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Moving in the Right Direction

Despite Job Openings, Skills Gap Slows Hiring

Republican legislation will help prepare workers for in-demand jobs

The Department of Labor this week announced nearly 4 million jobs remained vacant in March - roughly 172,000 more than were reported in February. The latest numbers confirm employers are ready to hire but struggle to find skilled workers. Echoing news reports from across the country, the Wall Street Journal states:

Economists and academics say the rise in job openings at a time when unemployment remains high could reflect employers having a hard time finding workers with the right skills. Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond President Jeffrey Lacker said Tuesday that the skills mismatch could lead the economy’s long-term, or natural, unemployment rate to be higher than what economists now project.

To help shrink the skills gap and strengthen our nation’s workforce, House Education and the Workforce Committee Republicans are advancing legislation to better connect workers with the education and training necessary to fill in-demand jobs. The Workforce Investment Improvement Act of 2012 will revamp the nation’s job training system by:

  • Consolidating and eliminating dozens of redundant job training programs and establishing one flexible Workforce Investment Fund, ensuring taxpayer dollars are not spent maintaining an inefficient bureaucracy but instead put toward supporting employers and job seekers.
  • Encouraging state and local leaders to identify in-demand industries and target resources to help reduce local skills gaps.
  • Empowering state governors to further consolidate programs and services at the state level, rooting out waste and improving support for workers.
  • Eliminating arbitrary road blocks that prevent workers from accessing job training immediately, and ensuring support is tailored to the specific needs of individual workers.
  • Guaranteeing job creators have a voice in development decisions by requiring two-thirds of workforce board members be employers.
  • Requiring state and local leaders to use a set of common performance measures to evaluate services offered to workers, improving accountability and protecting taxpayer dollars. 

 To learn more about the Workforce Investment Improvement Act of 2012 (H.R. 4297), click here.

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