JOBS: Senator Murray, Washington State Employment Center Director Examine Efforts to Create and Save Washington Jobs

Jan 21 2010

As Senate puts together job-creation bill, Murray stresses the importance of creating "career pathways" to give workers the skills they need to succeed

Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) took part in a hearing of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health, and Human Services (LHHS) focused on programs aimed at saving and creating jobs. This hearing comes as the Senate works to put together legislation in the coming months to help combat job loss, and one day after it was announced that the Washington state unemployment rate rose to 9.5%.

Murray discussed her bill, Promoting Innovations to 21st Century Careers, which would provide incentives for communities, employers and schools to work together and identify ways to open up “career pathways” that help our students get the knowledge and skills they need to succeed.

Listen to Senator Murray’s exchange with Governor Chet Culver on this issue.

“There is a disconnect between what employers need and the skills that many of our workers and students have,” said Senator Murray at the hearing. “One of the things we should focus on as we work to create jobs and get our economy back on track is ensuring that workers have the training they need to fill jobs. Bringing together private employers and local communities to talk about the kinds of jobs available is the best way to create economic opportunities in the future.”

Marlena Sessions, CEO of the Workforce Development Council of Seattle testified at the hearing about job programs that have worked locally - including youth employment efforts - and what more can be done to help. The hearing was an effort to implement successful strategies and lessons from the Recovery Act into any new legislation.

Listen to Senator Murray's introduction of Marlena Sessions

“It is critically important for our economy and our well-being as a country that we continue to invest in skill training, in K-12 education that is the foundation of further education and training, and in targeted subsidies that encourage employers to open their doors to new hires,” said Marlena Sessions.  “We know that skill training and job creation go hand in hand. I hope you will agree, as you hear from businesses and individuals and organizations throughout the country, that we must continue to invest in the skills of our workforce; in incentives like on-the-job training that encourage employers to hire; and in work experience that our young people need in order to continue learning and earning throughout their lives.”

Listen to Marlena Session's full opening testimony

Listen to Senator Murray question Marlena Sessions about how employers benefit from workforce development and the summer jobs program.

In December 2009, Senator Murray introduced new summer jobs legislation that would create 450,000 temporary jobs and training opportunities for economically disadvantaged youth across the country. Murray’s bill, the "Youth Jobs Act of 2010," would provide $1.5 billion through the Workforce Investment Act to stimulate local economies by building on and expanding the highly successful Recovery Act youth employment program.