The purpose of a national employment and training system is to help individuals prepare for and find employment and provide investment in an educated, skilled, and adaptable workforce-a workforce that is able to meet the needs of employers. At the core of this system is the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) of 1998, which includes the major sources of federal funding for adult, dislocated workers, and youth job training programs.
In December 2009, the House Committee on Education and Labor introduced the Workforce Investment Improvement Act (H.R. 4271), which focuses on four major areas--increasing efficiency; eliminating barriers; fostering regional economic development; and strengthening programs for targeted populations. H.R. 4271 emphasizes the importance of making WIA results-driven rather than process-driven. The bill recommends eliminating duplication, streamlining state and local workforce investment boards, and strengthening employment services that help job seekers find work, to name a few. The bill also proposes to eliminate barriers to finding and enrolling in effective job training programs by creating a new category of "work ready services". In addition, H.R. 4271 plans to foster regional economic development through the integration of regional workforce development programs, community development funds, and one-stop services. Lastly, the bill encourages improving adult education programs by aligning them more closely with postsecondary education and employment activities as well as strengthening vocational rehabilitation programs for individuals with disabilities.
For more information on H.R. 4271 read the fact sheet online.