Workforce Week of Action to Focus on Adequate Investment in Programs That Work
Aug 10, 2011
In the midst of the recession, more than 8 million adults and dislocated workers were served by programs under Title I of the Workforce Investment Act (WIA). More than half went on to find jobs and many others participated in services to increase skills and job readiness. On the college front, over 9.4 million low-income students received financial assistance from the Pell Grant program to further their education and millions more received job preparation and basic skills training through other federally supported training programs, including adult basic education and career and technical education. However, the national unemployment rate is still greater than 9 percent and more than 14 million Americans who want a job simply can't find one. With numbers like these, maintaining the nation's federal workforce development programs is more important than ever. Current Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke echoed this sentiment when he said:
Although helping workers acquire up-to-date skills is always important, it is especially critical now, when long spells of unemployment are threatening the longer-term employability and productivity of many.
Despite the clear and demonstrated need for these programs, Congress already cut more than $1 billion in funding for workforce programs in Fiscal Year 2011. Such measures are highly counterproductive in the current economic context; however, many members of Congress are considering even deeper cuts to workforce investments for Fiscal Year 2012, threatening the nation's ability to get Americans back to work.
In response, more than 25 national organizations are coming together to raise awareness and maintain this necessary investment in workforce development programs. The recent efforts are culminating with the National Workforce Week of Action Aug. 15 to 19.