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HAGAN INTRODUCES AMERICA WORKS ACT

Bill will help displaced workers find jobs.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Senator Kay R. Hagan (D-NC) is today introducing the AMERICA Works Act, which will create a commonsense system to help displaced workers find jobs.

"There are nearly 15 million Americans out of work, including 475,000 North Carolinians," Hagan said. "My number one priority is jobs, jobs, jobs, and we need to ensure that job training programs in this country actually prepare people to enter the workforce. The problem now is the disconnect that often exists between job-training programs and the needs of local employers. This legislation will ensure job training programs prepare workers to quickly find jobs, which will strengthen our economy."

The AMERICA Works Act will encourage national industries - such as construction, automotive and aerospace - to come together and agree upon the skill sets necessary for employees. When the industries have agreed upon standards, curriculums will be developed for training programs that will offer industry-recognized credentials. When workers have earned an industry-recognized credential, they will be qualified for employment in any state. This credential does not require the cost or time commitment of a two-year degree program; however, the training will count toward a degree.

This no-cost legislation, which is supported by the National Association of Manufacturers, incentivizes existing federal job training programs to implement the new, industry-recognized credential system. These existing programs are included under the Workforce Investment Act, the Perkins Vocation-Technical Education Act, and Trade Adjustment Assistance.

"The federal government invests billions of dollars each year in workforce training programs and needs to better align education and training to the needs of employers," said NAM President John Engler. "This legislation recognizes that the solution is to prioritize education and training funding for skills credentials."


"I will be working with my colleagues this year to advance this jobs bill in Congress," Hagan said. "In this tough economy, the need for educational institutions, local employers and workforce boards to work together has become increasingly clear in North Carolina and across the country."

North Carolina's Forsyth Technical Community College is one of four colleges in the country that was selected by the Manufacturing Institute, a manufacturing organization, to implement a job-training program that issues nationally recognized credentials. This is the model for the AMERICA Works Act.

North Carolina has spent years refining a career-ready certificate program, and had issued 53,000 certificates. Of the state's 58 community colleges, 57 offer these certificates. The AMERICA Works bill will nationalize this type of NC program so workers can be job-ready anywhere in the United States.

The bill will be referred to the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, on which Hagan sits.

For a summary of Senator Hagan's jobs bill click here.

 

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