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Public Statements

Supporting Knowledge and Investing in Lifelong Skills Act

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mrs. ROBY. Madam Chair, I thank the gentleman.

I rise today in support of H.R. 803, the Supporting Knowledge and Investing in Lifelong Skills Act, of which I'm a proud cosponsor.

This bill reforms and streamlines our Nation's critical job-training programs.

Currently, over 30 different agencies are involved in workforce development or unemployment services. Why? Because Washington loves creating a bureaucracy, but rarely ever ends one.

The SKILLS Act changes that by consolidating these myriad departments into one workforce development platform tasked with equipping unemployed or underemployed workers with the skills that they need to land a good job.

This bill also enhances flexibility by giving States more authority to direct resources based on their individual needs. It empowers State workforce development agencies to collaborate more with community colleges by removing bureaucratic red tape. In addition, it repeals 19 Federal mandates that previously dictated who was even able to serve on these State workforce boards.

Also, I'm pleased that the legislation that we're debating today also reflects an amendment that I offered in the markup last week to strengthen the underlying bill. My colleagues accepted my amendment that prohibits any State or local agency from using Federal workforce funds authorized by the SKILLS Act to turn around and lobby for more funding or to engage in political activities.

We can all agree that Federal funds provided to State and local areas should be used to provide workers the training and support they need to find a job, especially when there are 12 million Americans searching for work.

Workforce development agencies need to be using precious Federal resources to help their unemployed workers land jobs, not to lobby Congress for more funds and certainly not to advance political beliefs.

I am proud to vote in favor of H.R. 803. I encourage my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to support this bill so we can streamline government spending, eliminate duplication, and allow States to build more effective workforce development programs.

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