Friday, February 26, 2010

Wow WIA!

"In 1998, the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) created a new,comprehensive workforce investment system designed to change the way federally funded employment and training services were delivered."

GAO, Support for Low-Income Individuals and Families, A Review of Recent GAO Work, February, 2010.

I guess it's all in the WIA words: new,comprehensive, investment, system. Well, not really. The escape clause seems to be "federally funded," except that TANF is larger, Pell grants, of course. And then you have institutions like community colleges and employer investments (1.25B per year) that must rely upon tax write offs of some kind.

I don't want to pick on WIA, but we do need to rethink how we talk about jobs and skill and education investments in this country. The GAO might have noted some of the challenges -- like lack of jobs, etc. Sometimes analyses should document the missing pieces, the blank walls, not just the programs. And we lack a set of investments in public jobs. Cities and states are inventing all sorts of things. Maybe the feds should be more helpful -- or at least note that help is needed.

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