Two Job Training Bills Introduced in the House

January 4, 2005 ( - US House Republicans introduced two bills Tuesday meant to improve worker training: The Job Training Improvement Act and the Worker Reemployment Accounts Act.

>The Job Training Improvement Act, introduced by Representatives Howard McKeon (R-California) and John Boehner (R-Ohio), would attempt to build upon the reforms made in the Workforce Investment Act (WIA), which was enacted in 1998, according to a press release from Boehner.   “Duplication of services under the current WIA system reduces the amount of money that could be used to efficiently provide employment and training services to individuals seeking jobs,” the release stated, adding: “Overlap in training programs under the current WIA law has contributed to the growth of a confusing patchwork at the state and local level.”

>The job training legislation would aim to reduce the bureaucratic red tape, increase cooperation, protect the rights of faith-based service providers, and authorize personal reemployment accounts of up to $3,000 to aid unemployed Americans purchase job training, according to the press release.

>The bill also includes provisions to:

  • provide employment services to help job seekers get back to work by providing core services in one-stop career centers
  • improve adult education
  • enhance vocational rehabilitation by strengthening the 1973 Rehabilitation Act
  • strengthen partnerships between businesses and job training service providers.

>The bill is similar to one passed in 2003 in the House, according to the announcement. However, the bill was tied up in conference with the Senate, and never came to fruition.

Worker Reemployment

>In a separate news release, Boehner announced the introduction of the Worker Reemployment Accounts Act, a more specific bill aimed at personal reemployment accounts. They are similar to a pilot proposal offered by President Bush, according to the announcement.

“The bill allows eligible individuals to use the $3,000 reemployment accounts to purchase job training and key services, such as child care, transportation services, and housing assistance,” according to the announcement. “It also allows recipients to keep the balance of the account as a cash reemployment bonus if they become reemployed within 13 weeks,” it added.

>With the proposed program, workers would be able to purchase:

  • job training
  • child care
  • transportation services
  • relocation services
  • career counseling
  • computer classes
  • housing assistance
  • skills assessment services.

>A similar bill was passed last year (See House OKs Reemployment Account Measure ), but went no further than the House. This fall, the Department of Labor, using its authority for pilot projects, tested the effectiveness of personal reemployment accounts in portions of seven states – Florida, Texas, Mississippi, Minnesota, Montana, Idaho, and West Virginia.