Bipartisan bill looks to train employees, close the skills gap

A bipartisan group of lawmakers is sponsoring legislation that would incentivize employers to invest in their employees and close the skill gap that exists between employers’ needs and employees in many industries.

The bill — the Career Advancement Through New Skills Act – was introduced last week by Reps. Randy Hultgren (R-IL), Mike Thompson (D-CA), Bradley Byrne (R-AL), and Derek Kilmer (D-WA).

“One the greatest challenges facing workers today is connecting the skills and knowledge they have with the jobs that actually exist. Similarly, small businesses have trouble finding qualified applicants for the jobs of the 21st century. This bill encourages these employers to put resources toward training and educating workers for the jobs that exist now,” Hultgren said. “Let’s help the backbone of our economy—small businesses—create opportunity for their workers in order to grow.”

The legislation would create a tax credit for 25 percent of the first $5,000 that an employer spends on qualified education and training expenses for an employee. These qualified education and training expenses include the cost of programs or training to maintain or improve the skills of workers to meet the employer’s needs.

“The nation’s skills gap is significant. Small businesses across the country report being unable to find qualified applicants and CEOs report shortages of workers for skilled, well-paying jobs,” Thompson said. “This bill would help narrow that gap by encouraging businesses to invest in the education and training of their employees, helping workers expand their skills while earning money and advancing their career and giving employers the skilled workforce they need to build their businesses.”

Byrne said training programs are more important than ever to close the skills gap that is impacting many industries.

“Through this bipartisan legislation, we can make a real impact by encouraging employers to take a direct and active role in job training,” Byrne said.

Kilmer said the investment is good for employers, employees, and will spur economic growth.

“The federal government can and should be a partner in supporting classes and training offered by companies that can give more stability to their workers and put them in a position to earn more money,” Kilmer added.

By:  Dave Kovaleski
Source: Financial Regulation News