Support the Workforce Reinvestment and Adult Education Act
March 19, 2003
The Honorable Howard "Buck" McKeon
Chairman, Subcommittee on 21st Century Competitiveness
2351 Rayburn House Office Building
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, D.C. 20015
Dear Chairman McKeon:
We applaud the Subcommittee on 21st Century Competitiveness in its markup of H.R. 1261, the Workforce Reinvestment and Adult Education Act, that addresses a key issue for businesses, the quality and skills of the workforce, and their ability to remain competitive. In order for employers to participate as a key partner in the public workforce development system, they need to be aware of the services offered through the public workforce development system and see the value of these services to their businesses.
Increased flexibility, streamlined bureaucracy, and programs that are responsive to businesses' needs are necessary to assist employers in finding the workers they need in areas of the country that are facing skill shortages. The Education, Employment, and Training Committee of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has developed a set of principles it believes addresses issues that the business community would like to see in a reauthorization bill for the Workforce Investment Act of 1998. These include: a clearly defined business role for the local and state workforce investment boards; the ability of the boards to hire staff that is accountable to them; a simplified set of performance standards for program participants and measures of system building effectiveness; increased flexibility for incumbent and customized training; a separate infrastructure funding stream; integration of services beyond core services; and youth councils that serve as liaison between the workforce and education systems.
Once again, we applaud your efforts to strengthen and streamline our nation's workforce development system and look forward to working with you and your colleagues to advance this important legislation.
R. Bruce Josten
Executive Vice President, Government Affairs
U.S. Chamber of Commerce