Rep. Erik Paulsen (MN-03) released the following statement following the passage of the bipartisan Supporting Knowledge and Investing in Lifelong Skills (SKILLS) Act. The legislation streamlines 35 ineffective and duplicative programs, including 27 identified by the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office (GAO) in a 2011 report. The plan eliminates bureaucracy and empowers job creators by creating an effective Workforce Investment Fund to serve as a single source for worker, employer, and job seeker support. The SKILLS Act also protects taxpayer dollars by requiring the independent evaluation of each training program every five years.
"Nearly 12 million Americans are unemployed and searching for work. Yet, 3.6 million jobs remain unfilled, and employers continue to struggle to find workers with the skills necessary to fill in-demand jobs. Also, $18 billion in taxpayer money is spent annually on federal job training programs, but only a fraction of workers receive and complete the training necessary to get a job.
"During his State of the Union address in 2012, President Obama recognized this problem and said he wanted to "cut through the maze of confusing [job] training programs" and create a single program for workers to find the help they need. The House has acted to achieve this goal by passing the SKILLS Act to reform job training programs. It empowers local employers, reins in burdensome regulations, and provides workers with more effective, dynamic, and flexible job training opportunities."
Paulsen, a champion of small business and advocate of free enterprise, entrepreneurship, and innovation, serves on the House Ways and Means Committee, the bicameral Joint Economic Committee, and is co-chair of the Congressional Medical Technology Caucus.