We all know that sequestration and the automatic $85 billion in federal cuts “across the board” for discretionary spending jeopardize our very delicate recovery from the Great Recession. Though slow, fragile and incremental, the recovery is real, thanks in part to an unsung legislative action — that now is in danger of being undermined by congressional inaction.
In 1998, Congress passed the Workforce Investment Act (WIA), which greatly improved unemployed people’s lives. The WIA focused on providing employment and training services for youth and adults, preparing them for jobs in industries using a model that encouraged self-sufficiency and widespread access to resource centers and training. The goal was to help people learn the skills for life-long career advancement.
What made WIA special was that that it proactively engaged with business, education and labor (as the drivers of local economies) to guide the direction of workforce development programs in a way that would specifically address geographical needs.