MIL-OSI USA: Courtney Helps Pass Bill to Grow Eastern Connecticut’s Skilled Workforce by Investing in Successful Skills Training Programs

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Source: United States House of Representatives – Congressman Joe Courtney (2nd District of Connecticut)

May 17, 2022

Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC—Today, Congressman Joe Courtney (CT-02) voted to pass the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) of 2022 (H.R. 7309)—a bill to reauthorize the backbone of America’s workforce development system. Passage of WIOA in the House comes at an important time for eastern Connecticut: as reported in the Journal Inquirer, eastern Connecticut is growing faster in manufacturing than any other part of the state, and employers are seeking even more qualified candidates to keep up with all the work opportunity. WIOA supports America’s workforce development system, and it’s had immense success in eastern Connecticut—the Eastern Connecticut Workforce Investment Board (EWIB), which operates the renowned Manufacturing Pipeline Initiative (MPI), is mandated and funded through WIOA. H.R. 7309 would provide resources to grow and expand successful programs like the MPI and others over the next six years.

The previous authorization for WIOA expired in 2020, and since then the demands on our federal workforce development system have grown significantly. Right now there are nearly two job openings for every job seeker, but employers in sectors from health care to IT to American manufacturing say they can’t find workers with the right skills for these jobs. WIOA would significantly increase the funding available so workforce boards can reach more job seekers and connect them with these opportunities and the skills development they need to thrive. Expanding these programs will offer more Americans the chance to train for high-skill, high-pay careers, will provide employers with a deeper pool of qualified candidates, and will help increase supplies and lower costs nationwide. Rep. Courtney is an original co-sponsor of H.R. 7309, which passed the House today by a margin of 220-196.

“We need to be focused on matching workers with the skills they need to fill the millions of open positions within industries experiencing supply chain disruptions—including the 100,000 job openings in oil production as gas prices hover at record highs,” said Congressman Courtney. “Our workforce training programs can do that, but not if we don’t invest to keep them dynamic and growing. WIOA-funded programs like the EWIB Manufacturing Pipeline have already helped bring about the renaissance we’ve seen in eastern Connecticut’s manufacturing sector, but we need a bill that meets the moment. There are currently over 700 job openings at Electric Boat, and I hear the same refrain from many of our local manufacturers that we need an even larger skilled workforce to keep up with work opportunities. Federally funded, locally driven programs like the MPI are exactly what we need to grow our skilled workforce, increase supplies, and lower costs, and WIOA will help them grow to provide training opportunities to even more Americans. On behalf of our local manufacturers, and for workers in eastern Connecticut seeking new opportunities, I was proud to pass this bill. The Senate should waste no time in sending our bill to the President’s desk for signature.”

The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act of 2022 reauthorizes and strengthens our nation’s workforce development system. The bill:

  • Fully funds WIOA programs by authorizing roughly $80 billion over six years, which will allow the workforce system to train one million workers per year by 2028;
  • Establishes a permanent Department of Labor program to help individuals released from incarceration transition back to employment and access sustainable career pathways;
  • Expands summer and year-round jobs programs for youth;
  • Strengthens the quality of the Job Corps program;
  • Codifies partnerships between employers and community colleges to provide high-quality job training;
  • Strengthens industry and sector partnerships to better meet the needs of both employers and job seekers; and
  • Provides funding for innovative approaches to workforce development.
     

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