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From Capitol to Campus

In May, NEA President Dennis van Roekel helped lead a discussion with key U.S. Senators and other education and workforce experts on how best to ensure that our nation is successfully preparing the workforce of the 21st century.

The discussion, convened by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), included Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), who will spearhead Senate workforce legislation during this Congress, along with several other senators.

The meeting was related to the reauthorization of the Workforce Investment Act (WIA), a law created in 1998 when Congress combined the Job Training Partnership Act, the Vocational Rehabilitation Act, and the Adult Education and Literacy Act. WIA has not been reauthorized since 1998. NEA is participating in the reauthorization process with an eye toward supporting community college efforts to provide workforce education, as well as efforts to help youth complete high school.

President Van Roekel spoke of education as a seamless web, noting that NEA’s members span the broad spectrum of education, and that each plays a role in workforce preparedness.

The membership ranges from childcare providers who care for future generations of workers to elementary and secondary educators who provide the fundamentals so students can think and problem-solve, as well as explore career and education options for their futures, and to community college and university professors who help students gain the knowledge and skills they need to enter the workforce.

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