SUPPORTING KNOWLEDGE AND INVESTING IN LIFELONG SKILLS ACT

July 9, 2014
Floor Statements

Mr. SCOTT of Virginia. Madam Speaker, I rise in support of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act. As our Nation continues to recover from the Great Recession, we must continue to prepare our Nation's workers for the jobs of the future.

The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act will make long-needed improvements in workforce investment programs and services, including many that will benefit those who are often left behind. The legislation contains an enhanced definition of ``individuals with barriers to employment'' that explicitly includes workers over the age of 55 as well as the long-term unemployed. This means State and local workforce plans must include goals and strategies for serving these and other disenfranchised groups.

Additionally, the bill requires that 75 percent of youth funding in the bill support out-of-school youth. Once a juvenile falls off of the right track, he or she will face a range of problems that taxpayers will be on the hook for, especially social services and possibly incarceration. By investing in out-of-school youth, we are investing money on the front end so we won't have to end up paying the bill on the back end.

This bill represents a good faith compromise, and I urge my colleagues to support it.