Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis testified today before the House Education and the Workforce Committee emphasizing efforts that she and the Obama administration are taking to improve employment opportunities and ensure that all Americans can benefit from the economic recovery.
"At stake is the very survival of the basic American promise that if you work hard, you can do well enough to raise a family, own a home and put enough away for retirement," said Sec. Solis. "The best way to continue moving our nation forward is to work with Congress in a bipartisan manner to support meaningful policies that help our economy grow."
While the 2008 Wall Street financial scandals and subsequent recession resulted in the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, the economy is headed in the right direction. There have been 24 straight months of private sector job creation culminating in 3.9 million new jobs. Despite the good news, Democrats agreed with Secretary Solis that more needs to be done and urged Congress and the Obama administration to work together to continue to grow the economy.
"Economists from across the ideological spectrum agree: Bold action laid the groundwork for the economic recovery. By working together for the good of the economy, we stopped the hemorrhaging and laid the tracks for a return to economic growth," said Rep. George Miller (D-CA), the senior Democrat on the committee. "While we are headed in the right direction, more work remains to be done if we want to fully rebuild our middle class economy and reignite the American Dream."
Miller and other members including Reps. Ruben Hinojosa and John Tierney pointed out the need to work together to reform and modernize the Workforce Investment Act in order to better align education and training programs so that workers have the skills for in-demand careers. Yesterday, the lawmakers introduced the Workforce Investment Act of 2012 (H.R. 4227), legislation to strengthen the existing system by streamlining and increasing access to training, promoting innovation, and ensuring accountability and transparency.
"The Democratic bill develops a 21st century delivery system for workforce training and adult education that leads to career pathways, increased educational and workforce training opportunities and economic self-sufficiency for our nation's workers," said Rep. Hinojosa.
Rather than modernizing the Workforce Investment Act to meet the needs of workers and businesses looking for qualified employees today, House Republicans are instead pushing forward on a budget proposal that would cut back these important services.