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Supporting Knowledge and Investing in Lifelong Skills Act

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. HECK of Nevada. Madam Chair, I thank my colleague, Ms. Foxx, for her leadership in bringing this important bill to the floor. I was pleased to work with Ms. Foxx and Mr. McKeon in the last Congress on similar legislation, and I've enjoyed working with my colleagues on this bill.

I rise in support of the SKILLS Act because back in my district, the biggest concerns of my constituents are still jobs and the economy. Southern Nevada was hit hard by the recession due to our economy relying heavily on the travel and tourism industries and the construction industry. We lost a lot of jobs in those sectors, and, in fact, unemployment is just under 10 percent in our State today.

Madam Chair, the SKILLS Act is exactly what southern Nevada needs to foster our recovery. Our State is identifying and attracting new, in-demand industries that will come to Nevada and create jobs and economic opportunities. Now we need to train our workers to do these jobs, the jobs that do and will exist, not the jobs that did exist. The SKILLS Act will help us do that because it strengthens the role of employers in workforce development decisions by requiring that two-thirds of the workforce board members be local employers, and focuses training on in-demand occupations.

The SKILLS Act will also improve job-training programs by eliminating and streamlining 35 ineffective and duplicative programs, and creating a flexible workforce investment fund to serve as a single source of support for workers, employers, and job seekers. To think that our State and local elected leaders are not concerned with helping all of their unemployed, whether they be victims of domestic violence, veterans, those unable to complete high school, or the single mom, is a slap in the face to those local elected leaders, elected by their constituents.

Finally, the SKILLS Act increases accountability and transparency for workforce investment boards and their performance measures, ensuring taxpayer dollars are spent responsibly. The SKILLS Act will certainly improve workforce development efforts across the country, getting more Nevadans and more Americans connected with the jobs of today and the jobs of tomorrow, not the jobs of yesterday. I urge my colleagues to support this important legislation.

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