Congresswoman Duckworth and Senator Franken Introduce Bill to Train Workers for Open, High-Skill Jobs

Duckworth-Franken CC2C Act will help promote partnerships between businesses and community colleges to close the skills gap

Washington, DC–(ENEWSPF)–October 29, 2015.  Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth (IL-08) and Senator Al Franken (D-MN) today introduced legislation aimed at closing the “skills gap,” which makes it difficult for small businesses and other employers to find qualified candidates for unfilled jobs, by supporting innovative partnerships between community colleges, technical colleges and businesses to train students to fill high-demand jobs. The Community College to Career (CC2C) Fund Act builds off of successful public-private partnerships like the Zurich Insurance Apprenticeship at Harper College or the new Kenmode Tool & Die Making Apprenticeship program at Elgin Community College, bringing two-year colleges and area businesses together nationwide with the aim of training millions of Americans for jobs in high-skill industries. More information on the legislation is available here.

“I am proud to join Senator Al Franken to introduce the Community College to Career Fund Act, which promotes partnerships between community colleges and local businesses to train workers for well-paying jobs in high-demand industries,” said Congresswoman Duckworth. “I have heard from employers throughout the 8th District and across Illinois, and one of their main concerns is the shortage of qualified applicants for their unfilled jobs. Having access to innovative workforce development programs, like those at Harper College and Elgin Community College, is vital to supporting our local economies and keeping America competitive. The CC2C Act will give community colleges the resources they need to address the skills gap not only in manufacturing but other sectors like health care, clean energy and IT.”

“When I travel around Minnesota, I always hear from business owners that they have job openings going unfilled, because they can’t find workers with the right skills,” said Sen. Franken. “This problem is called the ‘skills gap,’ and it’s something I’ve been working to fix for a long time. Our legislation is based on the successful partnerships I’ve seen all over Minnesota—where businesses and two-year schools come together to train the workers—and I’m going to be fighting to make it law.”

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.  

In the House, the Duckworth-Franken CC2C Act is cosponsored by 41 Representatives: Congressman Ruben Hinojosa (TX-15), Ranking Member of the House Education and the Workforce Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Training, and Representatives Brad Ashford (NE-02), Bob Brady (PA-01), Cheri Bustos (IL-17), Lois Capps (CA-24), Andre Carson (IN-07), Matt Cartwright (PA-17), David Cicilline (RI-01), Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ-12), John Conyers (MI-13), Suzan DelBene (WA-01), Donna Edwards (MD-04), Bill Foster (IL-11), John Garamendi (CA-03), Luis V. Gutierrez (IL-04), Mike Honda (CA-17), Marcy Kaptur (OH-09), Ann Kirkpatrick (AZ-01), James Langevin (RI-02), Rick Larsen (WA-02), Brenda Lawrence (MI-14), Barbara Lee (CA-13), Ted Lieu (CA-33), Dan Lipinski (IL-03), Jim McDermott (WA-07), Grace Napolitano (CA-32), Mark Pocan (WI-02), Mike Quigley (IL-05), Charles Rangel (NY-13), Bobby Rush (IL-01), Tim Ryan (OH-13), John Sarbanes (MD-03), Jan Schakowsky (IL-09), Mark Takai (HI-01), Niki Tsongas (MA-03), Chris Van Hollen (MD-08), Tim Walz (MN-01), and Peter Welch (VT-AL) along with Congresswomen Madeleine Bordallo (GU-AL), Eleanor Holmes Norton (DC-AL) and Congressman Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan (MP-AL).

The legislation is also supported by the American Association of Community Colleges, the National Skill Coalition, the National Tooling and Machining Association, Opportunity Nation, the Precision Machined Products Association, the Precision Metalforming Association, Third Way, and the United States Student Association.