Earlier this week the U.S. House Committee on Education and the Workforce held its first Full Committee Hearing of the 113th Congress entitled "Challenges and Opportunities Facing America's Schools and Workplaces".
The hearing covered a wide array of topics and interests expressed by both the Committee Members and the four panelists. A common theme which surfaced was a clear indication that both Republicans and Democrats, and their invited witnesses, are very concerned with how the Committee can inspire and support economic recovery and job growth through education.
Key takeaways included:
• Clear indications that one of the first major bills the Committee will take up will be the long-overdue consideration and re-write of the Workforce Investment Act – legislation marked-up by the House in the last Congress, but not completed;
• That in the context of WIA Reauthorization, as well as other legislation, concerns over how best to use minimal federal resources, what can be done to reduce rising costs of education at all levels, and what types of regulatory reforms might be beneficial to promote innovation;
• And especially within the context of higher education, there is a growing concern with college cost, student indebtedness, and the ability to repay loans which permeates the discussion regardless of who is involved in the discussion – Members of Congress, Governors, State Secretaries' of Education, or head of major business organizations.
For those of you who wish to delve deeper into the prepared remarks from the witnesses or view the hearing in its entirety today's proceedings can be at http://edworkforce.house.gov/calendar/eventsingle.aspx?EventID=318334