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Modernizing Workforce Development Programs to Help Workers and Businesses

A few days ago, along with top House Education and the Workforce Committee Democrats, I introduced legislation to improve federal workforce development programs.

A few days ago, along with top House Education and the Workforce Committee Democrats, I introduced legislation to improve federal workforce development programs so that they better respond to local economic needs and help workers find a good job or a new career.

Too often, I hear from local businesses who are looking to hire, but can’t find potential employees with the right training.  More effective partnerships and investments, like those at GE in Lynn and Arwood Machine Corp. in Newburyport, highlight how we can best utilize local businesses, schools and workforce training boards to make a significant difference in our country’s economy.

That’s why I am working to pass the Workforce Investment Act of 2013, legislation that would modernize the current system by promoting more effective coordination among local stakeholders including business representatives, labor organizations, educational institutions, economic development agencies, and community-based organizations. The bill would also increase taxpayer accountability of programs, and encourage innovation and best practice throughout the system.

As the Lynn Daily Item reported, it is imperative we strengthen our workforce system so people of all ages and abilities can obtain the skills and training they need and so businesses can hire and grow. My bill does just that, and it will promote and expand the kind of innovative partnerships among colleges, businesses, and workforce boards that are occurring in our area and throughout the country.

The men and women on the ground, working with our workers and our businesses agree. “Congressman's Tierney's Workforce Investment Act legislation will help train millions of workers for the new economy and strengthen the middle class,” said Verizon executive Stanley J. Usovicz, Chair of the Mass Workforce Board Association. “Employer-led partnerships across America will be strengthened as a result of this 21st century legislation to put people back to work,” added William Tinti, member of the National Association of Workforce Boards.

Enacted in 1998, the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) created local workforce investment boards (WIB) made up of community stakeholders who decide on how to respond to local economic needs. However, supporters of workforce training programs agree that improvements to the current system are needed to make the program work better for those looking for a good job, local communities, businesses and taxpayers. The Workforce Investment Act of 2013 would accomplish this by focusing on finding workers jobs and careers through strategic partnerships with in-demand sector employers, community colleges, labor organizations, and non-profits. 

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Sean Ward February 22, 2013 at 08:02 PM
I think this is good. However one thing I don't feel they spend enough time on is teaching people how to work. I don't mean how to do a specific job but how to be an employee in general. Too many workers come through lacking basic skills like how to communicate with customers, how to effectively interact with other employees, or how to behave appropriately in the workplace. I think these programs are afraid to tell participants how they should dress, how they should speak, how they should smell, or how they should view their success in their job in conjunction with their employers success as a result of their job. Since I started working 30 years ago I've seen a steady decline in people's attitudes toward work. People seem to be far more concerned with what they can milk out of an employer and how much they can get away with than helping their company be successful. I would love to see this program address this problem because I think it is far more critical than specific skills.
J.R. February 24, 2013 at 12:49 AM
I agree Sean. UMass Lowell requires undergraduates to take a class in interpersonal relationships. Maybe that kind of class should be taught in community colleges and at the high school level too.
MikeA February 24, 2013 at 03:10 AM
Congressman Tierney is wasting our money. If these partnerships are worth anything, they would happen without government intervention.
Mike Mitchell February 24, 2013 at 11:14 AM
"...will help train millions of workers for the new economy and strengthen the middle class" But communist Tierney will never DEFINE his so-called "new economy" nor explain why even MORE statist government is required for something the free market has historically proven itself to easily provide to build our great country. Manufacturing is the ONLY economic activity that produces "value". I use the term broadly to include things like home or auto repair for example because you end up with more value than what you started with. The two primary manufacturing activities are farming and mining. For the purpose of discussion I am specifying that every single thing you can touch came out of the ground and every single step that mined or grew it then transformed or improved it, packaged it, and brought it to your address represents the economic activity of manufacturing. (CONT’D)
Mike Mitchell February 24, 2013 at 11:15 AM
(CONT'D) ...Did a statist government help train people for say designing and building automobiles BEFORE anyone knew how to refine crude oil? Did it start technical programs for radio production before Edison invented the light bulb? Did it magically know we would need thousands of steel workers before people like Andrew Carnegie sought inexpensive ways to make large amounts of steel? Look no further than the track record these communist progressives have on energy policy. Tierney staunchly advocated his support for the "American Clean Energy and Security Act" back in 2009 (to ‘combat global warming”- which stopped 17 years ago). If it had not failed in the Senate we would now all be paying $10/gallon for gasoline, triple for electricity and heat, etc. Ask communist Tierney how many ‘manufacturing’ jobs there would be to train for now if his championed ideas had been adopted four years ago?
Saber Walsh February 24, 2013 at 11:42 AM
Totally agree. The "cupcake generation" almost insists that the job is their right, and if a supervisor tries to correct their attitude, behavior, etc., they don't know how to manage it since "mommy & daddy" did that before. If they went to college, there were ZERO standards of behavior and responsibility there. So I think you're right -- we have a generation behind us who generally don't know how to work. I think the beginning of this article is where it gets deceptive. "Too often, I hear from local businesses who are looking to hire, but can’t find potential employees with the right training." I hear more about businesses that CAN'T HIRE, but if they could, they'd have 300 candidates for each position. But they can't hire, so it's all academic.
Mike Mitchell February 24, 2013 at 11:54 AM
Right! For any given successful outcome from a government economic 'plan' we pay dearly for the failure of dozens of bad ones and for a tax expense many times more than that which would have eventually emerged from a free market anyway. (government has ZERO incentive for frugality because it ain't their money) When it comes to HOW to produce a surplus, a bounty big enough to provide for all of us plus those who cannot feed themselves, care for the elderly or help the infirm, the useful idiots of communist thugs are clueless. They will never understand that, in all of history, the only proven alternative to the incentive of greed to create a surplus is ...a whip. Name another? It is a question William Bradford answered at Plimouth Plantation in 1623 and one that makes commies choke. http://www.forbes.com/2008/11/27/thanksgiving-economy-history-oped-cx_jb_1127bowyer.html
Mike Mitchell February 24, 2013 at 12:06 PM
In 2009 Tierney's answer for jobs was government subsidized "green energy jobs". Current list of faltering or bankrupt green-energy companies: Evergreen Solar ($25 million)* SpectraWatt ($500,000)* Solyndra ($535 million)* Beacon Power ($43 million)* Nevada Geothermal ($98.5 million) SunPower ($1.2 billion) First Solar ($1.46 billion) Babcock and Brown ($178 million) EnerDel’s subsidiary Ener1 ($118.5 million)* Amonix ($5.9 million) Fisker Automotive ($529 million) Abound Solar ($400 million)* A123 Systems ($279 million)* Willard and Kelsey Solar Group ($700,981)* Johnson Controls ($299 million) Brightsource ($1.6 billion) ECOtality ($126.2 million) Raser Technologies ($33 million)* Energy Conversion Devices ($13.3 million)* Mountain Plaza, Inc. ($2 million)* Olsen’s Crop Service and Olsen’s Mills Acquisition Company ($10 million)* Range Fuels ($80 million)* Thompson River Power ($6.5 million)* Stirling Energy Systems ($7 million)* Azure Dynamics ($5.4 million)* GreenVolts ($500,000) Vestas ($50 million) LG Chem’s subsidiary Compact Power ($151 million) Nordic Windpower ($16 million)* Navistar ($39 million) Satcon ($3 million)* Konarka Technologies Inc. ($20 million)* Mascoma Corp. ($100 million) http://blog.heritage.org/2012/10/18/president-obamas-taxpayer-backed-green-energy-failures/
Mike Mitchell February 24, 2013 at 12:18 PM
And the above doesn't bring into consideration the cost of thousands of birds, many of them protected species, being slaughtered by wind turbines. <<The American Bird Conservancy estimated in 2003 that between 10,000 and 40,000 birds were killed each year at wind farms across the country, about 80 percent of which were songbirds and 10 percent birds of prey. "With the increased capacity over the last seven years, we now estimate that 100,000 – 300,000 birds are killed by wind turbines each year," said Conservancy spokesman Robert Johns.>>
Mike Mitchell February 24, 2013 at 12:33 PM
Now.. I have every expectation that Mr. Tierney will vociferously deny my portrayal of him as being a communist. That being so I ask him to explain why his name appears here: http://www.scribd.com/doc/35733956/DSA-Members-American-Socialist-Voter-Democratic-Socialists-of-America-10-1-09 "The success of global capitalism demands that traditional democratic standards of justice, equality,and decency be UNDERMINED. " (emphasis mine)
Dave Miskinis February 24, 2013 at 01:12 PM
This is such liberal "slop" and "waste" that it makes me want ot vomit."Enacted in 1998????" I've never heard of it and it makes me wonder how much taxpayer money has been wasted so far on it. AND IT HASN'T EVEN WORKED!!!!....so Tierney, in front of an election, has all of a sudden SAVED it!!!!! The "new economy???" Saber, you hit the nail on the head, except you left the "s" off generation. The cupcakers can't communicate or socialize and have absolutely no work ethic. Mike, great points.....you can't walk on or even look at the sand dunes in fear of disturbing the piping plovers but you can shred tens of thousands of birds with wind farms. J.R.....it is sad that interpersonal relationship classes must be taught in college. Those skills used to be learned on their own. Now, kids have their faces buried in cell phones and video games, so we have to fix that in college. That's an absolute shame. Do you really believe that GE relies one iota on John Tierney??
SMS February 24, 2013 at 02:11 PM
If you are waiting till your child is in college to teach them how to have a job, be a good employee etc. your too late. It is the basics of human respect that should be taught from birth. Showing respect by a hand shake, dressing appropriately for the situation, how to interact with others, saying "hi, how are you, thank you and have a nice day", and how to interact with a superior are all things they should have a clue about well before hitting college. I have taken Interpersonal Psychology in college and it is common sense manners that you should have learned as a child.
Mike Mitchell February 24, 2013 at 03:28 PM
We need an education standard that fosters independent critical thinking skills. Instead we have one that foists group-think via state mandated 'standards' that discourage young minds from daring to be different than the rest and think for themselves. If you want grow some innovators, give kids the tools but let THEM decide how to use them to their own best advantage. The new jobs will flow forth from them. Educators seem to want to believe that they know everything. They do not ... and I learned this firsthand in 60's when I told my high school advisor I wanted to take mechanical drafting. They tried to convince me that drafting was a 'vocational course' so there was 'no reason' for any student on an academic path for college to take it. But I stood my ground and got my way, (thanks to a talk I had with my civil engineer uncle). I only wish I had thought to go back to those nay-sayers later on and mention that among my first college freshman courses in engineering was ... "engineering drafting". Of course today it's CAD but no difference, whether on paper or a computer screen, there's simply no substitute to either of those for conveying a design concept or detail within it. If you want kids to think outside the box - STOP BUILDING BOXES.
Mike Mitchell February 24, 2013 at 03:50 PM
But comrade Dave, you don't understand that the state has to determine what job you are best at doing and that must be based upon what jobs they think are going to be available. So for the good of the people they have to categorize us and direct our future. (You don't expect them to leave that up to us do you?) http://lmi2.detma.org/Lmi/data/IOmatrix.xls (from http://lmi2.detma.org/Lmi/EmploymentProjections.asp )
Carl Reppucci February 24, 2013 at 08:31 PM
We should train more people to be school superintendents. Those are good paying jobs.
Joanie Stephen February 25, 2013 at 02:32 PM
We offer a program called Smart Work Ethics. We recognize that getting a job and KEEPING a job are two different things. Our emphasis is on personal responsibility in the workplace--including how to get along with a difficult boss. Check out www.SmartWorkEthics.com

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