[Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: William J. Clinton (1998, Book I)]
[May 5, 1998]
[Page 693]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office www.gpo.gov]

Statement on Senate Action on Job Training Reform Legislation
May 5, 1998

    More than 3 years ago, I proposed my ``GI bill'' for America's 
workers to reform our employment and training system for the 21st-
century economy. Today I am very pleased that the Senate passed--with 
overwhelming bipartisan support--legislation that incorporates the 
principles articulated in my original proposal. This legislation reforms 
our job training system so that it works better for America's workers 
and is more responsive to today's rapidly changing economy. I 
particularly thank Senators Jeffords, 
Kennedy, DeWine, 
and Wellstone for their hard work at getting 
this legislation passed.
    This legislation will fundamentally reform our workforce development 
system by empowering Americans to gain new skills with a simple skill 
grant. It also consolidates the tangle of training programs; creates a 
network of One-Stop Career Centers; increases accountability to ensure 
results; allows States and communities to tailor programs to locally 
determined needs; and ensures that business, labor, and community 
organizations are full partners in system design and quality assurance. 
It targets vocational and adult education funds to educational agencies 
and institutions with the greatest need and to activities that promote 
program quality. It improves the vocational rehabilitation program by 
streamlining eligibility determination, improving State planning, and 
strengthening program accountability. And it includes the Youth 
Opportunity Areas initiative--which was funded in last year's 
appropriations process--that will create jobs and opportunity for out-
of-school youth in high-poverty areas.
    While I have outstanding concerns with both the Senate- and House-
passed versions of this legislation, I am confident our differences can 
be resolved quickly in conference. I urge Congress to continue to work 
in a bipartisan manner and finish the job of reforming our job training 
system by early this summer.