Press Release on Job Training Programs

The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) has passed through Congress with overwhelming bipartisan support and is now headed to the President’s desk.  The WIOA was approved by a vote of 415 to 6 by the House of Representatives yesterday; it was approved by the Senate on June 25th by a vote of 95 to 3.

Legislation to update the Workforce Investment Act has been overdue for more than 10 years.  This new legislation, renamed the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, provides increased flexibility, stronger connections between literacy and work, and an emphasis on both out-of-school youth and individuals with disability.  WIOA will ensure that the workforce system can continue to address the critical issues of long term unemployment, up-skilling workers with credentials that lead to good jobs, and aligning investments in education, training, economic development, and the workforce that lead to measurable outcomes, focusing on a skilled workforce that provides good paying jobs in 21st Century careers.

The Kansas City & Vicinity Workforce Investment Board (KCV WIB), Eastern Jackson County (EJAC WIB), and the Full Employment Council Board (FEC) are equally excited about the House and Senate passage of the Workforce Job Training Legislation, which embodies the concept of local, public, and private partnerships that have been the mainstays of the system in Kansas City, Missouri and the counties of Jackson, Cass, Clay, Platte, and Ray. This new legislation will propel us on a platform to advance further innovation in developing the skills of workers and increasing the competitiveness of employers in developing goods, products, and services in the national and international markets.  We will work with our Local Elected Officials, business leadership, organized labor, educational institutions, and community based organizations to further innovate a demand-driven workforce system that provides opportunities for employers to acquire a skilled 21st Century workforce that will ensure success in national and international commerce.  Concurrently, this advanced 21st Century system will enable the families, youth and adults of the greater Kansas City area to successfully compete for stable and good paying careers that require skills and competencies.
 
This innovation starts now as FEC just received a $500,000 grant from the Missouri Division of Workforce Development, through the U.S. Department of Labor, to combine work-based learning with classroom instruction, utilizing adjunct faculty from Information Technology (IT) companies to train long-term unemployed persons for careers in the IT field.  This initiative will utilize innovative, out of the box approaches to train and employ those that have been out of work for 27 weeks or more.  FEC will partner with Think Big Partners, Metropolitan Community Colleges, University of Central Missouri, and other 4 year institutions to execute this combination approach to workforce development.  FEC will also work with the Show Me Heroes, funded by the State of Missouri, to execute demand-driven, on-the-job training with classroom training and/or distance learning platforms to train returning veterans in 21st Century careers.  Further, on Monday of this week, FEC was announced as an employment partner of a $6 million on-the-job training grant awarded to the State of Missouri Division of Workforce Development by the U.S. Department of Labor, one of the largest in the country, that will fund career navigators to assist dislocated workers in securing on-the-job training and employment in advanced manufacturing, IT and business services companies.  These advanced demonstration projects will further escalate the quality and pace of job training programming that target dislocated workers and long-term unemployed adults to jumpstart a 21st Century career. 
 
In the youth unemployment area, our workforce region is one of the leaders in offering career credentials, through partnerships with the Metropolitan Community Colleges, the University of Central Missouri, and Northwest Missouri State, with paid internships that coincide with student career interests. This approach provides young people with a credential that gives them additional leverage in the job market, while providing them a real job reference from the work experience supervisor where they work. Project Rise, a program for disconnected dropout youth, which is funded by the Bloomberg Foundation, Kauffman Foundation, the Corporation for National and Community Service-Social Innovation Fund, Hall Family Foundation, Center for Economic Opportunity, and the United Way of Greater Kansas City, has resulted in its successful graduates securing scholarships from community colleges and four year universities.
 
We have also developed a program for youth offenders, Face Forward, which will work with the juvenile justice system to reduce juvenile repeat offenses, increase educational achievement at the secondary and post secondary levels, and secure employment, reducing further involvement in the criminal justice system. We look forward to the further engagement of our community in these innovative programs designed to steer area youth to successful careers.
 
The power of the passage of this legislation in such a bipartisan manner cannot be overstated.  This propels us all to strive even harder to develop the skills, competencies, and credentials of the workforce that will elevate the competitive stature of greater Kansas City businesses, families, individuals and young adults in the 21st Century market place.
 
 

See full press release here from the U.S. House Committee on Education and the Workforce


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