Reauthorization of the Workforce Investment Act WIA: The SKILLS Act and Its Impact on EducationReport as inadecuate

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McREL International

The Workforce Investment Act, enacted in 1998, aims to enhance the capacities of the national workforce and improve working conditions. The Act, which funds workforce education, career pathways programs, and other programs typically aimed at assisting low-income and other vulnerable populations, has not been reauthorized since its passage; however, in March 2013, the House of Representatives showed renewed interest in this legislation by passing the Supporting Knowledge and Investing in Lifelong Skills (SKILLS) Act. The SKILLS Act and its implications for the education sector are reviewed in this brief. This brief outlines concerns from both proponents and opponents about the SKILLS Act and possible impacts on education, including: (1) Key programs that help disadvantaged and low-income youth obtain their Graduate Equivalency Diploma (GED), access job training, and enter the workforce will be cut; (2) Higher unemployment and a shortage of skilled workers among the populations WIA targets could lead to changing roles of universities and community and technical colleges; (3) Individual program areas won't be guaranteed funding; and (4) Decisions about reductions could carry over to other education legislation, such as the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.

Descriptors: Labor Force Development, Career Education, Federal Legislation, Federal Programs, Skill Development, Job Skills, Investment, Federal Aid, Educational Benefits, Program Effectiveness

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Author: Best, Jane; Cohen, Courtney


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