Representatives Matt Cartwright (D-Lackawanna) and Mike Fitzpatrick (R-Bucks) have introduced a piece of bipartisan legislation that would help shrink the gap between employers’ requirements for high-skilled jobs and the skillsets of job applicants.
The bill is called the Skills Gap Strategy Act of 2014 and it would work alongside the Department of Labor to increase the amount of on-site job training and apprenticeships to help create more qualified employees for high-level manufacturing positions that need to be filled.
“We must train Americans for the jobs that are available,” said Cartwright. “Therefore, it is imperative that the federal government work with the private sector to identify and eliminate the national skills gap so that no job remains unfilled. This legislation would require the federal government to develop recommendations that increase training and educational opportunities while utilizing existing resources. This is the key to our continued economic recovery and to putting Americans back to work.”
Fitzpatrick mirrored Cartwright’s sentiments.
“At a time when millions of Americans are struggling to find work, it’s staggering to think that there are good paying jobs going unfilled,” he said. “But that’s the sad reality right now because of a ‘skills gap.’ As I visit businesses across Bucks and Montgomery counties I’m constantly hearing about the need for trained, high-skilled workers. This bipartisan bill presents a path forward toward addressing why the ‘skills gap’ exists and what we can be doing to close it – ensuring we’re preparing the next generation of American workers for the jobs of today.”
The legislation reports that there are more than 600,000 high-skilled manufacturing jobs that go unfilled each year due to a lack of trained applicants. The Skills Gap Strategy Act would unite private sector employers with government resources to help fund and promote training that benefits both the employer and the prospective employees.
The bill is identical to one that was introduced in the Senate by Senators Joe Donnelly (D-Indiana) and Dean Heller (R-Nevada).
“I am pleased Congressman Matt Cartwright (D-PA) and Congressman Mike Fitzpatrick (R-PA) introduced the Skills Gap Strategy Act in the House, which is identical to my bipartisan legislation in the Senate with Senator Heller, because it would help close the skills gap,” said Donnelly. “Many middle-skilled and high-skilled jobs are being left unfilled because employers cannot find workers with the skills they need. This legislation would require the Department of Labor to examine how we can more effectively use existing resources to prioritize training and education programs to better prepare America’s workforce.”
The bill embodies President Barack Obama’s recent efforts to increase the amount of apprenticeships and on-the-job training programs. The president recently spoke at West Hills Center of CCAC on the subject, applauding the schools efforts to connect employers with job-prepared students.