Over the past year, several attempts to pass legislation aimed at improving the nation’s workforce have stalled, having been met with opposition and forced to undergo a number of rewrites and additional debates. However, that could soon change, as a new bill overhauling the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act recently passed swiftly through the Senate.

In late June H.R. 803 was approved with a resounding vote of 95 to 3, and now awaits discussion in the House of Representatives before it can be moved on to President Barack Obama’s desk for final confirmation. This new piece of legislation is a combination of several previous bills, according to the National Association of State Workforce Agencies. Those include the SKILLS Act and the Workforce Investment Act of 2013, which both gained favor in parts of Congress but fizzled out in others.

The target of the new legislation is job growth. Ideally, changes will allow states to better manage unemployment claims and help businesses find and train new hires. According to Politico, the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act includes a number of federal programs helping connect potential job seekers with employers.

Bill presents streamlined solution
Previous legislation that included workforce improvements and programs was extremely broad –  as a result, states and employers may not have been getting the benefits they needed while spending more money in the process. The hope of the new bill is to present a streamlined solution to this problem.

Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), a co-sponsor of the bill, released a statement outlining the key changes that are part of the new Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act. For starters, the legislation will remove 15 existing programs and implement smaller state workforce development boards. In addition, the legislation will place a greater emphasis on on-the-job training and pay-for-performance contracts, among other factors designed to provide increased value to workers and employers.

“The longer it waited, the more we were realizing how much it had to change,” Allison Dembeck, director of congressional and public affairs for education at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, told Politico regarding the new bill. “That really made the process difficult.”

At Corporate Cost Control, we work closely with employers across the country to better manage the nuances of unemployment insurance. Legislation changes on the state level could impact you today, and we welcome any questions or concerns you may have on a wide range of topics.


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