Text: H.R.497 — 113th Congress (2013-2014)All Bill Information (Except Text)

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Introduced in House (02/05/2013)


113th CONGRESS
1st Session
H. R. 497

To allow that certain Federal job training and career education programs give priority to programs that lead to recognized postsecondary credentials.


IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
February 5, 2013

Mr. Barletta (for himself and Mr. Schneider) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Education and the Workforce, and in addition to the Committee on Ways and Means, for a period to be subsequently determined by the Speaker, in each case for consideration of such provisions as fall within the jurisdiction of the committee concerned


A BILL

To allow that certain Federal job training and career education programs give priority to programs that lead to recognized postsecondary credentials.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. Short title.

This Act may be cited as the “America Works Act”.

SEC. 2. Findings.

Congress finds the following:

(1) Recent data show that United States manufacturing companies cannot fill as many as 600,000 skilled positions, even as unemployment numbers hover at historically high levels.

(2) The unfilled positions are mainly in the skilled production category, and in occupations such as machinist, operator, craft worker, distributor, or technician.

(3) In less than 20 years, an overall loss of expertise and management skill is expected to result from the gradual departure from the workplace of 77,200,000 workers.

(4) Postsecondary success and workforce readiness can be achieved through attainment of a recognized postsecondary credential.

(5) The Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook estimates that 746,500 new jobs in computer-related occupations will be generated from 2010 to 2020. This would equate to a 23 percent net growth in computer-related occupations.

(6) Computer-related occupations with the highest projected growth rates include database administrators, software developers, and network and computer systems administrators.

(7) As of June 2012, there were approximately 301,214 job openings in the information technology sector.

(8) According to a recent report, 64 percent of managers hiring for information technology jobs rate certifications as having extremely high or high value in validating information technology skills and expertise, and that value is rated highest by senior managers, such as chief information officers, and by medium-size firms.

SEC. 3. Industry-recognized and nationally portable credentials for job training programs.

(a) Workforce Investment Act of 1998.—

(1) YOUTH ACTIVITIES.—Section 129(c)(1)(C) of the Workforce Investment Act of 1998 (29 U.S.C. 2854(c)(1)(C)) is amended—

(A) by redesignating clauses (ii) through (iv) as clauses (iii) through (v), respectively; and

(B) inserting after clause (i) the following:

“(ii) training (which may include priority consideration for training programs that lead to recognized postsecondary credentials (as defined in section 4 of the America Works Act) that are aligned with in-demand occupations or industries in the local area involved, if the local board determines that the programs meet the quality criteria described in section 123);”.

(2) GENERAL EMPLOYMENT AND TRAINING ACTIVITIES.—Section 134(d)(4)(F) of the Workforce Investment Act of 1998 (29 U.S.C. 2864(d)(4)(F)) is amended by adding at the end the following:

“(iv) PROGRAMS THAT LEAD TO AN INDUSTRY-RECOGNIZED AND NATIONALLY PORTABLE CREDENTIAL.—In assisting individuals in selecting programs of training services under this section, a one-stop operator and employees of a one-stop center referred to in subsection (c) may give priority consideration to programs (approved in conjunction with eligibility decisions made under section 122) that lead to recognized postsecondary credentials (as defined in section 4 of the America Works Act) that are aligned with in-demand occupations or industries in the local area involved.”.

(3) CRITERIA.—

(A) GENERAL EMPLOYMENT AND TRAINING ACTIVITIES.—Section 122(b)(2)(D) of the Workforce Investment Act of 1998 (29 U.S.C. 2842(b)(2)(D)) is amended—

(i) in clause (ii), by striking “and” at the end;

(ii) in clause (iii), by striking the period and inserting “; and”; and

(iii) by adding at the end the following:

“(iv) in the case of a provider of a program of training services that leads to a recognized postsecondary credential (as defined in section 4 of the America Works Act), that the program leading to the credential meets such quality criteria as the Governor shall establish.”.

(B) YOUTH ACTIVITIES.—Section 123 of the Workforce Investment Act of 1998 (29 U.S.C. 2843) by inserting “(including such quality criteria as the Governor shall establish for a training program that leads to a recognized postsecondary credential (as defined in section 4 of the America Works Act))” after “plan”.

(b) Career and technical education.—

(1) STATE PLAN.—Section 122(c)(1)(B) of the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act of 2006 (20 U.S.C. 2342(c)(1)(B)) is amended—

(A) by striking “(B) how” and inserting “(B)(i) how”;

(B) by inserting “and” after the semicolon; and

(C) by adding at the end the following

“(ii) in the case of an eligible entity that, in developing and implementing programs of study leading to recognized postsecondary credentials, desires to give a priority to such programs that are aligned with in-demand occupations or industries in the area served (as determined by the eligible agency) and that may provide a basis for additional credentials, certificates, or degree, how the entity will do so;”.

(2) USE OF LOCAL FUNDS.—Section 134(b) of the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act of 2006 (20 U.S.C. 2354(b)) is amended—

(A) in paragraph (11), by striking “; and” and inserting a semicolon;

(B) in paragraph (12)(B), by striking the period and inserting “; and”; and

(C) by adding at the end the following:

“(13) describe the career and technical education activities supporting the attainment of recognized postsecondary credentials (as defined in section 4 of the America Works Act), and, in the case of an eligible recipient that desires to provide priority consideration to certain programs of study in accordance with the State plan under section 122(c)(1)(B), how the eligible recipient will give priority consideration to such activities.”.

(3) TECH-PREP PROGRAMS.—Section 203(c)(2)(E) of the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act of 2006 (20 U.S.C. 2373(c)(2)(E)) is amended by striking “industry-recognized credential, a certificate,” and inserting “recognized postsecondary credential (as defined in section 4 of the America Works Act and approved by the eligible agency),”.

(c) Training programs under TAA.—Section 236(a) of the Trade Act of 1974 (19 U.S.C. 2296(a)) is amended by adding at the end the following:

“(12) In approving training programs for adversely affected workers and adversely affected incumbent workers under paragraph (1), the Secretary may give priority consideration to workers seeking training through programs that are approved in conjunction with eligibility decisions made under section 122 of the Workforce Investment Act of 1998 (29 U.S.C. 2842), and that lead to recognized postsecondary credentials (as defined in section 4 of the America Works Act) that are aligned with in-demand occupations or industries in the local area (defined for purposes of title I of the Workforce Investment Act of 1998 (29 U.S.C. 2801 et seq.)) involved.”.

SEC. 4. Definitions.

In this Act:

(1) INDUSTRY-RECOGNIZED.—The term “industry-recognized”, used with respect to a credential, means a credential that—

(A) is sought or accepted by employers within the industry sector involved as recognized, preferred, or required for recruitment, screening, hiring, or advancement;

(B) is endorsed by a recognized trade or professional association or organization, representing a significant part of the industry sector; and

(C) is a nationally portable credential, meaning a credential that is sought or accepted, across multiple States, as described in subparagraph (A).

(2) RECOGNIZED POSTSECONDARY CREDENTIAL.—The term “recognized postsecondary credential” means a credential consisting of an industry-recognized credential for postsecondary training, a certificate that meets the requirements of subparagraphs (A) and (C) of paragraph (1) for postsecondary training, a certificate of completion of a postsecondary apprenticeship through a program described in section 122(a)(2)(B) of the Workforce Investment Act of 1998 (29 U.S.C. 2842(a)(2)(B)), or an associate degree or baccalaureate degree awarded by an institution of higher education (as defined in section 102(a) of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 1002(a))).

SEC. 5. Rule of construction.

Nothing in this Act shall be construed to require an entity with responsibility for selecting or approving an education, training, or workforce investment activities program with regard to a covered provision, to select a program with a recognized postsecondary credential or certificate as defined by this Act.

SEC. 6. Effective Date.

This Act, and the amendments made by this Act, take effect 120 days after the date of enactment of this Act.