Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Cuts to WIA would devastate Owensboro regional workforce efforts

The House Continuing Budget Resolution, passed last week in Washington, would gut training and workforce development funds that would have a devastating impact of job seekers, employers, and workers in the Greater Owensboro region.

The House-passed Continuing Resolution (CR), would eliminate ALL funding for the
Workforce Investment Act (WIA) in Program Year 2011. This amounts to a $2.97 billion cut at the federal government level. The impact on Kentucky would be over $40 million.

In the Owensboro region, the Green River Workforce Investment Board has been allocated over $1.5 million in funds, a vast majority of which cover direct tuition payments for over 400 dislocated workers to seek retraining and higher education so that they can competitively rejoin the workforce.

It is easy to talk about cuts when just considering the numbers, but in our region it is the faces of the dislocated workers from Hon or GE that these cuts really impact. But the impact is greater than just these individuals. It has a significant impact on the future competitiveness of the entire region through the direct wages, the new jobs created, and the employers that are able to hire more highly skilled workers.

At a recent Roundtable of CEOs, the Top 25 employers in the Owensboro region identified workforce development, education and training to develop a more highly skilled workforce as the TOP competitiveness issue in the region. Cuts to WIA undermine what the business community needs to be competitive in the future.

To sign a national letter in support of WIA funding please visit or visit the National Association of Workforce Investment Boards Facebook site.

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