Date:May 7, 2008
Contact:Public Relations @ (225) 342-3035

Senate, House Pass Workforce Development Redesign Bills

BATON ROUGE — The Louisiana House and Senate have unanimously approved Gov. Jindal’s centerpiece legislation to overhaul Louisiana’s workforce development system.

The House bill was approved today by a vote of 102 to 0. A companion Senate bill was approved Tuesday by a 36-0 vote. SB 612 now moves to the House Committee on Labor and Industrial Relations and HB 1104 heads to the Senate’s Committee on Labor and Industrial Relations.

The bills would require the Louisiana Department of Labor to integrate workforce development programs from across state agencies into a single, demand-driven system that meets the needs of businesses and job seekers into the future.

“The overwhelming support for this legislation is proof that Louisiana is ready for dramatic improvements in the way we serve employers and jobseekers in our state,” Louisiana Department of Labor Secretary Tim Barfield said. “By integrating all components of workforce development - education, training, employment and related services – we can do a much better job of supplying a workforce that can sustain a healthy, growing economy in Louisiana.”

The bills call for renaming the Dept. of Labor as the Louisiana Workforce Commission and renaming the position of secretary to executive director. The commission would continue to carry out other existing functions of the Dept. of Labor, such as administering the unemployment insurance and workers’ compensation systems.

“A major focus for our agency is addressing the gap that exists between employee skills and employer needs,” Barfield said. “This legislation gives us the mechanisms to close that gap with targeted training efforts aimed at filling the nearly 100,000 job vacancies which we are currently unable to fill in our state.”

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