Shifting Focus from Unemployment to Reemployment
We are seeing a definite shift in focus for State Workforce Agencies these days with
major initiatives out there related to getting the unemployed back to work.
Despite improvements in the economy, we still have more than 13 million individuals
out of work and the long term unemployment rate remains high with more than 40% having
been unemployed for more than 6 months.
This past week, Reps. John Tierney (D-MA), Ruben Hinojosa (D-TX) and George Miller
(D-CA) introduced legislation in the House focused on improving state infrastructure
around finding workers new jobs. “The Workforce Investment Act of 2012” is driven
by three core principles:
• Streamlining and improving workforce investment system programs.
• Strengthening workforce investment system accountability.
• Promoting innovation and best practices within the workforce investment system.
The Workforce Investment Act, (WIA) of 1998 is well established and the primary resource
for funding services and initiatives to get the unemployed back into the job market.
What makes this new legislation interesting is the increased flexibility and innovation
regarding the use of these funds. Legislators are taking notice of what some
forward thinking states are doing in the area of wage subsidies and new job search
tools and also builds in increased accountability related to performance measures.
While Democrats and Republicans alike are calling for changes to our country’s job
training programs, it still remains to be seen whether they can agree on exactly what
those changes would entail.
Employers should continue to keep an eye toward changes taking place now in state
programs for opportunities to work more closely with their Workforce Agencies in getting
the unemployed back to work faster. Doing so will help reduce the drain on our
state trust funds and improve the overall economy and job market.
Tammy A. Mullin
Senior Director, Product Management
This weblog is sponsored by TALX.
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