As a member of the Jobs and Career Coalition, CIRT joined others in the group to offer strong support to the U.S. House bill entitled “A Stronger Workforce for America Act” (H.R. 6655). The bill recognizes and seeks to assist in creating a workforce system that the nation needs to remain competitive and provide good jobs – by being attentive and innovative to employer challenges. Key provisions include: (1) mandates that 50-percent of the funds allocated by the feds be spent specifically on skills development vs. administrative costs, etc., (2) demonstration or pilot program grants are designed to spur innovation, (3) creating a new critical industries skills fund to reimburse employers who prepare workers for employment in their state’s fastest growing economic sectors, (4) a new employer performance metric to measure local areas for the percentage of their workforce system participants enrolled in employer-driven programs, including on-the-job training and apprenticeships, (5) option for expanded incumbent-worker training, allowing funds to be spent more flexibly, and (6) using outcomes metrics to raise the bar for fundable training providers.
Many of these critical improvements to the scope, coverage, and process of the workforce bill came as a result of the coalition working closely with the House Committee on Education and Workforce as it developed the proposal. With the widespread input and acceptance from the affected community, the proposed legislation was later passed out of the committee with robust bipartisan approval. The House Committee is hoping to bring the bill to the floor in coming weeks for passage.