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Welcome Focus on Job-Training and Opportunity

by Melanie Anderson   •  

In his State of the Union address in January, President Obama tasked Vice President Biden with leading a comprehensive review of federal job-training programs. Today, the Vice President released his report at the signing of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act. WIOA modernizes and streamlines the Workforce Investment Act, which sends nearly $3 billion a year to states for job-training and education programs. The old bill was woefully outdated and in desperate need of improvements since 2003. The passage this summer of this bipartisan bill by wide margins is a fantastic example of cooperation among elected officials, employers and the nonprofit sector to address an important issue. 

Ready to Work: Job-Driven Training and American Opportunityfocuses on the need for greater employer engagement; strengthening regional partnerships; emphasizing data collection; and expanding apprenticeships or other work-based learning opportunities so that job seekers can earn as they learn. The 76-page report also calls for innovation among workforce programs and pledges that the Administration will work with local leaders to quickly scale up programs that are showing results.

Vice President Biden called the report “a roadmap for how to keep and maintain the highest-skilled workforce in the world,” and a tool to help more Americans get good-paying jobs and enter the middle class.

 The President highlighted the rare, bipartisan support for updating federal workforce training programs. “This is not a win for Democrats or Republicans,” said President Obama. “It’s a win for American workers.”

One of the new initiatives detailed in the report is a new “job-driven checklist,” a tool that measures how effective programs are in preparing young adults for careers. The checklist will be incorporated into applications for all federal job-training grants.

 The report also highlights the alignment with WIOA by requiring job-training programs to be more coordinated and a focus on performance. 

 We are encouraged by the report’s focus on helping more teens and young adults embark on meaningful career pathways, a priority of Opportunity Nation’s Shared Plan, and by the Administration’s commitment to working more closely with employers to ensure young Americans are being trained for existing and future jobs.

Melanie Anderson Melanie Anderson is the Director of Government and External Affairs at Opportunity Nation. She directs the campaign’s government relations and policy efforts. Read Melanie's bio.

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