Washington, D.C. – A job is more than just making money and cashing a paycheck. It’s about finding a purpose and building a life. More importantly, it’s an integral part of the American dream: The idea that, with hard work, anyone can start from the ground up to create a better life for themselves, their children, and their grandchildren. America is the best in the world – bar none – at providing the opportunities that make that dream possible.
Sadly, times have been hard. Many American workers are being left behind as current education and training programs fail to equip them with the skills they need. Too often, there aren’t always enough jobs for those who need and want them. And even worse, there are jobs, but not enough people with the expertise required to fill them. Clearly, we need to offer better solutions to fill the skills gap.
Building on President Trump’s “Expanding Apprenticeships in America” executive order, this week, the House advanced several bills to empower Americans to enter and scale the workforce. By closing the skills gap and making the right kind of training and education available and competitive, we will expand opportunities for all. That doesn’t mean that a four-year college is the right choice for everyone. Instead, we’ve refocused our attention on vocational and technical education to encourage apprenticeships and hands-on learning.
We need to empower our state and local leaders – who better understand the needs of their own communities than faceless Washington bureaucrats – by easing stringent regulations and allowing them the flexibility to make the right decisions for themselves. We need to bridge the gap between welfare and work to more effectively fight poverty for this generation and the next.
H.R. 2353, the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act, reauthorizes the Perkins Act and provides additional monetary support to state and local career and technical education programs to arm students with the tools to compete for and succeed in high-skilled, in-demand careers. H.R. 2842, the Accelerating Individuals into the Workforce Act, facilitates local partnerships between businesses and agencies to incentivize the hiring of recipients of the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program.
These are just a few of the first steps necessary toward getting government out of the way so that everyday Americans can succeed. Putting hardworking people back in the driver’s seat and allowing them the flexibility and opportunity to make decisions that work best for them is a priority for all of us in Congress, and I’m heartened that President Trump is placing a big emphasis on workforce development.