WASHINGTON D.C.(WTVB) - Branch County is part of an increasing trend in Michigan and the U.S that finds millions of job openings around the nation unfilled as millions more right now are unemployed and trying to find work.
Seventh District Michigan Congressman Tim Walberg voted Friday for legislation to streamline the current maze of federal job-training programs in order to provide American workers with a more effective network of job training services. Walberg says while taxpayers spend roughly $18 billion each year on a myriad of federal job-training programs, many workers are not acquiring the critical skills needed to fill in-demand jobs. Supporters say the Supporting Knowledge and Investing in Lifelong Skills or SKILLS Act ,in part, eliminates and streamlines 35 ineffective and duplicative federal programs and creates a flexible Workforce Investment Fund to serve as a single source of support for workers, employers, and job seekers.
The bill passed the House Friday by a bipartisan vote of 215 to 202 and now awaits consideration in the Senate. In addition to consolidating federal job-training programs, the SKILLS Act requires states to reserve a certain percentage of funds to specifically target individuals with unique barriers to finding employment, such as at-risk youth and low-income workers. The legislation also eliminates 19 federal mandates regarding the makeup of local Workforce Investment Boards and ensures that two-thirds of state and local board members are employers, the end-user of the job-training system.