CHN: Senate Subcommittee Holds Hearing on Low-Wage Workers
Intersections of WIA and TANF Discussed
On Thursday, May 16, the Senate Subcommittee on Employment, Safety, and Training of the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) held a hearing focused on job training for low-wage workers. The hearing, chaired by Sen. Paul Wellstone (D-MN), was specifically targeted at exploring the intersection of programs funded through the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) and the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) block grant.
The Workforce Investment Act of 1998 altered the federally funded system for job training and other employment-related services for adults, dislocated workers, and youth. The goal of the legislation was to provide workforce investment activities that increased the employment, retention, and earnings of program participants. A major component of this approach was the creation of “one-stop” employment centers. These centers allow low-income workers to obtain job training at the same location where they may access other social services.
The hearing included the testimony of policy experts as well as local program executives who spoke of the challenges of integrating these “one-stops” with TANF-funded programs. Many of the witnesses addressed the difficulties of attracting and serving employers, bringing in job seekers, creating a customer friendly environment, providing tailored and seamless services, and assisting in post-employment support.
Congress must reauthorize the TANF block grant by September 30, 2002, while WIA is up for reauthorization in 2003.