WASHINGTON – During today’s Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee hearing, U.S. Senator Maggie Hassan (D-NH) emphasized the importance of strengthening workforce development programs, as well as engaging employers in the development of these programs.
To watch the Senator’s questioning, click here.
Senator Hassan began by discussing the importance of career pathways programs, which she has long supported. “These programs engage workers who have fallen out of the labor force, or to make progress in their career through industry partnerships with higher education so participants can receive educational credentials while also earning an income,” Senator Hassan said.
Senator Hassan went on to highlight the bipartisan Gateway to Careers Act, which she recently reintroduced, to expand career pathways programs and provide wrap-around supports for learners who face barriers to completing their education – such as accessing affordable housing or covering transportation costs.
Maria Flynn, President and CEO of Jobs for the Future, said that her organization has been in support of these programs for several decades, and emphasized that career pathways programs are especially important now as we recover economically from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Senator Hassan also discussed the importance of engaging employers in creating workforce development programs.
“I often hear from employers that they struggle to find the workers that they need to hire for openings,” said Senator Hassan. “Some of these employers have successfully engaged with community colleges and our state workforce system in New Hampshire to build workforce pipelines to actively recruit and train workers – including through career pathways programs.”
The witnesses agreed with Senator Hassan that employers should be involved in the development of these programs to help ensure that individuals who complete a program have local job opportunities.
“As we look at future policy change and legislation, finding ways to make that engagement easier for employers I think is really key,” said Flynn.