens of programs into a block grant, the Senate bill takes a starkly different approach to reauthorization. S. 1356 connects a range of workforce, education and training programs by requiring comprehensive planning at the state and local levels, adopting a shared approach to performance measurement and removing long-standing barriers to eligibility determination for certain programs. The Senate bill also authorizes Workforce Innovation Funds that are expected to identify promising service strategies for adults and youth.

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