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Ranking Member Cassidy Delivers Remarks During Hearing on WIOA Reauthorization

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA), ranking member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, delivered remarks during today’s hearing to discuss the reauthorization of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA).

Click here to watch the hearing live. 

Cassidy’s speech as prepared for delivery can be found below:

Thank you, Chair Sanders.

There are more than 8 million job openings in the United States. The unemployment rate is low, but so is labor force participation. To put into context, 37.5 percent of working-age adults nationwide are unemployed and not actively looking for work. This is troubling.

Many Americans are not receiving job training because of our flawed workforce development system. Current federal workforce funding prioritizes bloating the government bureaucracy, not investing in workers’ skills. That is why reauthorizing and improving the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) is so important.

WIOA funds programs to assist Americans in obtaining crucial job skills as well as connect job-seekers with employment opportunities. But Congress has failed to reauthorize WIOA since its expiration in 2020. Today’s hearing is an important step to look at how we can improve WIOA and reauthorize it on a bipartisan basis. It is long overdue. I hope that what we learn today will culminate in a bipartisan committee markup before August recess.

Also want to highlight my Republican colleagues for their work to improve WIOA, including Senators Tuberville, Mullin, Marshall, Braun, Budd, Romney, and Collins who have developed legislation worthy of this Committee’s consideration. I appreciate your work and look forward to hearing more about these bills today.

When Congress fails to reauthorize programs, we miss out on the ability to improve them to meet the needs of the modern workforce and employers. We have the opportunity now to increase options for training and skills development so workers can properly enter, reenter, and remain in an ever-changing workforce.

To achieve this goal we must:

  • Direct more funding to training and allow states to innovate to best serve workers and employers.
  • Improve the Eligible Training Provider List to make it easier for workers to connect to more quality workforce training providers.

  • Allow states the flexibility to implement innovative workforce development models that meet workers where they are and get them better connected with employers. This flexible model has been highly successful in Senator Romney’s state of Utah, and is something that my own state of Louisiana is looking to implement in the future.
  • Increase transparency and accountability of WIOA programs for improving employment outcomes, including earnings, to ensure they are best serving workers.

These are just a few of the policies the Committee should consider. Again, I appreciate the Chair calling this hearing, and look forward to a fruitful discussion on how to improve WIOA to benefit working Americans.

Thank you.



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