RELEASE: Congressman Moran Introduces the Building Youth Workforce Skills Act
WASHINGTON, D.C., September 21, 2023
Washington, D.C. – Congressman Nathaniel Moran (TX-01) released the following statement today after introducing the Building Youth Workforce Skills Act alongside Representative Lloyd Smucker (PA-11):
“Providing access for all students to youth-workforce development and training programs is imperative to setting the next generation up for success and helping students overcome the many barriers to education, training, and employment they may face. The Building Youth Workforce Skills Act would allow local workforce development boards to use their allotment of Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act funds to provide Individual Training Accounts (ITAs) for eligible in-school-youth ages 16-21.
“This bill will create more opportunities for in-school-youth as they look to develop their skills and ensure that we have a thriving workforce, ready to meet the needs of our communities. As the only Texan on the Committee on Education and the Workforce, I am honored to build on the great work Texas has already done and invest in the future generation.”
Congressman Smucker added,” Expanding students’ access to skills training and workforce development programs will give the next generation of workers the opportunity to live their American Dreams. As students learn about pathways to a successful career, these critical programs will help students learn the skills to excel in in-demand and high-paying jobs. I thank Rep. Moran for introducing the Building Youth Workforce Skills Act. I’m proud to be an original co-sponsor and am committed to advocating for this bill to be signed into law,” said Rep. Lloyd Smucker (PA-11).
Skills development in Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) Adult and Dislocated Worker programs is built on the concept of customer choice and is provided through a voucher called an “Individual Training Account” (ITA). An Individual Training Account is a voucher in which an individual can purchase training services from a provider on a state’s eligible training providers list. Under current law, only out-of-school youth are eligible to use ITAs. This bill allows local workforce boards the flexibility to use their previously allocated funds to provide in-school-youths with ITAs. This will create more opportunities for in-school youth who face barriers to have access to skills development programs. This bill does not increase current spending levels under WIOA. Rather it provides flexibility to use existing WIOA Youth Program resources to be used to upskill the next generation.
Currently, there are 16 states, including Texas, that have received a waiver from the Department of Labor that allows them to use ITA accounts for in-school-youth to receive training. According to the Texas Workforce Commission, “30 percent of in-school-youth enrolled in postsecondary training programs used ITAs to help fund their training.”