Steve Partridge, president & CEO, testified at a full hearing of the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (H.E.L.P.) on June 20. The hearing, titled “Developing a Skilled Workforce for a Competitive Economy: Reauthorizing the Workforce Investment Act,” explored bi-partisan reauthorization of the Workforce Investment Act (WIA).
Partridge noted that local workforce investment boards serve as important conveners for shaping and implementing local and regional workforce development strategies to grow local economies and that hundreds of Charlotte businesses of all sizes and industries have used WIA-funded tools including on-the-job training, skills certifications, customized recruiting events and services and more to ensure that jobs are created – and stay – in our nation.
“I believe that a successful workforce system must be built on a model with clear roles and responsibilities for both the state and localities, and that both should be led by businesses, who are the true local job creators,” Partridge said. “Yet, the current law governing the local workforce system is not without its limitations and need for modernization. The Act needs to be updated and aligned with post-recession, and beyond, job-market realities.”
He offered ideas for updating the WIA including encouraging regionalism and inter-agency data-sharing, connecting the dots between adult and youth programs and focusing on critical sectors such as advanced manufacturing and information technology.
Read his complete 062013 HELP Testimony.
Partridge was joined by David Mitchell, administrator for Iowa Vocational Rehabilitation Services; Alan N. Rosenberg, vice president, chief of staff and chief administrative officer, Temple University Health System (Pennsylvania); and Beverly E. Smith, assistant commissioner and state director for adult education, Office of Adult Education, Technical College System of Georgia.
Questions from senators during the discussion portion of the hearing ranged from providing opportunities for people with disabilities to immigration to the panelists’ frustrations and challenges with current WIA law.
A highlight was Senator Patty Murray of Washington state, who also chairs the Senate Committee on the Budget, complimenting Partridge on running “one of the best workforce boards in the country.”
H.E.L.P. is chaired by Senator Tom Harkin of Iowa. According to the committee’s website, “[it is] comprised of 22 Senators; 12 Democrats and 10 Republicans. Under their leadership, the Committee is composed of three subcommittees, which have a broad jurisdiction over our country’s health care, education, employment and retirement policies.”