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Congressional Delegation Concludes Trip to Northern Europe with Stops in Finland, Estonia

House Education and the Workforce Committee Chairman John Kline (R-MN) and a bipartisan delegation of House members concluded a trip this week to Northern Europe. The purpose of the trip was to exchange ideas on ways to improve education and workforce competitiveness. Following earlier visits to Norway and Sweden, the congressional delegation participated in a number of meetings with senior government officials and education and business leaders in Finland and Estonia. Members of the congressional delegation reaffirmed the strong relationship between the United States and its transatlantic allies and discussed a broad range of policies affecting schools and workplaces.

Among other events in Finland and Estonia, the bipartisan congressional delegation met with:
  • Members of the Finnish parliament’s education committee. Members discussed with their Finnish counterparts a broad range of educational issues, including addressing the high number of students who drop out of school, improving the teacher training system, special education, and connecting education to the needs of the workforce.
  • Leaders at Aalto University and its design factory. The university strives to deliver to students an “innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem” to learn. Following a discussion on the university’s approach to education, members toured the “design factory.” Through the design factory, businesses, teachers, and researchers work together to provide students a place to freely innovate new technologies that, if successful, might be made available to consumers. 
  • Estonian Ministry of Education Secretary General, Janar Holm. Mr. Holm described the Estonian elementary and secondary education system, including details about the strong leadership at the municipal level. Members also broadly discussed with Mr. Holm Estonian policies governing vocational education and higher education.
  • Members of the American Chamber of Commerce in Estonia. Guests provided a brief overview of their particular businesses and described the ease with which individuals can start a business in Estonia. The guests also discussed the challenge they face finding skilled workers and the importance of advancing the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership.

The congressional delegation also met with Estonian Prime Minister Taavi Roivas and senior leaders in the Finnish and Estonian ministries of foreign affairs. These discussions focused on the significant concerns stemming from Russian aggression and provocation in the region, as well as the threat posed by Islamic extremism.

“We are deeply grateful to our transatlantic allies for their warm hospitality,” said Chairman Kline. “We learned a lot in a few short days, and I know what we’ve learned will help our ongoing efforts to improve education and workforce competiveness. Just as importantly, I hope our bipartisan congressional delegation has helped to strengthen the relationship between the United States and these key allies.

Meeting with Estonian Prime Minister, Taavi Roivas.


Meeting with members of Finland's parliament serving on the education committee.


The bipartisan delegation includes the following members:

  • Rep. John Kline (R-MN), chairman of the Committee on Education and the Workforce and member of the Committee on Armed Services;
  • Rep. Tom Price (R-GA), chairman of the Committee on the Budget and member of the Committee on Ways and Means;
  • Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC), Secretary of the Republican Conference, member of the Education and the Workforce Committee, chairwoman of the Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Training, and member of the Committee on Rules;
  • Rep. Tim Walberg (R-MI), member of the Education and the Workforce Committee, chairman of the Subcommittee on Workforce Protections, and member of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform;
  • Rep. Randy Hultgren (R-IL), member of the Committee on Financial Services and the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology;
  • Rep. Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR), member of the Committee on Education and the Workforce, member of the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, and ranking member of the Subcommittee on the Environment; and
  • Rep. Rick Allen (R-GA), member of the Committee on Education and the Workforce and Committee on Agriculture.

To see more pictures of the delegation’s visit to Finland and Estonia, click here.

To learn about the delegation’s visit to Norway and Sweden, click here.

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