If we are going to make sure every American can provide a better life for themselves and their families, then we’ve got to focus on the most important issue: good-paying jobs.
Today, far too many American workers have been left behind and left out of the economic recovery. More than 5 million Americans don’t have a job but want one, and another 5 million people are involuntarily working part-time jobs instead of good-paying, full-time jobs. At the same time that the economy is recovering and corporate profits are climbing, many job openings remain unfilled, and businesses are still not investing in their workers to make sure they have the skills to grow the economy and get ahead. In fact, since the mid-1990s employer-paid training has declined. This decline in skills development has resulted in job insecurity for workers and a lack of qualified labor for American businesses.
Millions of Americans, especially those without a college degree, are searching for a path to a good job that will help provide for their families. Today, we pledge to fight for good-paying, full-time jobs with a promising future for 10 million Americans – A Better Deal on Jobs.
First, we will create new jobs and help millions get back into the workforce through a bold, innovative agenda that invests in all aspects of the American economy. That’s why Democrats have proposed a major infrastructure investment program, a national paid family leave program, rules to ensure fair work schedules, and smart policies that will grow wages. In the coming days and weeks, we will also propose new trade and tax policies that will help American companies grow, and encourage investment in American workers and wages.
Second, we must ensure that American workers have access to the tools they need to fill the jobs of the 21st century. It’s far too common that Americans who are eager to work hard and earn a good living are left behind because they don’t have the skills needed to compete in a changing economy. When American workers don’t have the opportunity to learn new skills and advance, wages suffer. In addition, far too many American companies have placed short-term profits above investing in their workers and giving them the tools they need to succeed.
In order to connect millions of American workers to good-paying, high-growth jobs, and to close the jobs and skills gap, we propose A Better Deal that will:
Expand Registered Apprenticeships and Work-Based Learning Programs
It’s clear that increasing access to registered apprenticeships and quality work-based learning programs leads to career success and good-paying jobs. By doubling federal support for registered apprenticeship programs millions of Americans could fill the middle and high-skilled jobs openings that exist today and that we will create in the future. Despite their proven track record of success, only 500,000 apprentices are utilizing existing apprenticeship programs today. We must increase that number by expanding apprenticeships to sectors of the economy that lack already well-established apprenticeship programs. By making registered apprenticeship programs a national priority, we can help train young people for the new jobs we will create, and provide pathways for millions of out-of-work Americans to re-enter the workforce.
Provide a New Tax Credit to Employers to Train and Hire New Workers
In an era when a career consisted largely of steady employment at a single company, businesses had a strong economic incentive to invest in and train their workers from entry-level positions to management roles. However, as the employer-employee relationship has evolved in the 21st century and workers regularly move from one company to another, the incentive for companies to upskill and retrain their own workers has declined. We propose a new tax credit for employers that train and hire workers and employ them at a good wage. To ensure the credit benefits the employee, the credit would only be paid in full if the employee remains in full-time employment at a good wage for a number of years after completing the training program. The credit could only be used to defray the costs of new investments, above what the business already spends, on training. By reorienting our tax code to be on the side of the worker we can change the current economic model that places a higher priority on investing in equipment than it does on investing in people finally putting hard-working Americans first.
Create a Network of Thousands of Partnerships between Businesses, Career Technical Programs, Public Schools and Community Colleges
Blending classroom learning and worksite training will spur economic growth by actually training workers for the jobs that are available. By giving employers a role in curriculum development and providing on-site experience and other educational opportunities we can ensure that those Americans graduating from community colleges, technical schools, and other training programs are already prepared with the tools and skills they need to succeed and get a job. In addition to investing in successful existing partnership models, like those created by the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, we will create new partnerships that allow for paid training programs so that Americans looking to gain a new skill while also supporting a family aren’t left behind by our changing economy.
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