July 13, 2017

At Joint Economic Committee Hearing, Senator Hassan Highlights Importance of Expanding Workforce Participation to Fill High-Quality Job Openings and Strengthen Economy

Witnesses Reiterate the Importance of Federal Investment in Encouraging Education-Business Partnerships

WASHINGTON – Yesterday, Senator Maggie Hassan participated in a Joint Economic Committee hearing on the record-high number of job vacancies in the United States, highlighting the critical importance of expanding workforce participation to support innovative businesses and strengthen New Hampshire’s and America’s economy.

“We all can agree we need more participation in the labor market and a more skilled workforce in order to be successful in changing our economy,” Senator Hassan said.

“In New Hampshire, programs like Families in Transition and Goodwill have had success looking at the whole person and providing wraparound services to help people navigate homelessness, addressing their transportation needs, and securing childcare in addition to job training,” Senator Hassan continued. “These programs in New Hampshire have demonstrated that at-risk individuals, when given the right supports, are capable of finding stable, good-paying employment and working their way into the middle class.”

When asked by Senator Hassan if such wraparound support programs assist in expanding labor markets, Dr. Betsy Stevenson from University of Michigan responded, “Yes, so I strongly believe that these types of family support programs are essential to increasing the labor force.”

Senator Hassan also emphasized the important role federal investment plays in addressing this significant workforce shortage, helping to encourage partnerships, such as those facilitated through the federal Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College Career Training (TAACCCT) Grant Program and the sector partnership model, to train workers for the needs of job openings in their region.

In response to Senator Hassan’s questioning about the importance of federal investment in encouraging education-business partnerships as a successful means to addressing the workforce shortage, Dr. David Harrison, President of Columbus State Community College, replied, “Those kind of federal investments can truly be catalytic. We were involved in a TAACCCT grant in logistics that included colleges from eight states. And the ability to really bring those kind of things to scale, and the federal investment, gets people to the table and really brings employers, K-12, and community colleges in the same direction and really trying to move the needle forward.”

Click here for video of Senator Hassan’s questioning.