THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
TO THE CONGRESS OF THE UNITED STATES:
I am pleased to transmit for your immediate consideration and prompt enactment the "Reemployment Act of 1994". Also transmitted is a section-by-section analysis. This legislation is vital to help Americans find new jobs and build sustainable careers.
Our current set of programs was designed to meet the different needs of an earlier economy. People looking for help today confront a confusing, overlapping, and duplicative tangle of programs, services, and rules. Job seekers -- whether unemployed or looking for better jobs -- have a difficult time getting the information they need: What benefits and services are available to them? Where can they get good quality training? What do they need to know to find and hold good jobs and to build sustainable careers?
The underlying problem is the lack of a coherent employment and training system. Instead, we have many disconnected, category-based programs -- each with distinct eligibility requirements, operating cycles, and program standards. We need a true system of lifelong learning -- not the current hodgepodge of programs, some of which work, and some of which don't. The legislation I am transmitting today is an important first step in building this system.
We need to build a reemployment system because our current unemployment system no longer delivers what many American workers need. In the past, when a worker lost a job, he or she often returned to that job as soon as the business cycle picked up again and the company was ready to rehire. The unemployment system was designed to tide workers over during temporary dry spells. Today, when a worker loses a job, that job often is gone forever.
Our economy has generated new jobs. In 1993 alone, 1.7 million new private sector jobs were created -- more than in the previous 4 years combined. While the jobs exist, the pathways to them aren't always clear.
The Reemployment Act of 1994 strives to fix this. It is based on evidence of what works for getting workers into new and better jobs. Programs that work are customer-driven, offering customized service, quality information, and meaningful choices. Programs that work provide job search assistance to help dislocated workers become reemployed rapidly, feature skill training connected to real job opportunities, and offer support services to make long-term training practical for those who need it.
The Act reflects six key principles:
First is universal access and program consolidation. The current patchwork of dislocated worker programs is categorical, inefficient, and confusing. The Reemployment Act of 1994 will consolidate six separate programs into an integrated service system that focuses on what workers need to get their next job, not the reason why they lost their last job.
more (OVER) 2 Second is high-quality reemployment services. Most
dislocated workers want and need only information and some basic help in assessing their skills and planning and conducting their job search. These services are relatively simple and inexpensive, and they have been shown to pay off handsomely in reducing jobless spells.
Third is high-quality labor market information, which must be a key component of any reemployment effort. The labor market information component of the Reemployment Act of 1994 will knit together various job data systems and show the way to new jobs through expanding access to good data on where jobs are and what skills they require.
Fourth is one-stop service. At a recent conference that I attended on "What is Working" in reemployment efforts, a common experience of workers was the difficulty of getting good information on available services. Instead of forcing customers to waste their time and try their patience going from office to office, the new system will require States to coordinate services for dislocated workers through career centers. It allows States to compete for funds to develop a more comprehensive network of one-stop career centers to serve under one roof anyone who needs help getting a first, new, or better job, and to streamline access to a wide range of job training and employment programs.
The fifth principle of the legislation is effective retraining for those workers who need it to get a new job. Some workers need retraining. The Reemployment Act of 1994 will also provide workers financial support when they need it to let them complete meaningful retraining programs.
Sixth is accountability. The Reemployment Act of 1994 aims to restructure the incentives facing service providers to begin focusing on workers as customers. Providers who deliver highquality services for the customer and achieve positive outcomes will prosper in the new system. Those who fail to do so will see their funding dry up.
The Reemployment Act of 1994 will create a new comprehensive reemployment system that will enhance service, improve access, and assist Americans in finding good new jobs. This is a responsible proposal that is fully offset over the next 5 years.
I urge the Congress to give this legislation prompt and favorable consideration so that Americans will have available a new, comprehensive reemployment system that works for everyone.
WILLIAM J. CLINTON
THE WHITE HOUSE
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