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McKeon, Republicans unveil job training reform package

Members press for quick action on training for workers

Posted: December 11, 2009 1:11 p.m.
Updated: December 11, 2009 2:07 p.m.
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Led by Reps. Howard P. "Buck" McKeon (R-CA) and Brett Guthrie (R-KY), Republicans on the U.S. House Education and Labor Committee have introduced the Workforce Investment Improvement Act (H.R. 4271), a bill to strengthen job training opportunities for workers and job seekers.

Their legislation renews workforce development programs under the Workforce Investment Act, a law that has not been reauthorized by Congress since 1998.

"The Democrat Majority on the Education and Labor Committee has spent many hours talking about the plight of American workers but has done virtually nothing to help those workers. In fact, they have made it even harder for workers by imposing burdensome new mandates on business at a time when they should be focused on job creation and job preparation," McKeon said.

"Rep. Guthrie and I have a solid proposal to strengthen job skills training and to help the American workforce prepare for employment and succeed in our ever-changing economy. Modernizing our job training infrastructure has been one of the highest priorities of my work on the committee."

McKeon most recently served as the Education and Labor Committee's Senior Republican Member. Prior to that, he spent 11 years as chairman of the subcommittee that oversees job training and postsecondary education programs, where he was actively involved in previous efforts to strengthen and reform WIA.

"With millions of Americans either looking for work or looking to improve their skills and get a better job, our workforce development system will be vital to America's economic recovery," said Guthrie, the top Republican on the Higher Education, Lifelong Learning, and Competitiveness Subcommittee.

"Unfortunately, it has been more than a decade since Congress evaluated our job training programs and updated them to ensure they reflect workers' and communities' needs," Guthrie said.

Guthrie comes from a small business, manufacturing background and has been actively involved with job training and continuing education programs throughout his career, including his times as a member of the Kentucky state legislature.

The Workforce Investment Improvement Act aims to strengthen job training opportunities by eliminating duplication, enhancing the role of employers, improving accountability, and increasing state and local flexibility to better serve the nation's workers.

Together, these reforms will ensure the nation's workforce development system can respond quickly and effectively to the changing needs of job seekers and those in need of training.


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