2014-06-13 National Governors Association

Workforce Investment Act Reauthorization

The Honorable Harry Reid
Minority Leader
U.S. Senate
Washington, D.C. 20510

The Honorable Mitch McConnell
Majority Leader
U.S. Senate
Washington, D.C. 20510

The Honorable John Boehner
Speaker
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515

The Honorable Nancy Pelosi
Minority Leader
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515

Dear Majority Leader Reid, Minority Leader McConnell, Speaker Boehner and Minority Leader Pelosi:

On behalf of the nation’s governors, we write to express our strong support for the bipartisan, bicameral Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA).

Governors strongly support a federal workforce system that empowers states to innovate and meet the needs of workers, businesses and job-seekers. We applaud the bipartisan efforts to reauthorize the Workforce Investment Act of 1998 (WIA) and address many governors’ priorities in WIOA. We now urge you to move forward and work to pass this comprehensive WIA reauthorization legislation.

A successful federal workforce system is one that provides governors with the flexibility to respond to continually changing economic conditions on the ground. The 15 percent WIA set-aside has empowered governors to partner with local stakeholders to create solutions that serve the unique economic dynamics of every state.  In the last four years, flexible federal funds for job creation and training in the states have decreased by more than 70 percent. Governors strongly support a full WIA set-aside and appreciate that WIOA would allow governors to reserve 15 percent of WIA funds. This provides a foundation for restoration of the set-aside in Fiscal Year 2015 appropriations.

As economic development leaders in the states, governors understand the central role of state leadership in workforce programs. Governors have consistently asked to retain the authority to operate grandfathered state workforce boards and create a state workforce board with a simple business majority. Governors must also preserve their authority to appoint the state workforce board chair as a means of aligning statewide economic development goals with the workforce system. We are pleased these priorities are preserved in WIOA.

Governors also are dedicated to accountability in the administration of federal-state programs. WIOA includes performance accountability metrics that incorporate governors’ performance measures proposal developed in coordination with state workforce agency administrators. Increased system-wide accountability translates into decreased costs and inefficiencies for both states and the federal government. Governors welcome the bill’s approach to implementing these measures to better serve our constituents.

WIA reauthorization this Congress is vital to enhancing the nation’s workforce system and confronting the challenges of our modern economy. Thank you for your leadership to reauthorize WIA and support innovative state leadership in serving the nation’s workforce.

Sincerely,

Governor Steven L. Beshear
Chair
Education and Workforce Committee

Governor Brian Sandoval
Chair
Education and Workforce Committee

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