Bad Bill of the Week –  HB 55: Confusing Activity with Results?

In Home, News by wp_sysadmin

This week’s bad bill of the week award is given to HB 55 – “An act relating to allocations of funding for the Alaska Workforce Investment Board (AWIB); and providing for an effective date.”

This bill is meant to extend, for 5 years, the allocation of Technical Vocational Education Program (TVEP) funds* which are received by AWIB and distributed to 10 designated educational/training institutions.

You’d be hard pressed to find an Alaskan who doesn’t support continued and increased investment in efforts to recruit and train a qualified workforce. All across the state, Alaska’s businesses are facing significant challenges to find qualified workers.

It isn’t allocating training funds to specific institutions that makes the bill bad, rather, a recent audit of the program indicating that the funds allocated are not being used effectively to address Alaska’s technical and vocational education needs.

In fact, the audit identified the following issues:

  • TVEP is not operating as originally intended
  • TVEP’s funding structure limits its ability to meet Alaska’s technical and vocational education needs
  • Performance metrices outlined in statutes are not used to direct funding decisions or evaluate program outcomes
  • Training providers were not given a fair opportunity to receive TVEP funding, and
  • TVEP training providers were subject to limited accountability and oversight procedures

The audit went on to recommend that the legislature repeal the current statute and allow TVEP funding to be awarded via a competitive grant process.

As the state legislature appropriates funds for technical and vocational education, it is critical that every dollar spent produces meaningful results – Alaskans who can be hired by Alaska businesses for Alaska jobs.

*Employee unemployment taxes pay for TVEP – .16% of Alaskan employees’ unemployment taxes are diverted into a sub fund of the State’s general fund.