News Releases

Murray Introduces Landmark Legislation to Prepare Students for the Challenges of the Global Workforce

Jul 29 2009

Landmark workforce bill will authorize new grant program to support local partnerships that give students the skills needed to fill local family-wage jobs

(Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), a senior member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, introduced major legislation to help state and regional leaders increase graduation rates and prepare America’s next generation of highly skilled workers. The landmark legislation – The Providing Innovation to 21st Century Careers Act - provides federal funding to communities that build coalitions between employers, schools, workforce experts, and others to give students skills to succeed in school and careers in high-demand industries.

“This is about closing the skills gap between what students have and what employers need,” said Senator Murray. “Right now we are at a crossroads.  Drop-out rates are up, unemployment is up and the high-wage, high-skilled jobs of the future are going unfilled.  Now is the time to work together to find new solutions that will not only benefit both our kids and our schools but also our economy in the long-run. That’s why I have introduced legislation that will bring together employers, schools, workforce and economic development experts, labor and more to develop ways to help students get the skills and credentials they need for family-wage careers in their regions. In an increasingly global and dynamic economy, a skilled, prepared workforce is more important than ever.”

The legislation Senator Murray introduced is a direct result of her discussions with employers, teachers and students, and workforce experts in various regions of Washington state over the last two years. In addition to national experts, Senator Murray has reached out to regional skill centers, labor leaders, schools as well as leaders in industries like health care, construction, aerospace, energy, and more.  Many employers have told Senator Murray that when they have high-skill jobs to fill they can’t find local candidates with the skills needed to fill them.

The Promoting Innovations to 21st Century Careers Act helps address critical education and workforce needs with:

  • New Resources - Establishes $912 million in federal competitive grants that can be used by state and regional partnerships to help students move from high school, to a wide array of post-secondary education options, to skilled careers.
  • Strong Partnerships - Requires state and regional partnerships applying for funding to include representatives from high schools, post-secondary education, businesses, labor, workforce, and economic development.
  • Supporting Innovations - Encourages state and regional partnerships to develop career pathways for high school students that include counseling, mentoring, work-based experiences, and support to obtain degrees, apprenticeships, and other postsecondary credentials.
  • Real Accountability –Incorporates measures to evaluate success of state and regional efforts including reports to Congress.

Bill Summary  | Q & ASupporters