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Changes on the Horizon for Federal Job Training Programs

Federal job training programs can expect a big overhaul, thanks to President Obama who signed legislation on July 22 that is intended to streamline a tangled web of programs. In 1998, Congress passed the Workforce Development Act. The law provided money to states and cities for job retraining. In 2011, in an investigation by the Government Accountability Office, it was discovered that the federal government spent $18 billion a year on 47 separate job training programs run by nine different agencies, many of which were overlapping or duplicative.

The new law, entitled The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, aims to reduce the bureaucracy of the 1998 law and provide state and regional officials with more flexibility in how they use the job training money. In addition, the new law requires a “job-driven checklist” to ensure money is used effectively and will provide workers with “data-driven tools” to give them better information about career prospects. The bill received overwhelming bipartisan support in both the House and Senate.

In signing the law, President Obama stated, "They [workers] enroll, they get trained for something. They're not even sure whether the job is out there, and if the job isn't out there, all they're doing is saddling themselves with debt, oftentimes putting themselves in a worse position. Every job seeker should have all the tools they need to take their career into their own hands."

President Obama Rally

According to the White House, more than 21 million people make use of federal training programs annually, including veterans, the unemployed, people with disabilities and young workers. If you are an employer and have questions about any of the numerous federal laws affecting your workforce, such as the Americans with Disabilities Act or Title VII, consider contacting the

B. Johnson

Brandon K. Johnson is an Associate in the Louisville, KY office of McBrayer, McGinnis, Leslie & Kirkland, PLLC. Mr. Johnson practices primarily in the areas of insurance defense, employment law, and general litigation. He can be reached at bjohnson@mmlk.com or at (502) 327-5400, ext. 2313.

This article is intended as a summary of state and federal law and does not constitute legal advice.

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