U.S. Congressman Brad Schneider (IL-10) continued his tour of local businesses this week, visiting three local manufacturing facilities and discussing his first bill--the AMERICA Works Act--and how it can help bridge the growing skills gap impacting local manufacturers.
"Many of our local employers are concerned that an aging workforce and a lack of qualified new applicants will hamper their future growth, which is at the heart of why I introduced the AMERICA Works Act," Schneider said. "The bipartisan legislation will help to bridge this skills gap and train workers so they are ready to perform the jobs employers are looking to fill."
"Manufacturers in our area--especially small, family-owned manufacturers like us--face a unique set of challenges and depend on having employees who are capable of operating machinery that requires a great deal of skill," said Brian Panek, Vice President of Panek Precision. "It meant a lot to have Congressman Schneider tour our facility and discuss our business's future and initiatives like the AMERICA Works Act."
Representatives from the Tooling & Manufacturing Association also joined Schneider for part of the tour.
"The highly-skilled companies that make up the Tooling & Manufacturing Association depend on having an abundance of trained people ready to work in fields like advanced metalworking or plastic molding, but the current shortage of qualified candidates threatens to slow innovation and production," said Zach Mottl,TMA Vice Chairman. "Congressman Schneider's AMERICA Works Act is an important step toward boosting this skilled workforce and maintaining American manufacturing excellence."
During his first local business tour in January, Schneider repeatedly heard about the lack of skilled workers and the growing dependence on sophisticated manufacturing in our economy, which inspired him to introduce H.R. 497, the AMERICA Works Act. The bill focuses on bringing educators and manufacturers together to design and prioritize in-demand training programs. The AMERICA Works Act has no cost but uses existing dollars already appropriated for federal job training programs in a more efficient way.