WASHINGTON — A divided House on Friday passed Republican legislation that would end or consolidate dozens of duplicative job training programs with the objective of making it easier for people to gain the skills they need in a changing job market.
It’s a goal that President Barack Obama says he shares while disagreeing with the way the GOP would do it. The bill also would increase employers’ influence in who gets job training grants.
While there is widespread agreement that current federal job training programs are inefficient and overlapping, Democrats voted overwhelmingly against the bill, saying they were locked out of the bill-writing process and that the bill would eliminate programs tailored to serve veterans, the disabled, ex-prisoners and other underserved populations. Democrats also said giving employers more power over programs came at the expense of unions, community colleges and other stakeholders.
The vote was 215-202, sending the bill to the Senate where the Democratic majority is likely to take a different approach to job training reform.
Obama, in his State of the Union address last year, said he wanted to “cut through the maze of confusing training programs” so people have a direct path to the help they require. But the White House said it strongly opposed the House bill, saying consolidation could leave some people without needed assistance.