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Mon August 5, 2013
Sen. Hagan Introduces Bill to Address Job Skills Gap
North Carolina Senator Kay Hagan, introduced the America Works Act with bipartisan co-sponsors. She says a recent study that found 67% of US manufactureres report a shortage of available, qualified workers, which reflected what she sees in her state.
"I introduced this act after hearing from business owners across North Carolina, who told me they had open positions but they couldn't find workers with the right skills to fill those jobs. I hear this all the time as I travel around our great state."
Hagan says the bill doesn't add a dime to the deficit. Instead, it changes the way existing funds are allocated to training programs under the Workforce Investment Act Reauthorization, which a house committee approved last week by a vote of 18 to 3.
The WIA funds a nationwide system of One Stop training centers that provide placement and job training services. The America Works Act is part of the WIA Reauthorization bill, and would allow operators of One Stop centers to prioritize funding for training for jobs that are available locally in their communities right now.
Hagan says the national program in the bill is modeled on the successful partnerships that have evolved between industry and community colleges in North Carolina. She says it would take the guessing game out of hiring. Kip Blakely who runs TIMCO in North Carolina, concurs. He says the aviation company would greatly benefit from the bill's passage because there would be more qualified workers to fill job openings, and with more filled positions, he says his company could expand.
The WIA became law in 1998. Hagan says she's optimistic that the Senate has a good shot at passing the bill, however the WIA has not been reauthorized since 2003.