One bill that should definitely not be overlooked among the 85 measures on today’s House suspension calendar is H.R.4072, the AMERICA Works Act. In fact, this bill stands out for embracing an important approach toward training that offers opportunities both to manufacturers and manufacturing employees.

Each year the federal government invests billions of dollars in workforce training programs with a limited impact. This bill responds by giving priority to education and training funds that lead toward skills credentials that offer real value in the workplace for both workers and employers. The legislation also recognizes the need for a strong technical workforce in America and the value of industry-recognized, nationally portable credentials such as the NAM-Endorsed Manufacturing Skills Certification System developed by The Manufacturing Institute.

Employers rely on workers with the right skills to drive innovation, productivity and global competitiveness. As manufacturers continue to lead the economic recovery and job creation in the United States, they need a skilled workforce. The Manufacturing Skills Certification System provides new and transitioning workers a clear pathway to in-demand skills so they can prepare for good, high-paying jobs in manufacturing. We urge the House to pass this legislation and the Senate to act quickly on this important legislation.

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Introductory statement by Rep. Walter Minnick (D-ID), Nov. 18, 2009, “Minnick authors major job-training bill,” which included a statement of support from Emily DeRocco, NAM senior vice president and head of the Manufacturing Institute.

In tough economic times with high unemployment and the loss of jobs, it is difficult to focus on workforce-skills development. In reality, we have no better time. True economic reform means not only righting our economic ship, but also pursuing the strategies that will ensure we maintain our manufacturing competitiveness and provide the best possible pathways to employment in high-quality, middle-class jobs for all workers. We commend Congressman Minnick and his colleagues for introducing this bill, which will help ensure both new and transitioning workers have the education and skills necessary to succeed in the 21st century manufacturing economy.

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