Workforce Act

New legislation could answer the call for more effective state employment training.

If you've wondered how to make your state's employment training programs more responsive to your business's needs, a new law may be your answer.

Called the Workforce Investment Act, the legislation puts a number of new provisions into place, including: 1) allowing states (if they choose) to allocate a portion of federal training funds to underwrite skills-upgrading for employed individuals; 2) establishing employer loan funds to help finance worker skill improvements; and 3) the centerpiece of the new system: creating work-force investment boards--new mechanisms for employer input on government-funded training programs. Now instead of grumbling about spending money to provide the unemployed with obsolete training, business owners identify specific current and future industry sectors needing employees and make sure people have the skills and training needed for those jobs.

How can you get involved? Volunteer as a member of a state or local work-force development board. State boards help governors establish local boards whose key responsibility will be oversight of employment training service providers.

State board members are appointed by the states' governors and should be in place by early 2000. Call your governor's office if you're interested in serving on a local or statewide board.

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This article was originally published in the October 1999 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Florida.

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