Tester votes to strengthen workforce training initiatives

Senator supports bipartisan legislation that puts folks back to work

(U.S. SENATE) – Senator Jon Tester today joined a bipartisan group of his Senate colleagues in voting for the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA).

The legislation – which passed the Senate in a 95 to 3 vote – supports job search assistance, career development, adult literacy services, and vocational rehabilitation programs across the country.

“Whether it’s the unemployed or underemployed, these programs directly connect folks with opportunities for jobs,” Tester said. “This bill makes certain that Montanans can access resources to make a good living and provide for their families.”

The bill also streamlines the federal government’s efforts by eliminating 15 duplicative workforce programs and applying a single set of metrics that measures the success of every federal workforce program. The bill also:

  • Focuses youth programs on out-of-school youth, high school dropout recovery efforts, and the attainment of recognized postsecondary credentials.
  • Provides youth with disabilities the services and support they need to find a job.
  • Aligns workforce development programs with economic development and education initiatives.
  • Requires state and local workforce development boards to develop a single, comprehensive plan to break down bureaucratic barriers, reduce administrative costs, and streamline reporting requirements.
  • Empowers local boards to tailor services to their region’s employment and workforce needs.

Tester has previously held 14 Small Business Opportunity Workshops across the state to connect businesses with the tools they need to recruit employees, network and expand.

The legislation now moves to the House of Representatives, which is expected to consider the bill in July.