On March 15, 2013, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 803, the Supporting Knowledge and Investing in Lifelong Skills (SKILLS) Act which would reauthorize the Workforce Investment Act (WIA).
The ALA Washington Office has been working with Members on both sides of the aisle on this legislation and is encouraged that H.R. 803 would help to ensure greater participation of libraries in our nation’s workforce investment system. In particular, H.R. 803 includes provisions that:
- Ensure the state workforce investment plan includes a description of the actions that will be taken by the state to foster communication, coordination, and partnerships with non-profit organizations — including public libraries (under section 112(b));
- Ensure the local state workforce investment plan includes a description of the strategies and services that will be used in the local area to better coordinate workforce development programs with employment, training, and literacy services carried out by non-profit organizations — including libraries (under section 118(b)); and
- Authorize public libraries that carry out employment, training, and literacy services as additional one-stop partners so they can better assist with workforce development activities (under section 121(b)(2)(B)).
In addition, the ALA Washington Office would like to think Rep. Rush Holt (D-NJ) on his efforts to make sure that libraries were included in H.R. 803.
Next, this legislation will move on to the U.S. Senate where it will have a monumental task at getting passed. However, we are beginning to reach out to the Senate to help ensure that their version of WIA reauthorization legislation also includes provisions that would encourage greater participation of libraries in the workforce development system.