On September 18th, Senators Feinstein (D-CA), Hatch (R-UT), Baldwin (D-WI) and Enzi (R-WY) introduced a bipartisan Senate Resolution to designate September as “National Workforce Development Month.”
The resolution recognizes the importance of federal investment in workforce development programming that provides training, education and upskilling opportunities for workers and meets business demands. It also notes the “crucial role in supporting workers and growing the economy” workforce development programming plays.
Earlier this year, the Council of Economic Advisors released a report in part highlighting that the U.S. invests far less in workforce development programing than other developed countries. Over the past two decades, investments in these programs have decreased dramatically. Funding for the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) has decreased by 40%, for the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act by 32% and those in Adult Basic Education has decreased by 20%. In the past two years, Congress has slowly begun to reverse this trend and a package passed by the Senate just this week would include a $70 million and $25 million increase in funding for states for CTE and ABE, respectively. This same package would level fund most programming under WIOA, however, and the small increases to CTE and ABE do little to rectify decades of stagnant and declining funding for programs on which communities and businesses across the country rely.
This Senate resolution makes an important statement about the bipartisan support workforce development programming has among policy makers and is a good first step to adequately supporting the programming the resolution highlights.
In recognition of Workforce Development Month and in efforts to further engage policy makers on the importance of federal investments in vital workforce and education programming, the Campaign to Invest in America’s Workforce will host a Congressional Briefing on Tuesday, September 25th, highlighting the importance of federal funding to support state’s and local areas’ capacity to meet worker skill needs and business demand, find the full invitation here.