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Statement from Congresswoman Sewell on Her Opposition to the SKILLS Act


Location: Washington, DC

Today, Congresswoman Terri A. Sewell (AL-07) released the following statement after voting against H.R. 803, the SKILLS Act:

"Since its passage in 1998, the Workforce Investment Act has been critically important to providing workforce training to veterans, low-income adults, disadvantaged youth, the disabled community, older workers and women. While we need to strengthen existing programs that will prepare our workers for the jobs of today and tomorrow, the partisan House Republican SKILLS Act is not the answer. The bill I opposed does not adequately address the needs of today's workers and instead creates a one-size-fits-all approach. It would eliminate dedicated training funds for youth programs and silences the voices of unions and community-based organizations.

As an alternative, I supported H.R. 798, which improves the nation's workforce by strengthening existing workforce development programs by creating public-private partnerships with businesses, community colleges and non-profits.

I am committed to addressing the unemployment crisis in the 7th congressional district and I know that effective workforce development and skills training are a critical necessity. In fact, my office has launched a job readiness imitative, Project R.E.A.D.Y, throughout our district to promote public-private partnerships, career training and skills development. However, I believe that today's efforts by House Republicans undermine and limit the opportunities of our nation's workforce with ineffective legislation like the SKILLS Act. We must instead work together to pass bipartisan legislation that will streamline and improve coordination among training programs and supportive services, recognize and expand the essential role community colleges play in job training and improve access to education and training for individuals. That's why I plan to introduce the Workforce Development Tax Credit Act of 2013 that will incentivize companies to work with colleges to train and hire workers for middle and high-skilled 21st century manufacturing jobs."

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