Washington, D.C. – Senator Joe Donnelly (D-IN) and Senator Dean Heller (R-NV) today introduced the Skills Gap Strategy Act, legislation that would help employers identify, train, and hire workers with the skills to fill existing job openings in Indiana, Nevada, and across the country. It is estimated that up to 600,000 middle-skilled and high-skilled manufacturing jobs are left unfilled due to an undertrained workforce.
Senator Donnelly said, “In order for every Hoosier who wants a job to have a job and for Indiana’s economy to continue to grow, we must train Hoosiers for the jobs that are available. I’m proud to introduce this bill alongside Senator Heller that would examine how we can better use existing resources to prioritize training and education programs and prepare our workforce to hit the ground running on day one.”
Senator Heller said, “At a time when Nevada leads the nation in unemployment, Nevadans simply cannot afford for jobs to remain empty. This bill will help employers looking for workers find individuals with the right skill set. I have spoken with many Nevadans who are seeking employment and Nevadans who are struggling to find the right person for the job. I believe this legislation can help them and others across the country, which is why I’m pleased to work with Senator Donnelly to solve such a fixable problem.”
The Skills Gap Strategy Act would direct the Secretary of Labor to develop a strategy to help close the “skills gap” by increasing on-the-job training and apprenticeship opportunities. It would encourage the Department of Labor to develop plans in consultation with the Departments of Commerce and Education to increase employer participation in education and workforce training. Recognizing current budgetary constraints, the bill asks the Department of Labor to focus on solutions that utilize existing resources, programs, and personnel. Closing the skills gap must be an employer-driven effort, but the federal government can help.
Many middle-skilled and high-skilled jobs are being left unfilled because employers say they struggle to find workers with the skills needed. The Department of Labor estimates that there are 3.9 million job openings in the U.S., despite a national unemployment rate of 7.2% and millions of Americans looking for work.