Yesterday, Rep. Marie Gluesenkamp Perez (D-WA-03), member of the House Committee on Small Business, joined Committee Chairman Roger Williams (R-TX-25) in introducing the Supporting Small Business and Career and Technical Education Act to require the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) to assist small business owners in hiring career and technical education program graduates. Senators Roger Marshall, M.D. (R-KS) and Chris Coons (D-DE) introduced partner legislation in the U.S. Senate.
Fewer Americans are pursuing careers in skilled trades at a time when older Americans who provide these services are entering retirement. As a result, the national economy is lacking workers in key industries, such as construction and nursing, to keep up with demand.
The Supporting Small Business Career and Technical Education Act aims to solve both problems. The bill helps small business owners fill gaps in their workforce by connecting them with graduates of vocational programs through the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs) and Women Business Centers (WBCs). The Supporting Small Business Career and Technical Education Act also offers resources from the SBDC and WBC that can assist graduates from vocational programs in starting their own small businesses.
“Success is still too often defined as having a college degree, and that often results in the lack of investment in career and technical education programs. Not only do we need to expand these programs, but we also need to make sure that students can be connected to good-paying jobs after they graduate,” said Rep. Gluesenkamp Perez. “This bipartisan bill is an important step forward in that effort, and I want to thank Chairman Williams for working with me to support CTE students and small businesses across the country.”
“Starting a small business is a leap of faith,” said Chairman Williams. “This bipartisan piece of legislation ensures federal resources are being used to support entrepreneurs and connect businesses with qualified employees. It is our responsibility to better aid these entrepreneurs so they can achieve the American Dream. I am proud to have worked with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to support our nation’s primary job creators.”
“Exciting economic developments that will offer good paying opportunities for Kansans are taking place throughout our state,” Senator Marshall said. “But what crosses my mind when I hear about these projects is who will build and maintain the facilities, and who will work there. Filling in the growing gap in the supply of skilled trade workers is crucial for providing the economic support new businesses need to thrive. This bill connects CTE graduates to communities where their unique skill set is desperately needed.”
“Graduates of career and technical education institutes have the skills that small businesses in Delaware and other states desperately need,” Senator Coons said. “Whether it’s in health care, construction, or beyond, the Supporting Small Business Career and Technical Education Act will bridge the gap between those businesses and the hardworking students seeking to land the good-paying jobs for which they’ve trained. I’m proud to reintroduce this bipartisan bill to ensure Delawareans and workers from across the nation can make the most of their careers.”
Bill text can be found here.