WHEREAS, federal investments in the workforce system and educational programs are critical to ensuring the economic success of this country; and

WHEREAS, American employers are having increasing difficulty in recruiting employees with the necessary skills and education levels to keep them competitive in the global economy; and

WHEREAS, over 75 percent of new jobs will require postsecondary education or training, however the national graduation rate is 68 percent with nearly one-third of all public high school students failing to graduate; and

WHEREAS, the high school graduation rate among minorities is even more devastating at 50 percent for Hispanic, African American and Native American youth, and is especially devastating in poorer urban and rural communities; and

WHEREAS, the United States has fallen from first to seventh in college entry rates among developed nations; and

WHEREAS, by 2015, 3.4 million jobs are at risk of being shipped overseas; and

WHEREAS, at the same time, other nations are producing increasing numbers of workers with advanced skills. Since 1975, the United States has fallen from 3rd to 15th in producing scientists and engineers; and

WHEREAS, Americans simply cannot compete in the global economy if the United States fails to invest in their education; and

WHEREAS, federal investments in workforce funding have fallen $1 billion since FY 2001 in real dollar terms and for the first time in a decade, the Administration has proposed cuts to the nationís education and training budget; and

WHEREAS, the Administration=s FY 2006 budget request cuts current Workforce Investment Act (WIA) program funding by $283 million below the FY 2005 level, and when mandatory programs are included a cut of $555 million below FY 2005 levels. The budget proposes to combine and cut funding for WIA dislocated worker, adult, youth and the employment service. The Administration further proposes a WIA Plus Consolidation that would give Governors the option to consolidate the four programs listed above with five other federal programs, accompanied by a 7.1 percent cut in total funding; and

WHEREAS, more than ever this funding is important to securing and preparing the American workforce of today and tomorrow on the global stage,

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that The U.S. Conference of Mayors urges Congress to make a major funding investment in education and workforce skills training to fully restore funding to Fiscal Year 2002 levels for WIA, Carl D. Perkins Vocational and Technical Education Act, Pell Grants, TRIO, Gear Up, and other higher education programs.

©2005 The U.S. Conference of Mayors
Tom Cochran, Executive Director
1620 Eye Street, NW, Washington, DC 20006
Tel. 202.293.7330 ~ Fax 202.293.2352