Workforce Reauthorization: Amendments and Impacts for Youth

Jun 13, 2012

By Kisha Bird

On June 7, the House Education and Workforce Committee held a mark-up for the Workforce Investment Improvement Act of 2012 (H.R. 4297), which would reauthorize the Workforce Investment Act of 1998. This was the most significant movement around WIA reauthorization in the U.S. House of Representatives since 2003.   Last month, the Campaign for Youth, a national coalition co-chaired by CLASP and the National Youth Employment Coalition, issued a sign-on letter with nearly 300 organizations nationwide in opposition to H.R. 4297, citing its detrimental effects to youth education and training programs if enacted. CLASP also released an analysis of the bill's impact on youth programming. Of particular concern is the consolidation of youth funding into an adult focused  Workforce Investment Fund with no requirements that youth be served and the elimination of the national Job Corps and YouthBuild programs.  

At mark-up, several amendments were offered to H.R. 4297, most of which failed. H.R. 4297, as amended, passed out of committee on a party-line vote, 23 to 15. Some of the amendments and changes include:

  • Congresswoman Foxx (NC) offered a substitute amendment to HR 4297, which, among other things, reinstates the National Job Corps program, requires state and local workforce boards to explain how they will plan for and implement strategies on behalf of out-of- school and at-risk youth, and eliminates the Statewide Youth Challenge Fund that was previously in the original majority's bill.
  • Congressman Andrews (NJ) offered an amendment that passed, which strengthens reporting and performance data on how populations identified in local plans are served. This would be a step forward for H.R. 4297.
  • Congressman Tierney (MA), who offered the House Democratic WIA Reauthorization Bill (H.R. 4227), noted that H.R. 4297 and the substitute bill offered by Congresswoman Foxx would "likely result in a reduction of services to low-income adults, dislocated workers, youth, women, older unemployed workers, the disabled, and others with a barrier to employment".

A number of amendments that would have strengthened WIA services to youth were defeated and not included in the bill.

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