WILKES-BARRE, PA | March 21, 2011 -
Good morning, and welcome to our first field hearing of the 112th Congress. It is good to be here in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania with Representative Barletta. Thank you all for coming, and special thanks to our two panels of witnesses. We appreciate you taking the time to join us today, and we look forward to your testimony.
Our nation faces many challenges today. With unemployment still hovering around 9 percent and more than 13 million out of work, the American people have made jobs their number one priority. Immediate solutions are required, but we must also look to the future to ensure tomorrow’s workers can lead in a global economy and are prepared to weather future economic downturns.
When you scratch beneath the surface, you discover education is a jobs issue. It is no secret our current education system is failing. We all know the statistics of high school and college dropouts and test scores that leave students unprepared to tackle the challenges they will confront both in the classroom and in the workplace.
As we work to improve the nation’s education system and foster a growing economy, it is more important than ever to hear from folks on the ground about the challenges and opportunities they see in our schools and workforce. That’s why we’re here today.
We want to learn about the policies that may be standing in the way of job creation, right here in Wilkes-Barre. We want to hear your thoughts on encouraging academic success in our classrooms, and get your ideas on how we can work together – on the local, state, and federal levels – to reinvigorate the American spirit of innovation and prepare the students of today to succeed in the workforce of tomorrow.
Again, we are grateful to our panels for participating in today’s hearing, and I’m looking forward to getting this discussion underway. I also want to thank my committee colleague Lou Barletta for his gracious invitation to hold a field hearing here in his district.