Using a special order to speak on the House floor about workforce development, Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-North Carolina), chair of the House Education and the Workforce Committee, on Tuesday said there is a disconnect between education and the 6.6 million unfilled jobs in the U.S. — which her GOP colleagues on the committee also emphasized.
“Those jobs are unfilled because too many Americans are unskilled, despite the fact that we have a record-high number of people attending postsecondary education,” said the former community college president. She noted that her committee’s PROSPER Act — a bill to reauthorize the Higher Education Act — would take steps to narrow the gap.
Several lawmakers joining Foxx on the House floor said that businesses in their districts thanked them for the recent tax reforms — but that’s only part of the solution. A skilled workforce is part of the equation, and businesses simply cannot find enough workers.
“We are seeing that many college students are graduating with crippling student loan debt and have trouble finding a job, while we have a shortage of skilled labor positions, such as welders, machinists, truck drivers and people with other needed skills,” said Rep. Ron Estes (R-Kansas).