| Home > 106th Congressional Bills > S. 264 (is) To increase the Federal medical assistance percentage for Hawaii to 59.8 percent. [Introduced in Senate] ...
S. 264 (is) To increase the Federal medical assistance percentage for Hawaii to 59.8 percent. [Introduced in Senate] ...
108th CONGRESS 2d Session S. 2649 To amend the Workforce Investment Act of 1998 to authorize the Secretary of Labor to provide for 5-year pilot projects to establish a system of industry-validated national certifications of skills in high- technology industries and a cross-disciplinary national certification of skills in homeland security technology. _______________________________________________________________________ IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES July 13, 2004 Mr. Bingaman introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions _______________________________________________________________________ A BILL To amend the Workforce Investment Act of 1998 to authorize the Secretary of Labor to provide for 5-year pilot projects to establish a system of industry-validated national certifications of skills in high- technology industries and a cross-disciplinary national certification of skills in homeland security technology. Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE. This Act may be cited as the ``Workforce Investment for Next- Generation Technologies Act'' or the ``WING Act''. SEC. 2. FINDINGS. Congress finds the following: (1) Science- and technology-based industries have been and will continue to be engines of United States economic growth and national security. (2) The United States faces great challenges in the global economy from nations with highly trained technical workforces. (3) Occupations requiring technical and scientific training are projected to grow rapidly over the next decade, at 3 times the rate of all occupations (according to Science & Engineering Indicators, 2002). (4) The need for trained technology workers in national security fields has increased as a result of the events of September 11, 2001. (5) National certification systems are well established and accepted in fields such as health and information technology and have succeeded in attracting more workers into those fields. (6) Business and workers could both be well served by expanding the certification concept to other high technology industries. (7) National certification systems allow workers to develop skills transportable to other States in response to layoffs and other economic changes. (8) National certification systems facilitate interstate comparisons of education and training programs and help identify best practices and reduce cost and development redundancies. (9) National certification systems promote quality and encourage educational institutions to modernize programs to ensure graduates pass industry-required exams. (10) National certification based on industry-validated skill standards introduces stricter accountability for technical and vocational education programs. (11) Certification signals value to employers and increases applicants' employability. (12) Certification offers a planned skill development route into employment or professional advancement for working adults and displaced workers. (13) The National Science Foundation's Advanced Technological Education Program, authorized by Congress in 1992, has created national centers of excellence at community colleges that have established unique linkages with industry to prepare individuals for the technical workforce under the program. (14) The Advanced Technological Education Program should be expanded to all institutions of higher education, as the Nation should invest more resources in training and education programs that are responsive to marketplace needs. (15) The one-stop delivery systems authorized under the Workforce Investment Act of 1998 have proved to be effective providers of information and resources for job seekers. (16) The one-stop delivery systems offer special opportunities for directing displaced workers to certification programs that build skills for technical fields where rewarding jobs are plentiful. SEC. 3. PURPOSES. The purposes of this Act are as follows: (1) To increase the numbers of workers educated for employment in high technology industries. (2) To align the technical and vocational programs of educational institutions with the workforce needs of high- growth, next generation industries. (3) To offer individuals expanded opportunities for rapid training and retraining in portable skills needed to keep and change jobs in a volatile economy. (4) To provide United States businesses with adequate numbers of skilled technical workers. (5) To encourage a student's or worker's progress toward an advanced degree while providing training, education, and useful credentials for workforce entry or reentry. SEC. 4. SKILL CERTIFICATION PILOT PROJECTS. Section 171 of the Workforce Investment Act of 1998 (29 U.S.C. 2916) is amended by adding at the end the following: ``(e) Skill Certification Pilot Projects.-- ``(1) Pilot projects.--In accordance with subsection (b), the Secretary of Labor shall establish and carry out not more than 20 pilot projects to establish a system of industry- validated national certifications of skills, including-- ``(A) not more than 16 national certifications of skills in high-technology industries, including biotechnology, telecommunications, highly automated manufacturing (including semiconductors), advanced materials technology, nanotechnology, and energy technology (including technology relating to next- generation lighting); and ``(B) not more than 4 cross-disciplinary national certifications of skills in homeland security technology. ``(2) Grants to eligible entities.--In carrying out the pilot projects, the Secretary of Labor shall make grants to eligible entities, for periods of not less than 36 months and not more than 48 months, to carry out the authorized activities described in paragraph (7) with respect to the certifications described in paragraph (1). ``(3) Eligible entities.-- ``(A) Definition of eligible entity.--In this subsection, the term `eligible entity' means an entity that shall include as a principal participant one or more of the following: ``(i) An institution of higher education (as defined in section 101 or 102 of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 1001, 1002)). ``(ii) An advanced technology education center. ``(iii) A local workforce investment board. ``(iv) A representative of a business in a target industry for the certification involved. ``(v) A representative of an industry association, labor organization, or community development organization. ``(B) History of demonstrated capability required.--To be eligible to receive a grant under this subsection, an eligible entity shall have a history of demonstrated capability for effective collaboration with industry on workforce development activities that is consistent with the goals of this Act. ``(4) Applications.--To be eligible to receive a grant under this subsection, an eligible entity shall submit an application to the Secretary of Labor at such time, in such manner, and containing such information as the Secretary may require. ``(5) -Criteria.--The Secretary of Labor shall establish criteria, consistent with paragraph (6), for awarding grants under this subsection. ``(6) Priority.--In selecting eligible entities to receive grants under this subsection, the Secretary of Labor shall give priority to eligible entities that demonstrate the availability of and ability to provide matching funds from industry or nonprofit sources. Such matching funds may be provided in cash or in kind. ``(7) Authorized activities.-- ``(A) In general.--An eligible entity that receives a grant under this subsection shall use the funds made available through the grant-- ``(i) to establish certification requirements for a certification described in paragraph (1) for an industry; ``(ii) to develop and initiate a certification program that includes preparatory courses, course materials, procedures, and examinations, for the certification; and ``(iii) to collect and analyze data related to the program at the program's completion, and to identify best practices (consistent with paragraph (8)) that may be used by local and State workforce investment boards in the future. ``(B) Basis for requirements.--The certification requirements shall be based on applicable skill standards for the industry involved that have been developed by or linked to national centers of excellence under the National Science Foundation's Advanced Technological Education Program. The requirements shall require an individual to demonstrate an identifiable set of competencies relevant to the industry in order to receive certification. The requirements shall be designed to provide evidence of a transferable skill set that allows flexibility and mobility of workers within a high technology industry. ``(C) Relationship to training and education programs.--The eligible entity shall ensure that-- ``(i) a training and education program related to competencies for the industry involved, that is flexible in mode and timeframe for delivery and that meets the needs of those seeking the certification, is offered; and ``(ii) the certification program is offered at the completion of the training and education program. ``(D) Relationship to the associate degree.--The eligible entity shall ensure that the certification program is consistent with the requirements for a 2- year associate degree. ``(E) Availability.--The eligible entity shall ensure that the certification program is open to students pursuing associate degrees, employed workers, and displaced workers. ``(8) Consultation.--The Secretary of Labor shall consult with the Director of the National Science Foundation and the Secretary of Education to ensure that the pilot projects build on the expertise and information about best practices gained through the implementation of the National Science Foundation's Advanced Technological Education Program. ``(9) Core components; guidelines; reports.--After collecting and analyzing the data obtained from the pilot programs, the Secretary of Labor shall-- ``(A) establish the core components of a model high-technology certification program; ``(B) establish guidelines to assure development of a uniform set of standards and policies for such programs; ``(C) submit and prepare a report on the pilot projects to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions of the Senate and the Committee on Education and the Workforce of the House of Representatives; and ``(D) make available to the public both the data and the report. ``(10) Authorization of appropriations.--In addition to amounts authorized to be appropriated under section 174(b), there is authorized to be appropriated $60,000,000 for fiscal year 2005 to carry out this subsection.''. <all>
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