Bipartisan Workforce Bill Heads to President’s Desk

July 16, 2014

pic-worker-manufacturingOn July 9, the House passed by a vote of 415-6 the revised Senate version of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (H.R.803), a bipartisan bill introduced by Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.) that seeks to modernize and improve existing federal workforce development programs and ensure businesses find the skilled employees they need to compete and create jobs in the U.S. The measure previously passed the House on March 15, 2013 by a vote of 215-202 and the Senate on June 25, 2014 by a vote 95-3.

According to the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce, by 2022 the U.S. will fall short by 11 million the necessary number of workers with post-secondary education, including 6.8 million workers with bachelor’s degrees, and 4.3 million workers with a post-secondary vocational certificate, some college credits or an associate’s degree.

H.R.803 would localize and streamline the workforce development system by eliminating some existing programs and creating smaller and more strategic local workforce development boards. By serving their communities through these local boards, small-business leaders would have an opportunity to participate in the development of job-training programs that best fit their local employment and workforce needs. As such, this would enable small businesses to identify in-demand skills and connect workers with the opportunities to build those skills.

The bill now heads to President Barack Obama for signature, where he is likely to sign it into law.