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
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.