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Hickenlooper, Peters, Budd Introduce Bill to Boost Training Opportunities for Local Workers

Mar 11, 2024

Bipartisan bill would give states flexibility to respond to workforce needs

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators John Hickenlooper, Gary Peters, and Ted Budd recently introduced bipartisan legislation which would provide states and Local Workforce Development Boards (LWDBs) with budgetary flexibility to directly respond to local employment needs. The Lifelong Learning Act allocates additional resources to workforce training programs that address current talent shortages by upskilling existing employees and reconnecting individuals to the job market.

“Flexibility to invest in workforce training programs is essential to upskilling and reskilling Americans already in the labor force,” said Hickenlooper. “This bill will help us keep up with emerging technologies, allowing folks to grow with their industries and stay in careers they love.”

“Local Workforce Development Board members live and work in the communities they serve, and they have the expertise needed to implement the right strategies for strengthening their regional job market,” said Peters. “This legislation gives them the flexibility to respond to the changing employment needs in their communities, helping to connect more individuals to in-demand jobs that are necessary to grow our economy and remain competitive globally.”

“As technology continues to transform our industries, it’s incredibly important that we help workers get the skills they need to compete and succeed in today’s economy,” said Budd. “We need to give Workforce Development Boards flexibility to address the needs they see in their communities. By doing this, we can help job creators and workers make necessary transitions and stay competitive. I am thankful to Senator Peters for partnering with me in this effort.”

The Lifelong Learning Act would update the 2014 Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, which provides federal funding to LWDBs but currently limits the amount of funding that can be utilized for specific programs.

If passed, the Lifelong Learning Act would:

  • Improve flexibility for Incumbent Worker Training: Allow LWDBs to use up to 30% of their funds to help train existing workers with new skills.

  • Improve flexibility for Transitional Jobs: Allows LWDBs to use up to 30% of their funds to deploy programs that reconnect individuals to the labor force.

  • Measure Incumbent Worker outcomes against other workforce programs to effectively compare results.

  • Allow LWDBs to serve as the one-stop operators in local workforce areas, contingent on the approval of the Governor and chief elected officer.

Hickenlooper chairs the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions subcommittee on Employment and Workplace Safety. Hickenlooper recently introduced the JOBS Act and Youth Apprenticeship Advancement Act to expand workforce training opportunities and the SEASONAL Act to fill seasonal labor needs.

Full text of the bill is available HERE.


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