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LEP Workers & Access to Workforce Services: Barriers & Prospects under WIA Reauthorization

Posted by migrationpolicy on September 21st, 2011

Current negotiations over reauthorization of the Workforce Investment Act of 1998 (WIA) come at a critical moment for immigrant and Limited English Proficient (LEP) workers. They and their current and future employers have a large stake in these negotiations, given the wide range of labor supply and skill mismatches that employers rely on immigrants to meet across the United States. Further, the predominance of immigrants and their children among new, young, and future US workers and the weak response thus far of the WIA-funded training system to the needs of these increasingly diverse and multilingual workers necessitates a concerted re-examination of the WIA system. The extent to which changes to the WIA system take account of these important demographic and economic trends and address the needs of immigrant-origin and LEP workers in particular will strongly affect the law's ability to support our country's future economic success.

There is broad consensus that LEP workers of varying educational backgrounds and levels of English proficiency and vocational skills are underserved by WIA's training services as a result of the law's structure. While community-based organizations have filled some gaps in services for LEP individuals and immigrant workers, the current reauthorization debate presents an opportunity for analysts, workforce services professionals, and community stakeholders to consider how to redesign the WIA system and its investments in these important segments of the US workforce. On this webinar, experts discuss barriers immigrant and LEP individuals face in accessing the WIA system, how a revitalized WIA could address these barriers, and the extent to which the current Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee's WIA reauthorization proposal addresses these barriers.

View the PowerPoint presentation here.

This webinar is part of Migration Policy Institute's National Center on Immigrant Integration Policy (NCIIP) Language Access Webinar Series.

Speakers are:

  • Amanda Bergson-Shilcock, Director of Outreach and Program Evaluation, Welcoming Center for New Pennsylvanians
  • Emma Oppenheim, Manager, Workforce Development Policy Initiatives, National Council of La Raza
  • Gabriela Lemus, Senior Advisor and Director, Office of Public Engagement, US Department of Labor

Also of interest: Taking Limited English Proficient Adults into Account in the Federal Adult Education Funding Formula, and Immigrants and Welfare: The Impact of Welfare Reform on America’s Newcomers

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