Loebsack Reintroduces Legislation to Promote Job Creation and Grow Local Industries
Mar 29, 2011 -
WASHINGTON, DC—Today, Congressman Dave Loebsack and Congressman Todd Russell Platts (R-PA) reintroduced the bipartisan Strengthening Employment Clusters to Organize Regional Success (SECTORS) Act, which passed the House of Representatives unanimously last year. The SECTORS Act will support “sector” or “industry partnerships”, which allow businesses, unions, educators, and the public workforce development system to develop and implement plans that help workers train for and advance in high-demand and emerging industries. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Senator Olympia Snowe (R-ME) have introduced a companion bill in the Senate.
“In order to further our economic recovery, we need to start building things in America again by supporting our country’s strength—the American people,” said Loebsack. “The SECTORS bill is a game changer. By connecting educators, workers and industry leaders we can match workers’ skills and training programs with the needs of domestic industries looking to hire, expand or start-up. Focusing on workforce development is critical to creating and saving jobs, reinvigorating our manufacturing base and paving the way for the industries of tomorrow, right here at home.”
Middle skill jobs, which require more than a high-school education, but less than a four-year degree, make up the largest part of America’s workforce. Unfortunately, despite unacceptably high unemployment rates, industries crucial to our nation’s economy—such as the manufacturing, information technology, healthcare, and renewable energy industries—often have difficulty finding sufficiently trained workers.
The SECTORS bill will create partnerships for leaders and industries at the local level. SECTORS includes grants that will allow the partners to address training needs of multiple employers, help postsecondary educational institutions and other training providers align curricula and programs to meet industry demands, and improve workers’ job quality through improving wages, benefits, and working conditions while also encouraging the creation, and obtaining of, nationally portable, industry-recognized credentials. It will also help businesses and industries recruit new workers, retrain dislocated and current workers, adopt new technologies, and strengthen connections among businesses in the targeted industry cluster.
“It is more important than ever to invest federal dollars in efficient, cost-effective strategies with proven results,” said Andy Van Kleunen, Executive Director for National Skills Coalition. “While some policymakers in Washington have turned their backs on America’s workers and industries by calling for the elimination of federal workforce funding, Congressman Loebsack has instead called for better, more effective approaches to training our workforce. We applaud his leadership in championing solutions that will enable our education and training institutions to better meet the needs of regional industries and provide pathways to good jobs for unemployed Americans.”
“In these tough economic times we need to make sure we are doing all we can to increase the skills of our talented workforce, connect workers with emerging industries, and help ensure America remains at the forefront of manufacturing and other growing and emerging industries. My legislation passed the House of Representatives unanimously last year, and I believe this bill is important for job creation and our continued economic growth,” added Loebsack.
The SECTORS Act is supported by workforce and vocational organizations, manufacturing associations, colleges and universities, businesses, chambers of commerce, and training and human services organizations across the country.