A picture of Representative Susan W. Brooks
Susan B.
Republican IN 5

About Rep. Susan
  • Providing for Consideration of H.R. 803, Supporting Knowledge and Investing in Lifelong Skills Act

    by Representative Susan W. Brooks

    Posted on 2013-03-14

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    BROOKS of Indiana. I would first like to thank the leadership of Congresswoman Foxx.

    I stand here today not just as a Member of Congress but as a former community college administrator. As senior vice president and general counsel for Indiana's largest public college system, I led statewide workforce education and training efforts aimed at putting thousands of Hoosiers back to work. I also served on Indiana's State Workforce Board, which administers the funds set forth in the SKILLS Act.

    My experience in the workforce development arena taught me a very important lesson: Americans of all ages and backgrounds have the ability to be anything they want to be, but they need a flexible support system that prioritizes people and not bureaucracy.

    This is bureaucracy and this is what our current system looks like. That's why Congress must pass the SKILLS Act. We have a chance to empower millions of individuals to lead more fulfilling lives by finding meaningful work, and we must take that chance now. This is the time to choose people over paperwork and workers over waste.

    {time} 1630 My own district is home to several global manufacturing and life science leaders. I recently sat down with employees from Dow AgroSciences, headquartered in Zionsville, Indiana. One by one, its employees told me we have to make better, smarter investment decisions in workforce development and education for our Nation to succeed and for our companies to succeed.

    How can we be a Nation that spends over $18 billion a year on job training [[Page H1412]] programs--over 47 job training programs--and yet have almost 3.6 million jobs going unfilled? So we have jobs that are unfilled because we have a system that doesn't work. This isn't good enough for America. We can do better, and the SKILLS Act can take us on that path.

    The SKILLS Act can and will put people back to work. It is leaner. It provides a roadmap for success that can fuel a 21st century workforce. It removes roadblocks that prevent workers from receiving in-demand training, and it gives local leaders the flexibility to provide more funding to high-performing programs. Every step of the way, it ensures more of every dollar we spend goes to training people rather than to the government bureaucracy administering all of the 47 different programs today.

    House Republicans are ready to show we can put skilled American workers over government bureaucracy by passing the SKILLS Act. I support passage of this rule and the underlying bill.

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