Federal job training programs can be a valuable tool to help job seekers acquire skills to re-enter the job market. By working in coordination with the local workforce boards and workforce development councils that administer these services, this bill will help these programs better serve employers and workers alike.
“I’ve visited hundreds of businesses throughout Ohio over the past few years, and I have come away impressed with the quality of the research and products I see. But one thing I often hear is that companies often can’t find the skilled employees they need. Right now, as unemployment remains too high for comfort, there are over 400,000 people in Ohio looking for work, yet employers are looking to fill over 100,000 open positions at their companies,” said Portman. “Unfortunately, the federal government’s many job training programs are failing to equip participants with the skills they need to acquire jobs. Incorporating input we’ve received from Ohio’s educators, employers, students, and other stakeholders, our bill takes several commonsense, bipartisan steps to address inefficiency in the current system, furnish participants with the skills needed by employers, and incentivize better performance among training providers. These measures will help connect the unemployed with good jobs and more effectively leverage taxpayer dollars.”
A recent manufacturing study and a White House report released in July 2011 found that 74 percent of manufacturers are experiencing workforce shortages or skills deficiencies that are having a significant negative impact on their ability to expand operations and improve productivity. In addition, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) reports that while federal job training programs are important tools for helping job seekers obtain employment, there is overlap in the current workforce system and not enough is known about the effectiveness of most job training programs. Nine different federal departments and agencies administer these programs, and the GAO found that 44 of the 47 federal programs overlap with at least one other program. In addition, the GAO found that “little is known about the effectiveness of most programs” because only 5 of the 47 programs had conducted impact studies since 2004.
The CAREER Act would improve the efficiency and effectiveness of federal job training, without decreasing services or accessibility to services, including for the workers who need these programs the most. To that end, the purpose of the CAREER Act is four-fold: (1) reorganize the federal government’s programs to make them more efficient, (2) give community colleges, career tech institutions, and other key educators priority access to dollars for training that equips workers with the credentials that are in-demand by industry (a recommendation of the President’s own Job Council), (3) introduce much needed accountability to job training through a pay-for-performance pilot program that rewards results and penalizes complacency, and (4) provide states and local stakeholders with access to the data they need to track the impact of their programs.
Through these four bipartisan, common-sense reforms, the CAREER Act will make federal job training more responsive to the needs of employers, more efficient with taxpayer dollars, and more effective in connecting the unemployed with good-paying jobs.
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