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Letter to the Senate supporting bill to reauthorize the Workforce Investment Act (WIA)

June 23, 2014

Dear Senator:  

On behalf of the three million members of the National Education Association and the students they serve, I urge you to:

  • SUPPORT the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) (H.R. 803) as amended when it comes to the Senate floor this week.
  • OPPOSE the amendment by Sen. Flake (R-AZ), which would subject workforce development areas to yearly threats of reorganization without consideration of other factors, forcing the workforce system to focus on governance instead of fulfilling the intent of the law: delivering services and developing skills that equip individuals to enter or rejoin the workforce as well-prepared as possible.   

Votes associated with these issues may be included in the NEA Legislative Report Card for the 113th Congress.  

NEA appreciates that this bipartisan reauthorization of the Workforce Investment Act maintains the basic structure employed under current law; includes labor representation on workforce boards; provides work-based learning opportunities for young people and more services for low-income, low-skill workers; and enhances the focus on successful transitions to post-secondary opportunities for adult basic education students. We particularly appreciate the improved infrastructure funding provision, which will ensure that federal programs partnering with the workforce system can still meet their primary statutory obligations.  

We are pleased that the bill improves community college participation in the workforce system in a number of ways. At the same time, NEA maintains its commitment to increasing the voice of educators themselves in the workforce system. 

This long overdue, bipartisan legislation is a step forward in ensuring that young people are better prepared to enter the workforce, and that adult workers have the skills they need to meet the workforce demands of a changing economy. We urge you to support the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act. 

Sincerely,  

Mary Kusler
Director, Government Relations