U.S. House takes First Step at Reforming Public Workforce System

On April 9, the U.S. House passed the AGC -supported H.R. 6655, A Stronger Workforce for America Act, on an overwhelmingly bipartisan basis, to reauthorize and reform the nation’s public workforce system with funding for training and career services.

The bill builds off the 2014 Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act making important updates and changes including more funding for training, increasing accountability metrics to ensure high performing programs, and allowing states and localities greater flexibility in funding programs.

Priorities, funding levels, and quality of services can vary widely from state to state and local area to local area the legislation attempts to encourage employers to engage locally to direct the funding and programs for training. This is especially important with the industry’s workforce shortages and the advancements in technology since WIOA passed a decade ago. For employers, the public workforce system can provide a pool of workers to hire and offset training expenses.

The bill will provide a great opportunity for employers, but taking advantage of the programs takes work to navigate the conflicting policy objectives, complexity and bureaucracy. Despite passing the U.S. House by a wide margin, the outlook in the Democrat-controlled Senate remains murky with them embroiled in other labor priorities.

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