Sen. Franken, Rep. George Miller Announce Introduction of Bill to Train Workers for Open, High-Skills Jobs

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Today, U.S. Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) and U.S. Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.) announced the introduction of legislation to close the skills gap—where jobs go unfilled because businesses can’t find workers with the right skills—by fostering partnerships between community and technical colleges and businesses to train students to fill high-demand jobs in Minnesota and across the country. Rep. Miller is introducing the legislation in the House today, and Sen. Franken plans to introduce his bill in the Senate early next month.

Sen. Franken and Rep. Miller’s Community College to Career Fund Act will help create partnerships between two-year colleges and businesses to train two million Americans for jobs in high-demand industries, such as health care, advanced manufacturing, clean energy, and information technology.

“When I travel around Minnesota, I hear from lots of businesses that they have job openings they can’t fill, because they can’t find workers with the right skills,” said Sen. Franken. “But based on the successful partnerships I’ve seen in Minnesota—where businesses and community colleges come together to train the workers they need—I know there’s a commonsense way to solve this problem, which is why I’m introducing this bill.”

“Community colleges are essential in today’s economy to educate the workforce of the future -- the registered nurses; the experts in the alternative energy sector; and the IT and cyber-security workers,”  said Rep. Miller.  “This legislation will make critical investments in community colleges that will strengthen the middle class and enable America’s workforce to better compete in the global economy.”

The Community College to Career Fund Act will create a competitive grant program that will fund partnerships between businesses and two-year colleges to address the skills gap. These partnerships will focus on valuable job training-related efforts, such as registered apprenticeships, on-the-job training opportunities, and paid internships for low-income students that allow them simultaneously to earn credit for work-based learning in a high-skill field. The Fund will encourage businesses to locate and invest in the U.S. because of training available to quickly skill up the workforce. And training local workers in the skills businesses need, it will also help communities, especially rural communities, keep local talent in their community.

The legislation is supported by the National Skills Coalition, the American Association of Community Colleges, the Association of Community Colleges Trustees and the Center for Law & Social Policy (CLASP).

For more on the Community College to Career Act, click here.