Washington, D.C—Today, U.S. Senators Patty Murray (D-WA), Tom Harkin (D-IA), Mike Enzi (R-WY), and Johnny Isakson (R-GA) released the following statement in response to the new Government Accountability Office (GAO) report on the state of federal workforce and training programs.

“One of the main findings of today’s GAO report is that greater coordination is needed across federal workforce and training programs.  We couldn’t agree more.  And we believe that reauthorizing the Workforce Investment Act is critical to better aligning these programs to maximize coordination and optimize successful job placement.

“Despite a dramatic increase in demand for these programs in recent years and a stagnant labor market, programs under the Workforce Investment Act serve over 9 million individuals and hundreds of thousands of employers across the country.  These programs place well over half of the Americans seeking support and training and more than 80 percent of their clients retain their new jobs. The system is working today but we recognize that more can be done to help our nation’s job-seekers and employers.  

“Over the past two years we have been working in a bi-partisan effort to renew and improve the Workforce Investment Act.  Today’s GAO report reaffirms the work we have already been doing to enhance the coordination and alignment between our workforce programs and other related federal programs.  As part of this effort, we have been working to improve coordination across federal workforce and training programs by requiring unified planning at the state level, common performance measures to assess effectiveness, and coordination of workforce and training services and strategies at the state and local levels. 

“Helping workers get the skills they need to get back on the job is not a partisan issue, and it is an important part of getting our economy back on track. We look forward to working together to reauthorize our country’s workforce investment law this year, and to better serving workers, job seekers, and employers alike.”