Bennet-Portman Pay-for-Success Measure Signed into Law

Bipartisan Bill Supports High-Performing Providers of Job-Training Services, Ensures Workers Equipped with 21?st Century Skills

A proposal from U.S. Senators Michael Bennet (D-CO) and Rob Portman (R-OH) to support high-performing job-training services was signed into law yesterday.

The Bennet-Portman provision in the reauthorization of the Workforce Investment Act will help improve federal job training programs by allowing state and local governments to direct job-training dollars toward innovative new pay-for-success models that reward results and meet the needs of employers. The pay-for-success proposal was originally at the center of a bill Bennet and Portman introduced last year in the Careers Through Responsive, Efficient, and Effective Retraining (CAREER) Act.

“It’s discouraging to hear from employers who can’t fill jobs because they can’t find the workers with the skills they need. This skills gap is hurting workers and employers alike, and it’s holding our economy back,” Bennet said. “Our commonsense pay-for-success proposal will help ensure these federal job training dollars are spent on training programs that are getting people back to work. It will help improve our competitiveness and resiliency in the 21st century economy.”

“For too many Americans, the only jobs that are available are those they don’t have the skills or qualifications to fill,” Portman said. “This has created a skills gap that is hurting unemployed workers and businesses, and is holding back the economy. For the past three years, I have worked in a bipartisan fashion to help these workers get back on a career path by bringing critical reforms to the federal government’s inefficient and outdated workforce development system. I am pleased that the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act is now law, bringing the federal government’s primary workforce development programs into the 21st Century.”

Federal job training programs can be a valuable tool to help job seekers acquire skills to reenter the job market. By working in coordination with the local workforce boards and workforce development councils that administer these services, the Bennet-Portman CAREER Act will help these programs better serve employers and workers alike. It will make federal job training more responsive to the needs of employers, more efficient with taxpayer dollars, and more effective in connecting the unemployed with good-paying jobs.

The provision included in the bill signed into law allows local workforce investment boards to redirect up to 10 percent of the dollars that flow through certain federal job-training funding streams to new pay-for-success contracts. Job-training service providers would become eligible to receive payments and bonus payments, under this new model, if they achieve certain rigorous metrics. Programs that fail to deliver results will not be rewarded.

The Workforce Investment Act (WIA) was first passed by Congress in 1998. It is designed to provide assistance with employment searches, career development, and job training. Congress has not successfully reauthorized WIA since 1998.

The Bennet-Portman CAREER Act has the support of the National Association of Manufacturers, the National Skills Coalition, the HR Policy Association, Corporate Voices for Working Families, the Colorado Workforce Development Council, and the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment.