Senate Votes to Improve Training & Education for New Mexico Workers, Job Seekers

Sen. Tom Udall


U.S. Sen. Tom Udall, D-N.M. joined the Senate in voting 95-3 to pass a bipartisan bill that will help New Mexico workers get updated workforce and skills training to better enable them to compete for new jobs and career advancement.

The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, which is expected to pass the U.S. House of Representatives soon, will also help employers find the qualified workers they need to grow and expand their businesses.

“This bill is a critical investment in New Mexico’s workforce,” Udall said. “It will make much-needed updates to vitally important job training programs that will help workers compete in the global economy and qualify for new jobs or promotions that can lead to a bigger paycheck and better opportunity.”

The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act makes improvements and updates to legislation originally passed in 1998 to provide underemployed, dislocated or disabled workers and disadvantaged youth in New Mexico and across the country with education and skills training. 

A recent study by the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce found that by 2022, the U.S. will need 11 million more workers with post-secondary education, including vocational, community college or college and graduate school education.

This bill reauthorizes the Workforce Investment Act with new provisions to address the barriers that prevent today’s workers from being adequately prepared for the jobs that fuel our country’s economic growth. The legislation takes key steps to streamline and add value to workforce development programs, improve coordination and outreach and provide support and services.

Highlights of the bill include:  

  • Increased funding for training and employment services for out-of-school youth. 
  • Funding and flexibility so states can tailor services to regional workforce needs. 
  • Updates to eliminate duplicative programs. 
  • Improvements that will make it easier to track results. 
  • Expanded services for English-language learners. 
  • Reauthorized training programs for Native Americans and migrant and seasonal farm workers.
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