U.S. House sends jobs training bill to President Obama for approval

The U.S. House of Representatives voted 415-6 last week to send legislation to President Obama that would consolidate federal job training, adult education and literacy education programs into a single workforce program to be administered by states.

H.R. 803 - the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, a bipartisan and bicameral bill sponsored by Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.) that amends the 1998 Workforce Investment Act through 2020 - seeks to streamline the worker training process.

The bill would reauthorize $9.5 billion in spending on state and local worker training and education programs. Under the bill, local employers would hold a majority of seats on local and state workforce development boards. The U.S. Secretary of Labor would be required to review all programs at least once every four years.

Additionally, the bill would apply a uniform set of reporting metrics to all federal workforce programs to provide students, workers and lawmakers with data on the programs.

Rep. Keith Rothfus (R-Pa.) said the legislation addresses gaps in training and skills required and provided by employers and workers.

"While many Western Pennsylvanians are looking for work, many jobs go unfilled because employers cannot find employees with the right kinds of training and skills," Rothfus said. "To address the skills gap and empower job seekers with the skills necessary to land one of the available jobs, this commonsense legislation will reform the maze of federal job-training programs so that they better serve those looking for work."