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Public Statements

Providing for Consideration of H.R. 803, Supporting Knowledge and Investing in Lifelong Skills Act

Floor Speech

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Mr. MESSER. I thank the gentlelady from North Carolina. Thank you for your hard work on this very important bill.

I rise today in support of the rule to H.R. 803, the SKILLS Act. This critically important legislation, introduced by Dr. Foxx, will reform and strengthen our Nation's workforce investment system.

Back where I come from in Indiana's Sixth Congressional District, the number one issue is jobs. Though there are 12 million Americans looking for work, most folks would be surprised to know that 3.6 million jobs are unfilled simply because prospective employees lack the necessary knowledge and training needed for that job. The SKILLS Act works to address this problem.

Folks in my district are tired of the failed Obama economy. Too many times parents have had to come home and tell their children that they've lost their job and they don't know how they're going to pay their bills, or send them to college, or get their car fixed. Too many times in recent years young people have been unable to find a job--or at least find a good-paying job that lets them start their journey of life.

Unfortunately, our Nation's job-training system has been failing these hardworking taxpayers. The more than 50 separate programs offered under the current system costs taxpayers $18 billion annually. Most of these programs are duplicative and not as effective as they should be. This has led to taxpayer dollars being wasted, employers being unable to hire adequately trained workers, and workers not getting the skills they need to succeed.

We must do better. The SKILLS Act will eliminate and streamline 35 ineffective and redundant programs to ensure workers are getting the skills they need to fill available jobs. The SKILLS Act will eliminate wasteful duplication and empower State leaders, local elected officials, and job creators to make the necessary decisions to ensure workers receive training for jobs in high demand. This bill will guarantee job creators a stronger role in workforce development decisions and ensure taxpayer dollars aren't wasted on broken bureaucracies. Most importantly, these changes will help workers find good-paying jobs.

Mr. Speaker, the SKILLS Act strengthens our workforce investment system, provides smart stewardship of taxpayer dollars, and gives us the opportunity to do better right now. I urge my colleagues to support this rule and the underlying bill.

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