How could the U.S. Congress screw up funding job training programs? Manufacturers need specialized workers, and the unemployed need training for those unfilled positions in manufacturing. Sounds simple, right?
Nothing is simple nowadays.
In mid-March Republicans in the House of Representatives passed the Supporting Knowledge and Investing in Lifelong Skills (SKILLS) Act, which reauthorizes the Workforce Investment Act (WIA). The bill aims to eliminate and consolidate 35 duplicative and ineffective employment and training programs administered through the WIA.
Over the years the Government Accountability Office has called for some sort of reorganization of the WIA efforts. Stephen Barlas, The FABRICATOR's Washington, D.C., correspondent adds that even the most ardent supporters of the WIA recognize that a critical look is needed to determine the most effective way to invest in training programs.
But the forces behind the SKILLS Act failed to engage many of the parties in major cities that are the recipients of these training funds as the bill’s language was crafted. As a result, these groups, represented by the likes of the United States Conference of Mayors and the National League of Cities, have no intention of supporting this legislation.
In particular, municipal representatives are concerned about training funds drying up for at-risk youths. "Currently, this country is facing a youth employment crisis, with young people three times more likely to be unemployed than adults, and youth employment at its lowest level in sixty years. Despite these alarming statistics, H.R. 803 entirely eliminates designated funding for services to low-income youth with barriers to employment," they wrote in a letter to Congressional leaders.
So what we have here is a fairly to communicate. That sounds familiar, doesn't it?
When you don’t work together, you don’t accomplish much. Everyone learns that in kindergarten, but apparently when you get to Washington, D.C., you forget that.