Senate introduces SECTORS Act.

June 28, 2013

This week, Senators Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Susan Collins (R-ME) introduced bipartisan legislation, the Strengthening Employment Clusters to Organize Regional Success (SECTORS) Act of 2013, which would provide federal grants to states for the creation of industry-led partnerships. These partnerships have been shown to be an effective strategy for closing the skills gap. Similar legislation has been introduced in previous years and passed the House of Representatives in 2010. National Skills Coalition strongly supports this legislation.

Despite nearly 12 million unemployed workers, employers in key U.S. industries—such as manufacturing, energy, transportation and logistics, information technology, and health care—are reporting they cannot find the workers with the skills needed to grow and compete. To better align workers’ skills with the needs of businesses, sector partnerships bring together employers and other stakeholders connected to local and regional industries to address immediate skill shortages, while developing workforce pipelines to ensure the future of that industry.  

It is estimated there are 1,000 sector partnerships operating across the country. Some states are moving to integrate sector-based approaches at the state level across their workforce development systems, despite a lack of explicit federal support for these programs. The SECTORS Act would create new capacity to support sector partnerships, and would create specific performance measures to recognize and reward states that are taking steps to more effectively engage employers.

States receiving grants under the SECTORS Act would be required to carefully analyze which industries will drive growth in their local and regional economies, understand the skill levels of their existing workforce and where skills gaps may exist, and develop industry-based strategies to build skilled worker pipelines that meet the needs of employers now and in the future. The SECTORS Act would help ensure that federally-funded job training is providing workers with the skills employers need and leading to portable, industry recognized credentials, and that U.S. employers and industries have the skilled workforce they need to compete in the global economy.

Read more about sector partnerships on National Skills Coalition’s website.