WASHINGTON—Today, U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) reaffirmed his support for the reauthorization for the Workforce Investment Act (WIA), which was passed out of the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions this morning. Murphy also highlighted his support for improvements to the Job Corps program, which was forced to temporarily freeze enrollment at America’s Job Corps centers throughout the country earlier this year.
As we begin our work to fully reauthorize WIA, we need to remind ourselves why this legislation is so important in the first place. Our country has the potential to be the best and brightest workforce in the world, but right now we are falling far short of that goal. People in the workforce today don’t have the on-the-job training they need to succeed, and young adults about to enter the workforce are less educated than the previous generation. But most of the 50 million new jobs that will be created by 2018 require postsecondary credentials and higher education levels. As a country, we’re further behind than we should be, and it’s Congress’ responsibility to support organizations throughout the country that are dedicated to improving our workforce.
I’m supportive of this WIA reauthorization because it gets to the root the problem by allowing different workforce development organizations, whether they be institutions of higher education or workforce development boards, to really tailor their programs to their region’s specific needs. I’m also glad that this reauthorization focuses on improving the Job Corps program, which faced serious funding challenges earlier this year. The WIA reauthorization makes the program more stable, allowing young people to rely on these centers to give them the tools they need to succeed.
I’ll be encouraging my colleagues to support this bill as it reaches the floor for final passage. Without it, we’re putting our country’s economic future at a significant disadvantage.