U.S. Rep. Rush Holt (D-NJ-12) has introduced a bill to amend the Workforce Investment Act of 1998 (WIA) to integrate public libraries into state and local workforce investment boards.
The bill, the Workforce Investments Through Local Libraries (WILL) Act (H.R. 1616), would expand libraries’ opportunities to take leading roles in helping the public find employment in this weak economy.
“I want to express my appreciation to Congressman Holt for recognizing the important role that libraries play every day in preparing our users for success in the workplace,” American Library Association (ALA) President Roberta Stevens said.
Audra Caplan, president of the Public Library Association (PLA), a division of ALA, said the introduction of the WILL Act highlights the numerous ways libraries are currently building a stronger workforce.
“Study after study shows that in the past several years, millions of job seekers have been turning to their public libraries for assistance,” Caplan said.
“With free Internet access enabling job searches, resume development software, and personal technology training, many libraries offer resources not found anywhere else in our communities. Their contribution is integral to U.S. workforce development.”
H.R. 1616 has been referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. No hearings or mark-ups have been scheduled.