>U.S. Capitol by Toni Smith is licensed under Public Domain

The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) of 2014 is the nation’s primary workforce development law, intended to increase coordination between federal programs to help job creators connect with job seekers. The law was meant to help job seekers build their careers and assist employers to connect with talent they need to run their businesses. 

H.R. 7309 is the Democrat-led attempt to reauthorize and amend the original 2014 legislation. Instead of including reforms that would help the future workforce and fix existing issues with WIOA’s implementation, Democrats are pushing a destructive set of proposals that would expand government power, bolster labor unions, and stifle job creators. 

ATR urges all lawmakers to vote against H.R. 7309.

There are several problems with WIOA’s implementation that Democrat proposals do not address. Less than 25 percent of young enrollees and 30 percent of adults exited programs with a job related to the workforce development program in which they were enrolled. In FY 2021, the government spent approximately $1.8 billion in taxpayer money on adult, dislocated worker, and youth activities authorized by Title I of WIOA. Less than 30 percent of the funds, $537 million, went toward “training services” according to the Department of Labor. 

Instead of addressing these issues, Democrats are using H.R. 7309 to push policies that would exacerbate the problems with WIOA’s implementation. 

H.R. 7309 would expand the size of state and local workforce boards, reversing a reform contained in the 2014 legislation that streamlined the boards. This would diminish employer input and expand the influence of labor unions on the boards. The bill also increases state administrative burdens by mandating that states publish “state equity” reports. These reports would identify and analyze disparities in performance outcomes, dividing individuals by race, sexual orientation, ethnicity, and gender. 

H.R. 7309 would also impose prevailing wage requirements on Jobs Corps contractors. Prevailing wage laws require government funded construction jobs to pay workers inflated, typically union-dictated wages. These laws benefit unions by killing competition, but harm taxpayers with inflated costs. 

In sharp contrast, House Education and Labor Committee Republicans have offered a proposal that will help fix issues with WIOA’s implementation. Republicans want to increase the percentage of funding that goes toward skill development, as well as implement reforms that would bring more employers to the table. 

Instead of fixing the issues with WIOA’s implementation, Democrat proposals will exacerbate these issues in yet another giveaway to labor unions. All lawmakers should vote NO on H.R. 7309.