Wednesday night, the Senate passed a resolution introduced by U.S. Senators Todd Young (R-Ind.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Tim Scott (R-S.C.), and Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) recognizing September 2022 as National Workforce Development Month.
“Americans know that, in order to compete on the global stage, we must train our workers for the jobs of tomorrow. By investing in workforce training, we are investing in ourselves,” said Senator Young. “This resolution highlights the importance of workforce development in providing a pathway to a meaningful career and a chance to live the American Dream.”
“From clean energy and advanced manufacturing to sustainable agriculture and innovative technology, we need to ensure that the American workforce is ready to meet the challenges of the 21st century economy,” said Senator Feinstein. “Our resolution recognizes the vital role workforce development plays in growing America’s next generation of workers as well as supporting the advancement of current professionals looking for new employment opportunities.”
In addition to Senators Young, Feinstein, Scott, and Baldwin the resolution is also cosponsored by Senators Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), Bob Casey (D-Pa.), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.), Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Mike Braun (R-Ind.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Alex Padilla (D-Calif.), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), Christopher Coons (D-Del.), Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), Ben Ray Lujan (D-N.M.), John Hickenlooper (D-Colo.), Gary Peters (D-Mich.), Tina Smith (D-Minn.), Mark Kelly (D-Ariz.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.), and Christopher Murphy (D-Conn.).
Full text of the resolution is available here and below:
Designating September 2022 as “National Workforce Development Month”.
Whereas investment in the education, training, and career advancement of the workforce in the United States, known as “workforce development”, is crucial to the ability of the United States to compete in the global economy;
Whereas collaboration among Governors, local governments, State and local education, workforce, and human services agencies, community colleges, local businesses, employment service providers, community-based organizations, and workforce development boards provides for long-term, sustainable, and successful workforce development across traditional sectors and emerging industries;
Whereas the number of jobs that require more than a high school diploma but not a 4-year degree is projected to increase by roughly 23 percent by 2030.
Whereas 76 percent of business leaders say greater investment in skills training would help their businesses;
Whereas in 2021, a record 47.4 million Americans quit their jobs, many of whom did so to try to improve their employment situation.
Whereas, as of July 2022 in the United States—
(1) roughly 5,700,000 individuals are unemployed;
(2) unemployment rates for Black and Hispanic adults are well above the unemployment rates for White adults;
(3) workers without postsecondary education and training are more likely to be unemployed;
(4) more than half of the jobs lost due to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID–19) pandemic were by workers earning less than $40,000 per year; and
(5) according to a recent poll, 44 percent of U.S. workers said their current job may be at risk due to new developments in technology and automation, while 50 percent said they would retrain for a career in a different field or industry if they had the opportunity;
Whereas, in 2014, Congress reauthorized the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (29 U.S.C. 3101 et seq.) with overwhelming bipartisan support in recognition of the need to strengthen the focus of the United States on the skills necessary to effectively prepare individuals for employment in local and regional industries;
Whereas the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (29 U.S.C. 3101 et seq.) supports employment, training, and support services for individuals with barriers to employment, including—
(1) individuals who earn low incomes;
(2) individuals who are out of work, including the long-term unemployed;
(3) individuals displaced by outsourcing;
(4) individuals living in rural areas or areas with persistently high unemployment;
(5) individuals looking to learn new skills; and
(6) individuals with disabilities;
Whereas the more than 550 workforce development boards and 2,400 American Job Centers are a driving force behind growing regional economies by providing training, resources, and assistance to workers who aim to compete in the 21st century economy;
Whereas ongoing State and local implementation of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (29 U.S.C. 3101 et seq.) provides unprecedented opportunities to develop the skills of workers in the United States through access to effective, quality workforce education and training, including the development and delivery of proven strategies such as sector partnerships, career pathways, integrated education and training, work-based learning models, and paid internships;
Whereas, in 2022, programs authorized under the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (29 U.S.C. 3101 et seq.) are projected to serve more than 5000,000 young people and adults.
Whereas State programs established under the Wagner-Peyser Act (29 U.S.C. 49 et seq.)—
(1) ensured that nearly 2,500,000 workers, including more than 146,000 veterans and more than 120,000 individuals with disabilities, had access to career services virtually and through American Job Centers during the 2020 program year; and
(2) are a foundational part of the workforce development system;
Whereas community colleges and other workforce development training providers across the United States are well situated—
(1) to train the next generation of workers in the United States; and
(2) to address the educational challenges created by emerging industries and technological advancements;
Whereas participation in a career and technical education (referred to in this preamble as “CTE”) program decreases the risk of students dropping out of high school, and all 50 States and the District of Columbia report higher graduation rates for CTE students, as compared to other students;
Whereas community and technical colleges operate as open access institutions serving millions of students annually at a comparatively low cost;
Whereas the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (Public Law 115–224; 132 Stat. 1563) supports the development and implementation of high-quality CTE programs that—
(1) combine rigorous academic content with occupational skills; and
(2) serve approximately 12,300,000 high school and college students across the country;
Whereas there are nearly 600,000 registered apprentices in the United States, and there is growing and bipartisan support for expanding quality earn-and-learn strategies to help current and future workers gain skills and work experience;
Whereas the federally supported workforce system and partner programs—
(1) have helped rebuild the economy of the United States and provide increased economic opportunities; and
(2) provide a pathway into 21st century jobs that support families while ensuring that businesses in the United States find the skilled workforce needed to compete in the global economy; and
Whereas workforce development is crucial to sustaining economic security for workers in the United States: Now, therefore, be it
Resolved, That the Senate—
(1) designates September 2022 as “National Workforce Development Month”;
(2) supports Federal initiatives to promote workforce development; and
(3) acknowledges that workforce development plays a crucial role in supporting workers and growing the economy.