Feds turn to job-driven training initiatives to close skills gap

If you are an HR professional or part of a management team, chances are once you post a job opening, you are inundated with countless applications and resumes, many of which don’t quite possess the credentials you desire. Relief may be on the way. BLR updates us with a program through the WIOA aiming to prepare jobseekers with the skills employers are seeking.


Federal officials are hoping that federal job-driven training initiatives will equip jobseekers with in-demand skills and then match them with employers looking for skilled labor.

“To put people on the path to meaningful careers, we need to provide them with the skills, credentials, and certifications that businesses are looking for right now. We must ask this question about everything we do: Is it helping ready-to-work Americans move into ready-to-be-filled jobs?” U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez wrote in a recent Department of Labor (DOL) blog post about job-driven training.

In his January 2014 State of the Union Address, President Barack Obama directed Vice President Joe Biden to lead an extensive review of federal training programs. In response, Biden recently released Ready to Work: Job-Driven Training and American Opportunity, a report outlining challenges and strategies to address them. Challenges include the fact that “[e]mployers can’t find enough skilled workers to hire for in-demand jobs they must fill to grow their businesses,” and “[e]ducation and training programs need better information on what skills those in-demand jobs require.”

Perez said the report’s recommendations align with the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), which was signed into law by the president this summer. Perez said the report and WIOA “advance the same goals: greater coordination and more strategic use of federal resources to yield better results; transparent and relevant information so jobseekers and the public know what works; putting business front and center so our investments are directly responsive to hiring needs.”

Noting that the law had bipartisan support in Congress, the DOL stated that the WIOA is “the first legislative reform of the public workforce system in more than 15 years” and that it seeks to provide “strategic coordination” among the core federal programs related to skill development.

In a separate statement, Perez said the WIOA “is good for workers, employers, and the economy as a whole” and added that “it will help businesses hire the world-class, highly skilled workforce required to compete successfully in the global economy.”

“WIOA improves the workforce system, aligning it with regional economies and strengthening the network of about 2,000 American Job Centers, to deliver more comprehensive services to workers, jobseekers, and employers,” he continued. The WIOA “will build closer ties among key workforce partners—business leaders, workforce boards, labor unions, community colleges and nonprofits, and state and local officials—as we strive for a more job-driven approach to training and skills development.”


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