Today, Senator Joe Donnelly joined Sens. Kay Hagan (D-NC) and Dean Heller (R-NV) in introducing common sense, revenue-neutral legislation designed to help close the "skills gap," which results in an estimated 600,000 American jobs currently going unfilled because employers cannot find workers with the skills they need. The bipartisan AMERICA Works Act would modify existing federal training programs so that they place a priority on programs and certifications that are recognized and demanded by industry.
"I am proud to join Sens. Hagan and Heller in introducing The AMERICA Works Act because it is an example of the common sense, straightforward work Congress can be doing to improve our nation's economy," said Donnelly. "I have heard time after time from Hoosier business owners, educators, and workers about the pressing need to close the skills gap and get more people to work. The improvements made in this bill would be a benefit for both workers and employers, as workers would know that the time they spend training is more likely to lead to employment in a well-paying job, and employers would be more likely to hire people who they know have the training they need to be productive on day one."
Senator Hagan said, "As we work to get our economy back on track, we have to ensure that job training translates into real-world job readiness. Employers across North Carolina tell me that there is often a disconnect between the skills held by job seekers and the skills they need in potential employees. The AMERICA Works Act goes right to the core of this issue by ensuring that job-training programs actually prepare people to enter the workforce -- in industries ranging from manufacturing to biotechnology. This bill doesn't add one dime to our deficit and, it is the kind of commonsense jobs approach that can bring Democrats and Republicans together. In this economy, no family should struggle to make ends meet while employers struggle to fill open jobs."
Senator Heller said, "At a time when so many Nevadans are looking for jobs, no position should remain empty. The AMERICA Works Act will help employers find employees with the right skill set for the job. I've had many conversations with Nevadans who are having a difficult time finding well-suited workers, but this legislation is a step in the right direction towards solving such an unnecessary problem. I'm proud to take the lead on this bipartisan jobs bill with Senators Hagan and Donnelly."
Estimates by the Manufacturing Institute and Deliotte indicate there are as many as 600,000 job openings in the country that remain unfilled because employers are not able to find workers with the necessary skills. To address this issue while not increasing federal spending, The AMERICA Works Act would modify the Workforce Investment Act, Perkins Career and Technical Education, and Trade Adjustment Assistance to prioritize the credentials that employers need now.
Senator Donnelly recently toured several communities in Indiana discussing his support for The AMERICA Works Act and other efforts to close the skills gap and put more Hoosiers back to work. To read about his discussions with employers, educators, workers and students, click here.