The Workforce Investment Act and Welfare Reform

By O'Brien, Nancy | Techniques, April 2003 | Go to article overview

The Workforce Investment Act and Welfare Reform


O'Brien, Nancy, Techniques


CAPITOL VIEW

As we wait in anticipation for the reauthorization of the Cad D. Perkins Vocational and Technical Education Act, scheduled for later this year, several other pieces of legislation contain provisions of interest to career and technical educators. Two specific bills will be reauthorized in the near future, likely before Congress begins work on Perkins, including the Workforce investment Act (WIA) and welfare reform. Both of these programs are significant in that they both promote job training and preparing a highly skilled workforce.

The Workforce Investment Act is seen as essential job training legislation that focuses on youth and adults in need of services and training in order to get back into the workforce or gain the skills needed to enter the workforce. Community-based organizations, community colleges, and local one-stop centers are some of the delivery systems that offer training or access to training. More importantly, one-stop centers offer core employment-related services and access to other employment and training services, such as career and technical education. The Workforce Investment Act infrastructure plays a vital part in providing education and training to out-of-work youth and adults.

The House and Senate have held hearings on the WIA reauthorization, and both will be preparing and voting on this legislation in the near future. The administration has specific goals for the reauthorization of WIA, focusing around funding and administrative aspects. One key element that has been identified by the administration is giving laid-off workers a Personal Reemployment Account (PRA) of $3,000 to pay for job training, child care, transportation and other costs associated with returning to work. In addition, the administration hopes to concentrate on:

* Improving accountability

* Revising the methods for funding one-stop centers, which would include the possibility of a legislative mandate for taking a specific percentage of the money from Perkins, Adult Education and Vocational Rehabilitation

* Funding only out-of-school youth, thus eliminating the longstanding in-school youth programs

These proposals are of concern to ACTE, and reactions to these proposals have been and will be addressed as Congress shapes the legislation.

Welfare reform is a system that was developed to promote work opportunities in exchange for time-limited assistance as a federal entitlement. …

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