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Begich’s Workforce Investment Act Renewal Passes House and Heads to President’s Desk

Delivers for Veterans/Native Community, Secures Funds for Alaska Jobs Programs

U.S. Senator Mark Begich released the following statement in response to the House of Representatives bi-partisan passage of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), a bill he co-sponsored.

“The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act will help strengthen the Alaska economy by increasing job training programs for young people, veterans, and our tribal communities and will build on the success of Alaska Job Corps and other key programs,” said Begich. “I am glad the House passed this bill, which revamps our job training programs and adds much-needed performance evaluations to deliver the biggest impact for our tax dollars, and I look forward to the President signing it into law. Senator Murkowski and I worked hard to make sure the Cook Inlet Tribal Council will remain eligible to receive funding for its successful job training programs for Alaska Natives. This is a good, common-sense measure that will help strengthen our economy in Alaska.” 

The bill renews the Workforce Investment Act, which is the foundation of federal, state, and private workforce development programs that provide American workers the training and resources to adapt and thrive in the global marketplace. It funds programs like the Alaska Job Corps which provides training for Alaskans in industries from business and technology to construction -- all free of charge.

After the Senate vote passing the bill by an overwhelming margin of 95-3 and yesterday’s 415-6 passage in the House, the bill is expected to be signed into law by the President.

The bill enhances efficiency and accountability by creating a common set of performance measures to compare the outcomes of different programs. It also increases the impact of job corps funds by rewarding the best-performing centers while opening up competition to new centers that want to try innovative techniques.

Several bills that Begich cosponsored are key parts of this important bipartisan compromise to help train workers and get our economy back on track. These measures include:

  1. Ensure job programs honor the skills earned during military and other service, allowing trainees to avoid being forced to learn skills they already have. This enables them to complete programs and return to work more quickly. The idea comes from S. 2403, the Leverage Prior Skills Act, co-sponsored by Begich.
  1. Allow people to continue to support their families while receiving important training by strengthening apprenticeship and on-the-job programs. The idea comes from S. 2402, the Work and Learn Act, co-sponsored by Begich.

For information on the bill please see our previous release.

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