Federal job training programs will see their biggest overhaul in 16 years after President Obama put his signature Tuesday on a law intended to streamline a tangled web of programs.
It's the first major rewrite of federal job training programs since Congress passed the Workforce Development Act in 1998 — when Netscape was the Web browser of choice, résumés were on paper and largely sent in the mail and newspaper want ads were the primary way of learning of job openings.
"Even back then, even in 1998, our economy was changing," Obama said. "The notion that a high school education could get you a good job and that you'd keep that job until retirement wasn't a reality for the majority of people."
The 1998 law was scheduled to be renewed in 2003. Since then, government auditors have found a sprawling network of overlapping and duplicate job training programs. As of 2011, the federal government spent $18 billion a year on 47 separate job training programs run by nine different agencies, according to the Government Accountability Office.