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Washington—Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) announced the recent passage of her resolution designating September as National Workforce Development Month.

“COVID-19 has forced many Americans to adapt their work habits and has altered the demands for many jobs. As we recover from this pandemic we must prioritize getting people back to work, an effort that will require significant investments in education and skills training,” said Senator Feinstein.

“This resolution underlines the importance of supporting workers’ ability to improve their lives and training individuals for jobs in growth industries.”

In addition to Senator Feinstein, the lead cosponsors were Senators Todd Young (R-Ind.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) and Tim Scott (R-S.C.) The resolution was also cosponsored by Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Mike Braun (R-Ind.), Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.), Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.), Maria Cantwell, (D-Wash.), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Tina Smith (D-Minn.), John Hickenlooper (D-Colo.), Christopher Murphy (D-Conn.) Jacklyn Rosen (D-Nev.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Ben Ray Lujan (D-N.M.), Gary Peters (D-Mich.), Richard Durbin (D-Ill.) and Joni Ernst (R-Iowa.).

Full text of the resolution is available here and below: 

Title: Designating September 2021 as “National Workforce Development Month”. 

Whereas investment in the education, training, and career advancement of the workforce in the United States, known as “workforce development”, is crucial to the ability of the United States to compete in the global economy; 

Whereas collaboration among Governors, local governments, State and local education, workforce, and human services agencies, community colleges, local businesses, employment service providers, community-based organizations, and workforce development boards provides for long-term, sustainable, and successful workforce development across traditional sectors and emerging industries; 

Whereas jobs that require more than a high school diploma but not a 4-year degree comprise 52 percent of the labor market, but only 42 percent of workers in the United States have been able to access training at that level, creating a discrepancy that may limit growth in changing industries such as health care, manufacturing, and information technology;

Whereas 76 percent of business leaders say greater investment in skills training would help their businesses;

Whereas, as of the summer of 2021 in the United States—

            (1) nearly 10 million people remain unemployed;

            (2) unemployment rates for Black and Hispanic adults remained well above the rates for White adults;

            (3) workers without a bachelor’s degree were still nearly two times more likely to be unemployed;

            (4) as of June 2021, employment among workers with lower levels of educational attainment remained far below pre-pandemic levels—including 7.2 percent below for those with a high school diploma and 10.1 percent below for those without  one—even as  workers with higher levels of educational attainment have nearly returned to pre-pandemic employment levels;

            (5) more than half of jobs lost due to the pandemic were by workers earning less than $40,000 per year; and

            (6) according to a recent poll, nearly half of workers said they will need to learn new skills in the next year to do their jobs, while more than half said they would retrain for a career in a different field or industry if they had the opportunity;

Whereas, in 2014, Congress reauthorized the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (29 U.S.C. 3101 et seq.) with overwhelming bipartisan support in recognition of the need to strengthen the focus of the United States on the skills necessary to fill jobs in local and regional industries; 

Whereas the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (29 U.S.C. 3101 et seq.) supports employment, training, and support services for individuals with barriers to employment, including—

            (1) individuals who earn  low-incomes;

            (2) individuals who are out of work, including the long-term unemployed;

            (3) individuals displaced by outsourcing;

            (4) individuals living in rural areas or areas with persistently high unemployment;

            (5) individuals looking to learn new skills; and

            (6) individuals with disabilities;

Whereas the more than 550 workforce development boards and 2,400 American Job Centers are a driving force behind growing regional economies by providing training, resources, and assistance to workers who aim to compete in the 21st century economy;

Whereas ongoing State and local implementation of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (29 U.S.C. 3101 et seq.) provides unprecedented opportunities to develop the skills of workers in the United States through access to effective, quality workforce education and training, including the development and delivery of proven strategies such as sector partnerships, career pathways, integrated education and training, work-based learning models, and paid internships;

Whereas, in 2019, programs authorized under the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (29 U.S.C. 3101 et seq.)—

            (1) served nearly 6,300,000 young people and adults; and

            (2) exceeded employment targets across all programs; 

Whereas State programs established under the Wagner-Peyser Act (29 U.S.C. 49 et seq.)—

            (1)ensured that  more than 3,400,000 workers, including more than 212,000 veterans, had access to career services through American Job Centers in 2019; and

            (2) are a foundational part of the workforce development system; 

Whereas workforce development programs will play a critical role in addressing the half a million additional jobs that remain open in manufacturing industries compared to pre-pandemic levels; 

Whereas community colleges and other workforce development training providers across the United States are well situated—

            (1) to train the next generation of workers in the United States; and

            (2) to address the educational challenges created by emerging industries and technological advancements;

Whereas participation in a career and technical education (referred to in this preamble as “CTE”) program decreases the risk of students dropping out of high school, and all 50 States and the District of Columbia report higher graduation rates for CTE students, as compared to other students;

Whereas community and technical colleges operate as open access institutions serving millions of students annually at a comparatively low cost;

Whereas the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (Public Law 115–224; 132 Stat. 1563) supports the development and implementation of high-quality CTE programs that—

            (1) combine rigorous academic content with occupational skills; and

            (2) served approximately 12,500,000 high school and college students between 2018 and 2019; 

Whereas there are more than 600,000 registered apprentices in the United States, and there is growing and bipartisan support for expanding quality earn-and-learn strategies to help current and future workers gain skills and work experience;

Whereas the federally supported workforce system and partner programs—

            (1) have helped rebuild the economy of the United States and provide increased economic opportunities; and

            (2) provide a pathway into 21st century jobs that support families while ensuring that businesses in the United States find the skilled workforce needed to compete in the global economy; and 

Whereas workforce development is crucial to sustaining economic security for workers in the United States: Now, therefore, be it 

Resolved, That the Senate—

            (1) designates September 2021 as “National Workforce Development Month”;

            (2) supports Federal initiatives to promote workforce development; and

            (3) acknowledges that workforce development plays a crucial role in supporting workers and growing the economy.