This past week, the United States House and Senate nearly unanimously passed a revamp of federal workforce training programs, and the bill is expected to be signed by President Obama soon. The bill authorizes more than $50 billion over six years for programs that aim to help youth and veterans seek the skills they need to be hired in today's STEM workforce. The overhaul eliminates 15 programs found to be duplicative or dormant since Congress last worked on the issues 16 years ago.
Many credit the passing of this bill to the examples of already exiting private and public partnerships that pair workers with employers in need.
An article published in the Minneapolis Star Tribune hightlighted the story of PMA member Erick Ajax, owner of the precision metal company, E.J. Ajax.
According to the article, Ajax has hired a number of employees who might have been overlooked by others, after ensuring that they get the proper training. Working with nearby Hennepin Technical College in consultation with a workforce center, Ajax's workers (including some with criminal backgrounds) have been trained in specialized programs for metal stamping
It's stories like Ajax's that led Senator Al Franken (D-MN) to help push through the initiative in Congress. “I have seen these partnerships all over the state," he says in the article. "And I say let’s reward businesses where they have skin in the game, where they can demonstrate that they can create jobs.”
The ongoing high demand for skilled metal workers, has led Ajax and other PMA members to turn to Congress, urging Members to create and fund programs that match those seeking work.
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