NSC response to 2013 State of the Union.

February 13, 2013

National Skills Coalition (NSC) released the following response by Executive Director Andy Van Kleunen to President Obama’s State of the Union Address:

Last year on the campaign trail, the President pledged to retrain two million Americans to help them build new careers. Tonight, he called on Congress to work with him to create a thriving middle class by equipping Americans with the skills they need. National Skills Coalition applauds President Obama’s commitment to building the skills of our workforce for the high-growth, high-wage jobs of the 21st century. The time to get Republicans and Democrats together to fix the skills gap is long past due. Let’s get to work.

Unfortunately, since 2010, Congress has cut over $1 billion from federal workforce training programs, following an over 30 percent reduction in those programs since 2001. And now workers and businesses face additional across-the-board cuts in workforce training under the sequesters. America’s workers and employers have paid enough. The President has called for a halt in this disinvestment, and we hope Congress heeds his call.

Congress has the opportunity this year to reauthorize programs that build the skills of America’s workers, including the Workforce Investment Act. Congress has the opportunity to improve these programs, working with industry, community colleges, and other training providers to create a more integrated and better aligned system without further reductions in funding.

The National Skills Coalition looks forward to working with President Obama and Congress to make the right investments to ensure that all of America’s workers have a shot at the middle class and employers can find the skilled workers they need.