The House education committee approved a bill last week to reauthorize the Workforce Investment Act of 1998 that would increase efforts to provide job training to youths, especially high school dropouts and juveniles moving through the court system.
The Republican-backed bill, sponsored by Rep. Howard P. “Buck” McKeon of California, passed the Education and the Workforce Committee on Feb. 17 by a 26-20 vote that closely followed party lines. The measure also would provide faith-based organizations serving as job-training and social-service providers for youths and adults under the law with protections that would make it easier for them to hire employees on a religious basis, without those practices constituting discrimination. A Democratic-sponsored amendment to strip that provision from the bill failed.
A spokesman for Republicans on the committee said he expects the legislation to go to the House floor for a vote early next month.
The House legislation would continue support for “one stop” career centers under the workforce law. The bill also aims to direct a greater percentage of federal funding under the law to at-risk and out-of-school youths, as opposed to in-school youths, than is now the case, said Kevin Smith, a spokesman for Republicans on the House committee.
A version of this article appeared in the February 23, 2005 edition of Education Week