Workforce Investment Act Status Updates
The U.S. House of Representatives Workforce and Education Committee held a markup hearing for the Workforce Investment Improvement Act of 2012 (H.R. 4297) on June 7th. During this session, a new version of the bill began to take shape.
First, the Committee approved a comprehensive substitute amendment introduced by Representative Foxx (R-NC). This new version of HR 4297 incorporates numerous changes from the previous bill, but those relevant to youth and young adults include:
Job Corps is no longer part of the consolidated Workforce Investment Fund with not more than 28% designated to a new Job Corps specific title within the bill.
The Youth Challenge Grant program has been eliminated.
Local and state plans are required to include how they will assist out-of-school and at-risk youth.
The markup session included many proposed amendments, many of which focused on specifically targeting funds that would benefit disadvantaged populations.
With support from our Policy and Legislative Working Group, NYEC, along with the Center on Law and Social Policy (CLASP), worked with Representative Scott (D-VA) on an amendment that would dedicate funding for disadvantaged youth within the Workforce Investment Fund. This amendment required that no less than 25% of the funds be allocated to local areas to assist disadvantaged youth ages 16-24 (with no less than 50% of that sum required to be used to serve out-of-school youth).
Ultimately, the amendment formed by NYEC and CLASP was defeated 16-22, and most of the other amendments were also not accepted. Nevertheless, proposing these amendments elevates the needs of low income populations.
The bill resulting from this June 7th session will serve as the marker for future discussions concerning WIA in the U.S. House of Representatives.
The House Labor and the Workforce Committee held a legislative hearing on H.R. 4297 on April 17, 2012. A mark-up of this bill was set for May, but this was eventually delayed until June.
On March 20, 2012 Representatives George Miller (D-CA), John Tierney (D-MA), and Ruben Hinojosa (D-TX) introduced the Workforce Investment Act of 2012 (H.R. 4227). This bill supports many of the themes of the Senate discussion draft released in June 2011 and addresses the issues of streamlining systems and programs as well as the establishment of common performance measures. It also includes the following provisions pertaining to youth:
Officially changes the definition of disadvantaged youth to include through age 24
Increases income eligibility to 150% of poverty
Requires that at least 60% of youth formula funds are spent on out-of-school youth
Authorizes President Obama├?┬ó??s Community College to Career Fund
Authorizes the competitive Youth Innovation Fund that focuses on areas of high youth unemployment and poverty
On March 29, 2012, Representatives Virginia Foxx (R-NC), Joseph Heck (R-NV), and Howard "Buck" McKeon (R-CA) introduced their proposal for reauthorization with the Workforce Investment Improvement Act of 2012 (H.R. 4297).The effects of H.R. 4297 on programming targeting youth and young adults include:
In consolidating 27 programs (including youth programs along with non-youth programs) and creating one source of funds for all workforce development activities, there are no clear assurances pertaining to funding for youth programming.
Requirements to provide programming for low-income individuals are eliminated.
Requirements for including the input of youth service providers, educators, community-based organizations, and economic development agencies within state and local boards are eliminated.