Wednesday, 1 of October of 2014

Alert: Do Not Consolidate Adult Education Funding in WIA Reauthorization!

Issue: On March 29th, Members of the House Education and the Workforce Committee introduced The Workforce Investment Improvement Act of 2012 (HR 4297). As early as next week, the full Committee may meet to markup the bill as the next step in reauthorizing the Workforce Investment Act (WIA).

Created in 1998 through a bipartisan process, WIA—the legislation which provides for adult education programs—has not been updated since then. Now, House Republicans are moving their legislation forward to markup.

The National Coalition for Literacy has several concerns about H.R. 4297. If this bill were to become law, it would allow states to consolidate adult education funding together with a newly-created fund that provides for a broad set of general workforce activities, including job seeking services, without requiring states to use the funding for adult education and literacy services. This could result in significantly less money for adult education.

Action: This is a targeted alert for advocates whose U.S. Representative serves on the House Education and the Workforce Committee (see list below).

Instructions:

  1. If your U.S. Representative is listed below, call his or her office (Get phone number here).
  2. Ask to speak to the Representative’s Education Legislative Assistant.
  3. Tell the Congressional staffer, “I have several concerns regarding H.R. 4297, the Workforce Investment Improvement Act of 2012. First and foremost, I do not support giving states the option to consolidate adult education and family literacy funding (Title II) which is allowed in this bill.
  4. Speak from your experience on the need and demand for adult education and literacy services in your community. Use any of the suggested talking points below.
  5. Tell us how the staff person responds by entering your feedback in the alert form.
  6. Follow up with an email to the education legislative assistant you spoke with outlining your concerns.

Talking Points:

  • Adult education and literacy programs serve a unique and diverse population of adults who need to boost their basic education and literacy skills or learn English in order to get or keep a job with a family sustaining wage, transition to postsecondary education or training, be actively involved in their children’s education, or to function well in society and civic life. These targeted funds need to be maintained in order to ensure those most in need of these programs can be served.

  • The consolidation proposal could drastically reduce the availability of adult education and English language services  for a unique and diverse population of low-skilled workers in states across the country because it would give states the option to use adult education and literacy funding for other activities, unrelated to the mission of Title II of WIA.

  • While I want to see adult education and workforce training services aligned, I do not want to see adult education services reduced or replaced.

  • Nationally, the adult education and literacy system serves just under 2 million adults out of the 93 million in need of services. 30 million of these adults cannot read well enough to complete a job application. The unemployment rate for the undereducated is three times greater than those with a bachelor’s degree or higher.

  • Adult education and literacy programs already struggle to meet the current demand and are severely under-resourced. Fifty out of 51 states and territories had waiting lists in local adult education programs in 2009-2010, according to the most recent survey. The number of people on waiting lists doubled between 2008 and 2009-2010. Making adult education and literacy funding an option for consolidation could drastically reduce services ever further, at a time when low-skilled adults need services the most.

Full Committee

(Not sure who your U.S. Representative is? Find your elected official here.)

Republicans
John Kline (MN)
(Chairman)
Thomas E. Petri (WI)
Howard P. “Buck” McKeon (CA)
Judy Biggert (IL)
Todd Russell Platts (PA)
Joe Wilson (SC)
Virginia Foxx (NC)
Bob Goodlatte (VA)
Duncan Hunter (CA)
David P. Roe (TN)
Glenn Thompson (PA)
Tim Walberg (MI)
Scott DesJarlais (TN)
Richard L. Hanna (NY)
Todd Rokita (IN)
Larry Bucshon (IN)
Trey Gowdy (SC)
Lou Barletta (PA)
Kristi L. Noem (SD)
Martha Roby (AL)
Joseph J. Heck (NV)
Dennis A. Ross (FL)
Mike Kelly (PA)
Democrats
George Miller (CA)
(Senior Democratic Member)
Dale E. Kildee (MI)
Robert E. Andrews (NJ)
Robert C. “Bobby” Scott (VA)
Lynn C. Woolsey (CA)
Rubén Hinojosa (TX)
Carolyn McCarthy (NY)
John F. Tierney (MA)
Dennis J. Kucinich (OH)
Rush D. Holt (NJ)
Susan A. Davis (CA)
Raúl M. Grijalva (AZ)
Timothy H. Bishop (NY)
David Loebsack (IA)
Mazie K. Hirono (HI)
Jason Altmire (PA)
Marcia Fudge (OH)

NCL has several additional concerns with H.R. 4297. Express your views on consolidation with your U.S. Representative’s office. Then see these Five Critical Issues With HR 4297 [LINK]. Call your House Member’s education staffer to discuss any of them that also concern you or offer to email them the list of issues.

Contact us at ncl@ncladvocacy.org if you have questions and let us know what the staffer says when you make your call.

Thank you for joining NCL and its Member Organizations in this campaign and for all you do on behalf of adult education students.

NCL’s Advocacy Team

Links:

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