By an overwhelming 91-7 vote, the Senate on May 5 approved an industry-supported bill that consolidates many federal job-training and employment programs. The legislation also calls for business to be involved in establishing criteria for training programs in local communities and would set up "one-stop" local centers that combine such basic services as skill training, career counseling, job banks, and transportation and child-care information. Called the "Workforce Partnership Investment Act," the measure is broader than a similar bill that passed the House last year. The two versions now advance to a House-Senate conference committee to resolve differences. Organized labor has voiced support for the concept of the legislation, as has President Clinton.
U.S. Chamber of Commerce Executive Vice President Bruce Josten hailed the bill's passage. "The economic future of our economy depends on a well-trained workforce," he said. "This streamlined approach to job training will make it easier for employers to seek out workers for high-skilled, high-paying jobs."