Legislation Would Expand Workforce Training Partnerships between Minnesota Schools & Businesses

WASHINGTON, D.C. [10/23/19]Today, U.S. Senator Tina Smith (D-Minn.) and U.S. Representative Angie Craig (D-MN 2) introduced companion bills in the Senate and House to help Minnesotans secure careers in high-demand fields by fueling workforce training partnerships between schools and local businesses.

Smith and Craig said that everybody, whether they attend a four-year college or pursue a trade, should be able to find a good-paying career. The 21st Century Workforce Partnerships Act—which is supported by Sens. Jacky Rosen (D-Nv.) and Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) in the Senate—addresses a major need in the modern economy: hands-on training to prepare students for the high-skill jobs of today, while also ensuring employers have enough trained workers to fill the thousands of current job openings in Minnesota. Their bill would expand and strengthen workforce partnerships between secondary schools, two-year colleges, and local businesses.

You can access a summary of the bill here and text of the bill here. 

“Workforce partnerships give students the opportunity to develop the skills they need for jobs that are available right now—often without taking on huge amounts of debt,” said Sen. Smith, a member of the Senate Education Committee.“Many of these good-paying jobs are in areas like advanced manufacturing, agriculture, IT and health care that don’t require an expensive four-year degree. But I’ve found that students often aren’t aware of or don’t have access to local programs that provide the training these jobs require. My bill gets right to the heart of addressing this problem by fueling partnerships between secondary schools, community and technical colleges and local businesses. I’ve seen models that work, communities that have found success, and I’ve seen places that could benefit from more resources and support. I’m focused on solutions that work for Minnesotans and all Americans, and that’s why I’ve introduced this bill and will be pushing to make it law.”

“Every Minnesotan deserves access to a good paying job, and I’m proud to make this investment in Minnesota’s growing workforce,” said Rep. Craig. “We need to fundamentally change the way we look at skills training and education by presenting apprenticeship programs and manufacturing degrees as great career opportunities. I’m proud to work with my fellow Minnesotan, Senator Tina Smith, on this critical bill to expand partnerships between schools and local businesses to fill Minnesota’s job gap and set students up for success.”

Minnesota is forecast to have a shortage of about 100,000 workers by 2024. Sen. Smith and Rep. Craig’s legislation, the 21st Century Workforce Partnerships Act, would help address that shortage by:

  • Showing students a variety of career options at a younger ages;
  • Preparing students to be ready for the future, not just for four-year colleges;
  • Challenging outdated assumptions about manufacturing;
  • Expanding on existing, successful partnerships between schools and employers; and 
  • Complementing and supplementing existing Perkins CTE programs.

You can access a summary of the bill here and text of the bill here.