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S. 264 (is) To increase the Federal medical assistance percentage for Hawaii to 59.8 percent. [Introduced in Senate] ...

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  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.



                             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,


    This Act may be cited as the ``Workforce Investment for Next-
Generation Technologies Act'' or the ``WING Act''.


    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 
            (6) Business and workers could both be well served by 
        expanding the certification concept to other high technology 
            (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 
            (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 
            (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.


    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.


    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 
            ``(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 
                            ``(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 
            ``(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 
                    ``(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; 
                            ``(ii) the certification program is offered 
                        at the completion of the training and education 
                    ``(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 
                    ``(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.''.

Pages: 1

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