- U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and Rep. Danny Davis, D-Ill., announced the introduction of a new bill last week aimed at helping Americans find work and develop skills that meet employer's needs.
- The ELEVATE Act (Economic Ladders to End Volatility and Advance Training to Employment) would fund subsidies to public and private efforts that incentivize employers to hire and retain workers, particularly those who face barriers to employment, like prior criminal records, long-term unemployment, displacement and homelessness. According to a summary text, ELEVATE would provide funding to programs, including a new Social Security Act jobs program that would pay for workers to receive six months of wages and benefits for public, private, non-profit or social enterprise sector jobs.
- The act would subsidize the costs of training, job searches and services, child care and transportation costs directly related to employment. It would also include federal self-employment funds to help workers start their own business and relocation assistance to move to another market, "to promote entrepreneurship and worker mobility," according to the legislators.
The proposed bill comes at a time in which partnership agreements between businesses, educators, government agencies and community and non-profit groups have been formed to help workers update their skills and either re-enter or stay in the workforce. Private and public employers are working with these stakeholders and others to maintain headcount and plan for future needs.
At the state and local government level, one such partnership is Skillful, a Microsoft-backed program that has been signed onto by 20 U.S. governors and that will focus on improving "digital fluency." Private efforts, like Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak's Woz U, aim to tackle the same problems through online learning courses and even instructor-led classes. And some public universities have started programs that will even pay groups of people to relocate to pursue job training.
There's also the support expressed by the Trump administration, which did so via its "Pledge to American Workers" executive order last year, which called for the creation job-training opportunities. Employers have responded, according to the White House, with at least 6 million training opportunities pledged by employers and associations, including 4 million opportunities over the next five years.