In Friday's debate on the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act bill (H.R.1), Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) and Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) engaged in a colloquy on the floor of the Senate.
They discussed the intent of various workforce development-related provisions in the bill, and talked about how they intend for funds to be distributed through the Workforce Investment Act system, and what their priorities are for those funds. Here are few highlights:
Mr. HARKIN. Yes, the Senator's understanding is correct. I included a provision in this recovery bill that reinforces the requirement in the WIA to use adult State grant funding to serve certain priority populations, such as those with low incomes or on public assistance. I believe that we should target these funds on the delivery of services to those who have been adversely impacted by our recent economic crisis. I also believe local workforce boards should utilize existing authority to support needs-related payments to help engage individuals in training, if such support is appropriate and effective.
Mrs. MURRAY. The Senator from Michigan is correct and makes an important point. Effective strategies for helping workers retool for jobs in viable industries should be informed by the critical stakeholders she noted.