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Originally published: 2013-03-20 10:45:32
Last modified: 2013-03-20 10:45:32

Foxx's SKILLS Act passes House

by Anna Oakes

A bill introduced by N.C. Rep. Virginia Foxx, a Republican from Foscoe, passed the U.S. House of Representatives March 15 by a vote of 215-202.

H.R. 803, the "Supporting Knowledge & Investing in Lifelong Skills Act (SKILLS Act)," would streamline 35 "duplicative" federally run workforce development programs and create one Workforce Investment Fund, according to Foxx's office.

The bill would also require a report on administrative costs and savings due to program streamlining, remove 19 mandates that currently dictate Workforce Investment Board membership and allow state and local officials and job creators to tailor programs to best fit their area's needs and job opportunities.

The bill would "facilitate greater collaboration with community colleges by allowing states to determine the standards required for eligible training providers, reform Job Corps to ensure that career and technical education is geared toward in-demand jobs, increase focus on the delivery of basic literacy and math skills (and) help individuals with disabilities transition into employment," Foxx's office said.

The bill now goes to the U.S. Senate for consideration.


Inhofe-Hagan amendment fails to reach vote

An amendment to federal government spending continuing resolution proposed by U.S. Sens. Kay Hagan (D-NC) and Jim Inhofe (R-OK) was not considered as the resolution advanced through the U.S. Senate Monday evening.

The federal government has been operating under a continuing resolution for spending since Oct. 1, and the resolution expires March 27. The Inhofe-Hagan amendment would have restored tuition assistance benefits for the military, which were suspended due to the mandatory sequestration cuts that were authorized March 1.

In the 2012 fiscal year, Hagan's office stated, approximately 300,000 service members participated in the tuition assistance program. Those already receiving aid will not lose funding, but suspension of the program prevents service members from submitting new requests for the assistance.

"We owe it to the men and women in uniform -- many of whom joined so they could further their education after protecting our country -- to hold up our commitment to them," Hagan said in a statement Monday. "It is unacceptable to attempt to balance the budget on the backs of our service members."