Federal legislation approved by Congress Wednesday reduces red tape in the nation’s workforce development system and increases funding that the Louisiana Workforce Commission can use to address statewide workforce needs.
The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act passed both houses of Congress with strong bipartisan support and now goes to the President for his signature. The act will replace the Workforce Investment Act of 1998.
“This bill codifies many of the things we’ve been doing for years in Louisiana and things we’ve been wanting to do,” said Curt Eysink, LWC executive director. “Key to us is the restoration of funding that will enable us to better support response to workforce issues too big for any local area to address on its own. And every reduction in red tape is a win for everyone.”
• Restores funding lost in the past few years that allows states to provide services to employers and job seekers;
• Increases real-world training opportunities such as on-the-job training, incumbent worker training and customized training;
• Strengthens connections between adult education, postsecondary education and the workforce;
• Sets high employment expectations for clients of Vocational Rehabilitation Services;
• Eliminates 15 redundant or duplicative programs, allowing services to be provided more efficiently;
• Maintains business leadership of the state Workforce Investment Council and local Workforce Investment Boards;
• Beginning in 2016, limits fluctuations in funding for services for dislocated workers;
• Requires states to produce a single strategic plan describing how they will provide training, employment services, adult education and vocational rehabilitation;
• Strengthens alignment between local workforce areas, labor markets and economic development regions;
• Specifies funding for each fiscal year from 2015 to 2020.
Louisiana employers and job seekers can receive employment assistance, training and other workforce services from any Business and Career Solutions Center. For a complete list of Centers statewide and to access other web-based services visit www.laworks.net.
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