I am impressed by what I have seen here – especially the partnerships you have developed with the business community around your health care initiative. Helping people get skills and training -- while also addressing the labor shortages of the private sector --is exactly the kind of win-win effort I envision for our federal workforce system.
Helping our people train for good paying jobs in growth industries will have a ripple effect on our economy. It will help the whole community generate new economic activity and it will provide real futures for our young people trying to decide where to live and raise their families.
I want to thank the staff and your Executive Director, Colin Conant, for your hospitality and for the work you are doing to equip our workers with the skills they will need to secure and retain good jobs.
I know you are working hard and doing more with less. I also know you have successfully leveraged federal dollars by being responsive to the needs of our employer. I’m working to make sure you have the federal resources you will need to build on your successes.
I also want to commend each of you who are being trained for your courage and persistence. I know you’ve been dealt some tough cards by our economy with circumstances beyond your control. But we also know that there are jobs in certain growth industries in our state available for workers with the right skill sets; and I am encouraged to see that our public workforce system can provide the kinds of training opportunities to secure the jobs that will enable you to feed your families and put a roof over their heads.
I am here now because the effectiveness of these programs is being debated in Washington, DC. I need to hear from all of you whether or not these federal investments are making a difference for workers and employers.
As you know, we have been working on reauthorizing the Workforce Investment Act. Some Members of Congress do not see the value in the programs – but I do; and when I return to the Senate in September I want to be able to show the naysayers that what you are doing here is helping workers and employers stay competitive.
When I get back to Washington, DC, I am going to stand up and demand more money for workforce related programs. I ‘m going to propose an amendment on the Senate floor to provide
an additional $801 million for workforce training programs, including $150 million for critically needed One-Stop infrastructure funding. I know these programs can make a difference for our workers, employers and for the future economy of our state.
I hope we can continue to work as partners to ensure the federal government provides adequate resources for programs like workforce training that have impressive returns on our investments.