Jhe results of the economic policies of President Joe Biden and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) speak for themselves: record inflation, unaffordable gasoline and millions still out of work. Despite this, the Washington Democrats are staying the course on their reckless agenda that is destroying our economy. In contrast, Republicans on the Jobs and Economy Task Force are focused on long-term investments in our workforce that will promote nationwide opportunity and economic growth.
Labor force participation remains well below pre-pandemic levels. There are over 11 million open jobs across the country and apparently not enough workers to fill those positions. This is partly due to proposals that have made pandemic-era policies permanent, such as COVID-19 supplemental unemployment benefits that have become ripe for fraud. Although this program was created to support those who lost their jobs through no fault of their own, the extension of these benefits well beyond the pandemic has encouraged people to stay home instead of working.
Almost everywhere I go in Iowa, whether it’s a Main Street business, a rural fabrication shop, or a healthcare facility, I hear about the struggle to find skilled workers. The widespread labor shortage is wreaking havoc on our economy and our lives. It slows down our supply chain and worsens inflation, forces small businesses to limit their hours because they don’t have enough workers, causes schools to close because they don’t have enough drivers buses and even prevents nursing homes that do not have enough staff from being able to accept more elderly people who need care.
A full economic recovery depends on rebuilding our workforce. The painful effects of chronic understaffing are wreaking havoc on entire communities: inflation will continue to soar and our economy will continue to contract. We need sensible legislative solutions that will drive workers out of the economy, not policies that continue to discourage work and opportunity. That’s why our task force is creating a legislative strategy that will promote vocational and technical training, equip workers with marketable skills and encourage flexibility in the labor market.
Promoting vocational and technical education (CTE) is key to closing the current skills gap and providing people with opportunities. Employers are desperate for trained workers for the jobs available in the skills-based marketplace, but today’s American workforce lacks the skills to pursue these in-demand options. Rather than encouraging everyone to pursue four-year or postgraduate studies that often leave students heavily in debt and with few job prospects, we need to support people who choose to pursue CTE programs that will allow them to acquire the skills needed to land a well-paying and fulfilling job. .
Our society should celebrate the completion of an apprenticeship the same way we celebrate a master’s degree, and our policies should inspire people to follow the right path for them. By introducing CTE programs and science, technology, engineering and math education earlier in school curricula, as well as motivating students to pursue related studies, we will connect people with jobs. meaningful, help end the labor shortage and begin to revive our economy. on the right path.
Moreover, we should help workers grow in their chosen fields. My Worker Education Flexibility Act will increase the skills development programs currently available to workers, making it easier for people to participate in voluntary education opportunities that will enable them to take the next step in their career and unlock their full earning potential. This will not only help people excel at their jobs, but improve employee retention in key industries.
While Biden and Pelosi remain committed to policies that leave American workers behind, the Republican Task Force on Jobs and the Economy is stepping up its innovative ideas for building a stronger workforce in the 21st century. On the first day of a Republican majority in the House, we will pursue policies that empower workers and revive our economy.
Ashley Hinson is the US Representative from Iowa’s 1st Congressional District and former journalist.