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Jackson Cit Pat: Streamlining the current training process will help job-seekers

March 28, 2014
Opinion Editorial

A functional job training system is critical to helping connect employers with people in our community who are looking for work. Unfortunately, the existing system is broken. According to a February report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, about 11 million Americans are currently looking for work, while millions of jobs available right now go unfulfilled because of the skill gaps.

These jobseekers include single parents struggling to put food on the table and young families hoping to get ahead of the bills. Because our job training system is riddled with inefficiency, it actually acts as a barrier between those in need of a job, and businesses in need of workers.

Because of federal rules and regulations, many job seekers are held back from receiving the kind of help they need. For instance, a job seeker may be eager to begin job training, but is unable to enroll until she has completed certain training sessions such as resume writing or interview training - sessions she may not want or even need.

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has released several reports outlining duplicative and poorly performing job training programs. In fact, almost all federal programs – and there are more than 50 - overlap with at least one other program and many of the programs offer the same services.

During the president's January State of the Union address, he even admitted our nation's job training system is in desperate need of reform.

Rather than offering to take a look at our efforts in the House to address this problem or offering his own solutions, President Obama only announced the vice president would be "conducting a review" of the workforce development system.

If you're one of the millions of people looking for a job, or know someone who is, it was disheartening to hear that the President has just started looking into the matter. You want solutions instead.

The House Education and the Workforce Committee has already been reviewing our job training system and have held seven hearings in three years to specifically examine the problems facing our workforce. Out of these efforts we have put together solutions for reform that will benefit both employees and employers.

My Republican colleagues and I on the committee are committed to streamlining our current job training programs by removing inefficient or duplicative programs that are costing taxpayers billions of dollars every year.

We also want to clean-up the cumbersome process for job-seekers who just want to get back to work. We can start by replacing our current confusing programs with a Workforce Investment Fund (WIF), a single source of support for workers and employers and would create universal employment and training programs. This will also help eliminate unnecessary steps for job-seekers, allowing them to more quickly prepare for today's jobs.

Local employers and state officials should also be given a greater say in how these workforce plans are developed, and along with employers should work together to help identify and determine the needs of the local workforce.

It's about better equipping job-seekers with the tools they need for today's economy and it's time for the President and Senate to begin working in a good-faith effort with us to get America working again.

To read the original at Jackson Cit Pat please click here.