Republican U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin was one of just three senators to vote against a job training bill Wednesday (June 25, 2014). Wisconsin’s other U.S. Senator, Democrat Tammy Baldwin, who supported the bill, called it “an important investment in Wisconsin’s economic security.”
Baldwin said the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), which passed the U.S. Senate 95-3, would help strengthen workforce readiness and our economy.
“By modernizing workforce development programs, the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act provides critical support and training programs that work for businesses, educators and workers,” Baldwin said. “I’m proud to support this bipartisan effort to put Wisconsinites back to work and help grow our middle-class.”
Johnson said although the bill was a “well-intentioned effort, Congress has once again worked its magic and authorized more spending in a bill that was meant to eliminate duplicative programs and reduce spending.”
According to Baldwin, WIOA contains significant improvements and updates to existing job training programs originally authorized under the Act in 1998. It strengthens workforce readiness by:
- Creating a streamlined workforce development system.
- Aligning workforce development programs with economic development and education initiatives.
- Enabling businesses to identify in-demand skills and connect workers with the opportunities to build those skills.
- Maintaining the 15 percent funding reservation at the state level to allow states the flexibility to address specific needs.
- Empowering local boards to tailor services to their region’s employment and workforce needs.
- Supporting access to real-world education and workforce development opportunities.
- Ensuring individuals with disabilities have the skills necessary to be successful in businesses that provide competitive, integrated employment.
- Improving outreach to disconnected youth by focusing youth program services on out-of-school youth, high school dropout recovery efforts, and attainment of recognized postsecondary credentials.