April 30, 1998
The Administration strongly supports Senate passage of S. 1186, as modified
by the expected managers' amendment, because it would reform workforce
development programs by incorporating key principles articulated in the
President's G.I. Bill for America's Workers. The Administration urges
Congress to enact this legislation by July 1, 1998 in order to make
available appropriations for fiscal year 1999 for the President's proposed
Youth Opportunity Areas initiative to increase employment among
out-of-school youth in high-poverty areas.
The Administration does not agree with every provision in S. 1186. In addition, an amendment may be offered that would prohibit the use of funds available under the Act to carry out activities authorized under the School-to-Work Opportunities Act. The Administration strongly opposes this amendment and will work in conference to address this and any other remaining concerns.
The new workforce development system embodied in S. 1186 would empower individuals to obtain the services and skills they need to enhance their employment opportunities. It would accomplish this through skill grants, consumer report cards on training program performance, and universal access to core services, such as job search assistance. The new system also would: (1) streamline access to job training programs through one-stop career centers; (2) enhance accountability for results through State and local performance standards and certification of training providers; and (3) increase flexibility for States and localities to enhance the effectiveness of programs. The Administration is concerned about certain provisions that limit the summer jobs component of the youth grant, and looks forward to addressing this and other concerns in conference.
The Administration is pleased that S. 1186 would target vocational education and adult education funds to educational agencies and institutions with the greatest need and to activities that promote program quality. The Administration looks forward to addressing in conference its remaining concerns about the adequacy of funding for: (1) national activities to ensure accountability and promote program quality, and (2) Tribally Controlled Postsecondary vocational institutions.
In addition, the Administration understands that an amended version of S. 1579, the Rehabilitation Act Amendments of 1998, will be incorporated into S. 1186 during Senate consideration. The Administration supports Senate passage of the Rehabilitation Act amendments, which would, among other things, streamline eligibility determinations for SSA beneficiaries and improve State planning and accountability for results. The Administration also strongly supports ensuring that the Federal Government procures and uses information technology that is accessible to individuals with disabilities, as provided in the revision to section 508 proposed by the Administration. Finally, the Administration supports the intent of S. 1579, as reflected in the Committee report, to provide for greater collaboration between each State vocational rehabilitation (VR) program and the workforce investment system without compromising the fundamental structure and funding of the State's VR program.
S. 1186, as amended to include the text of S. 1579, would affect direct spending and receipts; therefore, it is subject to the pay-as-you-go requirement of the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1990. Because the reauthorization does not change mandatory spending calculations from current law, OMB estimates that the net pay-as-you-go effect would be zero.