Smucker Speaks on Workforce Development Efforts, Urges Support for USA Workforce Tax Credit Act
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Rep. Lloyd Smucker (PA-16) today spoke on the floor of the U.S. House of Representativesin support of workforce development efforts, and to urge his colleagues to support his legislation to address the urgent need to ensure current and future workers are prepared for jobs in today’s 21stcentury economy.
Rep. Smucker’s USA Workforce Tax Credit Actwould establish a new federal tax credit that will encourage charitable donations for community-based apprenticeship programs, career and technical education, workforce development, and educational preparedness.
During his speech, Rep. Smucker said:
“Encouraging investments in organizations and programs that are preparing our workforce for the jobs of today means that more people will be connected with jobs. It means more families improving their standard of living. It means helping people thrive off the dignity that jobs provide. But it’s really more than just an investment in workforce training programs – it’s an investment in the American people.”
Rep. Smucker’s full remarks on the House floor:
“Mr. Speaker, I rise today to speak on a topic that should continue to be at the forefront of Congresses’ agenda: workforce training and development.
“Before coming to Congress, I owned and operated a small construction company in Lancaster County. When we worked to expand our footprint in Central Pennsylvania and sought out new markets to expand the business, we faced a serious problem: many times, there simply weren’t workers available to fill the jobs that we needed to fill to expand. Qualified or trained workers were just simply unavailable.
“Just recently I met with a half dozen of the nation’s largest staffing agencies. They told me today that this has reached crisis proportions. They are seeing companies all across the country being faced with the same problem that I was faced with as a business owner – and companies now are making decisions on where to locate new facilities, where to expand based on the available workforce in that area and sometimes that is offshore rather than right here in America.
“I’ve seen the skills gap firsthand. I’ve managed through it, understand the impacts of it, and so now in Congress I am working to fix it.
“One of the best ways we can lift people up, improve their standard of living, and create more opportunity is to connect them with a good-paying, family-sustaining job. And let’s be honest – the best anti-poverty program is a job.
“Right now, our economy is booming. Consumer optimism is rising, and American manufacturing has risen in each of the last three quarters. We have sustained economic growth and jobs are being created all across the country. In fact, there are roughly six million jobs available right now.
“Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady said it best when he said recently: “We have gone from a nation that asks ‘where are the jobs?’ to one that asks ‘where are the workers?’”
“So one of my priorities in Congress has been to work to expand opportunities for work-based learning – where individuals get real experience from real professionals as they’re learning. I was very happy to see the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act just came back from the Senate and will hopefully be passing that on to the President’s desk this afternoon.
“There’s additional work that we can do. Therefore, I have introduced additional legislation that will continue this effort.
“H.R. 5153 – the USA Workforce Tax Credit Act – would address the urgent need to ensure that current and future American workers are prepared for the jobs available in today’s 21st century economy.
“By establishing a new federal tax credit, this legislation would encourage donations for community-based apprenticeship programs, career and technical education, workforce development, and educational preparedness. And would encourage partnerships with companies looking to sponsor these programs.
“Encouraging investments in organizations and programs that are preparing our workforce for the jobs of today means that more people will be connected with a job. It means more families improving their standard of living. It means helping people thrive off the dignity that jobs provide. But it’s really more than just an investment in workforce training programs – it’s an investment in the American people.
“There are so many different paths to obtaining a good-paying job. I have my own experience of running my construction company during the day while I was taking college courses at night. I never did quite obtain that bachelor’s degree – but I gained the skills necessary for my industry.
“My experience isn’t that different from so many people in this country. I know firsthand that there is no ‘one size fits all’ solution to finding a good job or helping other get connected with one.
“We have to ensure our educational system is preparing workers to succeed in the 21st century. We have to invest in our people. I believe this legislation makes a down payment and puts us on the right path.
“It is my hope Congress advances this legislation to change lives, support families, lift people up, and support our growing economy.
“Thank you, I yield back.”