Bi-Partisan Congressional Staff Agree During Mayors Workforce Development Committee
July 12, 2004
At the Workforce Development Standing Committee meeting at the 72nd Annual Conference of Mayors in Boston, House Republican and Senate Democratic staff were in strong agreement on workforce issues. James Bergeron, Legislative Director to Representative Howard P. "Buck" McKeon, Chair of the Subcommittee on 21st Century Competitiveness for the Committee on Education and the Workforce, and Jane Oates, Senior Education Advisor to the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) for Senator Edward M. Kennedy (MA), Ranking Member of the HELP Committee, agreed that:
- the nation's workforce system under the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) should be locally driven, not state administered as proposed by the Administration;
- there should be increased flexibility for local officials;
- increased funding is needed for the workforce system and new initiatives should not be paid for by reducing existing funding;
- they have serious concern that the President's new $250 million community college initiative is being paid for at the cost of already reduced workforce funding; and
- WIA reauthorization is highly unlikely to happen this year.
Rockford Mayor Douglas Scott, Chair of the Workforce Development Standing Committee, led the mayors in lively discussion and consideration of policy resolutions, which passed unanimously. Todd Dupler, Intergovernmental Officer with the Office of Congressional and Intergovernmental Affairs at the U.S. Department of Labor, reported on the President's $250 million proposal for community colleges, the President's high-growth initiative under which the Secretary is awarding unsolicited grants for training in high growth industries and the Administration's proposed state block grant for workforce funding.
Workforce Developement Committee Resolutionms
Workforce Investment Act Reauthorization calls for Congress to complete a bipartisan agreement on reauthorization of the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) as soon as possible, in order to finalize further improvements in the nation's workforce investment system. Additionally, within the reauthorization, governance and funding for the workforce system must be maintained at the local level, youth funding should serve all youth 14-21 in and out-of'school, and a separate authorization for One'stop infrastructure is needed. In the absence of WIA passage, that the current regulations on administrative cost that were carefully developed and well vetted through lengthy negotiations between the Department of Labor, the states and the locals, and was tested and supported by the Inspector General, be maintained.
Youth Employment and Training Funding calls for Congress and the Administration to protect and, if possible, increase the $1 billion currently provided for Youth formula funding. Furthermore, that for any state youth formula discretionary allocation, the Governor be required to allocate to local areas in accordance with a formula developed with the input of chief local elected officials and local workforce boards that takes into account factors relating to high poverty and at-risk youth population, especially high school drop outs, youth in the juvenile justice system, and youth aging out of foster care.
Key to A Successful Economy: Support for Job Training and Retention calls for a major federal investment, direct funding, and tax credits for employers to create apprenticeship programs to train young adults for high'skill jobs. Additionally, calls for Congress to use tax breaks to keep high skill manufacturing jobs in the United States and to include funds to chief local elected officials and Workforce Investment Boards for training and retraining of workers in any legislation that addresses outsourcing.
H1-B Skills Training Grants calls on the Department of Labor to use the $100 million available in H-1B employer fees to fund H-1B Skills Training Grants as was intended by Congress.
Local Labor Market Research calls for Congress and the Administration to provide resources and support for locally-based labor market research data and make investments in better data collection. Furthermore, that the Department of Labor use the most recent data available, including data collected as the result of the 2000 census or newer data, in the determination of state and local funding decisions, and such other activities that require the use of data for carrying out the requirements of the Workforce Investment Act.
Earned Income Tax Credit Pre-Certification urges Congress and the Internal Revenue Service to simplify Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) so that all those who are eligible can and will apply for their justly deserved tax credit. Additionally, calls on Congress to address any delays in tax returns that EITC filers have experienced due to the certification and pre-certification procedures and to prohibit any further implementation of new EITC requirements without proper Congressional authorization.
Building a Sustainable Future for AmeriCorps urges the Corporation for National and Community Service to avoid policy changes that will negatively impact the quality and consistency of service in our communities. Furthermore, calls on local governments and the private sector to be active participants in AmeriCorps, and urges the Corporation to continue its commitment by investing in this highly effective public/private partnership.