National Association of Workforce Boards "Hits the Hill"
The NAWB Board of Directors held its board meeting during the first week of October in Washington, DC. During this time, the Directors also hit the Hill for discussions with our nation's Representatives and Senators. The Board carried a focused message, covering four points:
- Workforce development programs are critical to meeting the skill needs of business and individuals, and maintaining funding levels for local workforce boards is key to any success in this area;
- Pell grants should be expanded to cover training for programs that are part of career pathways;
- Access to broadband connections must be available throughout the country, with intense consideration on rural areas; and
- The Carl Perkins Career and Technical Education Act needs be reauthorized, with a focus on improving alignment with in-demand jobs, increasing accountability, and empowering state and local leadership.
There is a misconception among some in Congress that low unemployment rates make our work less critical. Collectively, we need to continue to tell our success stories and present our performance outcomes, while driving home the point that in a tight labor market, employment and training programs are more important now than ever before. ~ Ron Painter
The Board members participating in the Hill visits and speaking to these issue were: Tom Peterson (WA); Jim Worthington (KY); Jamil Dada (CA); Charlie Mahoney (MI); Andrew Bercich (CO); Patricia Villalobos (TX); Mark Guthrie (TX); Ed Peachy (FL); Bill Villano (CT); Ray McClellan (MS); Valerie Sachariat (NC); and Deborah Murphy (MD). NAWB CEO Ron Painter and a staff member from Clark Hill, LLC, accompanied the Board on visits to more than 25 offices on the Hill as well as to the DOL-ETA. In a tough funding environment, news of what is happening in the field and the need for WIOA funds to prepare our workforce to fill current job vacancies is an important message to carry to our nation's legislators and administrators.
In total, NAWB's Board visited the offices of 21 Representatives - Pete Aguilar, Jaime Herrera Beutler, Kathy Castor, Mike Coffman, Dina DeGette, John Delaney, Gene Green, Duncan Hunter, Pramila Jayapal, Trent Kelly, Jason Lewis, Beto O'Rourke, Ted Poe, David Price, Jamie Raskin, David Rouzer, Dutch Ruppersberger, John Sarbanes, Mark Takano, Dave Trott, and John Yarmuth - and five Senators - Ben Cardin, Thad Cochran, Susan Collins, Al Franken, and Patty Murray. NAWB offers its sincere thanks to all of our Board members who participated.