Congressman Vern Buchanan

Representing the 16th District of Florida

Buchanan Votes for Bipartisan Jobs Bill

Jul 9, 2014
Press Release

Improves Job Training for America’s Workforce

WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-FL, today voted for bipartisan legislation to help put millions of Americans back to work by providing them with the education and skills needed to compete in the 21st century job market. The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (H.R. 803) now goes to the President’s desk for his signature.

“The next war we face won’t be on the battlefield, but in the global marketplace,” Buchanan said, noting that China is poised to pass America in 2017 as the world’s largest economy. “It is imperative that we help American workers access the education and training they need to compete in today’s economy.”

The Labor Department reported this week that 4.6 million job openings existed by the end of May. However, while job openings have risen 16 percent over the past year, hiring has only increased by 6 percent. “Some economists,” USA TODAY reports, “have attributed the disparity to a mismatch between the skills of unemployed Americans and those required by employers.”

Specifically, the House-passed bill will modernize and streamline federally funded workforce programs designed to improve job skills and close the unemployment gap. The legislation would:

  • Cut red tape to allow for region-specific and customized job training programs
  • Enable businesses to connect workers with skills identified as essential to their field
  • Increase ability for workers and companies to utilize on-the-job training
  • Ensure accountability of taxpayer dollars by streamlining program evaluation criteria

More than 100 organizations, including business groups, trade associations and education advocates have publicly supported the bill.

The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act is part of the broader SKILLS Act, H.R. 803, which passed the House last year.