WASHINGTON, D.C. — Despite failing to get the bill out of committee during the 112th Congress, Sen. Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., isn’t giving up on the AMERICA Works Act.
The act would mandate the U.S. Department of Labor to put together a skills registry that would allow employers to list skills needed to fill open positions, and it would award federal funds to schools to teach those needed skills.
“I toured 18 Indiana communities over four days last month and I listened to Hoosier employers,” Donnelly said in a press release. “They told me they are struggling to find workers who have the training they need. As our economy recovers, we must prioritize the right types of training and education programs available for Hoosiers to fill these jobs.”
Donnelly, along with Rep. Todd Platts, R-Pa., sponsored a version of the bill when he was a member of the House of Representatives during the 112th Congress, but it died in committee. Donnelly has vowed to work with Sen. Kay Hagan, D-N.C., to build bipartisan support for a Senate version of the bill.
The bill would direct the use of public funds for designated programs in the Carl D. Perkins Vocational-Technical Education Act, Trade Adjustment Assistance and the Workforce Investment Act, or WiA, to develop necessary skills, and amends all three to give priority to training programs resulting in nationally portable, industry recognized credentials, according to the National Association of Manufacturers, which supports the bill.
“Prioritizing nationally portable, industry-recognized credentials allows younger workers to know which credentials prepare them for entry-level jobs across the industry and ensures transitioning workers are focusing their training on filling skills gaps to help transition quickly to new jobs,” the NAM claims on its website.
Ivy Tech Community College also supports the legislation.