Sen. Tina Smith Ramps up Workforce Development Efforts; Plans to Author Legislation after Gathering Minnesota Input

Today, U.S. Senator Tina Smith announced that over the next two weeks she will be traveling across the state to talk with Minnesotans about expanding workforce development opportunities. 

Sen. Smith said there are many good-paying jobs that don’t require a four-year college degree or taking on loads of student debt. At a series of upcoming meetings, she’ll talk about these jobs while also gathering input from students, community leaders, businesses, and local schools about addressing workforce preparedness issues like the “skills gap.” Once she gets back to Washington, Sen. Smith will author legislation—based on her meetings—to help as many Minnesotans as possible get the training they need to land careers in high-demand fields.

“You know, my first stop in Minnesota after becoming Senator was at Wyoming Machine, a local sheet metal fabricator that’s doing great things,” said Senator Smith, a member of the Senate Labor and Education Committee. “I went there because—like many businesses and manufacturers around Minnesota—Wyoming Machine wants to hire more people, but they’re having trouble finding workers with the right skills. This challenge isn’t unique to Wyoming Machine, though. In fact, the skills gap affects almost every part of our state and the entire country. But like most challenges, Minnesota is leading the way on finding solutions. When the Senate adjourns this week, I’m going to meet with communities that are on the forefront of workforce development. I want to hear what they have to say so when I get back to Washington, the workforce legislation I introduce reflects both the needs of and successes pioneered by Minnesota.”

Sen. Smith said that during her discussions on workforce training, she’ll focus on addressing workforce readiness issues like the skills gap, K-12 and two-year college partnerships with local businesses, and on bolstering efforts to support women in the workforce.

Already, Sen. Smith has made workforce development a top priority. One of the first bills she helped introduce was the Community College to Career Fund Act, which would bring together technical colleges, community colleges, and local businesses to prepare Minnesotans for jobs in areas like health care, manufacturing, IT, and energy.