Today is a big day for the workforce development field.
This morning, the White House released a job-driven training action plan following Vice-President Biden’s review of our federal workforce programs. Later today, I will join President Obama at the White House when he signs into law the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA). Both initiatives, years in the making, have benefited from the input of the best practitioners in the workforce development field—including those affiliated with National Skills Coalition.
WIOA arrived on the President’s desk after overwhelming approval in the House and Senate. Both Democrats and Republicans in Congress want to see more done to prepare people for available jobs and skilled careers. This legislation opens the door to states’ greater use of sector partnerships and career pathway models to achieve that end—models that many of you pioneered and then brought to Congress’ attention over the past decade.
President Obama has likewise made job-driven training a pillar of his economic opportunity agenda, informed by the input of training providers, employers (including those participating in Business Leaders United) and industry intermediaries. As a result, the new action plan has a real focus on what it calls regional education-industry partnerships. These partnerships have had big local impact, but they’ve struggled to grow and replicate without the weight of federal policy behind them.
The White House’s plan adds that weight, building on and in some cases accelerating the industry partnership provisions of the new WIOA. In addition, it calls for new reporting of performance data to consumers, so that workers and businesses can make more informed choices about the most effective training programs. We thank the Workforce Data Quality Campaign for bringing some of those best practices to light.
In all, we are pleased to see these dual actions by the Administration and Congress to make our workforce training and career-and-tech ed programs more job-driven, integrated, transparent and effective. We thank President Obama, Vice President Biden and our Congressional leaders for their renewed commitment to the skills agenda. And we thank all of you for your willingness to share what you know in the advancement of that cause.
But there’s more to be done. Watch our blog for an analysis of the Vice President’s action plan in the coming days, and for future recommendations about how to most effectively put the new WIOA into action.