Bennet Introduces Bill to Connect Workers with Higher Wages

Bennet’s Bill Will Close the Skills and Workforce Gap by Expanding Proven Workforce Training Programs Where they are Needed Most

Washington D.C. — Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet introduced the Better Jobs through Evidence and Innovation Act to expand funding for time-tested workforce development programs and give workers a wider range of high-paying career opportunities in IT, health care, manufacturing, and financial services. 

“I hear from veterans and single parents in Colorado who want to provide for themselves and their families but haven’t been given the tools to earn a living wage,” said Bennet. “They want to build sustainable careers, we have the programs to train them, and companies want to hire them. The last piece of the puzzle is to invest in the workforce training programs that are proven to create economic mobility for workers of every background.”

Programs that upskill workers support long-term economic mobility for individuals, including those without a college degree. These programs are ready and able to serve workers and employers but remain severely underfunded. The Better Jobs through Evidence and Innovation Act will establish the Workforce Development Innovation Fund in the U.S. Department of Labor to meet the employment needs of local communities.

The Workforce Development Innovation Fund will make three tiers of funding available to evidence-based employment and training programs that generate demonstrated, long-term economic improvements for jobseekers and employers, and produce high-quality evaluations of their impact.

"America Forward applauds Senator Michael Bennet for introducing the [Better] Jobs through Evidence and Innovation Act, which would invest in evidence-based workforce development programs that foster equitable and sustainable outcomes for job seekers and employers nationwide while strengthening the U.S. economy," said Deborah Smolover, Executive Director, America Forward, the nonpartisan policy initiative of the national venture philanthropy New Profit. "This legislation provides much-needed support for leading economic mobility organizations, many of which are part of the America Forward Coalition, to focus their resources on continuous improvement and scale-up to meet the demands of local economies nationwide."

“Results for America applauds the introduction of this important legislation, which would test and scale innovative workforce development strategies that provide workers with the skills they need to secure quality jobs that pay a living wage,” said Michele Jolin, CEO and Co-Founder, Results for America. “We urge lawmakers to adopt this bill as part of a comprehensive reauthorization of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) to ensure that America’s workforce policy is forward-looking and guided by data and evidence.”

"Our workforce development system urgently needs to prioritize limited public dollars for approaches that move learners into good jobs with good wages, so they can support their families and thrive, " said Roger Low, CEO and Founder, Colorado Equitable Economic Mobility Initiative (CEEMI). “Senator Bennet's legislation creating a tiered evidence workforce fund, intentionally focusing dollars on what actually works for learners, is exactly the right approach."

“Per Scholas applauds Senator Bennet for introducing this impactful resource to our workforce system. The passage of a new Workforce Development Innovation Fund would mean effective workforce training providers across the nation, like us, can keep investing in America’s most valuable asset – our people,” said Plinio Ayala, President and CEO, Per Scholas. “Prioritizing improvements based on evidence would scale programs with the best track record of helping workers and their families achieve self-sufficiency. A resource like this will allow us to reach more people, and bring economic prosperity to more communities.”

The full text of the bill can be found HERE. A summary of the bill can be found HERE.