America's job creators would get better access to skilled workers under legislation being advocated by U.S. Congressman Todd Platts (R-PA-19) for consideration in a post-election session of Congress. The American Manufacturing Efficiency and Retraining Investment Collaboration Achievement (AMERICA) Works Act (H.R. 1325), introduced by U.S. Congressman Joe Donnelly (D-IN-2) and Congressman Platts, would prioritize existing federal workforce training funds for programs that include skills credentials sought by American industries. Congressman Platts joined colleagues from both sides of the aisle in writing a letter this week to Speaker John Boehner, Majority Leader Eric Cantor, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, and Minority Whip Steny Hoyer asking that AMERICA Works be one of the first bills considered when Congress returns to session in November.
"Manufacturers throughout the 19th Congressional District regularly tell me that one of their top priorities is to have better access to skilled workers," said Congressman Platts. "Employers rely on a skilled workforce to drive innovation, increase productivity and remain competitive in a rapidly evolving global economy. Likewise, workers need technical skills to access new employment opportunities. This legislation allows us to more efficiently connect skilled job seekers with the employers who need them."
AMERICA Works would address this skills gap by directing federal training programs to place a priority on education and training that results in nationally portable and industry recognized credentials, so that workers can know they are learning skills demanded by industries and that employers can more easily identify needed talent. Each year, the federal government invests billions of dollars in workforce training programs with a limited impact. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has noted that the federal government currently operates 47 different job-training programs.
Supported by both Republicans and Democrats, H.R. 1325 does not increase federal spending, said Congressman Platts, it makes federal spending more efficient; it does not create new federal programs, it makes the programs more effective; and as a result, encourages increased employment in well-paying, domestic manufacturing jobs. This legislation passed the U.S. House of Representatives during the 111th Congress but was not considered by the U.S. Senate and has yet to receive a vote in the 112th Congress.