The federal government invests some $4 billion per year to maintain a public workforce development system that provides job search and training-related services to laid-off workers, disadvantaged adults, young people, Native Americans, ex-offenders and others. That system, established by the 1998 Workforce Investment Act, functions primarily through a network of about 3,000 One-Stop Career Centers staffed by public employees in most states.
These operations are overseen by local Workforce Investment Boards, which are made up of business leaders (by law, a majority of each board), labor union representatives (at least two per board), educators, local government officials and others from diverse segments of the community. The core Workforce Investment Act programs for adults, dislocated workers and youth served more than 8 million people in 2009. The AFL-CIO works with local labor board members, state Employment Security agencies, national and state policy organizations and members of Congress to help ensure that the voices of workers are heard in the formulation and implementation of policies and practices in the delivery of public job search, career counseling and skill training services.
Since the 1960s, the Trade Adjustment Assistance Program (TAA) has helped millions of trade-impacted workers who have lost their jobs through no fault of their own start a new chapter in the new economy by providing a path for employment growth and opportunity.