2004 Adopted Resolutions
72nd Annual Meeting
Boston

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WORKFORCE INVESTMENT ACT REAUTHORIZATION

     WHEREAS, this year, 21 million workers – more than one in seven workers nationally – will seek assistance from our nation’s workforce system, over 2.3 million private sector jobs have been lost and the job market for these workers is becoming more difficult; and

     WHEREAS, though the national unemployment rate has declined slightly, it is still very high in some states and urban areas and there is a national youth unemployment and skills crisis; and

     WHEREAS, the Workforce Investment Act of 1998 (WIA), which was developed by Congress to create a flexible job training system that meets the skills requirements of U.S. workers and employers for jobs for the 21st Century, expired on September 20, 2003; and

     WHEREAS, the U.S. Conference of Mayors has worked closely with Congress over the past year and a half to develop a WIA reauthorization proposal that ensures that strong local authority and flexibility for local elected officials and their workforce investment boards (WIBs) remains at the core of WIA reauthorization to meet the needs of local and regional labor markets; and

     WHEREAS, H.R. 1261, The Workforce Reinvestment and Adult Education Act of 2003,  the bill approved by the House addressed governance issues to retain a locally-based, demand driven system, which allowed the Senate bill, The Workforce Investment Act (WIA) of 2003, S. 1627, to focus on further improvements to the WIA system, and includes a majority of the Conference of Mayor’s proposals; and

     WHEREAS, the enactment of WIA reauthorization legislation that enhances the locally-based, demand driven system and addresses key challenges in implementation is extremely important at this fragile time in our nation’s economic recovery, so that there will not be an interruption in the consistent development of a high quality U.S. workforce system that is needed to support the U.S. economy; and

     WHEREAS, the President’s Fiscal Year (FY) 2005 Budget  proposal consolidates and cuts WIA funding through a state-block grant which includes the adult formula program, the dislocated worker formula program and the Wagner Peyser employment service and cuts youth formula funding by 25 percent to fund a new, untried initiative; and

     WHEREAS, the President’s  “Better Training for Better Jobs” proposal, introduced on April 5 of this year,    has made major departures from both the House bill, which passed on May 8, 2003 with a vote of 220 – 204, and the Senate bill, which passed by unanimous consent on November 14, 2003, by eliminating the locally-based, demand driven system, and creating a state-directed block grant system which includes the adult formula, the dislocated worker formula and the Employment Service, and would also include the youth formula which would allow the Governor to eliminate youth services, and is a departure from the President’s FY 2005 Budget proposal,

     NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the U.S. Conference of Mayors calls on Congress and the Administration to ensure that any action of legislation, regulations, budget process or pilot programs:

·    Increases direct funding to the local level where the services are provided and does not lessen WIA funds to local areas through a state block grant or any other means,

·    Does not shift more program design, decision-making or authority to the Governors through a state block grant, expanded waiver authority or any other means,

·    Does not cause unnecessary disruptions or structural changes to this relatively young system, 

·    Does not lessen youth formula dollars to local areas and

·    Does not allow for the elimination of youth services through a state block grant or any other means; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the U.S. Conference of Mayors urges Congress to move ahead in a Conference of H.R. 1261 and S. 1627 to complete a bipartisan agreement on reauthorization of WIA as soon as possible, in order to finalize further improvements in the nation’s workforce investment system; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the U.S. Conference of Mayors calls on Congress to include in the final Conference agreement of H.R. 1261 and S. 1627 and in the final WIA reauthorization legislation the following:

Governance – an agreement that ensures and enhances a continued strong, locally-based, business-led workforce investment system; ensures the appointment of local boards by local elected officials; protects the designation of high-performing workforce areas; maintains but does not expand current WIA waiver authority (beyond the expedited waiver authority); maintains the business majority requirement for membership on State Boards; includes Chief Elected Officials and Local WIB members on the State Boards;  focuses the role of the state WIB authority around guidance for development of a comprehensive One-Stop system and does not provide state boards with certification authority over the One Stops; ensures that regional planning is conducted only after first consulting with local boards and local elected officials; and ensures that any regional plan incorporates the plans of each of the local areas within the region.

Funding – an agreement that in no way lessens funding to local areas through a state block grant or any other means, and provides resources and tools to address the huge poverty issues in cities.

Youth – an agreement that protects the $1 billion currently provided for Youth formula funding for both in-school and out-of-school youth ages 14-21, allows for continued, innovative services for in-school youth and is not included in any block grant.

One-Stop Infrastructure Funding – an agreement that adequately funds the One-Stop infrastructure among the mandatory One-Stop partners to allow more training and services to be delivered under WIA, such as a separate authorization for such infrastructure funding.

Administrative Costs Definition – an agreement that maintains and codifies the definition of administrative costs in current regulations which was carefully developed and well vetted through lengthy negotiations between DOL, the states and the locals, tested and supported by the Inspector General.

Data – In the determination of state and local funding decisions, and such other activities and functions that require the use of data for carrying out the requirements of this Act, an agreement that calls for Department of Labor to use the most recent data available, including data collected as the result of the 2000 census, in order that the national workforce investment system most accurately reflects the true needs of America’s workers and employers across the country.

Performance Standards – an agreement that includes a business measure, does not include an “efficiency” measure, and that uses a regression model to encourage services for the hardest to serve.

Expenditures – an agreement that fairly holds States and local areas accountable for system expenditures based upon accrued expenditures (in future program years).

Training – an agreement that continues to authorize training for low wage workers for jobs that provide self-sufficiency, simplifies training reporting requirements, and provides for local input.

Business Services – an agreement that encourages innovative services and strategies for serving employers and ensures the relevance of the WIA system for business; and

     IT FURTHER RESOLVED, in the absence of WIA passage, that the current agreement on administrative costs that was carefully developed and well vetted through lengthy negotiations between DOL, the states and the locals, and was tested and supported by the Inspector General, be maintained.