Tag Archives: workforce

All I Want is A Job: Our Labor Market and the Search for Economic Security

Welcome to the reemployment seminar; you are all required to be in this seminar because the unemployment office thinks you will have a really hard time finding a job in this economy.”

Imagine hearing those words right after you were laid off in one of the US’s deepest recessions.  Well that is exactly what WOW’s Senior Scholar, Mary Gatta, heard when she went undercover as an unemployed worker in an American Jobs Center (formerly known as One Stop Centers) at the height of the recent recession. Mary chronicles her experiences as an undercover waitress and adjunct professor in her new book, All I Want is A Job: Unemployed Women Navigating the Public Workforce System, released this summer by Stanford University Press.

In the past week Mary has been on the road listening to job seekers and workforce professional’s in the field, and sharing the findings of her book.  She spoke to Rutgers University sociology faculty and students; along with jobseekers at the Jersey Shore at a Jobs Help Center at the Middletown Township Public Library.  She then headed up the New Jersey Turnpike to the New Jersey Institute of Technology to speak at an UpskillNJ career fair—a program that offers specialized information technology and science training to unemployed professionals and veterans in New Jersey to help them upgrade their skills to compete jobs. And then continued on 95 North to Jobs for the Future to meet with workforce officials, career services professionals, and researchers.   Both audiences —job seekers and workforce development professionals—while at different points in their work lives–expressed concern for their futures.  As the job market may be improving, there is a general anxiety not only that there are just not enough jobs, but that the jobs that are available do not offer pathways to economic security.

And the worries that workers expressed to Mary at her New Jersey talks this week, are backed up by the data.  Although we are officially no longer in a recession, many American workers and their families are struggling to secure, and especially jobs that offer opportunities for economic security.  Paul Krugman’s recent New York Times piece paints a stark picture for workers today, who continue to find themselves out of work. There are still almost 3 million Americans who have been out of work for more than six months, which is the usual maximum duration of unemployment insurance. This is a number that is three times the pre-recession total. And coupled with long-term unemployment is that the extended benefits have been eliminated — and in some states the length of benefits has been cut even further.  And in this economic recovery, men continue to outpace women in job gains—with the unemployment rate falling half as quickly for women than for men.

And as Mary stresses in her book–  our labor market is changing.  In fact the backstory has been that the employment gains during the recovery have been highest in low-wage occupations. Jobs such as retail sales, food preparation, waiters and waitresses, and personal and home care aides grew 2.7 times as fast as mid-wage and higher-wage occupations. Overall, employment has grown by 8.7 percent in low-wage occupations compared with only 6.6 percent in high wage occupations, and mid-wage occupations have actually fallen by 7.3 percent. This uneven jobs recovery means that the “good job” deficit is greater than it was during the early 2000s.

Further, the proliferation of low-wage work is compounded by decades of wage stagnation. Over the thirty years, the median wage for households has remained nearly the same. Indeed, the past decade actually saw a decrease in the inflation-adjusted average income for households as available wages and compensation for most workers remains far below what would be expected given productivity gains and what families require to keep up with increases in the cost of health care, housing, and education.

So if the jobs that are projected to grow are low quality jobs, there needs to be a concerted effort to improve these jobs.  Workforce development policy is certainly an important and critical part of this response, but for it to be an effective policy it cannot exist on its own.  For this to occur then there needs to be collaboration between both private sector changes and public sector supports.  For example, we need to highlight high-road management practices—practices that engage front-line workers in problem-solving and decision-making and provide them with the training and skills to do this well — to improve the quality of service jobs and the quality of services provided. And workers need benefits and supports to move toward economic security.  The absence of comprehensive social insurance or governmental protections results in a vastly unequal labor market, in which workers who fill low-wage jobs face many compounding issues. Millions of Americans who work full-time cannot pay their basic living expenses let alone have enough money to make investments in their future. These harsh realities demonstrate the need for reinforcing and expanding the safety net for working families facing hard times and supporting programs and policies that contribute to moving families to economic security.

 

WOW's Senior Scholar Mary Gatta speaking to an audience of students and job seekers.  Photo: The Daily Targum, Rutgers University

WOW’s Senior Scholar Mary Gatta speaking to an audience of students and job seekers. Photo: The Daily Targum, Rutgers University

 

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On the Hill: WIOA and UI Extension

Both the House and Senate were in session this week for a final few days of work ahead of the Fourth of July recess.

The Senate voted for passage of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act on an overwhelmingly bipartisan 95-3 vote. The legislation, crafted by Senators Harkin (D-IA), Alexander (R-TN), Murray (D-WA), and Isakson (R-GA) and Representatives Kline (R-MN), Miller (D-CA), Foxx (R-VA), and Hinojosa (D-TX), will now move to the House. The bill represents a compromise between the SKILLS Act (H.R. 803), which passed the House of Representatives in March of 2013, and the Workforce Investment Act of 2013 (S. 1356), which passed the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee with a bipartisan vote of 18-3 in July, 2013. The House could consider the bill as early as when it returns from the Fourth of July recess. The National Coalition on Women, Jobs and Job Training (NCWJJT) offered this statement in response to WIOA’s introduction.

While the passage of the WIA reauthorization with clear bicameral, bipartisan support this week was an encouraging sign, the odds for a new measure to reinstate unemployment insurance for jobless Americans remain less sure. Sens. Jack Reed (D-RI) and Dean Heller (R-NV) continue to push for a bipartisan deal to extend the jobless aid, after their first attempt at a five month extension that passed the Senate in April languished in the Republican controlled House. The duo introduced their new proposal on Tuesday. It includes five months of extended benefits past 26 weeks, paid for by changes to pension laws and an extension of Customs fees through 2024.  A key difference with this most recent proposal is that the jobless benefits will not be retroactive for unemployed Americans who stopped receiving aid after the program expired last December. By avoiding retroactive benefits, the latest legislation may mute some of the critiques that the previous iteration was hard to implement. Its lack of a firm expiration date will also increase the bill’s shelf life if it takes a few months to pass. Timing could be tight with a busy workload of appropriations bills on the Senate’s schedule for July, perhaps the last full month of real legislating before the midterm election season goes into full swing. Even if the Senate does pass another unemployment insurance bill, the biggest challenge will be convincing the House to consider it, which it would certainly would not without including Republican-supported legislation like approval of the Keystone XL pipeline, repeal of the Affordable Care Act’s medical device tax or other changes to the health care overhaul.

The White House, Department of Labor, and allies this week hosted the Summit for Working Families, with the goal of raising the national dialog on the importance of policies that best support working parents. The event featured speakers from the advocacy, business, and policy worlds, and included remarks from President and First Lady. While touting passage of the Affordable Care Act, as well as executive actions to raise the minimum wage for all federal contracted workers, President Obama called on Congress to implement policies for working parents including paid sick and family leave, affordable childcare, raising the federal minimum wage for all Americans, and strengthening pay equity protections for women. The US lags markedly behind many other developed nations in ensuring access to these basic needs. In conjunction with the event, President Obama also released a presidential memorandum directing federal agencies to offer flexibility to workers, implementing a “right to request” provision which allows workers to ask for flexible working situations without fear of retaliation. Among the many other actions and commitments announced by the White House, WOW and its partner Jobs for the Future committed to expanded a curriculum designed to help job training programs, community colleges, unions, industry partners and others to improve women’s access to nontraditional, high-wage careers. Read more here.

Both the House and the Senate will be in recess next week for the July 4th Holiday. The Senate will return on Monday, July 7th and the House will return Tuesday, July 8th.

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On the Hill: Back to the Drawing Board for UI Renewal

While the Senate was in recess this week, the House met in a short session to continue work on various appropriations bills. The fiscal 2015 spending bill for the Department of Agriculture, Food and Drug Administration and Commodity Futures Trading Commission will soon head to the floor after clearing a 31-18 committee vote on Thursday. Democrats failed in a series of attempts to block changes in nutrition policy during committee consideration of the package; in addition to preserving a waiver for school districts from school meal standards, the House Appropriations Committee also spared a provision in the bill adding white potatoes to the Women, Infants and Children nutrition program and adopted report language intended to soften calorie-labeling requirements on vending machines.

With the House apparently not taking up the Senate passed deal to extend unemployment insurance benefits through June 1, it will be back to the drawing board for leaders in Congress hoping to pass a bipartisan extension of the jobless aid. Leaders in the Senate continue to stick with their plan to keep the unemployment provision separate from a bipartisan reauthorization of the Workforce Investment Act, suggesting the importance of passage of that bill as well as a willingness to strike a separate deal on the unemployment insurance extension if possible. Some Senators have expressed hope that after the midterm election primary season winds down, there may be a second window of opportunity to make legislative progress.

The House will be in recess next week, while the Senate will return to Washington and will be in session.

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On the Hill: UI Extension and HELP Hearings

With the House in recess this week, the Senate was the main arena for legislative action. The House’s absence prevented any progress from being made on efforts to forge a bipartisan deal on extending unemployment insurance benefits.  Indeed, the unemployment extension may be headed “back to the drawing board,” since the possible Senate vehicle – the tax extender package dead for now – and there is no sign of movement in the House. This week the measure’s lead Democratic cosponsor, Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI), said he and his Republican counterpart Sen. Dean Heller (R-NV) will continue their efforts if the House doesn’t act before the end of the month, which would be the deadline for passing their retroactive, five-month extension. Labor Secretary Tom Perez has also joined the call to extend the jobless aid, sending a letter to House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) highlighting the fact that not extending the benefits has cost 80,000 jobs so far and will cost an estimated 240,000 jobs by the end of the year. In the letter, Secretary Perez offered to negotiate additional job creation measures with the Speaker, though that outreach is likely to go unanswered.

On Wednesday, the Senate committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions considered a draft bill, The Strong Start for America’s Children Act, which would create two new federal support mechanisms for early education. The bill’s two mechanisms are a formula grant program to help states expand existing full-day, high-quality preschool programs for children from low-income families, and a competitive grant program to help states that don’t have those programs to launch them. It would also set standards for teacher training and pay, class size and the availability of health care and child care services. Under the measure, states would have to contribute an increasing amount of matching funds every year. In contrast to this proposal, HELP Committee’s Ranking member, Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN), offered as a substitute amendment his plan to take all existing federal spending on early learning and child care programs and give it to states in block grants to spend as they wish. The federal government spends about $8 billion annually on Head Start and $5 billion on grants to help low-income families with day care costs, plus smaller amounts for other programs. Republicans, who cite a 2012 Government Accountability Office report that found 45 programs in some way support those efforts, say states are in the best position to decide how to use that money to care for and educate young children. For their part, Democrats note that the GAO report included programs that should not be counted in a broad measure of federal spending on preschool, including early learning programs that target specific populations, such as children with disabilities or Native American children, and non-education programs, such as school lunches and snacks. Alexander’s proposal failed on a party line vote. Ultimately, the Strong Start for America’s Children Act passed out of committee along a 12-10 party line vote and will next head for consideration on the Senate floor.

The Senate HELP committee will hold a hearing next Tuesday, May 20 entitled “Economic Security for Working Women.” Both the House and Senate will be in session next week, before adjourning the following week for Memorial Day recess.

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A Conversation about Women’s Workforce Issues with Secretary Perez

I was honored to represent WOW at meeting with Secretary of Labor Tom Perez this past week, along with twenty other partner organizations.  Our conversation centered on improving our country’s workforce development system and ensuring equal opportunities for all Americans to earn the skills they need to succeed in today’s economy. Secretary Perez echoed the president’s support, voiced in his State of the Union address, for training programs outside of four-year degree programs. Attendees concurred that it was exciting to see job training being elevated in public discussions as a means to achieving economic security.

The Secretary shared the administration’s vision for creating a dynamic workforce development system, highlighting the following five goals:

  • Sustaining and expanding industry partnerships, and strengthening the collaboration between the DOL and the Dept of Commerce;
  • Achieving synergy between the many job training programs and agencies that administer them and “imploding the stovepipe”;
  • Improving quality control in programs;
  • Spurring innovation, flexibility and experimentation to see what works – including looking at how to utilize emerging technology and building a stronger apprenticeship system; and
  • Showcasing promising practices and establishing some common performance measures.

I shared that my own career benefited from both apprenticeship training and the Department of Labor’s affirmative action enforcement. I thanked the Secretary for his commitment to apprenticeship and long history working for civil rights. During our discussion of the Secretary’s goals, I chimed in to point out that another key plank of the President’s State of the Union was addressing women’s economic equity and moving policies for women in the workplace into the 21st century. I urged the Secretary and the Department to marry the two focal points in the State of the Union, since a workforce development system that perpetuates occupational segregation by gender (and see our previous blogs that demonstrate significant evidence of this) won’t address the persistent wage gap women face. As I moved to share our recommendations for creating a dynamic job training system that also works for women, Sec’y Perez nodded eagerly and said, “Oh, good, was just going to ask how we do that”.

I proposed the following five point plan:

  • Establishing goals for women’s participation in job training for high-skill, high-wage jobs in male-dominated sectors and increasing and enforcing the existing goals for industry partners and apprenticeship programs for women’s inclusion and equitable treatment;
  • Using administrative guidance and technical assistance like WOW has been offering in our GreenWays Initiative with Jobs for the Future to help job training programs and the workforce systems build their capacity to meet goals;
  • Expanding funding for women’s training for nontraditional occupations. There are several dedicated multi-million dollar programs to support training for youth, ex-offenders, and veterans, but only one, with less than $1 M, for women;
  • Data collection to let us know how we are doing in moving the needle; and
  • Creating a “Concrete Floor” Commission to set an annual agenda, oversee programming for women, benchmark progress and focus public attention on this issue.

The Secretary closed the meeting, reflecting on our nearly two-hour conversation, and outlining nine takeaways and questions he wanted us to answer for him. Concerned that not one of these questions addressed women, I shot him a worried look. Ending the meeting on a great note for women in non-traditional occupations and assuaging my fears, Secretary Perez announced he’d taken copious notes on my recommendations and appreciated having such a specific plan to which he can respond.

But, it didn’t end there. Our recommendations grabbed the attention of other invitees to the meeting, including the National Urban League’s President Marc Morial, who said the issue of women also “piqued his attention” since a majority of the clients they serve in their nearly 100 job training programs across the country are women. Leaders from the National Association of Workforce Boards, the National League of Cities, the National Association of State Workforce Agencies, and National Economic Council at The White House, each came up to me to express interest in pursuing the issue with WOW further. We’ve got a lot of work ahead to follow up with the Secretary and these organizations, but we’re happy to have the opportunity to advance our agenda for women in nontraditional occupations!

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On the Hill: Farm Bill and the SOTU

After years of negotiations and disagreement between House and Senate members of a farm bill conference committee, the House of Representatives adopted on Wednesday a five-year farm bill by a 251-166 vote. The deal marks ends lengthy efforts to renew agriculture and nutrition programs in the United States. Though House Republicans initially proposed cutting SNAP by $40 billion over 10 years, the final bill would cut SNAP by $8 billion over the next ten years by restricting states’ ability to use a “heat and eat” program to boost individuals’ benefits. The legislation will require that an individual receive at least $20 or more in Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) aid before that individual’s SNAP benefits are automatically increased. The agreement does not include House provisions to restrict categorical eligibility or the ability of states to waive SNAP work requirements for certain adults. The Senate is expected to pass the measure and President Obama is expected to sign it into law.

The week’s other major event was the annual State of the Union address, during which President Obama pledged to do everything he can, with or without Congress, to expand economic opportunity and bolster the middle class. One such avenue included Obama’s announcement during the speech that he would sign an executive order that would raise the minimum wage for new federal contractors to $10.10 an hour. The president also urged Congress to pass legislation that would raise the federal minimum wage to $10.10 an hour. President Obama also called on Congress to renew federal unemployment insurance benefits that lapsed in December, and to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act, legislation that mandates equal pay for women by creating stronger incentives for employers to pay workers fairly and prohibiting retaliation against employees who share salary information.

In a factsheet on the address, the Obama administration announced it will conduct a full review of federal job training programs to make sure programs are higher performing and focused on skills needed in high-demand sectors. The Administration also announced a spring 2014 Summit on Working Families hosted by the White House, the Department of Labor and the Center for American Progress. The goal of the summit is to set an agenda for “a 21st century workplace to ensure America’s global economic competitiveness in the coming decades,” and make the business and economic cases for policies that support working families in areas such as discrimination, flexibility, and paid leave.

Prospects for the Senate to renew expired unemployment benefits appeared to brighten on Wednesday as bipartisan talks pick up steam and a procedural standoff thaws. Please continue to call (877-318-0483) your senators and representative and urge them to extend jobless benefits with no strings attached.

Both chambers of Congress will be in session on Monday, February 4.

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Must Love Animals, But Still Working Toward Equality: The Case of Female Veterinarians

Policies that encourage more equal occupational representation by sex are critical for gender equity in the labor market. If women enter predominantly male occupations and vice versa, over time occupations should become integrated, and occupational sex segregation should decline.  And such policies should have the secondary benefit of enhancing women’s labor market rewards relative to men’s.  Often many point to veterinarians as an example of an occupation where women have made significant inroads in a short period of time.

So what is the history of women in veterinary scienceDr. Elinor McGrath was the first woman veterinarian in the US and began practicing in 1910. A few decades later, in 1936, there were just 30 women veterinarians in the US, and by 1963 that number had grown to 277 women.  In the next two decades, though,  women began to make rapid advances in veterinary science and by 1989, 22 percent of veterinarians and 60 percent of students were women.  This growth was very much correlated with the passage of Title IX, which ended sex discrimination in education and provided access to programs in the sciences to women.  Having a pipeline of female students is significant and necessary factor in increasing the representation of women in any occupation, and veterinarians are no exception.  As women began to complete and graduate veterinary college programs they began to enter the workforce in higher numbers. Today women are 55 percent of the nation’s veterinarians, and that percentage is still growing. By 2030, seven out of 10 veterinarians will be women, according to a recent projection by The Center for Health Workforce Studies. So women have clearly made progress into veterinary educational programs and practices.

If only our story could end there.  It is true veterinarians represent a sex-integrated occupation.  But does that mean that women veterinarians have achieved equality in the occupation? Unfortunately the answer is NO.  Instead a recent American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) report on finds female veterinarians continue to significantly earn less than male veterinarians, despite the fact that they have increased their representation in the occupation to slightly over 50 percent. The report found that female veterinarians in private practice had median incomes of $88,000 in 2011, while male veterinarians had median incomes of $112,000.  So female veterinarians are earning about 78 percent of what their male counterparts are earning. For those in public and corporate practice, female veterinarians had a median income of $112,000 in 2011, while male veterinarians had a median income of $136,000.

And female veterinarians also are not equally represented in leadership positions in the field or higher paying specialties.   According to AAVMC statistics, women made up 78.6 percent of enrolled U.S. veterinary students in 2013. While women accounted for 41 percent of faculty members at these institutions, slightly more than half of them were nontenure-track, and women held just 0.7 percent of the administrative positions.  And women are only 19 percent of large animal veterinarians, which tend to be a higher paying specialty.  Further gender myths are still prevalent in this specialty and others, such as women are not strong enough to work with large animals or male farmer would not be comfortable working with women in this job.

So—yes women have made inroads into veterinary science and have achieved numerical equity, but are far from equality— as they face job segregation, gender based pay gap and lack of access to leadership positions.  And veterinarians are not the only occupation where this is the reality. Rutgers sociologist Patricia Roos and I found that despite the movement of women into predominately male occupations, women continue to earn less than their male counterparts, and are promoted at lower rates.  Women making inroads into sex-atypical occupations are just a piece of the gender segregation puzzle. Policies that help provide access and a pipeline for women in nontraditional occupations are clearly important to reduce gender segregation.  However unless they are coupled with government and workplace policies that ensure equality within the occupation and in regard to labor market rewards, simply have a sex-integrated occupation will not lead to full equality.

Andre (Moul) Ross, the only woman in Cornell's Veterinary Class of 1943 with four of her classmates and an equine patient. Source: http://veterinarylegacy.blogspot.com/2012_05_01_archive.html

Andre (Moul) Ross, the only woman in Cornell’s Veterinary Class of 1943
with four of her classmates and an equine patient. Source: http://veterinarylegacy.blogspot.com/2012_05_01_archive.html

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Women and Job Gains: What Exactly Happened Last Month?

Perhaps it was the post-holiday season slump or a weekend news cycle dominated by a traffic jam at the George Washington Bridge, but December’s job report was released this past Friday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics with little fanfare. Yet there are some dramatic numbers captured in the December jobs report that do deserve attention.  According to an Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR) analysis of the January employment report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), women gained ALL 74,000 jobs added to nonfarm payrolls in December, while men lost 1,000 jobs.  That is right—ALL the jobs that were gained in December were gained by women.

Throughout the recession, we know  that women lost fewer jobs than men—partly because of the industries in which men and women are located. New York Times blogger Catherine Rampella  published a great figure illustrating this quite significant trend over time, showing sex differences in job gains and losses over time.  As you can see, in the recovery men did outpace women for several months.  And while women have reversed this trend in recent months, this is the first time ALL the jobs were gained by women.

Source: http://economix.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/01/10/all-december-job-gains-went-to-women/?_r=0

Source: http://economix.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/01/10/all-december-job-gains-went-to-women/?_r=0

However there is an important qualification to this finding:  The jobs gains were heavily concentrated in retail (38,500 jobs gained by women), and leisure and hospitality (18,000 jobs for women)—industries that are predominately female and that offer jobs opportunities  that are often low quality in terms of wages, benefits, full-time hours, and workplace flexibility. And some of the job gains can be related to seasonal holiday hiring, so these women may now find themselves out of work in the new year. So the job gain for women is not necessary all good news.  In fact, the Shriver Report, A Woman’s Nation Pushes Back from the Brink, also released this weekend, highlighted how women are working more but their concentration in low wage jobs is keeping them in poverty. The conclusion seems clear:  while women may be gaining jobs, they are not achieving economic security for themselves and their families.

That is what makes this December jobs report quite interesting. What factors are driving the sex differences in jobs gain? Women are employed more than ever in our labor market despite so many job seekers’ having left the labor market. Is it just a matter of the ubiquitous segregation that dominates our labor market—the growing jobs are in traditional female industries, so it is not surprising that women would be making gains.  Are employers choosing women because they tend to pay them less (as the wage gap is still alive and well), or may be more willing to work part-time, and without being offered benefits such as health insurance? And since low wage jobs continue to see growth in the recovery—regardless of whether women or men fill them—they are not offering economic security. Public policies, such as increased minimum wages, access to paid sick days and family leave, and workplace flexibility, are needed more than ever in order for working families be economically secure. So, the December Jobs report may not be the sleeper it seems to be and some of these findings need to be looked at more carefully.

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Weekly ‘On the Hill’ Update

ON THE HILL…The House was in recess this week.

Senate appropriators on Thursday advanced a fiscal 2013 spending bill for labor, health and education programs, after turning back Republican efforts to restrict the National Labor Relations Board’s authority and to curb funding for a provision of the 2010 health care overhaul law. The Senate Appropriations Committee approved the draft measure along party lines, 16-14. The legislation would provide nearly $753.4 billion in total budget authority, including $158.8 billion in discretionary funding — $2 billion more than fiscal 2012 levels and roughly equal to the president’s request.  The Committee has not posted the full text of the legislation so funding levels for key programs is not yet available. We will make that information available when we get it.  It is not expected that this bill will be considered by the full Senate before the election, but rather that funding for programs under its jurisdiction will continue to be funded at 2012 levels until sometime after election or even into the new year.

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Weekly ‘On the Hill’ Update

ON THE HILL … House Republicans are teeing up a bill that would overhaul the federal workforce training law and are planning to have it ready for floor debate as early as next month. At an Education and the Workforce Committee hearing on the issue Tuesday, Rep. John F. Tierney (D, MA) said the panel may mark up the Republican legislation as soon as next week. At Tuesday’s hearing, ranking Democrat George Miller (D, CA) said he had “serious concerns” about the GOP bill (HR 4297), specifically the proposal to consolidate 27 programs into one fund, which he said would shift money away from under-served populations that the programs were set up to protect. In addition to consolidating 27 programs into one fund, the Republican bill would allow governors to merge additional programs if they have a “responsible” plan to do so. States would be required to adopt a common set of performance measures to judge the success of all programs. The bill would also require that two-thirds of local workforce investment board members be employers, which Chairman of the House Education and Workforce Committee, John Kline (R, MN) said would help ensure that the training offered to workers would meet the needs of businesses. Democrats argued, however, that a homogenous board composed mainly of employers would have a negative impact on certain populations that need specialized help to gain employment, such as English-language learners and those with disabilities.

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