Trump Budget Cuts Harm America’s Workforce Development System, Committee Learns

WASHINGTON – TODAY, the Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Development held a hearing on the implementation of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA). Passed with strong bipartisan support in 2014, WIOA is the cornerstone of efforts to put Americans back to work and prepare workers for better jobs. The drastic cuts proposed in the Trump Administration’s budget would harm the implementation of WIOA by shifting costs onto states, localities, and employers while denying workers needed services.

“I was proud to be among the 400 House Members who supported WIOA when it passed the House because it sought to help workers, benefit businesses, revitalize our economy, and strengthen the middle class,” said Subcommittee Ranking Member Susan Davis (CA-53). “Specifically, WIOA sought to ensure working people of all ages and all abilities could get the training and skills they need to obtain well-paying jobs. And it also sought to ensure employers could hire a skilled workforce so our country can compete in the global economy. However, President Trump’s budget undermines the progress and advancements our workforce system has made these past few years. I am concerned that with the administration’s budget proposals, the innovation that WIOA is fostering will be halted, stymieing these partnerships and relationships.”

By 2020, an estimated 65 percent of all jobs in the economy will require postsecondary education and training beyond high school. At our current rates of training, the United States will hit a labor shortage of 5 million workers with postsecondary education in three years. At the current levels of funding, an estimated 20 million workers receive assistance from programs funded by the WIOA each year. WIOA programs and services are ensuring workers are on the path to better jobs. Almost 70 percent of adults and youths served by the program found jobs where they earned more than before, and 80 percent of teens served learned new, employable skills.

Ronald Painter, the CEO of the National Association of Workforce Boards, served as the Democratic witness. Painter spoke to the successes WIOA has had in bringing industry, education and the workforce system together to help workers get the skills they need to succeed in a 21st century economy. Painter stressed how the Trump budget cuts would harm the implementation of the law and hinder the work of the 15,000 members he represents.

Funding cuts also led to fewer career counselors, less resources for training, and reductions in supportive services – such cuts would be even more severe under the Administration’s FY18 proposal,” said Painter. “As a candidate, President Trump supported a vision of creating 25 million jobs over the next decade. While the President is proposing sweeping reforms in tax, trade, energy and regulatory policies that should spur investment in new business creation and existing businesses to ‘get off the sidelines’ and expand, these things can only be accomplished if there are educated and properly trained Americans waiting to seize these new job opportunities. There are presently 6 million U.S. jobs vacant largely because of a shortage of qualified workers who lack the specific training or skills to be hired for these positions. This mismatch between training and landing jobs in high-demand occupations means there is room for improvement in market efficiencies. Local workforce development boards touch millions of current and potential job seekers that can help ease the situation.”

Additionally, WIOA is responsive to individuals with various barriers to employment—crucial for developing a diverse, well-trained workforce. Our economy cannot thrive unless all members of our workforce, including youth and individuals with disabilities, have access to the training they need to participate in the labor market. WIOA improves workforce training and employment opportunities for people with disabilities, which are critical for inclusion, equitable participation, and economic self-sufficiency. Committee Democrats stand firm against the Trump budget cuts which would significantly harm the millions of workers that will benefit from proper implementation of WIOA. 

FACT SHEET: The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act

FACT SHEET: The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act and People with Disabilities

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