January 28, 2021
WASHINGTON – Today, House Committee on Education and Labor Chairman Robert C. “Bobby” Scott (VA-03), incoming Senate HELP Committee Chair Patty Murray (D-WA), Congressman Andy Levin (MI-09), Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici (OR-01), Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA), and Senator Tina Smith (D-MN) introduced legislation to invest $15 billion in our nation’s workforce training system, which will help support millions of workers who have lost their jobs or are under-employed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Relaunching America’s Workforce Act authorizes funding to provide essential career services and help workers attain additional skills and credentials as the economy emerges from its deepest decline since the Great Depression.
The Relaunching America’s Workforce Act expands support for dislocated workers and funds layoff aversion strategies to help employers keep workers on the job. The bill invests in workforce training programs to help workers improve their skills and transition into new jobs in high-demand industries, including the health care, manufacturing, and infrastructure sectors. The legislation also restarts a successful grant program supporting partnerships between community colleges and employers, which was implemented during the Great Recession to help workers learn skills for in-demand jobs.
The U.S. economy lost more than 22 million jobs at the height of the COVID-19-induced recession last year. Research suggests 7 million of these jobs will not come back. This unemployment crisis has dramatically increased the need for training, career navigation, and other services that support dislocated workers and employers who are looking to keep workers employed. Yet, Congress has invested only $345 million in workforce development to address this crisis, compared to the nearly $6 billion it appropriated for the public workforce system to respond to the Great Recession.