(Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) questioned President-elect Obama’s nominee for Secretary of Education on ways to get students the skills needed to secure thriving family-wage jobs in Washington state and across the nation. Today’s discussion is part of Murray’s efforts to close the skills gap between student preparation and employer needs. Central to that effort is Senator Murray’s Promoting Innovations to 21st Century Careers legislation which will be reintroduced this Congress. Murray’s legislation provides incentives for communities, employers, and schools to work together and create innovative ways to get our students the knowledge and skills they need to succeed in the 21st century economy.
“When I travel around my state, business leaders and local community leaders tell me that we have job openings, we have people who are unemployed, but we don’t have the skill set matches,” Senator Murray said at today’s hearing. “Making sure that we empower our local communities to provide a pathway for all of our students to the careers of tomorrow… is extremely important.”
Secretary-Designate Duncan agreed with Senator Murray’s assessment of the skills gap and pledged to work to address this challenge.
“So much of this is that there’s been a disconnect between educators and the business community,” said Secretary-Designate Duncan. “There are jobs going unfulfilled because we are not preparing students, and yet we struggle with unemployment rates. We need to really be working in partnership in helping to prepare our students for 21st century skills. I think we have a moral obligation to do that. “