After years of inaction, legislation is finally moving forward that acknowledges the ways that libraries work to help the public gain important employment skills and find jobs. Today, President Barack Obama will sign the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, a bill that will open access to federal funding support to public libraries for effective job training and job search programs. President Obama will sign the bill into law from 12:00 to 1:00 p.m. ET in the White House Oval Office in Washington, D.C. (watch the signing live).
American Library Association (ALA) President Courtney Young applauded the presidential signing of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act:
As the reauthorization of the Workforce Investment Act, the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act recognizes libraries as One-Stop partners and includes adult education and literacy programs offered at libraries as statewide employment and training activities. Additionally, the bill provides funding support for 21st-century digital readiness training programs that help library users learn how to use technology to find, evaluate, organize, create, and communicate information.
Today America, libraries and the people who come to us for assistance have cause for renewed optimism. The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act recognizes that libraries are often the first places Americans seek when they need job training or job search assistance. We’re proud of what libraries have accomplished with meager resources over the last several years. Now, with the support of this legislation, we look forward to a brighter future for the American workforce libraries have served for more than a century.
The American Library Association would like to thank Senator Jack Reed (D-RI) and Representative Rush Holt (D-NJ) for their long time efforts to include libraries in this legislation.