U.S. Chamber: Business Community Plays Vital Role in the Success of Workforce Investment Programs

December 4, 2009

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Today in testimony on Capitol Hill Karen Elzey, vice president and executive director of the Institute for a Competitive Workforce at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, stressed the important role the business community plays in ensuring that training programs under the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) meet the needs of both job seekers and employers.   
“Given the current economic crisis and the upcoming reauthorization of the Workforce Investment Act, now is the time to reform and streamline the system,” said Elzey.  “Any reforms to the system must focus more attention and funding on appropriately training people, and training them for jobs that actually exist.”
Speaking before the House subcommittee on Higher Education, Lifelong Learning, and Competitiveness, Elzey outlined three elements of successful workforce programs.  They include: a strong business presence on the local level; effective coordination by federal and state officials to streamline overlapping programs; and outreach to businesses to determine the skills needed by new employees. 
“While most sectors of our economy are shrinking, others have continued to expand,” continued Elzey.  “Over the last three months, our economy has suffered some of the worst job losses ever, but employment in health care and education continued to increase. We must not lose sight of the need of our workforce and training systems to meet this demand, as well as the long-term demand in sectors including manufacturing which  faces a graying workforce—from engineers to welders—signaling trouble in years ahead.” 

The entire testimony can be downloaded in pdf format. 

The Institute for a Competitive Workforce (ICW) promotes high educational standards and effective workforce training systems so that they are aligned with each other and with today’s rigorous business demands.

The U.S. Chamber is the world's largest business federation representing more than 3 million businesses and organizations of every size, sector, and region.