Washington, D.C. – Senator Tim Scott (R-SC) called on President Barack Obama and Democratic Senate leaders to support an up-or-down vote on the SKILLS Act following the president’s support for high-quality workforce training in last night’s State of the Union address. Senator Scott introduced the SKILLS Act earlier this month as part of his Opportunity Agenda to create greater possibilities for success for American students, workers, and families.
“The easiest way to put Americans to work is to make sure they’re able to compete for jobs that are already available,” Scott Said. “Unfortunately, our workforce training and development system falls short, even though millions of jobs could be filled today if workers had the necessary skills. Last night, President Obama called for a major workforce training effort, and I couldn’t agree more. I hope the president will encourage Senator Reid to bring the SKILLS Act to an up-or-down vote in the Senate so we can move forward with making sure American workers get the training they need to get back to work.”
The SKILLS Act provides sorely-needed reforms for the government’s bureaucratic maze of workforce development and training programs. The legislation specifically aims to help low-income workers, individuals with disabilities looking for work, and at-risk youth by:
- Making job training more immediately available.
- Making the workforce investment system more responsive to the needs of employers.
- Streamlining 35 separate federal workforce development programs into a single Workforce Investment Fund.
In last night’s State of the Union address, the president called for a major effort to enhance the nation’s workforce development systems to train and match skilled workers with available jobs:
“I’ve asked Vice President Biden to lead an across-the-board reform of America’s training programs to make sure they have one mission: train Americans with the skills employers need, and match them to good jobs that need to be filled right now…And if Congress wants to help, you can concentrate funding on proven programs that connect more ready-to-work Americans with ready-to-be-filled jobs.”
“The SKILLS Act will help to ensure that training programs are doing what they’re designed to do by creating opportunities for American workers while eliminating duplication and waste,” Scott added. “This bill is a winner for workers, employers, and taxpayers.”
A version of the SKILLS Act, introduced by Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC), has already been passed by the House of Representatives.