… But Hails Vouchers for Job Training

Published September 1, 1998

President Bill Clinton has heartily endorsed a new system of funding for federal job-training programs, whereby workers eligible for the funds are given vouchers and permitted to choose their own training programs. Job-training funds have traditionally gone to local committees and agencies, which establish training classes.

Since labeling the Workforce Investment Act vouchers by their real name would be politically incorrect for a Democrat, the President refers to them as “skill grants.” Senate Republicans call them “individual training accounts.”

“Almost every American has more than enough sense to decide what is in his or her best interests given a little helpful advice on the available alternatives,” said the President at an August 7 Rose Garden ceremony, where he signed the new Act.

Recognizing that information on alternatives is an essential companion to choice, the new jobs-training bill requires training institutions to produce consumer guides to training programs–report cards showing how many students take specific courses, how many finish, how many get jobs, and what they earn as a result. School choice proponents termed the Act’s similarities to education vouchers, rejected by the President on many occasions, “ironic.”