Rep. Tom Reed voted Friday in support of the Supporting Knowledge and Investing in Lifelong Skills (SKILLS) Act, which aims to strengthen the workforce development system by streamlining 35 ineffective and redundant programs.
"The SKILLS Act continues our focus on jobs, training and workforce development, and the need to rein in bureaucracy," said Reed. "This doesn't just help those who are unemployed, but also the underemployed and those who will need new skills down the road in order to keep up with new developments for America's future workforce."
Although more than 12 million Americans are out of work, 3.6 million job openings remain unfilled -- largely due to a skills gap. In addition to streamlining programs, the SKILLS Act creates one Workforce Investment Fund to serve as a single source of support for workers, employers, and job seekers.
The federal government currently operates more than 50 different job training programs at an annual cost of $18 billion.
"Even with billions of taxpayer dollars being spent each year in federal job training programs, employers are still having trouble finding workers with the skill set necessary to fill in-demand jobs. As we continue to struggle with high unemployment and unsustainable debt, this is a common-sense bill to use taxpayer dollars more wisely and make sure money is being spent on actual job training."
Community colleges will also be better served by the SKILLS Act. "We're starting to see our community colleges doing some great work with public-private partnerships and this bill aims to grow these initiatives and remove any barriers the current federal programs have placed on the system," Reed said.