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Testimony on the Implementation of the Workforce Investment Act
Debi Demien, President and Joseph R. Larson, Chairman
Restoring America
282 Elm Springs Road
Iberia, MO 65486
restoringamerica.org


Once, America flourished under a free enterprise system. Now with the passage of the Workforce Invest Act of 1998, America has moved to a nationally planned economy. The Workforce Investment Act interlocks with the School-to-Work Opportunities Act to weave our economic system with our educational system, creating a single unified system deceptively described as a Human Resource Plan for the United States.

This legislation is the final link in the chain that now directly ties education to jobs in America. Eugene Maxwell Boyce, from the University of Georgia, warns us that this is not a system that is in keeping with America's principle of freedom. He states:

Appointed bureaucrats will now direct the control of our new unified education/economic system through the U. S. Secretary of Labor at the top, with a myriad of levels of workforce boards from the state to the local level.The following is taken directly from the Workforce Investment Council Governance Policy:

This new 1998 federally mandated structure is controlled at the top by two National Workforce Development Boards that complement each other. The first is the Workforce Information Council established under the WIA Section 309. The President of the United States appoints members of this national board.

The Workforce Investment Act also establishes within each state a State Workforce Board. All 50 of these boards report to the National Workforce Board. The governors appoint all of these state board members. Each state already has put in place the Regional Labor Market Areas or Service Delivery Areas. These same regional areas may be used to set up the new Local Workforce Boards or some combining may occur. Since Missouri presently has fifteen of these, we may have as many as fifteen new Local Workforce Boards, which are also appointed positions. Regardless of the final number of boards, these appointed bureaucrats will be planning and controlling the local job placement, training programs and certification of workers for each region. The governor has approval power over the members of these Local Workforce Boards. He may also dismiss a member for any reason at anytime.

This law sets up as many as 800 Workforce Boards across America made up of appointed government bureaucrats. These hundreds of boards will manage and control America's new unified education/economic system. The members of these boards may be well intentioned, but the fact remains that they will have tremendous impact on the lives of each of us. Yet, we have no power to vote them into or out of their position. Furthermore, the governors who will be appointing or approving ALL of the thousands of members of these 800 boards will hold unprecedented power over the business community as potential labor board members vie for the appointed positions. Is it possible that campaign contributions may affect appointments? With unprecedented power always comes the potential for abuse. [Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.]

The State Workforce Board shall develop a state 5-year plan. It would appear that there is very little local control over these plans. The State Workforce Board is not required to submit the plan for approval to the state legislature. Only the governor needs to approve the plan. Then all fifty state plans are sent to the national level to be approved by a single individual---the U. S. Secretary of Labor. Will a state plan be approved if it is greatly different from the national plan? This one person will be certifying that ALL fifty state plans align properly with the national plan.

The State Workforce Board will distribute money. Federal funds from the Department of Labor to implement approved plans go directly to the governors who pass the control of the funds to the bureaucrats. Our elected legislatures are again by-passed in this funding process. These bureaucrats will control, through the awarding of contracts, the tax dollars spent on career education and workforce development. They will decide what jobs will be needed in the future, what type of job training will be funded and who receives the money to train the workers. This also gives them tremendous power.

The State Workforce Board will also develop "comprehensive state performance measures." Will these state performance measures or standards become the measuring stick for workers to receive employment certificates? Will School-to-Work curricula, which must produce the appropriate workers determined by "The Plan", be compelled to teach to those standards? One element is certain---our elected legislatures will not be involved in this process either.

The statewide employment statistics system mandated by the WIA includes the bureaucrats' subjective evaluation of the needs of the state as well as the business community. It also bestows on them the power to "leverage" resources and mandate participation by businesses and employees according to the state 5-year plan. In a free market economy, the government does not use appointed bureaucrats to "leverage" resources to force businesses and workers to participate in the system. However, a command economy must require (force?) participation.

The Local Workforce Boards are also given powerful positions overseeing and managing our new planned economy. Like the State Workforce Boards, their main job is to develop a local workforce 5-year plan. But the law says the governor must approve the local plan. In this structure does the governor have the power to give special attention in the plan to those businessmen who donated generously to his campaign? Can he conveniently refuse to approve a plan that allocates funds and resources to businessmen who opposed him?

Beyond the potentially abusive power this gives the governor, the local five-year plan must be consistent with the state five-year plan, which as already mentioned, must be consistent with the national plan. What happens to free enterprise and the small businessmen under these "cookie cutter" plans? How can a fee market system exist under America's new nationally controlled and planned economy? [It cannot.]

This law also mandates in that these local Workforce Boards provide a plan that includes "local and current projected" job needs. These boards will predict (guess?) which jobs, the industries in their region, will have available five years (or more) into the future. These bureaucrats have the power to direct the (human) resources to those industries they decide are most important. Since the members of these boards are members of the business community, conflicts of interest seem inevitable.

The Local Workforce Board is allowed a decision-making role in the setting of job performance standards. Are these standards intended eventually to be requirements for receiving employment certificates? These bureaucrats are to "coordinate all local job training." Since the School-to-Work curricula in the high schools will be training the new workforce, there is a direct link through this "coordination" with the Local Workforce Boards. The Local Workforce Boards are given the mandate to "assess local youth activities." Will these "assessments" pressure the schools to produce the appropriate number of workers to fill the bureaucratic projections made in the state and regional plans? Will students be tracked into careers to meet these projections?

The chokehold of all this planned control is in the One-Stop Centers. The law says the Local Workforce Board can either be the One-Stop Center, or they can just control it. The One-Stop Center is the local job clearing house and training center. All jobs will be filled through this center. All job training will be controlled through this center. The One-Stop Center is intended to touch everyone---employed as well as the unemployed. Local control will not hinder the center's activities because the law stipulates that the center "shall participate with requirements of federal law." The One-Stop Centers are under national control. Will the National Workforce Board have the power to connect with and thus control every American worker through the One-Stop Centers?

"What we're into is the total restructuring of society ... What it means for education is that we no longer see the teaching of facts and information as the primary outcome of education." (Dr. Shirley McCune, U.S. Department of Education Mid-Continental Regional Education Laboratory)

This is America's new command economy.
This is not the Founders' America.
This is not the America We-The-People want.

Our Founding Fathers gave us a Constitutional Republic. In the Constitution they authorized only 20 functions of the Federal government. Education was not delegated to the Federal government; it was to be a function of the state government or of the People. Changing this nation from a Constitutional Republic to a "Top down managed economy" (social democracy) without just consent of the governed, in our opinion, is unconstitutional.

From The Declaration of Independence 'Reasons': For taking away our charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments: ... For suspending our own Legislatures and declaring themselves with Power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever."

The founders of our nation fought and died to give us the constitutional republic. Our republic has produced an economy that has made our citizens the most free and prosperous of any people in the history of the world. The Workforce Investment Act is in the process of dismantling all of that liberty and prosperity. We strongly oppose its reauthorization.

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