Summary: H.R.3470 — 102nd Congress (1991-1992)All Information (Except Text)

There is one summary for H.R.3470. Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

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Introduced in House (10/02/1991)

High Skills, Competitive Workforce Act of 1991 - Title I: Findings and National Policy - Sets forth findings and purposes of this Act.

Makes national policy declarations involving: (1) Federal encouragement of a voluntary system of educational and occupational standards of proficiency to be used in design and evaluation of worker training programs; (2) increased attention and resources to provide adequate educational resources to students of all backgrounds, school-to-work transition programs, and adult education and training; (3) technical assistance and diagnostic services for employers and labor unions to implement changes to high performance forms of work organization; (4) workforce training, education, and other activities emphasizing increasing education, skills, and direct authority and autonomy of front-line workers; (5) the Federal role as a guide and catalyst, providing incentives, establishing broad strategic goals, sponsoring research and pilot projects, disseminating information and knowledge, and simplifying and coordinating existing Federal resources; and (6) the private sector lead role and the involvement of business, labor educational institutions, State and local governments, and community organizations. Sets forth nondiscrimination provisions and prohibitions against State use of funds under this Act to attract existing businesses to relocate from another State.

Title II: Standards of Excellence in Education and Training - Establishes a National Board for Professional and Technical Standards (the National Board) for occupational training.

Directs the National Board to establish advisory committees for each major industry and for major occupations that involve more than one industry.

Requires the National Board: (1) by December 1, 1993, to have identified at least 20 occupational categories and developed recommendations for occupational standards, curricula, and certifications for such occupations; and (2) develop a program to ensure that standards, curricula, and certifications for all remaining identified occupational categories are completed by January 1, 2000.

Requires that such developed occupational proficiency standards be applied so that their attainment is likely to meet requirements for transferable credit and enable students to continue their education. Requires that such developed occupational standards, curricula, and certification systems for an industry or occupation be made available for voluntary use by postsecondary education institutions offering professional and technical education labor organizations, trade and technical associations, employers providing formalized training, and other organizations.

Authorizes appropriations for the National Board and the industry committees and their development of professional and technical standards for occupational training.

Amends the General Education Provisions Act (GEPA) to make a national declaration of policy with respect to encouraging and promoting research relative to internationally competitive standards in academic achievement.

Includes among priority resource and development needs, for which the Office of Education and Research and Improvement (OERI) is to concentrate its resources under GEPA: (1) research to develop a system of academic achievement and proficiency standards in specific subjects at appropriate age/grade levels; (2) research to develop curricula to facilitate academic achievement in specific subjects; and (3) development of multiple assessment tools, such as assessment of student performance, proficiency, projects, and portfolios of work in and across specific subject areas.

Authorizes the Secretary of Education to award grants under GEPA for pilot projects to design, develop, and evaluate State or multi-State assessment systems for elementary, middle, and high school students, leading to an assessment system to assist both educators and policymakers to improve instruction and learning. Sets forth requirements for such pilot projects, including wide dissemination of evaluation findings. Authorizes appropriations.

Amends the Higher Education Act of 1965 to add to requirements for student aid program participation agreements that the higher education institution certify that it will release to the public information (confirmed by independent audit) concerning each program it offers, including number of students enrolled, costs to students, characteristics of students participating, student completion rate, and other outcomes, including, where appropriate, job placement rates and employment status of graduates for the two years following program completion.

Title III: School-to-Work Transition - Subtitle A: Career Preparation - Directs the Secretary of Labor, in consultation with the Secretary of Education, to award grants for career preparation demonstration program (to the extent appropriations are available). Requires such career preparation programs to: (1) involve students in 7th through 10th grades seven through ten who are prospective program participants; through career awareness and counseling programs; (2) give 11th and 12th grade students the opportunity to voluntarily enter into such programs that integrate academic and workplace instruction leading to a high school diploma, community college degree, or occupational certificate of mastery; (3) if the program is for two years, require participants to receive in-school training in a high school, vocational educational institution, Youth Opportunity Center, or alternative State-approved institution; and (4) if the program is for three or four years, require in-school training for the first two years in a high school, vocational educational institution, or Youth Opportunity Center, and for the third or fourth years in a community college, technology college, vocational educational institution, or other State-approved institution. Requires maximum flexibility to be afforded to participants to transfer from career preparation to a conventional academic program or from one field to another. Requires coordination with the Regional Employment and Training Board. Directs the Secretary of Labor to designate a wide variety of occupations for such grants, but prohibit such awards for occupations with existing registered apprenticeships programs. Sets forth requirements for eligible entities, applications, and regional distribution. Requires priority consideration for applications approved by the approriate Regional Employment and Training Board that include specified assurances. Directs the Secretary of Labor, by January 15, 1996, to: (1) conduct a comprehensive evaluation of such career preparation demonstration program; and (2) report, with recommendations, to specified congressional committees. Authorizes appropriations.

Directs the Secretary of Education, in consultation with the Secretary of Labor and the Director of the National Science Foundation, to make grants, contracts, and cooperative agreements for career information materials, including videos and softwares. Requires such materials to be designated to convey to 7th through 12th grade students an awareness and realistic understanding of a wide variety of career options, utilizing advanced educational technologies. Sets forth requirments for eligible entities and applications. Requires the Secretary of Education to provide such developed career information materials to all States and encourage their use in programs in all school districts. Requires career awareness programs to also include work site trips, career days, workshops, and demonstrations. Authorizes appropriations.

Subtitle B: Community Youth Employment Compacts - Directs the Secretary of Labor, in consultation with the Secretary of Education, to award incentive grants to establish collaborative public-private Community Youth Employment Compacts (to the extent appropriations are available). Requires such Compacts to: (1) organize the community's youth labor markets; and (2) provide youth who are attending high school or alternative education programs with job coaching services and access to private sector work experience and jobs upon graduation. Requires promulgation of program guidelines and criteria for equitable distribution of grants. Sets forth requirements for eligible entities, applications, uses of grants, individual participants, and State and local contributions. Authorizes appropriations.

Subtitle C: Youth Opportunity Centers - Directs the Secretary of Labor, in consultation with the Secretary of Education, to award grants to States to provide incentives to local communities to establish Youth Opportunity Centers (to the extent appropriations are available). Requires such Centers to provide comprehensive alternative education and school-to-work transition services to high school dropouts under age 21. Requires promulgation of guidelines for such Centers and criteria for equitable distribution of grants. Sets forth requirements for State applications, uses of grants, eligible entities, individual participants, services to participants, contracts for provision of services, and administrative procedures. Allows waivers of certain other Federal program requirements, under specified conditions. Authorizes appropriations.

Title IV: High Performance Work Organization - Directs the Secretary of Labor to award grants for encouraging adoption and utilization of high performance forms of work organization, to stimulate high productivity and quality (to the extent appropriations are available). Sets forth requirements for eligible entities, use of grants, grant terms and non-Federal share. Requires priority consideration for applications emphasizing small businesses and involving State economic development agencies and employer, trade, or industry associations. Authorizes appropriations.

Title V: High Skills Training Consortia - High Skills Training Consortium Act of 1991 - Authorizes the Secretary of Labor to: (1) make planning grants to companies or trade associations to plan for establishment of high skills training consortia of companies operating within the same industry or utilizing similar technologies; and (2) pay up to 50 percent of start-up grants to such newly established consortia to pay their initial organization costs. Requires priority consideration for consortia which: (1) emphasize training for participation in high performance work organization; (2) include employees and their representatives in design and implementation of training programs; (3) encourage membership of firms that are not technologically advanced; and (4) provide incentives for participation by small businesses. Sets forth requirements for consortia, programs, and shared investment in training. Sets forth provisions relating to application of antitrust laws, antitrust limitation on recovery, and antitrust attorney's fees. Sets forth requirments for high skills training consortia disclosure to the Attorney General and the Federal Trade Commission. Authorizes appropriations.

Title VI: State and Regional Employment and Training Systems - Authorizes the Secretary of Labor to award start-up grants to States to establish statewide systems to provide coordinated employment and training services. Sets forth requirements for applications and uses of funds. Requires a State to use grant funds for specified activities, and also for establishing regional employment and training boards to coordinate delivery of all employment and training services in regional labor market areas (including services delivered through Youth Opportunity Centers, provision of labor market information, job placement services, job counseling, and skill training). Sets forth requirements for composition of such boards, strategic plans, board review and approval of applications for grants and loans from a High Skills Training Trust Fund, and annual independent evaluation of board activities. Authorizes appropriations.

Directs the Comptroller General to conduct a study of all Federal employment and training programs: (1) including a specified inventory and determination; and (2) report with recommendations to the appropriate congressional committees, by January 1, 1993.

Title VII: Private Sector Investment in High Skills Workforce Training - Subtitle A: High Skills Training - Requires each employer who employs 20 or more employees to: (1) assemble information on that employer's qualified education and training expenditures during 1993, by December 31, 1993; and (2) provide such information to the Secretary of Labor, by January 31, 1994. Directs the Secretary of Labor to: (1) publish proposed regulations for comment within 60 days after enactment of this Act; and (2) promulgate final regulations within six months after such enactment. Defines qualified education and training expenditures as amounts paid or incurred for: (1) employee training that meets or is consistent with relevant certification standards established under title II; (2) training provided through an apprenticeship program with specified Federal or State registration; or (3) prior to establishment of title II certification standards, tuition and instructional costs for organized instruction of front-line employees in occupationally-related skills.

High Skills Training Assessment Act - Amends Internal Revenue Code provisions relating to employment taxes to establish a new chapter, the Work Force Training Assessment Act (which may be cited as the High Skills Training Assessment Act). Imposes an assessment on each employer for any calendar year in an amount equal to one percent (one-half of one percent in 1994) of the total wages paid to their employees. Makes such assessment inapplicable to any employer with less than 20 employees on a normal business day during the preceding year. Reduces such assessment for employers with training programs, by their average qualified education and training expenditures during the immediately preceding three-year period. Sets forth a transition rule, definitions, special rules, and administrative provisions.

Amends Internal Revenue Code provisions relating to the trust fund code to establish in the Treasury a High Skills Training Trust Fund. Transfers to such Fund amounts equivalent to taxes received under the high skills training assessment. Requires that amounts in such Fund be available, as provided by appropriation Acts, to carry out programs established under this entire Act.

Subtitle B: High Skills Training Trust Fund - Establishes in the Treasury the High Skills Training Trust Fund (the Fund) to be administered by the Secretary of Labor. Authorizes the Secretary of the Treasury to accept and transfer to the Fund amounts equal to: (1) amounts collected under the high skills training assessment; and (2) amounts of income earned from specified investments of funds from the Fund. Authorizes obligation of funds from the Fund to States for training grant and loan programs, in amounts based on the relative size of contributions from employers in the State under the high skills training assessment.

Requires States to use such amounts received from the Fund to establish statewide programs to award grants and loans to eligible entities to provide: (1) skill training, literacy and basic skills instruction, and other services to retrain such entities workforce; and (2) training for the implementation of high performance work organizations. Requires the Governor of any State receiving such funds to establish an independent High Skills Training Panel to administer such State grant and loan program. Sets forth provisions for: (1) Panel functions; (2) administration of such grants and loans by existing State agencies; (3) eligible entities; and (4) applications and assurances (including that up to 15 percent of the grant or loan will be used for high performance work organization). Requires that an eligible entity be an employer or group of employers operating within the State, and allows it to also include one or more community colleges, training institutions, industry associations, labor organizations, Private Industry Councils, State economic development, training, or industrial modernization agencies, or High Skills Training Consortia (and also allows small business employers with fewer than 20 employees to apply for such grants or loans, even though they are exempt from the high skills training assessment). Sets forth the required training and instruction activities to be provided to employees by grant or loan recipient. Requires States, in awarding such grants or loans, to give priority consideration to applications for programs that: (1) use world-class occupational standards; (2) serve small businesses or underserved sectors of industry; (3) involve labor organizations or other means of involving the workforce; (4) leverage other public employment and training resources (such as providing job openings for referrals from the Job Training Partnership Act system when training has upgraded existing employees' skills); or (5) show the employers' commitment to develop their own training capacity and invest further resources in on-going training. Limits the amount which may be expended on administrative costs.

Subtitle C: Educational Assistance to Employees - Amends the Internal Revenue to make permanent the tax exclusion for employer-provided educational assistance to employees, in order to foster increased worker participation in educational programs. (Provides that employer-provided educational assistance which receives such tax exclusion shall not be deemed qualified education and training expenditures for purposes of reducing the high skills training assessment.)