The Manufacturing Jobs for America campaign, helmed by U.S. Senator Chris Coons (D-Del.), has announced that the U.S. Senate has approved bipartisan legislation that will strengthen the nation’s manufacturing workforce training programs and help fill the skills gap that many manufacturers are coming up against. The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) eliminates 15 unnecessary programs and includes five skills-training provisions from Coons’ Manufacturing Jobs for America campaign to help prepare the current workforce for the high-technology manufacturing jobs of today.
The Senate approved the bill by a vote of 95-3. The three dissenting voters were Thomas Coburn (R-Okla.), Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Ron Johnson (R-Wis.). The bill will soon head to the House of Representatives for approval.
In a statement, Senator Coons said, “America’s manufacturing sector helped build our nation’s middle class, but the advanced manufacturing jobs of today require higher-skilled workers than ever before. We have to align our workforce development programs with the needs of America’s manufacturers, and the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act takes important steps to do just that.”
The five skills-training provisions from the Manufacturing Jobs for America campaign include:
The Adult Education and Economic Growth Act (S. 1400) would increase investment in adult education via expanded access to technology and literacy skills for adult learners. State workforce development systems would be more deeply integrated with adult education.
The America Works Act (S. 453) seeks to prioritize federal funding for job training programs that offer portable, national and industry-recognized credentials. In theory, this would promote job-training programs that match with the needs of local employers, with the aim of improving employment prospects.
The On-the-Job Training Act (S. 1227) requires state workforce investment boards to disseminate information about on-the-job training opportunities and to boost incentives for employers to participate in these programs.
The SECTORS Act (S. 1226) requires state and local workforce investment boards to establish sector-based partnerships between employers, educators, and local workforce administrators to train workers.
And finally, the Community College to Career Fund (S. 1269), which aims to create partnerships between businesses and schools that facilitate effective job training.
Coons added: “This bill invests in local and regional partnerships that will ensure schools across the country are training workers to fill available jobs. The bill also streamlines and eliminates unnecessary programs to ensure investments are focused on the most effective initiatives. I’m glad the Senate has come together to invest in middle class workers and I urge my colleagues in the House to quickly approve this important legislation.”
Learn more about the bill at GovTrack.us.