After more than a decade, patience is finally paying off for U.S. Senator Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., who is one of the architects of a workforce training bill that President Obama signed today.
Enzi attended the bill signing at the White House for the reauthorization of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, which the senator says will help people learn the skills they need to get meaningful jobs.
Congress originally passed the job training program as part of the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) in 1998, yet its reauthorization has languished since 2003. Enzi saw how a lack of skilled workers would put America at a global disadvantage as most jobs now require more than a high school diploma. He’s fought for the bill ever since, eventually overcoming objections and political concerns from both Republican and Democrat colleagues.
“It’s a special moment to complete something I’ve worked on since George W. Bush was president. But this law is about building America’s future. It’s good news for those out of work and local businesses looking for workers with specific skills,” said Enzi. “As our economy changes, our workforce will be better prepared. It’s important to remember that having a skilled workforce shouldn’t be a partisan issue. This should be an area where we can always find common ground and work together to ensure our workers have the skills they need to compete in the ever-changing global economy.”
The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act becoming law is proof that Congress can still make progress on important pieces of legislation even in a highly-divided Congress, according to Enzi. The key is to focus on finding common ground and improving bills through the amendment process.