Fw: Senate Passes Job Training Legislation

H. C. Covington (ach1@sprynet.com)
Wed, 13 May 1998 00:00:44 -0500

H. C. Sonny Covington  @  I CAN! America
Community Based Management Consultants
427 St. John Street - Lafayette, LA  70501
(318) 235-7005  Fax 318-234-0953

(Posted on HandsNet on 5/11/98 by kkennedy)

5/6/98--Columbus Dispatch--

The U.S. Senate last week approved a sweeping reform bill that streamlines
the $8 billion job-training system from a patchwork of 70 federal programs
into a few block grants to states.

The legislation, passed 91-7, also permits states to set up one-stop
to provide coordinated employment and training services in one place. It
also eliminates many federal strings, giving states greater freedom to
respond to changing local economic conditions.

Sen. Mike DeWine, chairman of the Senate Labor and Human Resources
subcommittee that crafted the bill and who is a main sponsor of the bill,
said the legislation will enable the U.S. job-training system to determine
what kinds of jobs are open in communities -- and what kinds of skills are
needed to fill those spots.

Two years ago, the House and Senate adopted their own versions of
job-training reforms but couldn't agree on a compromise. As a result, the
legislation died at the end of the 1995-96 congressional session.  The
differences this year are not as significant, and a resolution is more
likely. The Clinton administration has said it also supports the measure.
Democrats such as Sen. Paul Wellstone of Minnesota support this version
because it does not cut overall funding for job training, and it prohibits
states from shifting money intended for dislocated workers into other
programs.  One difference to be resolved is that the Senate bill includes a
DeWine-sponsored provision that deals with changes in the vocational
rehabilitation system. The rehabilitation changes, not in the House bill,
are designed to increase and simplify access to job-training services for
individuals with disabilities.

The legislation gives states more flexibility to design their
worker-training systems, and it seeks to expand a Work-Flex program limited
to a demonstration project in Ohio and five other states. The Work-Flex
program, which would be extended to all 50 states, exempts states that
tailor their job-training plans from federal regulations.

Johanna Finney, Research Fellow
Institute For Women's Policy Research
1400 20th Street, N.W., Suite 104
Washington, D.C.  20036
(202)785-1921 Tel
(202)833-4362 Fax
e-mail:  finney@www.iwpr.org