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Mr. BUCSHON. Madam Chair, we are here today to discuss the positive reforms within the SKILLS Act. Our Nation's current job training system is broken. The SKILLS Act will give state and local governments more flexibility by consolidating 35 existing federal employment and training programs into a single Workforce Investment Fund. This will end the long line of bureaucratic red tape, lower costs, and increase the representation of employers on local workforce boards.
I have received numerous letters from Hoosier small business owners asking me to support the SKILLS Act. The reason? This bill unites the local small business community by enhancing their involvement in career development programs, closing the skills gap, and providing more job opportunities in this struggling economy, which saw the GDP decline in the fourth quarter of 2012.
Our founding fathers believed that reducing the size and scope of the federal government and restoring power back to the states and this bill matches that theme.
The Indiana Department of Workforce Development echoes our message that states need the flexibility to rein in bureaucracy and provide our workers with a more dynamic, flexible, and efficient network of job training services. Currently, Indiana uses their funds on programs like: A youth summer program that combines in-the-class training and internships, or the state funded Western Governors University ..... Indiana's nursing program. These programs apply funding where it is needed most--helping Hoosiers find jobs.
These are just a few, in a long line, of positive impacts upon which the SKILLS Act could improve. Empowering state governors to consolidate additional employment and training programs and services at the state level provides the flexibility that governors need to distinguish well planned and broad reaching initiatives that are best for their states.
The SKILLS Act helps put Americans back to work. I, and the majority of the members of the Education and Workforce committee, stand committed to advance job training reforms that are fiscally responsible and produce a positive ``return on investment'' of taxpayer dollars. Walking out, as the minority chose to do during our committee markup, simply casts a cold shoulder on much needed reform in our workforce training programs. I urge my colleagues to support the SKILLS Act, to give hardworking Americans the training and education they so badly need.
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