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Business Roundtable: Welfare Reform Should Include Focus on Education, Training

Business Roundtable President Testifies at House Ways and Means Hearing

Washington — Congressional efforts to reauthorize welfare reform should include a major emphasis on education and workforce training, Business Roundtable President John Engler testified today at a House Ways and Means Committee hearing.

As Governor of Michigan and Chairman of the National Governors Association, Engler last testified to Congress on welfare reform in 2002, saying its success depended on the federal government setting broad policy goals while allowing states to determine the best program for their citizens.

“Back then, education and job training were critical,” Engler said. “Today, our high-tech economy has raised the stakes,” he said at the hearing, “Moving America’s Families Forward: Setting Priorities for Reducing Poverty and Expanding Opportunity.”

“Congress should insist on metrics and data transparency to evaluate which programs should be continued, consolidated or eliminated.”

He also identified real-time labor market data as critical to helping people determine the best education and training programs to help them find and keep employment.

Engler stated his belief that not everyone needs to go to college to be successful: “Everyone can aspire to go to college if they wish, but they should choose with the knowledge that it is increasingly likely the job market of the 21st century will be shifting to focus more on competencies than degrees. Credentials will reflect what you have mastered rather than where or what you studied.”

Engler’s full testimony is available online at Business Roundtable here.

Earlier this year, Business Roundtable released a plan for stronger economic growth and job creation. For more information on our plan to create more momentum for America, see