Workforce skill shortages have grabbed the attention of both sides of the aisle in Congress. Today, Sen. Rob Portman (OH-R) and Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO) introduced a bill they hope will better align federal workforce training programs with the skilled labor demands of businesses. The Careers Through Responsive, Efficient and Effective Retraining (CAREER) Act will help connect the job seekers with federally funded skills training programs . In a press release, both Portman and Bennet acknowledged that businesses in their state are struggling to find workers with the right skills:
“Right now, as unemployment remains too high for comfort, there are over 400,000 people in Ohio looking for work, yet employers are looking to fill over 100,000 open positions at their companies,” said Portman. “Unfortunately, the federal government’s many job training programs are failing to equip participants with the skills they need to acquire jobs.”
One of the main objectives of the CAREER Act is to cut through the staggering redundancy, red tape and inefficiency of the current job training system. According to a recent report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO), the federal job training system is in a hot mess and in desperate need of reform.
The CAREER Act would improve the efficiency and effectiveness of federal job training, without decreasing services or accessibility to services, including for the workers who need these programs the most. To that end, the purpose of the CAREER Act is four-fold: (1) reorganize the federal government’s programs to make them more efficient; (2) give community colleges, career tech institutions and other key educators priority access to dollars for training that equips workers with the credentials that are in-demand by industry (a recommendation of the President’s own Job Council); (3) introduce much-needed accountability to job training through a pay-for-performance pilot program that rewards results and penalizes complacency; and (4) provide states and local stakeholders with access to the data they need to track the impact of their programs.
The bill has been referred to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions. Read more about the CAREER Act here