Washington, D.C. – Congresswoman Elise Stefanik, along with Congressman Seth Moulton (MA-6) are introducing the Elevating America’s Workforce Act, legislation that will establish personal reemployment accounts (PRAs) to help displaced workers obtain the training and skills necessary for sustained employment. The economic disruption caused by COVID-19 has taken a significant toll on our nation’s workforce, leading over 40 million Americans to file for unemployment over the last few months. This bipartisan bill empowers individuals with more choice in how they access training, engages employers to expand work-based opportunities, and incentivizes success through a reemployment bonus. Specifically, this legislation will:
- Enhance individual choice by providing more flexibility on where they can acquire new skills, including from providers that offer virtual or online training programs.
- Increase the ability of businesses, particularly small businesses, to attract and train skilled workers by supporting work-based training programs for new employees.
- Incentivize individuals to earn recognized postsecondary credentials and acquire in-demand skills with a bonus for completing training and reentering the workforce.
- Encourage the use of counseling and career services through the local workforce centers.
- Provide states the ability to target accounts to individuals most in-need of new skills and enhance the quality of labor market information tools.
- Report on provider outcomes and include a robust evaluation to guide future investments in workforce development.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has caused joblessness to hit certain regions and sectors particularly hard, including many in the North Country,” said Congresswoman Stefanik. “I am proud to introduce this bipartisan legislation that will provide training opportunities to workers who have been impacted by the pandemic and restore their individual ability to secure a meaningful career. As businesses across the country re-open and jobs are being created, we must support those who are seeking reemployment during a challenging time. I look forward to working with my colleagues and helping the North Country get back to work.”
“Many people who lost jobs because of the pandemic are looking for new opportunities and finding they need some training to get hired,” Congressman Moulton said. "One of the fastest ways Congress can help people and our economy recover is by helping people learn new skills they can bring to hard-hit businesses looking for qualified workers.”
“With our nation reopening we are beginning to understand the scope of the economic damage caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, and the world of work it will usher in. Changes in work and how we work, make it clear that continuous learning will be essential. It is also clear that American workers and business alike, now more than ever, are in need of strong support from the federal government to facilitate life-long learning. The National Association of Workforce Boards applauds Congresswoman Stefanik and Congressman Moulton for recognizing this and the critical role of workforce development boards through the introduction of the “Elevating America’s Workforce Act”. This Act would provide more than $8 Billion to be used to create personal reemployment accounts, ensuring displaced workers have access to the training and skills necessary to return to substantive employment. We are particularly pleased that local workforce development boards will be at the core of this initiative.” said Ron Painter, NAWB President and CEO.
“The bi-partisan Elevating America’s Workforce Act sponsored by Congresswoman Stefanik and Congressman Moulton will give local areas adaptable tools to effectively help job seekers learn in-demand skills needed to re-enter the workplace quickly,” said North Country Workforce Development Board Executive Director Sylvie Nelson. “The Act is key to the workforce system as it provides meaningful online learning opportunities to meet employers’ demands.”