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Sens. Al Franken, Tammy Duckworth Continue Efforts to Train Workers for Open, High-Skill Jobs in Minnesota and Our Nation

Legislation Will Promote Partnerships between Businesses and Community Colleges to Address Skills Gap

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Sens. Al Franken and Tammy Duckworth have reintroduced their legislation to close the "skills gap"—where millions of jobs go unfilled because businesses can't find workers with the right skills—by supporting partnerships between community colleges, technical colleges, and businesses to train students to fill high-demand jobs.

The Community College to Career Fund Act, which Sen. Franken first introduced years ago, encourages partnerships that link up businesses with schools to train workers for jobs in high-skill industries like advanced manufacturing, health care, clean energy, and information technology.

"I've seen these partnerships work all over Minnesota, and I want to scale them up across the country to help boost businesses and create more American jobs," said Sen. Franken. "I've been working to fix the 'skills gap' for a long time, and I'm going to be fighting to make our Community College to Career Fund Act law to fill open jobs, cut education costs for students, and make our country more competitive."

"At the same time our small businesses are struggling to find qualified candidates to fill job openings, too many young Americans are struggling to find good-paying jobs once they graduate from school,"
 said Sen. Duckworth. "Community colleges across Illinois and throughout the country can help solve both of these problems if we provide the resources they need to do it. I'm proud to re-introduce the Community College to Career Fund Act with Senator Franken to help community colleges prepare students for good-paying jobs nearby, and I look forward to working with him to get it to the President's desk."

The Community College to Career Fund Act supports a workforce model that not only fills open jobs, but also makes education costs lower for students and keeps the country more competitive in the global market. The bill creates a competitive grant program to fund more partnerships between businesses and two-year colleges. 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 legislation is supported by the American Association of Community Colleges, the National Skills Coalition, the National Tooling and Machining Association, Opportunity Nation, the Precision Machined Products Association, the Precision Metalforming Association, Third Way, the United States Student Association, and more than 20 other organizations.

You can read a summary of the bill here and view the bill here.

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