News Releases

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – Late Friday the Senate passed the reauthorization of the Workforce Investment Act. The legislation funds federal job training programs and one-stop career service centers nationwide for youths, adults, dislocated workers, migrant and seasonal farm workers, and Native Americans.

Sen. Murray released the following statement:

“I am pleased that the full Senate has unanimously passed a bill to reauthorize the Workforce Investment Act (S.1627), the Vocational Rehabilitation Act and the Adult Education and Family Literacy Act.

As the ranking member of the Senate HELP Subcommittee on Employment, Safety and Training, I was proud to work in a bipartisan fashion to develop a balanced bill that will provide more access to training for workers desperate to find jobs in our changing economy.

The bill meets my stated goals of empowering WIA’s two customers – business and workers – to use their first-hand knowledge to meet local employment needs, while providing the appropriate incentives and flexibility to bring people and businesses into one-stop centers.

I am particularly pleased that the Committee was able to provide additional flexibility to states and localities without using a block grant to consolidate services. Importantly, we have also maintained the critical labor exchange function carried out by the US Employment Service.

The bill recognizes that states like Washington have consistently met their performance standards and therefore should retain their flexibility in the governance of their workforce boards. This bill will allow Washington state to maintain its unique tripartite state workforce board, comprised of members from the labor, business and education sectors.

The bill also makes WIA’s services more efficient at every level by streamlining the performance, reporting and eligibility criteria and knocking down barriers to job training.

Lastly, the bill recognizes the importance of helping workers secure a job that will move towards self-sufficiency for their families. The reauthorization bill also underscores the importance of comparable pay for comparable work, especially for women who have often been relegated to less compensation for the same work.

I look forward to working in conference with our House colleagues in a bipartisan fashion to produce a bill that will provide the kinds of training assistance critical to maintaining our nation’s global competitiveness.

We must all work to assure adequate federal funding to provide businesses with a skilled and trained labor pool to maintain our nation’s global economic competitive advantage.”