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Source: United States House of Representatives – Congresswoman Marcia Fudge (OH-11)

WASHINGTON –Today, Rep. Marcia L. Fudge (OH-11) joined House Committee on Education and Labor Chairman Robert C. “Bobby” Scott (VA-03) in introducing legislation to invest $15 billion in America’s workforce training infrastructure as well as career and technical education.  The Relaunching America’s Workforce Act authorizes funding to help workers sharpen their skills and quickly re-enter the workforce as the economy emerges from the deepest decline since the Great Depression.

In addition to Rep. Fudge, the House bill is co-led by Reps. Andy Levin (MI-09), Suzanne Bonamici (OR-01), Susan Davis (CA-53), Joaquin Castro (TX-20), Lucy McBath (GA-06), Susie Lee (NV-03), Haley Stevens (MI-11), and Joe Courtney (CT-02).

Companion legislation was introduced in the Senate by Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA).  The Senate bill is co-led by Sens. Tim Kaine (D-VA), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), and Tina Smith (D-MN).

“Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, more than 30 million Americans have filed for unemployment – a number that continues to grow each week,” said Congresswoman Fudge.  “As we take steps toward recovering from this unprecedented crisis, it is critical to expand and strengthen our workforce development and career and technical education systems to get people back to work.  The Relaunching America’s Workforce Act will assist the recently unemployed, provide career pathways for underrepresented youth, and ensure coordination between community colleges and industry.  I am proud to cosponsor this bill which will jumpstart the economy and provide workers with the skills they need to quickly re-enter the workforce.

“With millions of newly unemployed people looking for work, our nation’s workforce development system – which was already strained by chronic underinvestment – is facing an unprecedented test.  This proposal will give hard-hit states and localities the resources they need to immediately assist employers and workers during this pandemic,” Chairman Scott said.  “Providing additional resources to the nation’s workforce system now is a critical step in relaunching America’s workers and businesses as the nation begins to recover from the COVID-19 national emergency.  The Relaunching America’s Workforce Act is a desperately needed investment in workers, employers, and our economy.”

The Relaunching America’s Workforce Act increases support for layoff aversion strategies that allow employers to receive partial funding to keep workers on the payroll while employees improve their job skills through training.  The bill also restarts a grant program supporting partnerships between community colleges and industry, which was implemented during the Great Recession and is geared toward getting workers skills for in-demand jobs. 

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, more than 30 million Americans filed for unemployment in the last month, and millions more are likely to be laid off through July.  The unprecedented spike in unemployment is likely to significantly increase demand for workforce development services, including training, career navigation, and other services that support dislocated workers or employers looking to keep workers employed. 

The Relaunching America’s Workforce Act:

  • Provides over $10 billion to the state and local public workforce system by supporting dislocated workers, employers, youth and adults seeking jobs.  These funds will support workforce training activities, including career navigation services, access to online skills training and employment services, while prioritizing short-term training to health care and essential frontline workers;
  • Invests $1 billion in expanding the capacity of adult education providers across the U.S. to prioritize serving adults with low-literacy levels negatively impacted by the economic consequences of the COVID-19 national emergency;
  • Invests $1 billion in career and technical education to prepare students for careers in high-skill, high-wage or in-demand industry sectors and occupations; and
  • Invests $2 billion to restart the community college career training grant program initiated during the last recession to help employers find talent in their local area, and provide individuals pathways to high-skill, high-wage and in-demand employment opportunities.

The Relaunching America’s Workforce Act is endorsed by National Association of Workforce Boards, Jobs for the Future, Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP), Advance CTE, Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE), Association of Farmworker Opportunity Programs, National Association of Counties, National League of Cities, National Job Corps Association, National Network for Youth, and United States Conference of Mayors.

For a section-by-section of the Relaunching America’s Workforce Act, click here.

For the bill text of the Relaunching America’s Workforce Act, click here.