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Senator Russ Feingold

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
FEBRUARY 15, 2007
1:37 PM

CONTACT: Senator Russ Feingold
202/224-5323

 
Feingold Introduces Plan to Help Workers Transition to Careers in High-Demand Health Care Industry
Proposes Measure as Part of “Jobs Week” to Help Boost Communities Hardest Hit by Loss of Manufacturing and Service Jobs
 

WASHINGTON - February 15 - U.S. Senator Russ Feingold has introduced legislation to help displaced workers retrain for jobs in the health care sector. This effort, co-sponsored by Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), is part of Feingold’s “Jobs Week” addressing economic issues facing working Wisconsinites. The Community-Based Health Care Retraining Act would amend the Workforce Investment Act to help communities create programs that would retrain displaced workers and prepare them for high-demand health care jobs if a community has both significant manufacturing or service sector job losses and shortages in the health care professions. This measure would offer people who lost their jobs in the manufacturing and service sectors an opportunity to train in a field with relative job security. According to the Wisconsin Hospital Association, 15 of the 30 fastest growing occupations in the state are in health care.

“We should help job seekers get the training they need to be successful," Feingold said. "This bill would help those communities that have been hit hard by job losses, and also do not have enough health professionals to keep their communities healthy."

According to statistics from the Department of Labor, Wisconsin has lost over 90,000 manufacturing jobs between January 2000 and November 2006, yet the administration has continued to support policies that lead to the outsourcing of American jobs, especially in the manufacturing sector. Feingold’s bill works to provide an innovative solution to retrain laid-off workers and other job seekers.

"This is a small step toward ensuring that our workers have the necessary training in high-demand fields to compete in the new economy.”

Feingold’s legislation is supported by the Wisconsin Association of Job Training Executives, the Wisconsin Hospital Association, Madison Area Technical College, the Workforce Development Board of South Central Wisconsin, the Bay Area Workforce Development Board, the Healthcare Workforce Network, Northwest Wisconsin Concentrated Employment Program, Inc., Southwest Wisconsin Workforce Development, Sauk County Development Corporation, the American Osteopathic Society, Umos, Inc., Fox Valley Workforce Development Board, and the West Central Wisconsin Workforce Development Board.

 

Fact Sheet on the Community-Based Health Care Retraining Bill

Senator Russ Feingold has introduced the Community-Based Health Care Retraining Act to help displaced workers retrain for jobs in the health care sector. The Community-Based Health Care Retraining Act would amend the Workforce Investment Act to help communities create programs that would retrain displaced workers and prepare them for high-demand health care jobs if a community has both significant manufacturing or service sector job losses and shortages in the health care professions.

The Feingold legislation would:

  • Authorize a demonstration project to help qualifying communities to retrain interested workers who have been displaced from the manufacturing or service sectors for jobs in the health care professions.

  • Provide a total of $25 million for demonstration grants for qualifying community partnerships, led by local workforce development boards, to provide this crucial training.

Communities would have flexibility in how they use the demonstration grants, based on their specific needs. Possible uses include creating or increasing capacity at educational and training centers by, for example:

  • Expanding facilities

  • Expanding course offerings

  • Hiring faculty

  • Providing assistance with student loan repayment for faculty

  • Assisting with establishing/expanding clinical educational components

  • Purchasing additional equipment, such as computers and books

And/or providing student support services, including:

  • Providing tuition assistance

  • Establishing/expanding distance education

  • Providing transportation assistance for students

  • Providing child care for students with families

This bill authorizes $25 million for the pilot project and is offset by administrative funds from either DOL or HHS.

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