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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release August 7, 1998
                  THE WORKFORCE INVESTMENT ACT OF 1998 
                             SIGNING CEREMONY

                              August 7, 1998

President Clinton Has Pushed For Reform of America's Job Training System Since 1992. In Putting People First, candidates Bill Clinton and Al Gore outlined a vision to retrain America's workers, stating that workers should be "able to choose advanced skills training, the chance to earn a high school diploma, or the opportunity to learn to read. And we will streamline the confusing array of publicly funded training programs." Three and a half years ago, President Clinton proposed a G.I. Bill for America's Workers to reform our employment and training system for the 21st-century economy by empowering individuals, streamlining services, enhancing accountability, and increasing flexibility. For over three years, President Clinton has repeatedly pressed Congress to pass job-training reform based on his original proposal.

Today, President Clinton Signs The Bipartisan Workforce Investment Act. After three years, Congress passed -- with overwhelming bipartisan support -- legislation that incorporates the principles articulated in the President's original job training reform proposal. Led by Senators Jeffords (R-VT), DeWine (R-OH), Kennedy (D-MA), and Wellstone (D-MN), the Senate version of the bill passed on May 5, 1998 by a vote of 91-7. Nearly a year earlier, Representatives Goodling (R-PA), McKeon (R-CA), Clay (D-MO), and Kildee (D-MI) led the House in passing their version of the bill by a vote of 343-60. This important legislation reforms America's job training system so that it works better for today's workers and is more responsive to America's rapidly changing economy.

How Legislation Changes The Job Training System:

Empowers Individuals. Through "Individual Training Accounts" or skill grants, performance reports to inform consumers' choices, and universal access to core services like job search assistance, this bill empowers individual workers.

      Individual Training Accounts.  Individual Training Accounts --
     based on President Clinton's Skill Grants proposal -- will allow
     adults to have more control and choice over their training or
     retraining.  This customer-driven system replaces the decades-old
     tradition of making job training decisions for adults through
     bureaucratic systems.  Individual Training Accounts will make job
     training more responsive to individual interests and the skill
     needs of the labor market.

      Performance Reports to Inform Consumers' Choices.  So that
     workers can make informed decisions about which job training
     program would be best for them, this bill requires that training
     providers report the performance of their "graduates" in terms of
     job placement, earnings, and job retention.

      Universal Access to Core Services.  Core labor market services
     -- such as job search and placement assistance, career
     counseling, labor market information identifying job vacancies,
     information on skills necessary for occupations in demand, an
     initial assessment of skills and needs, and follow-up services to
     assist in job retention -- would be available on a universal
     basis with no eligibility requirement.

     Streamlines Services.  This bill streamlines job training
     services by consolidating a tangle of individual programs into a
     simple system and creating a nationwide network of One-Stop
     Career Centers.

      Consolidating Tangle of Individual Programs.  Currently, there
     are dozens of individual training programs run by the Federal
     government.  This bill consolidates this tangle of programs into
     three separate grants.

      Nationwide Network of One-Stop Career Centers.  Over the past
     few years, the Clinton Administration has entered into
     partnerships with over 95 percent of states to build One-Stop
     Career systems.  These One-Stop centers consolidate multiple
     training and employment programs at the "street level."   Today,
     there are more than 800 One-Stops in operation.  This bill
     requires each local area to have at least one One-Stop center
     that includes job training, employment service activities,
     unemployment insurance, vocational rehabilitation, adult
     education, and other assistance.  One-Stop centers would also
     provide universal access to the core services described above.

Enhances Accountability. Through tough performance standards for states, localities, and training providers, and by requiring training providers to be certified under the Higher Education Act, the National Apprenticeship Act, or a State-prescribed procedure, this bill enhances accountability.

      Performance Measures.  The bill identifies core measures of
     performance -- including job placement rates, earnings, and
     retention in employment -- that States and local areas would have
     to meet.   Failure to meet the performance levels would lead to
     sanctions, while exceeding the levels would qualify for receipt
     of incentive funds.

      Ensures Quality Job Training Providers.  To ensure against
     waste, fraud, and abuse, the bill requires training providers to
     be certified under the Higher Education Act, the National
     Apprenticeship Act, or under a State procedure used by the local
     Workforce Investment Boards.  In addition, each training provider
     must meet levels of performance established by States and
     communities to remain in the program and be eligible to receive
     Federal job-training funds.

Increases Flexibility. The Workforce Investment bill allows for increased flexibility so that states can innovate and experiment with new ways to train America's workers better.

      Simpler System for Waivers.  Currently, the Secretary of Labor
     can provide waivers to states or local areas on an annual basis
     only.  This bill provides the Secretary permanent authority to
     waive rules in exchange for performance improvements, thereby
     allowing states and local areas to implement innovative, new
     job-training programs.  The bill would also expand the Work-Flex
     authority for the provision of workforce training and employment
     activities, which is limited to six States.  All States would be
     eligible for Work-Flex, which grants Governors the authority to
     approve local requests for waivers of statutory and regulatory

Helps Create Jobs and Opportunity. The bill also authorizes $1.25 billion over five years in Youth Opportunity Grants to direct resources to high-poverty areas, including Empowerment Zones and Enterprise Communities, to provide comprehensive services designed to increase employment and school completion rates for disadvantaged youth. The basic concept of the initiative is to provide employment and training services to all disadvantaged youth in selected high-poverty areas for an extended period to change the culture of joblessness and high unemployment. The funding would provide approximately 15-20 grants to high-poverty urban and rural communities.


"I am pleased that both houses of Congress have now passed a comprehensive bill to give Americans new opportunities and choices to train for the jobs of the future... Modeled on my GI Bill for America's workers, this new training bill streamlines the vast array of existing job programs and empowers individuals to learn new skills with a simple grant. It will make sure that job training helps Americans meet the demands of a rapidly changing economy, and I look forward to signing it into law."

FOR SIX YEARS, PRESIDENT CLINTON HAS SUPPORTED MAKING AMERICA'S JOB TRAINING SYSTEM WORK BETTER FOR WORKING AMERICANS. In the 1992 book, Putting People First, candidates Bill Clinton and Al Gore outlined a vision to retrain America's workers. Since then, the President has repeatedly pushed Congress to pass initiatives geared toward retraining America's workers -- culminating in the final passage of job training reform by Congress last week.

1992: BILL CLINTON AND AL GORE OUTLINED VISION FOR WORKER RETRAINING INITIATIVE. In the 1992 book, Putting People First, candidates Bill Clinton and Al Gore outlined their vision for an initiative to retrain America's workers: "Workers will be able to choose advanced skills training, the chance to earn a high school diploma, or the opportunity to learn to read. And we will streamline the confusing array of publicly funded training programs." [Putting People First, 1992]

MARCH 1994: PRESIDENT CLINTON INTRODUCED REEMPLOYMENT ACT OF 1994. President Clinton formally introduced the Reemployment Act of 1994, a plan that would replace an array of programs operated at the state and federal levels with one program that offers job counseling and allows workers to apply for jobless benefits and sign up for training programs all in one place. [Associated Press, 3/9/94]

March 15, 1994: President Clinton Urged Congress For "Prompt And Favorable Consideration" Of Reemployment Act. President Clinton in a letter to Congress: "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." [Public Papers of the President, 3/15/94]

June 4, 1994: President Clinton Said He Is "Fighting" For Reemployment Act.
President Clinton during a radio address: "Now we have to fix our broken unemployment system to replace it with a reemployment system so that when someone loses a job, he or she can find a good new job as quickly as possible. I am fighting for Congress to pass this reemployment act this year, too." [Public Papers of the President, 6/4/94]

June 21, 1994: President Clinton Called Reemployment Act "Very, Very Important." President Clinton on the Reemployment Act: "I want Congress to enact that this year. This is very, very important." [Public Papers of the President, 6/21/94]

DECEMBER 1994: PRESIDENT CLINTON UNVEILED CONCEPT OF G.I. BILL IN MIDDLE CLASS BILL OF RIGHTS. The fourth point of President Clinton's Middle Class Bill of Rights became the G.I. Bill for America's workers. In an address to the nation, the President told Americans his plan: "Since every American needs the skills necessary to prosper in the new economy -- and most of you will change jobs from time to time we should take the billions of dollars the Government now spends on dozens of different training programs and give it directly to you, to pay for training if you lose your job or want a better one." [Public Papers of the President, 12/15/94]

JANUARY 1995: PRESIDENT CLINTON ARTICULATED VISION OF G.I. BILL FOR AMERICA'S WORKERS. Building on his prior proposals, President Clinton in his 1995 State of the Union Address articulated his vision of a G.I. Bill for America's Workers -- an initiative consolidating an array of federal job-training programs, while providing individuals with Skill Grants to purchase training services. [Public Papers of the President, 1/24/95]

January 24, 1995: President Clinton Said "We Should Pass" G.I. Bill. In his 1995 State of the Union Address, President Clinton called for passage of a G.I. Bill for America's workers: "We should pass a GI bill for America's workers...Let's empower people in this way, move it from the Government directly to the workers of America." [Public Papers of the President, 1/24/95]

October 13, 1995: President Clinton Said We Should "Support" and "Properly Fund" G.I. Bill. President Clinton pushed the G.I. Bill during his remarks to the Business Council in Virginia: "It's a very important idea, and we ought to stick with it and support it and properly fund it." [Public Papers of the President, 10/13/95]

January 23, 1996: President Clinton "Challenge(d)" Congress To Pass G.I. Bill. President Clinton in his 1996 State of the Union Address: "I challenge Congress to consolidate 70 overlapping, antiquated job-training programs into a simple voucher worth $ 2,600 for unemployed or underemployed workers to use as they please for community college tuition or other training. This is a "GI blli" for America's workers we should all be able to agree on." [Public Papers of the President, 1/23/96]

March 8, 1996: President Clinton Called G.I. Bill "Important." President Clinton on the G.I. Bill during his remarks to business employees in California: "I believe it's an important thing." [Public Papers of the President, 3/8/96]

January 9, 1997: President Clinton Said He Is "Determined" To Pass G.I. Bill. President Clinton on the G.I. Bill during a speech in the Oval Office: "One of our other proposals that I've had on the table in Congress for 4 years now, which I am determined to get passed in this next Congress, is the "GI bill" for America's workers." [Public Papers of the President, 1/9/97]

February 4, 1997: President Clinton Said G.I. Bill Was Sitting For "Too Long." In his 1997 State of the Union Address, President Clinton called for congressional action on the G.I. Bill: "For too long, this bill has been sitting on that desk there without action. I ask you to pass it now. Let's give more of our workers the ability to learn and to earn for a lifetime." [Public Papers of the President, 2/4/97]

January 27, 1998: President Clinton Called On Congress To "Continue Its Bipartisan Work." In his 1998 State of the Union Address, President Clinton reinforced his support for the G.I. Bill: "Again, I ask the Congress to continue its bipartisan work to consolidate the tangle of training programs we have today into one single "GI bill" for workers, a simple skills grant so people can, on their own, move quickly to new jobs, to higher incomes, and brighter futures." [Public Papers of the President, 1/27/98]

March 6, 1998: President Clinton Asked Senate "To Pass This Bill." President Clinton speaking about the G.I. Bill during his remarks on the national economy: "But we also...must do more to reform our job training system. For more than 3 years, I have called on Congress to consolidate the tangle of training programs we have today into a "GI bill" for workers...Now, last year a bipartisan majority in the House of Representatives passed a bill that would achieve the goals that I have called for years now. A similar bill has attracted bipartisan support in the Senate...I ask the Senate to pass this bill and send it to me so that I can sign it into law." [Public Papers of the President, 3/6/98]

May 1, 1998: President Clinton Said He Has Tried To Pass G.I. Bill "For Five Years." President Clinton on the G.I. Bill during a roundtable discussion with business employees in California: "I've been trying for 5 years to pass this -- the "GI bill" for America's workers." [Public Papers of the President, 5/1/98]


Since 1993, President Clinton and Vice President Gore Have Worked To Strengthen America's Workforce Development System And Promote Lifelong Learning. The Clinton-Gore Administration has undertaken a number of significant initiatives to strengthen America's job training system and promote lifelong learning. These efforts -- both legislative and administrative -- have sought to provide more access to job training and skill development for adult workers and to make the job training system work better for working Americans.

Dislocated Worker -- More Than Doubled Funding. President Clinton has more than doubled funding for dislocated workers, increasing it from $517 million in 1993 to $1,351 million in 1998. This year, the program will assist over 600,000 workers, almost double the number in 1993. The President's 1999 budget increases dislocated worker funding by another $100 million, so that we would nearly triple the funding compared to 1993.

Tax Incentives To Increase Skills. In an effort to provide adults increased opportunity to get job training and obtain the skills they need for the new economy, President Clinton has put in place tax incentives to make community college universally available and to give workers the chance to go back to school and upgrade their skills. These tax provisions include:

           HOPE Scholarship Tax Credit.  President Clinton proposed
      and signed into law a $1,500 HOPE Scholarship Tax Credit to help
      make the 13th and 14th grades as universal as a high school
      diploma is today.

           Lifetime Learning Tax Credit.  This tax credit is targeted
      to adults who want to go back to school, change careers, or take
      a course or two to upgrade their skills, and to college juniors,
      seniors, graduate and professional degree students.  The
      20-percent Lifetime Learning Tax Credit will be applied to the
      first $5,000 of a family's qualified education expenses through
      2002, and to the first $10,000 thereafter.

           Section 127 Extension.  The 1997 tax relief act extends
      Section 127 of the tax code for three years.  Section 127 allows
      workers to exclude up to $5,250 of employer-provided education
      assistance from their income.  The assistance must be for
      undergraduate courses beginning prior to June 1, 2000.

            Penalty-Free Withdrawal from Individual Retirement Accounts
      (IRAs).  The 1997 tax relief act allows penalty-free IRA
      withdrawals for undergraduate, post-secondary vocational, and
      graduate education expenses.  Additionally, taxpayers are given
      the opportunity to deposit $500 into an education IRA.  Earnings
      would accumulate tax-free and no taxes will be due upon
      withdrawal for an approved purpose.

One-Stop Career Centers. Using implementation grants from the Department of Labor, more than 95 percent of states have built a One-Stop Career Center; in fact, more than 800 One-Stop Centers have been established around the country. The One-Stop Career Center is at the heart of the Clinton Administration's efforts to encourage state and local governments to reinvent themselves, focusing on customer satisfaction by consolidating service delivery at the "street level". Instead of an array of services provided at different locations, One-Stops bring together -- for the benefit of the customer -- job and career resource rooms (e.g., computers, faxes, telephones), job listings (including those on America's Job Bank); job referral and placement; information on education and training programs; initial screening for training eligibility; testing and assessment; job search skills; and assistance in filing UI claims.

America's Labor Market Information System. An integral part of the One-Stop concept is labor market information and at the center of the Labor Department's efforts is America's Labor Market Information System (ALMIS), which provides all American workers and businesses with information necessary to exercise informed choice in their workforce decisions.

          America's Job Bank.  America's Job Bank is the largest and
     most frequently visited job bank on the Internet, with 700,000
     job openings posted daily.  Job Bank daily "hits" or access have
     increased each month to well over 6 million job searches in July
     1998 alone.

          America's Talent Bank.  America's Talent Bank allows
     registered employers to search a database of electronic resumes
     to find suitable candidates for their job openings.  This service
     was fully integrated with America's Job Bank in May 1998.  As of
     late July 1998, a total of 112,000 resumes had been posted on the

         America's Career InfoNet.  America's Career InfoNet offers
     resources including employment trends, wage data, training
     requirements, and other economic information.  This month, this
     service will updated to include state and local information and
     will be directly linked to America's Job and Talent Banks.

Allowing States to Innovate Through Increased Waivers. Using new authority, the Secretary of Labor has waived legal and regulatory requirements, allowing state and local reforms in return for higher performance. Thirty-one states have been granted -- and have implemented -- a variety of waivers. Moreover, the Secretary has designated six states to participate in the five-year Work-Flex demonstration, which grants Governors the authority to approve local requests for waivers of statutory and regulatory provisions.

      $3 Billion Welfare-to-Work Jobs Initiative.  The Clinton
     Administration fought for and secured a $3 billion Welfare-to-Work
     jobs initiative, as part of the Balanced Budget Act.  The
     Administration provided these grants directly to both cities and
     states for additional resources to help long-term, hard-to-serve
     welfare recipients find and keep jobs.

      Created the School-to-Work program in 1994.  In 1994, President
     Clinton created the School-to-Work program, which is enabling 
     states and communities to help students meet high academic 
     standards, prepare for college and careers, and create alternative 
     learning systems for youth who have dropped out or are about to 
     leave school.  As of the end of July 1998, 42 states (and Puerto 
     Rico) and more than 1,000 local community partnerships have 
     received School-to-Work grants.  The remaining states are expected 
     to receive implementation grants this September.

      Pell Grants -- Maximum Grant Over $500 Higher Today Than in 1996.
     President Clinton has increased the Pell Grant maximum grant 
     amount from $2,470 in 1996 to $3,000 in 1998.  The President's 
     1999 budget proposes $249 million more for Pell Grants, which 
     would help increase the maximum by another $100 to $3,100 -- the 
     highest ever.  This would reach 3.9 million low- and middle-income 
     undergraduates.  If the President's budget were enacted, the 
     maximum grant would be 25-percent higher than in 1996.

      Job Corps -- Expanded One-Third Since 1992.  Job Corps is a
     residential training program for severely disadvantaged young 
     people aged 16-24, assisting young people in gaining the education 
     and skills they need to become more responsible, employable and 
     productive citizens.  Since 1993, Job Corps funding has increased 
     by one-third, from $937 million in 1992 to $1,246 million in 1998. 
     In 1996, almost 68,000 new students enrolled in the program.  As 
     part of the Job Corps expansion, the Department is adding five 
     new Job Corps centers or satellites of existing Job Corps centers.